I think, Graham, that you are trying to repeatedly shave the face of a coin in an attempt to eliminate one of the faces so that what you have left amounts to (metaphorically speaking) an Aikido monopole. You are, of course, free to differentiate between Aikido as a system of martial combat and Aikido as a system primarily concerned with spiritual development; but I don't believe you can ever fully separate them without losing the essence of what Aikido is. It is the juxtaposition of these opposing viewpoints that via devoted training in Aikido we seek to reconcile within ourselves.
This and what Kevin said are spot on. Personally I was lucky to discover Shoji Nishio's Aikido 20+ years ago after looking at allot of gentle folks in fancy hakama's dancing with each other. Aikido without it's "Martial Aspect" for me personally is a worthless waste of time.