Blair to deliver major speech on Defence

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by Arai, Jan 12, 2007.

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  1. Isn't it a bit late to actually ask peoples opinions?
     
  2. elovabloke

    elovabloke LE Moderator

    He's already started

    PMQ's "Didn't see Portsmouth Naval Dockyard ever closing. ITV SW news programme. "Could never see Plymouth Naval Dockyard closing". ISTR them saying somewhere that we only had a need for one RN dockyard :? Maths and English never my strong point but maybe it means it will be announced AFTER he goes and then he can say "nothing to do with me Guv".

    Mind you I did enjoy Question Time last night when Jabba the Hut got a right old fashion mauling by an 80 (sorry mam) year old grandma.
     
  3. I really don't think that Bliar has the interests of the armed forces at heart. If he had more would have been done at the drop of a hat and he wouls have avoided a lot of flak.

    Closing the gate after the horse has bolted comes to mind.


    fastmedic
     
  4. The way they reported this on the BBC world service this morning was that it would be a debate on the future status of HMF.

    Do we want to stay a major world player or should we pull in our horns and change to a classic defence force.

    Got to admit it there would be a HUGE amount of money saved if all the military were not allowed outside of the UK.

    Just think of the benefits, no more over strech, no tours away, no need for bases in BFG etc and all that extra dosh could be spent on equipping and housing the forces properly 8O

    Yeah right. More likely to be spent on more oneleggedblacklesbiandwarf outreach centres and the like.
     
  5. It is significant that Blair has called for a 'public debate' on the future role of the Armed Forces at a time before he leaves office and a time before Brown, as Prime Minister adopts Presidential powers over their future.

    I wonder if he is seeking to elicit the legitimacy of a public consensus over the question to undermine Brown's plan's for them which Blair sees as an infinitely more horrible one than Blair himself was responsible for by at best culpable neglect or at worst, an inability to find the funding for them from Brown while the latter was Chancellor with control over the purse strings.

    It is pretty difficult to enforce Government Policy abroad with armed forces which, under Brown will become little more than a Home Defence Force not dissimilar to the structure of the Defence Forces of the Irish Republic.
     
  6. Actually, he probably does have the country's best interests at heart. In provoking this (much needed and well overdue) debate he's probably trying to tie the hands of his successor into maintaining at least some sort of warfighting capability. If you think Bliar has been bad for the Armed Forces, you'd do well to consider who actually holds the purse strings and has set the agenda on how much funding we have received. I'll give you a clue - it's not Bliar. Bliar must know that this individual is unlikely to enter No 10 with any more positive attitude towards the Forces than he has held until now. He will have recognised that this is not good for the Forces or the Country's longer-term interests.
     
  7. Have to agree - a very useful airing before someone else waltzes into No. 10 with no personal mandate and very low credibility. Bliar may be doing us a favour?
     
  8. I have to agree with you VM. He may just have come to his senses (gags at having to say something positive about the tw@t Bliar).
     
  9. This is all "legacy" stuff. If Bliar had any b@lls he would have tackled his neighbour long ago.

    A public debate on the role of the UK armed forces in the world has been had, back in early 2003. The majority of the public were ignored.
     
  10. Public debate my Arrse!

    That's about as pathetic as a 'Public Consultation'! When the hell do the public ever get asked the big questions?

    There has ben a public debate about underfunding in the armed forces for years, and yet the underfunding gets worse, not better.

    Add to this the fact that those slimey career toerags in the civil service, under instruction from the likes of Brown and Bliar have said in the last few weeks that if there are any more complaints by forces officers about funding and conditions, then the purse strings will be pulled tighter still.

    They said that anti-government briefings to the press had to cease, and it could be bad for funding if they didn't. They said this because as they put it 'it is not the role of the forces to take a political stance or position'.

    The fact is that the Armed Forces never did, they were simply stating facts about the lack of provision for the armed forces and it just so happened that this was due to the gummint of the day. So they got their noses out of joint about it.

    It strikes me as pathetic and shameful that this gummint should wish to blackmail the services into silence.

    Bliar is still looking for a legacy, something nice for people to remember him by. He's doing this with empty sound bites and pregnant pauses; words are just that, Bliar and his cronies have been full of words since they got in power, but the action to support those words has never materialised.

