BBC Radio Programme looking at SDSR - want to hear your stories

#1
I doing a Radio 4 programme on the SDSR I am interested in finding out how the last one affected the MOD. For Example boots on the ground, military operations etc. If you have any direct experience I would be interested in hearing from you. We are looking to record interviews in the next couple of weeks. Particularly interested if you served in the Navy, Royal Engineers, Medical Corps or Intelligence. Please email claire.savage@bbc.co.uk
 
#2
Claire - try the MOD official press people, no serving soldier will speak to you without official clearance.
 
#5
Thanks Null - I am trying official channels but if any would want to speak to me off the record......Plus maybe any recent ex-service personnel who might be more free to chat.
Anyone speaking to you off the record:

ANYONE who is serving and speaks to the press without authority and is later identified, STAND BY.

Warning issued.

Ex-serving, up to them, but probably a fairly narrow view - this is what happened to me.

Any my name is Olaf, NULL means I haven't been creative enough to make up a signature yet.

Finally, standby for a robust response, there is a general dislike of the press here. Justifiably.
 
#6
Claire - may I ask for a bit of caution on your part. Off the record isn't, so many will be loathe to speak to anyone in the media without official sanction. I would also argue the vailidity of any one view of SDSR - are you intending to ask disgruntled, private soldier X how the creation of the NSC worked out for him? Or are you more interested in the implementation of Army 2020 etc? If so, your audience is different depending on the question...
 
#9
Oh, and forgot to add, as someone still serving, I have no wish to take part in your documentary unless ordered to do so, and look forward to hearing it. Hopefully it will be factual and insightful.
 
#10
Gents - if you are serving and speak to them without permission then stand by for a very unpleasant interview without coffee shortly afterwards. As others noted, you will be found, you will be for the high jump and it will not be pretty.

The problem reports like this have is that there are very few 'experts' out there able to offer a truly tri-service position which is balanced and appreciates both the challenges and issues across defence. Whenever these interviews occur they usually end up as so-called expert in the vein of lewis page spouting hugely subjective opinions about how defence is screwed and only sustained investment in their pet subject will solve all these problems (be it mine clearance diving, fighter jets or lots of tanks).

The chances of this plea producing a balanced and interesting production is slim because the people who would add value to the production are highly unlikely to speak to you because they will be committing career suicide to do so. My very very strong advice is not to try and go behind peoples backs but just go talk to the MOD press office, and if they can help then they will.


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#13
Thanks CrapSpy, PepperSeaDog and olafthered points noted. Hopefully all of the above with testimony to back it up.
And as Jim says - balanced, tri-service testimony would be better, and there are a limited number of sources of this - meaning anyone speaking 'off the record' is easy to identify.

As for Candid, MOD press office is the only way to go. ANYONE still serving who speak to you will have a very narrow view, unless Very Senior, and even then will probably have an Agenda for the next SDSR, and even so will be constrained by the requirement to only comment via official channels.

Anyone who is no longer serving, take testimony with a pinch of salt, as they may well have an axe to grind.

Finally I repeat my warning to those of us still serving - unauthorised press contact has BAD consequences. Don't do it.
 
#14
And as Jim says - balanced, tri-service testimony would be better, and there are a limited number of sources of this - meaning anyone speaking 'off the record' is easy to identify.

As for Candid, MOD press office is the only way to go. ANYONE still serving who speak to you will have a very narrow view, unless Very Senior, and even then will probably have an Agenda for the next SDSR, and even so will be constrained by the requirement to only comment via official channels.

Anyone who is no longer serving, take testimony with a pinch of salt, as they may well have an axe to grind.

Finally I repeat my warning to those of us still serving - unauthorised press contact has BAD consequences. Don't do it.
I agree tri-service testimony would be helpful indeed.....it is just getting in touch....hence the thread.
 
#15
I agree tri-service testimony would be helpful indeed.....it is just getting in touch....hence the thread.
And as Jim and myself have said, any serving person who speak to you will be in trouble and have a limited view. CS staff will also be in deep trouble as they have tight policies on speaking to press.
 

Auld-Yin

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#16
Bettina Jordan-Barber may be available for a quote! :rolleyes:
 
#18
Sod it for 100k I'll comment and then quit!
 
#19
Is the BBC Journalistic department really as thick as they seem be, knowing full well the regulations governing speaking to the media, and despite the multitude of reports on the BBC regarding recent noteworthy court convictions they still think serving personal to talk to the press, without clearance.

Ummm, Thick as mince.
 

Sarastro

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#20
Jesus there's a lot of po-faced hypocrisy on this thread.

1. Of course individuals who put their head above the parapet are likely to have an axe to grind, and a balanced view is crucial. But let's not pretend that the official MOD pronouncements, whether from serving officers or not, are anything other than self-serving propaganda presenting a carefully managed media line that bears scant relation to reality. Particularly, let's not pretend it when many people posting here are happy to openly admit as much on other threads on this site.

2. Given the PR-reality gap above, it is perfectly legitimate for journalists to attempt to delve beyond the MOD RSS feed fluff, and attempt to get to the truth: a fact of our constitutional settlement that has received recent judicial reaffirmation in a number of high profile cases you may have seen over the past few years. While I can't speak for anyone else, that constitutional settlement is part of the stuff that I swore to uphold, given that nobody - least of all, I imagine, the Queen herself - genuinely thinks that every member of the Service actually meant to sign up purely to be the monarch's own private Army, whatever the anachronistic wording of the attestation says. So please don't overplay this "journalists are the enemy" idea. It's not true, and while there are many rags out there which are unconcerned about the truth vs a headline, the BBC, for all its faults, probably isn't one of them. What they are chronically guilty of is shallow subject matter knowledge, misunderstanding context and therefore misrepresenting basic facts which would be obvious to any soldier. Look at the past two pages of responses. I wonder why that might be?

3. Let's also not pretend that many of the people who might volunteer information refrain from doing so out of some deep-held faith in the MOD and the conviction that everything is fine and there is nothing to see here. A brief glance at many threads over the past few years on this site will demonstrate that they are 100% happy to discuss, in many cases in some detail, how everything is going wrong. The difference is they are unwilling to be attributed, because of the well-founded fear that it will be career-ending, as you have all pointed out. In contrast, most (including myself and others on this thread) are happy to speak freely on a forum because they know the MOD is toothless to prevent it (even though, as has recently been raised, the absurd media DIN forbids it). They don't do interviews out of fear of reprisal, end of.

Claire, clearly your organisation has a focus on attributable interviews with on-screen "experts". If that's what you want, I would go to the various academics or think-tanks who specialise in Defence, as they have the same sources you are looking for, but are free to talk to the press and likely to be much more balanced. I also know you have a list of them, because I used to work at one for a while. Hell, there are even such individuals, like Mark Urban, in your own news organisation, who have been called as experts by the HoC on Defence issues, and rightly so given their reach and experience.

But you are unlikely to get serving individuals willing to speak on camera for you, so I'd suggest to your producer(s) that they stop wasting time and effort in flogging that horse. What you do have at your fingertips on ARRSE and other similar sites is tens to hundreds of serving individuals speaking openly about these issues, probably much more honestly than they would do to you, and with the added bonus of other people in the know to counter those who are spinning tales. There is even an SDSR forum on this very site. If you are really concerned about the story rather than the format, I would take a few days and bury yourself reading the multiple threads here over the last five years discussing the SDSR, FCOC, A2020, FR2020 and their effects. If you don't know what those acronyms stand for, then you most certainly don't know enough to start asking the right questions, so do your job and do your research.

...and no, I won't interview for you. c-f Fear.
 

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