15:59 GMT +318 June 2019
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    Britain's Defence Minister Gavin Williamson stands in the main chamber during the second day of a meeting of the North Atlantic Council at a gathering of NATO defence ministers at NATO headquarters in Brussels, Thursday, Oct. 4, 2018.

    ‘Kid in a Tank Shop’: Britain’s Def Secretary Wants to ‘Enhance UK’s Lethality’

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    Gavin Williamson has made some new proposals regarding the UK’s global military prowess. He only needs to secure £7 billion for them to work.

    Gavin Williamson, the UK minister of defense, notorious for his shocking suggestions and clumsy presentation, came up with yet another rhetorical pearl Monday, suggesting that the UK must "enhance its lethality" and "increase its mass" after Brexit.

    "Brexit has brought us to a great moment in our history. A moment when we must strengthen our global presence, enhance our lethality and increase our mass," he said Monday at the Royal United Services Institute.

    According to the minister, after Brexit (which, if fear mongers are to be believed, will leave the country without food, water and medicine), the UK should position itself as a global power, willing to unilaterally intervene against countries that "flout international law."

    Williamson insisted that Brexit, which has so far been a source of nonstop strife in the country, will somehow allow the UK "to consider how we not only project but maximize our influence around the world in the months and years to come."

    Thankfully, Williamson elaborated on whom exactly UK is going to fight. You guessed it — Russia and China. Islamic terrorism is apparently out of fashion these days.

    "We have learned much from fighting al-Qaeda and Daesh. But, while we tackled this extremism, state-on-state competition was reviving," the minister said. "Today, Russia is resurgent — rebuilding its military arsenal and seeking to bring the independent countries of the former Soviet Union, like Georgia and Ukraine, back into its orbit. All the while, China is developing its modern military capability and its commercial power."

    So, what's the minister's plan to enhance lethality and build mass?

    First, Williamson wants to build two British military bases: one in Asia and the other "in the Caribbean." He also wants to send the HMS Queen Elizabeth, a new aircraft carrier packed with F-35s, to the South China Sea. Another proposed measure is to increase the number of government specialist hackers from 500 to 2,000, according to The Guardian.

    However, as British columnists note, Williamson's plans are disconnected from reality. First, the Queen Elizabeth will not be ready for its maiden voyage before 2021. But this is only a minor problem, overshadowed by a much larger one: a huge "black hole" in the UK's defense budget, believed to amount to some £7 billion, according to the BBC. According to the report, citing the Public Accounts Committee, the MoD lacks the ability to "accurately cost programmes," and the shortfall could reach £14.8 billion by 2028. This was underscored by Nia Griffith, the shadow defense secretary.

    "Instead of simply engaging in yet more sabre-rattling, Gavin Williamson should get to grips with the crisis in defence funding that is happening on his watch," she said.

    The minister's remarks have been ridiculed not only within the government, but also on social media, with one user suggesting someone should "take away his office and give him a video game."

    ​Pro-EU twitter page @nobrexitthanks described Williamson as a "kid in a tank shop," arguing that he is deliberately pushing the UK towards Brexit to give the UK an excuse to ramp up military aggression again.

    "The EU is essentially a peace project conceived by Churchill after World War 2," the page tweeted. "So our Govt defence minister now wants UK to Leave so he can boost Britain's ‘military lethality'. God help us. He's like a kid in a Tank shop."

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