ARRSE in the Sunday Express

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by ViroBono, Aug 22, 2004.

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  1. ARRSE is mentioned today in a two-page feature in the Sunday Express. Not a bad article on our 'shrinking forces' by Deputy Political Editor Tim Shipman, despite him misrepresenting the 'Is Bliar Chavscum' poll as showing that 90% of ARRSE users think that Bliar is scum - the figure is closer to 99.9%, surely. Shame he didn't refer to why Hoon is known as TCH. though.

    ARRSE is referred to as a 'place where soldiers come to complain' - as opposed to a 'place where journalists come to get their stories', presumably.

    Have the COs seen a donation from the Express Group yet?
  2. Viro ,

    Any chance of repeating what was said? Unfortunately in my area, the Sunday Times and Express are what goes off the news stands first :(
  3. PK

    PK Old-Salt

  4. PTP

    No link, as there isn't one on the Express website. Shipman, the author, has a byline saying he is Defence Editor. Anyway, here's a quick precis:

    The article talks about British soldiers' sense of humour, mentions the chavscum poll and the spoof memo on the recent cuts on ARRSE.

    It says that many 'defence insiders' are openly questioning whether Bliar's ambitious foreign policy is viable. Basically, it asks if Blair can continue to have his foreign policy cake whilst Grasping Gordon eats the MoD slice.

    The article claims that the recent cuts will be even more damaging than first though: the MoD plans to have half the number of fast-jet crews than aircraft, so they can then sell off a/c from the RAF/RN. The RN have said they need 30 ships to maintain current tasks alone - they have 25 after the cuts. A parallel is drawn with the police - you need bobbies on the beat to cut crime - just as soldiers are needed on the ground.

    Some Neue Arbeit think-tank pundit is quoted as saying that yes, you need troops on the ground, but they needn't be British boots, and goes on to talk about the number of European troops currently deployed. He says the solution is not an 'Imperial Army'.

    There's a side article about the number of civil servants, and MoD's justification for having so many, and Fatty Soames' arguments against (as an aside, we're inviting him to a Mess dinner as we're in his constituency - should be a good one if he comes). MoD spends £200million on external consultants, and there is apparently to be a new 'human resources service delivery team'.

    So nothing we didn't know already: this country and its military is not safe in the hands of Emperor Bliar, TCH, Grasping Gordon et al.
  5. I read the article (I was only after the free Motown CD!) and found many pertinant points in it, but it did make me smile when ARRSE was mentioned. Still, it always puzzles me that there are so many people who have never served in the forces or, in a combat situation or have worked in countries where the regeime\govt has broken down, yet are still wqualified to give the MOD advice on such matters.
  6. Can anybody post a link please?
  7. The Mail carries a piece today on the Chav-iness of President Bliar, wonder where they got that idea?
  8. Bad CO

    Bad CO LE Admin Reviews Editor Gallery Guru

    Surely they mean the place where soldiers come to engage in intelligent discourse about the great issues of the day........

    Seriously though, I'd remind any journalists reading the site that:

  9. Really? I thought that was prime objective number one.... atleast that is what bb told me. :D
    • Like Like x 1
  10. Not sure if this ever got posted in full:

    Copyright 2004 EXPRESS NEWSPAPERS
    Sunday Express

    August 22, 2004

    SECTION: NEWS; Pg. 41

    LENGTH: 1490 words



    BRITISH soldiers are renowned for their sense of humour as much as their fighting skills. But the announcement last month that the size of the Army is to be cut, while front-line ships, submarines, RAF squadrons and aircraft are axed, has taxed even this legendary quality - though not entirely.

    In the cyberspace world where squaddies go to complain, 90 per cent of those polled on one Army website last week agreed with the proposition that Tony Blair "is scum" - hardly what the Prime Minister needs to hear, as he contemplates sending them to new trouble spots around the world.

    A more sophisticated contributor to the Army Rumour Service left a satirical memo purporting to explain the real meaning of the defence reorganisation.

    It defines "flexible" as "smaller", "agile" as "really, really small" and Britain's global "reach" as "the distance the Americans are willing to fly us".

    When MPs return to Parliament in two weeks' time, one of the top issues will be Britain's place in the world and how the changes to the Armed Forces will affect it. Last week, President Bush announced that he was withdrawing up to 70,000 troops from Germany and another 30,000 from South Korea - evidence that even the US military is overstretched.

    Many defence insiders think that the time has come for Britain to consider the "posture" of its military deployments and are openly questioning whether Tony Blair's ambitious foreign policy is viable.

    The first shot across the bows was fired by the UK's top defence historian, Sir John Keegan, who warned: "The expectation that Tommy Atkins will always appear to confront tribal militias or Islamic dissidents brings back the idea of the British Empire. That is scarcely what New Labour wants. If it does, it should be ready to pay."

    So is he right, or can the Prime Minister continue to have his foreign policy cake, while the Treasury eats the slice handed out to the MoD?

    The answer is that Britain's military footprint is already changing. The UK has nearly 23,000 troops in Germany and other sizeable garrisons in Cyprus, the Falklands, Brunei and Gibraltar, as well as Canada, Diego Garcia, Belize and Kenya. Troops are also still deployed in Northern Ireland, Bosnia, Afghanistan - and 10,000 of them are in Iraq.

    The link between politics and troop deployments is most acute in Ulster, where the MoD and No 10 are desperate to withdraw forces, but the fragility of the peace process means cuts are likely in Germany and the Balkans.

    Unlike the US, which is building new bases in eastern Europe and the "Stans" of central Asia, where the war on Al Qaeda is being fought, Britain needs its troops back, to make sure it can perform current tasks effectively.

    But the Sunday Express can reveal that new analysis of MoD papers proves that the defence cuts are due to be even more damaging than at first feared.

