As comforting as the word may be to a vulnerable little citizen like myself, I’ve always found ‘Defence’ to be the wrong choice of word when it comes to military spending. A shield or a bunker is a good form of defence but bombs, guns and warships are attack equipment, surely. Either way, the slice of spending that goes towards the military and MoD is surely the most primal of our country’s budgets and, unfortunately, one of the most expensive.

Attack may well be the best form of defence but it seems at the moment that Defence is the best form of cost-cutting diplomacy. The UK entering into a defence treaty with France this week is very welcome news. ‘Cheaper together, more expensive apart’ could sum up the philosophy behind the arrangement as the economies of scale that can be achieved through two similarly sized nations pooling resources and expertise could be considerable. I don’t know whose idea it is and I don’t know how much money will be saved but one can’t fault the coalition or David Cameron on this venture.

So why stop there? Why not bring Germany in, and Italy? That’s a diverse range of WW2 players all under the one umbrella which must make the continent, and indeed the world, an even safer place than it already is.

And why not go even further, why not just have one single European Army? Think of the money that could be saved and the security that would bring. How could Slovenia wage war on Denmark if they both share the same armed forces? A blurring of combat units away from national borders and towards UN, NATO and EU distinctions would surely make for a more integrated, harmonious planet.

Of course, the Tory right who cheered Cameron’s Treaty would balk at the distinctly pro-Europe prospect of a single Armed Force, even if there was a veto on where a country’s soldiers could be sent to fight. A convergent military across Europe would no doubt count as a red line for the current Government but a thin one that could perhaps be broken through if the argument was strong enough. After all, I don’t see why a single European Army isn’t just a simple continuation of the logic that brought Cameron and Sarkozy together.

In a strictly UK context it makes perfect sense too. A Scandinavian super-state was ruled out a couple of decades ago primarily because Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland had inconsistent views on NATO and the EU and defensive views were generally just too disparate to reconcile. (Not to mention Norway not wanting to share its lucrative oil revenues, but we’ll leave any such analogies with the UK out of things) Nuclear weapons to one side, it has not been particularly difficult for Scots, Welsh, English and Northern Irish to see Defence in the same way so there should be a capital of British confidence there, available to be spent on building up a bigger base, pooling costs and strengthening ties with allies.

There are of course political considerations involved. The unapologetically pro-EU camp has lost (or at least avoided) the argument on the benefits of Europe to such an extent that I no longer even know who is making that vital contribution at the upper political echelons. There is not many amongst Cameron, Clegg or Miliband’s ranks who would push for defence treaties beyond this one with just the French at this stage. David Cameron would no doubt need one of his somewhat absurd ‘sovereignty referendums’ if it went any further anyway.

So who could be in favour?

Well, I do not know the Green party position on this general area, if one even exists, but I would imagine that, with their peaceable nature, the Greens would be broadly in favour.

For the SNP, I would imagine that there are key advantages for Nationalists to be behind a single European defence force. It helps to nullify the ‘stronger together, weaker apart’ argument that all of its opposition parties delight in using. If the ‘together’ part of that phrase was Europe then it doesn’t matter if the ‘apart’ part is the UK or Scotland, as far as I can see.

A Europe talking together, working together, planning together and, where necessary, fighting together? All the while saving money to spend on schools, science and health? That’s real progress in my eyes, that’s Euro-topia and that, unbeknownst to the man or not, is the direction that David Cameron is now nudging us towards.