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A Message to our new SoS Defence

Auld-Yin

ADC
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
Reviews Editor
#1
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Over the past weeks, months and, dare I say it, years, we have, as a well informed group, sent various messages to the Secretary of State for Defence. (I have been looking for a good one but can't find it)

We now have a new SoS. Therefore now is our chance to enlighten him to our views.

This is an invitation to all so I will not start this off - but you can bet I will join in if the thread becomes interesting.

Bollox I will - John Reid are you Bliar's lap dog?

If this gets really interesting, perhaps MODs should move to NAAFI!
 
#2
Judging on previous form, John Reid is not so much Blair's lap-dog, more his attack dog. He's a nasty piece of work around the fringes and will not be on the wavelength/share the values of the majority of the chain of command.
 
#4
John Reid, are you:

1. Honest.

2. Supportive of your Subordinates.(ie The Buck Stops Where?)

3. For the Armed Forces and keeping them well equipped to enable them to carryout their role.

4. Against cuts in manpower.

5. For reducing committments in order to increase the gap between deployments.

John Reid, do you:-

1. Tell people one thing to their face and then stab in the back ASP?

2. Lie through your back teeth?

3. Intend to sneak through major cuts in the UK Armed Forces supposedly to improve efficiency, but in fact to 'toady' up to Brown and his f*cked up spending forecasts?

John Reid, your BPFA score is?

1. High

2. Low

3. WTF is a BPFA.... Help Tony..... these c*nts are asking difficult stuff!!!!

Last one, John Reid, are you another slimy arse lickin toad so far up the great 'Not So' Enlightend Ones brown ring that the lights are out?
 
#5
We have received your query regarding Mr Reid. Unfortunately, Mr Reid is unable to answer directly at present, so we (his unofficial PR dept) have taken the liberty of answering on his part. [We can't stress enough that these are not his answers! (Yet!)]

Section 1:

1. Possibly - when it is either politically acceptable, expedient, or required to be so. Otherwise, probably not.

2. No.

3. Only if Gordon says that is okay. [No then!]

4. See answer 3.

5. See answer 3.

Section 2:

1. I am a politician - are you stupid? Of course I stab people in the back! How else do you think we get promoted?

2. See previous answer!

3. See section 1, answer 3!

Section 3:

1-3 BPFA? What sort of political term is that? Must be some Tory thing! Doesn't apply to me. Even though I have no idea what it is, I can't imagine it being of any use what so ever.

4. Yes.....oops, that should be no.

Mr Reids (unofficial) PR dept would like it to be known that Mr Reid is a long time fan of the military (except the RAF, coz he knows the Army and Navy hate them brill cream lazy gits!) and will do everything in his power to increase their effectiveness. (It is only fair to point out, that New Labours definition of military effectiveness is severely inhibited by both political correctness and gross stupidity - neither of which is the fault of Mr Reid!)
 

ugly

LE
Moderator
#8
So where does his prior service come from? I hope its not just a Armed Forces Minister or did he serve properly? From any of the on line biogs he was nobody till 97
 
#9
I'm afraid John Reid is there to do his master's bidding.

He is not a friend. This will become very obvious soon

The only Labour MP who is a friend, Blaur will let nowhere near the MoD , as he is far too sympathetic to us.
 

ugly

LE
Moderator
#13
I like Kate Hoey, 1 for being a farm girl, 2 for being an Ulster farm girl and 3 for saying out loud that banning firearms is wrong and losing her job over it! Almost kind of fancy the mare!
 

Goatman

ADC
Book Reviewer
#14
here's one I made earlier:

What would you like him to fix in Year One ?

My suggestion Doc ? How about getting hold of AG by the scrotum and telling him that everyone on Op Telic One ie TWO YEARS AGO will be in posession of his/her fecking campaign medal by Armistice Day this year or you will want to know why.....
 
#16
Max Hastings' message to Reid follows. Hastings addresses all the most significant issues here, I think.

Wednesday May 11, 2005
The Guardian

Our defence on the cusp of a crisis

The challenge is to restore morale and create a vision for the future


The leaders of the armed forces may be Britain's happiest people in the election aftermath. They have exchanged a risible, broken-backed secretary of state for defence, Geoff Hoon, for John Reid, whom they learned to like when he was their minister of state. They are pinning great hopes on him.
British defence is on the cusp of crisis, by no means its unnatural state but not the less grim for that. There is a desperate need for leadership, of a kind that Hoon, his top civil servants and the chief of defence staff, Sir Michael Walker, have resolutely declined to provide.

The agenda on Reid's desk this week is bleak. It includes lots of things all governments hate - choices. A great US soldier-historian, Brigadier SLA Marshall, wrote at the nadir of the US army's fortunes in the early 1950s: "No one wants to join a failing institution." The challenge for ministers and senior officers is to restore flagging morale and to create a coherent vision for the future of the armed forces, which is absent. Their leaders seem in the business only of managing relentless shrinkage.
Army recruiting has been hit by controversy about Iraq, and by declining conditions of service. A retired general said to me recently: "Forty years ago, soldiers would go and fight anybody. Nowadays, it's different. They want to be sure they're on the side of the angels, that the country is behind them, that the cause is just.

