Monday, 11 June 2012


Save the Welsh Cavalry
The Conservatives (sorry Con Dems) have a bad habit of making defence cuts at moments when it would be better strategically to pause for thought. As part of the package of public sector spending cuts, to bail out the banks, the army is now going through a process of downsize to meet the new budget cuts. One result of these cuts is that a number of army regiments will be amalgamated or disbanded. Now there is nothing wrong with cutting ones cloth to match reality, that is something that the UK should have been done years ago.

Hasty ill thought out defence cuts have a tendency to come back and bite you further down the line. These defence cuts, at a time of significant military commitment overseas, should be properly thought out and balanced with a realistic medium to long term assessment of potential future strategic needs. That is sadly not what we have, any defence cut or reduction in military strength should be well thought out and any cuts should be balanced regionally rather than being over focused on Wales.

Our country has and continues to provide some of the finest soldiers for the Army in numbers which are greater than the population of Wales would indicate. Wales has four Regiments and only one Cavalry Regiment, 1st The Queens Dragoon Guards (the QDG). This Regiment recruits some 75% of its solders from all parts of Wales. Welsh families have a long tradition of serving in the Regiment and the consequent benefit for employment in Wales.

Losing the QDG is not a sensible option, aside from the fact that no one in Wales will be able to serve in a Welsh Cavalry Regiment. The loss of the regiment will have significant economic knock on effects, with redundancies, something that will not help in these grim economic times. Once if these cuts go ahead then once again Wales will lose out, tradition will wither, and potentially 500 jobs will be lost.

The UK Prime Minister, faced with a well organised and focused Scottish response has apparently indicated that he does not want to see any of the Infantry or Cavalry regiments in Scotland removed. When it comes to Wales, which is often out of sight and out of mind as far as many Westminster Governments are concerned, there has been no clear answer as to the fate of the QDQ. This is clearly unacceptable.

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