The UK spent 2.5% of its GDP on Defence in the last budget year. This amounted to £46.1bn but we already know that, thanks to Liam Fox’s foot-stamping, the MoD’s budget will decrease by only 7.8%, down to £42.5bn, for 2011/12.

Now I personally believe that, given all the stomach-churning belt-tightening and belly-garroting that’s going on in other budgets, that this 7.8% is too small. We shouldn’t be expensively gallivanting around the world as the self-appointed world’s policeman more than other countries do, especially while we charge students tens of thousands for degrees, hold back investment on Renewables and make hundreds of thousands unemployed. Furthermore, we meddling Imperialists shouldn’t be building £34bn nuclear weapons just so that we can cling onto our grossly undeserved permanent seat on the UN Security Council.

I know that the above doesn’t have to happen because there are other countries out there who have quite happily eschewed onerous defence spending and unnecessary nuclear weapons, four of them in Scandinavia.

Per the latest information that I could find, Sweden spent 1.3% of its GDP on Defence, Norway 1.3%, Denmark 1.4% and Finland 1.3%. It’s almost not worth taking an average given how consistently peaceable the Scandinavians have been but let’s go with 1.325% anyway.

Were the UK to adopt the same approach and drop spending to a Scandinavian ratio of GDP at this Wednesday’s Comprehensive Spending Review, we would be saving £21.7bn per year. 21,700,000,000 of extra cash every single year. That’s over £80bn for the rest of this parliamentary term.

That’s a lot of tuition fees, a lot of wind turbines, a lot of new schools, a lot of welfare cheques and a massive head start on high speed rail.

While delivering once in a generation cuts is the perfect time to shake off the old British mentality of needing the biggest stick in the playground. I know it won’t happen but I thought it was well worth pointing out just how much money is available to be painlessly saved.