"They feel there's no point in busting themselves to do a dirty job in Iraq, and maybe getting killed, if back home people are saying the commitment is wrong, maybe even illegal." Some parents are unwilling to see their sons or daughters enlist, and not only because of the hazards of combat. Many living quarters are disgracefully sub-standard.

Last autumn, the government shamelessly stitched up the chiefs of staff by entangling infantry reorganisation, which was badly needed, with politically driven manpower cuts that were indefensible when the army is over-stretched. Soldiers are being asked to do too much with too little.

The army has inflicted some serious wounds on itself, through high-profile scandals surrounding the treatment of young recruits, such as Deepcut. The courts martial of those responsible for abusing Iraqi prisoners have also caused acute embarrassment, as they deserved to.

However, it seems to many servicemen monstrously unfair that soldiers should face criminal prosecutions for alleged errors of judgment on operations - honest mistakes in split-second life-and-death situations.

"There is always a compact between soldiers and society," says a senior officer. "We stick our necks out, and expect backing from government back home. Today, squaddies say to each other: 'What is going on, when young Trooper Williams of the Royal Tank Regiment finds himself in the Old Bailey dock for allegedly misjudging an operational situation?'. OK, that prosecution was dropped. But it left a very nasty taste."

Pay is also becoming a serious issue: a Scottish recruit knows he will receive £13,000 a year in uniform while he could make £20,000 driving a bus in Glasgow - where he would not have to share a barrack room with 20 others.

The Health & Safety Executive bears increasingly heavily on combat training. Live firing exercises are inhibited by a bureaucracy which seems unable to accept that where young men handle deadly weapons, there will always be risk. There are endemic equipment shortfalls, in which the services are at least 20% under strength, and maybe as much as 38%, depending on how the sums are done.

Every senior officer knows the defence budget will not grow in real terms. The Royal Navy is haunted by the uncertainties surrounding its future aircraft-carrier programme, which it regards as fundamental to its future. The two planned carriers will cost at least £4bn. Yet the tough decision focuses on the planes that will fly off them, long-delayed replacements for the old Harrier. The Joint Strike Fighter is an American-led project dogged by cost and weight problems. Today, before the first JSF has test-flown, the 125 planes destined for Britain seem likely to cost at least £8bn, and will not be in service before 2014.

No JSF, no British aircraft carriers - in an age when western strategy focuses on power projection overseas, where shore aircraft-basing facilities are unavailable. Yet can the country afford the JSF? It could, but for the ghastly burden of the Eurofighter Typhoon, to which Britain seems irretrievably committed - at a cost approaching £20bn. This is the most expensive albatross in history, an interceptor designed and contracted a generation back, to shoot down Soviet attackers.

By tying bombs on Typhoons, the RAF plans to use most of its planned 232 for ground attack, the most important function of today's combat aircraft. Last winter, the chief of air staff, Sir Jock Stirrup, sought to reassure the Commons defence committee about the relevance of Typhoon. "Clearly, it was originally designed as an air defence fighter," he admitted, "but the multi-role will give it an additional capability _ [it will] advance our air-to-ground capability." This is true, in the sense that one can modify a Lamborghini to serve as a people-carrier.

Reid needs to oversee a transformation of defence procurement, for years a disaster area. Procurement must become much more nimble, to reassess requirements in a changing world, and avoid a recurrence of the lamentable failure to scrap Typhoon during the 15 years since the Soviet Union collapsed. The Procurement Executive needs much higher quality civilian technologists and managers, who can only be recruited by paying them better.

One of the most unwelcome issues facing the government is that of replacing the nuclear deterrent. Trident can remain in service until at least 2020, but if it is to have a successor, the commitment must be made soon. To deter rogue states, Britain will probably opt to keep nuclear weapons but with a much more modest system than Trident. In any event, a controversial government decision is required.

The worst outcome of all the above arguments would be a series of fudges, more sticking plaster simply to keep all three services limping along in parity of misery. The new secretary of state deserves support in making unwelcome decisions, if he grips the issues as his predecessor did not.

Instead of adopting the Hoon solution of stifling public debate and gagging the chiefs of staff, Reid should encourage the service chiefs to get out there and explain to the public, as well as to the men and women under their command, what modern defence is about and where the British armed forces are going. Only thus can the current dismay and uncertainty be banished, and the services infused with new purpose. Britain still has some of the finest armed forces in the world. However, they will not long stay that way unless their new political boss shows that he means business.
 
#17
Excellent article by Max Hastings, as always.

What about the Commons Defence Committee composition? When will we hear? Who will be Chairman? Bruce George has done an excellent job and his 2i, Rachel Squire, pulled no punches over the new pension scheme.
 
#18
A quick thought - Previous membership of the Communist Party would almost certainly demolish any chances of being Positively Vetted. Yet we now have an ex-communist as SoS for Defence, able to see anything about the military!
 
B

benjaminw1

Guest
#19
MikeMcc said:
A quick thought - Previous membership of the Communist Party would almost certainly demolish any chances of being Positively Vetted. Yet we now have an ex-communist as SoS for Defence, able to see anything about the military!
Denis Healey: former Young Communist, RE (I think) Major and SoS Defence.
 

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