As we draw to a close on National Ethical Investment Week, it seems fitting that Sunday 14th November will be Sunday Remembrance Day – in as much that war is very costly and should be avoided if at all possible.

As for the financial costs of Defence spending, my latest (and newest) Economist World Figures for 2011 (based at end 2008) reveal that the UK was 23rd in world rankings for Armed forces with 175,000 regulars and 199,000 reserves. Our Armed forces are numerically smaller than (in numerical order)…

China, USA, India, North Korea, Russia, South Korea, Pakistan, Iraq, Iran, Turkey, Egypt, France, Brazil, Syria, Indonesia, Italy, Taiwan, Colombia, Germany, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Israel and then UK!

In terms of Defence spending as a percentage of GDP, the UK (and China) weren’t in the top 27 (27th South Korea at 2.6%)… the largest? Jordan at 10.6% – however turning the numbers into defence spending the UK was third ($60.8bn) ahead of China’s $60.2bn and surpassed by France $67.2bn and the USA at an enormous $696.3bn.

When these numbers are converted into an equivalent spend per head of the population the UK was 11th at $998 per head. Leading the spend per head was the United Arab Emirates at $2,972 , Kuwait $2,623, USA $2,290, Qatar $2,129, Israel $2,077, Oman $1,410, Saudia Arabia $1,357, Norway $1,264, Australia $1,056, France $1,049 the the UK at $998.

Draw your own conclusions.

As we remember those that fought for our nation so that we might enjoy significant freedoms, you may be interested in an excellent play “Birdsong” directed by Trevor Nunn and written by Sebastian Faulks. Ben Barnes (Prince Caspian/Dorian Gray) is excellent as the leading character Stephen Wraysford and supported by a great ensemble including Nicholas Farrell (Chariots of Fire). Its a fabulous production and very moving, though the end of Act 2 may have you glued to your seat.

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