The recent macho posturing on defence spending reveals an increasingly desperate Tory government.

Public services are in disarray but apparently, spending money on defence takes priority.

The magic figure of £75 billion has been conjured up out of nowhere as the magic figure that will bring the UK defence spending up to 2.5% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). 

But what is the obsession with defence - or should that be offence? 

The conflict in Northern Ireland absorbed huge amounts of money for years. When that and the Cold War ended new wars had to be found. Following 9/11, along came the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Now, there is Ukraine and Gaza.

This is about increasing the number of arms put into theatres of war, thereby fuelling conflict.

Every pound spent on defence means less for health, education, housing and addressing climate change.

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Cllr Paul Donovan does not approve the defence budget increaseCllr Paul Donovan does not approve the defence budget increase

It is useful to recall the words of former US President Dwight Eisenhower, who in 1961 warned of the malign effect of the military-industrial complex. 

He saw it deflecting from the cause of peace and flourishing of humanity.

Earlier in his presidency, he had spoken of "humanity hanging from a cross of iron" in relation to military spending.

His words were not heeded, the military-industrial complex has continued to grow. 

In this country, there is a revolving door between the arms industry and the Ministry of Defence. Those earning from war do not want peace. Their dividends come from constant conflict. 

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak might want to reflect on the impact that military spending has on other parts of his agenda. Desperate people are coming across the Channel often fleeing wars. Wars that the UK has been a key part of fuelling - Afghanistan, Iraq etc.

Inflation has been stoked by the impact of war in Ukraine. The burgeoning conflict in the Middle East is having an increasing impact here in terms of rising prices.

Surely, it would be much better to invest in peace-making initiatives around the world. 

Increase the aid budget and don't siphon off funding into other areas. Take a more peace-promoting stance on conflicts like Gaza. A more peaceful world will be better for the common good. It won't be beneficial to the arms industry but for everyone else things will be much better.

  • Paul Donovan is Labour councillor for Wanstead Village ward, Redbridge Council and a blogger (