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16 July 2010


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Jonathan Eley

The "Geddes Axe" fell short of its objectives because the government (a Con-Lib coalition similar to today's) ran out of bottle. Geddes had an easy target, too: the UK had just spent fortunes on a war, and in particular on vastly expensive battleships. He argued that naval spending should be cut hard since the next war would be fought in the air. Such a proposal was deeply controversial just a few years after Jutland. Similarly, today's easy target - the NHS, which has benefited from huge largesse over the past decade - has been unwisely 'ring-fenced'.

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