    Damning analysis to be published this week by Aerospace International, the magazine of the Royal Aeronautical Society, exposes how the RAF is planning to have just half as many fast jet crews as it has been promised aircraft.

    The author, Richard Gardner, says it is proof that the MoD will have to sell off a large batch of the new Eurofighter jets and cut the orders for the US F-35 Joint Combat Aircraft.

    In his analysis, Mr Gardner notes:

    "UK air power is being reduced on a scale that has previously been considered unimaginable.

    "Assuming both these two new combat aircraft programmes remain at the core of MoD future planning, and are not in turn reduced, then the RAF/RN should end up with receiving no less than 382 new fast jet platforms. The 100 plus Tornado GR4/4As are also due to continue so that adds up to a potential fast jet fleet of around 482.

    Yet, according to the defence statement, only around 225 fast jet crews will be needed to fly them!

    "The whole exercise is clearly cost, rather than threat, driven. For example, why has the perceived air defence threat been so downgraded, bearing in mind the vastly increased air threat from terrorists post 9/11."

    Mr Gardner told the Sunday Express:

    "Among many of the Services personnel I speak to there is frustration that the government has got away with it, while Mr Blair continues to make demands that sound imperial."

    Tory defence spokesman Gerald Howarth said: "It is a scandal. The government is sacrificing today's capability for future capability that has not yet been ordered or is still not off the drawing board."

    It is in the Royal Navy, once the buttress of Britannia's glory, that the cuts are already having an effect on Britain's global military "footprint" and the effectiveness of foreign policy.

    The Chief of the Naval Staff, Admiral Sir Alan West, has announced that Britain is withdrawing from the standing Naval Force Atlantic, a move that has angered the Americans and bewildered other European nations who have long seen the Royal Navy as the benchmark for their own standards.

    Admiral West has said that to perform the current tasks of the Royal Navy he needs 30 escort ships - frigates and destroyers.

    After the cuts, he has 25.

    Commander Rod Craig, Naval analyst at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, said: "What we have now is a world where the emphasis is not on medium to high-intensity operations against enemies with similar levels of kit, but low-intensity counter insurgency, counter terrorism operations.

    "Like having bobbies on the beat to cut crime, the most effective way of carrying out these operations is troops to patrol on land, and ships to patrol the seas.

    "The decision to get rid of three of the older Type 42 destroyers was explained because they have less capability than the new Type 45s but for these types of operations - boarding, searching and patrolling - they are just as good.

    "We are also losing three frigates and three submarines, which will mean that the number of Naval tasks we can perform will be trimmed."

    The same is true of the Army, which announced it was losing 3,500 men and a day later said that 5,000 troops would be put on standby to go to Sudan and 10,000 to cover in the event of new fire strikes.

    Cdr Craig said: " If you apply the ratio of known terrorists to soldiers in Northern Ireland, to Iraq there would be 500,000 troops there. There are about 170,000. The Americans said they were going to reduce them to 100,000, but they have had to go up to 140,000."

    The cuts are predicated on the future arrival of new high-tech equipment that will enable Britain to fight big wars alongside the Americans, while conducting small and medium scale wars effectively alone but there are doubts that much of it will ever arrive. Rod Craig calls the MoD's record on procurement as "execrable".

    That is bad news for the Navy, which has stomached the cuts because it has been promised two new aircraft carriers. Neither has been ordered.

    Cdr Craig is doubtful that new kit is the complete answer.

    "It doesn't have to be high-tech to be effective, " he said. "One of the most important tasks the Navy is engaged in is anti-drug operations in the Caribbean but it has been asking for long-range wavepiercing craft like those used by the SBS for years, to no avail."

    The most important question, to which we do not yet know the answer, is how the defence cuts will not only make it more difficult to carry out foreign policy but actually create political problems for the politicians and diplomats.

    Cdr Craig said: "The signal this sends is the same signal that was sent to the Argentinian government when we withdrew HMS Endurance from the Falkland Islands patrol before the war."

    The Falklands are no better defended than 20 years ago and it would be impossible to send a task force to reclaim them again.

    So how does the Government think it can cope with smaller armed forces? Foreign Policy Centre's Mark Leonard argues that foreign-policy goals can be achieved by means other than military force. Peacekeeping may need boots on the ground but they don't need to be British boots.

    Mr Leonard said: "It's not a neoimperial strategy. Blair has been calling for improvements in European defence capability and through Nato Britain has been helping to drive the process. There are now 70,000 European troops deployed on every continent.

    "The Government realises it is optimal to build capability at a regional level in different parts of the world.

    "Kosovo was popular because it was evidence of the Europeans stepping in to deal with a problem in their own backyard. There was a British presence during the trouble in East Timor but most of that was handled by the Australians and Asian troops from the region.

    "In Sierra Leone, British troops did the hard fighting and then paved the way for African peacekeepers. Iraq was the exception, not the rule. The solution is not a massive imperial Army."
  11. Agreed.

    What is said here is no different from the moaning and groaning you would hear over a beer in any pub or mess that has more than 2 squaddies in.

    Journos - remember that!

    We have views (some totally AARSE) and we have a right to express them. Better Out than In.

    Although some of us might have a less than favourable opinion of Blair and his pals, we continue to go off on Ops (whether we agree with their purpose or not) and do our Duty. A Duty to Our Country. That comes first.

    Governments come and go with the changing political tide but There Will Always Be An England.
  12. Wot - hacked again!!!! :D
  13. A more sophisticated poster?

    Are you doing work experience at the Express then F_S? 8O

    Either that, or the author wants a quick rifle through your lacy underwear drawer

    Get in the queue mate, it's that big long one over there :D
  14. Where?!