    Well it's too late for your legacy buddy, you've screwed this country, you've screwed the armed forces, you've screwed our global reputation, you've screwed the workings of parliament and the democracy in which we live and last but not least you have screwed the indiginous people.

    You will be hated by the majority of the people in this land for long after you are dead you pathetic muppet.
     
  11. I will listen/read with interest. I agree with the view that he might be trying to tie his successor's hands but Brown has already said that he will not be tied to any particular policy!

    The question boils down to what we want the Armed Forces to do. Police the world or defend this country with a bit of MACC and MACP thrown in?

    If the former, then give us the resources and political direction, and let us get on with training the youth of this country and using them where they are a force for good.

    If the latter, then we don't need 200,000 personnel, the current Defence Estate and the current Defence Budget. But we won't attract quality recruits and in ten year's time, we will not even be able to organise a piss-up in a brewery for a visiting US or Chinese aircraft carrier!

    Litotes
     
  12. I'm sorry - but the suggestions here that Bliar has finally decided to do the decent thing just makes me gag. He is doing nothing more than stitching up Gordon Brown by creating an agenda that Gordon will have no choice but to follow.

    Do you really think Bliar gives a hoot about the Armed Forces - a bit late in the day isn't it
     
  13. Some of you may care to link through to the "Expert Papers" prepared for our glorious leader.

    http://www.number-10.gov.uk/output/Page10696.asp

    "To help him prepare the speech a number of experts in the defence world attended a seminar in Downing Street this week to share their views. They also prepared papers for the PM which you can read on our website."

    Well, well, glad to hear he has been thinking about these difficult issues for such a long time! The papers are quite interesting but what will be more interesting is hearing how these are translated in his speech.

    Cynics might suggest that this is just a ploy to avoid admitting blame by presenting the thinking of others on the topic. example from paper by Lawrence Freedman:

    "Fourth, to the extent that ground forces are used issues of safety and equipment will become increasingly important. This is already evident in much of the popular commentary on Afghanistan and Iraq.

    While, especially in the former case, there is often a reluctance to criticise the mission, a readiness to support the forces leads to demands to ensure that they are properly looked after. This also includes questions of pay and conditions. Leaving aside the question of public support there are obvious morale issues for front-line forces. There is also a risk that with stretched forces training and exercises are sacrificed.

    Fifth, for all these reasons there is no longer a standard form of military operation. Afghanistan, Iraq, Kosovo and Sierra Leone have all involved different skills. While major war remains unlikely some forms of high-intensity warfare may still be required.

    This argues for a defence policy that can be much more responsive to a range of short term pressures, allowing for quick allocation of resources and fast procurement processes. Given current and likely future pressures it is reasonable to assume that the greatest demands will continue to be on the army and it is necessary to build up some reserve capacity.

    If this is not possible then there could be real problems with sudden
    challenges."


    http://www.number-10.gov.uk/files/pdf/Lawrence%20Freedman.pdf

    What a surprise.
     
  14. spike7451

    spike7451 RIP

    Ah,Well yes but first lets define what I'm thinking here......

    Britain must decide now whether it wants to be a major defence power in the future, Tony Blair will say later in a keynote foreign policy speech.

    The prime minister will defend his policy of intervention in countries such as Iraq and Afghanistan.

    But he will also call for a debate on whether the UK should continue to send troops to trouble spots after he quits.

    The prime minister's speech comes a day after the US announced it was sending more than 20,000 extra troops to Iraq.

    Britain has said it will withdraw "thousands" of troops from Iraq in the coming months, amid claims the armed services are being "overstretched" by fighting two campaigns, in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    'Big decision'

    Mr Blair will defend his policy of military intervention in the latest in a series of speeches on Britain's future after he stands down.


    "America is spending half a trillion dollars a year - 10 times what we spend
    Lord Garden"



    In an interview with local television in the West Country, where he is due to deliver the address, Mr Blair said if Britain wanted a leading presence on the world stage it would mean continuing to send troops into dangerous places far away.

    "There is a global terrorism that we face," he told the programme.

    "I think it's right for Britain, alongside our allies, to be in Iraq and Afghanistan. But it is a big decision to decide to be in that game still."

    'High intensity'

    Liberal Democrat peer Lord Garden, a former assistant chief of defence staff, told the BBC the UK would have to pay much more of its national income if it was to continue the current level of armed activities.


    HAVE YOUR SAY
    The UK is not a world power and the taxpayer cannot afford to pay for expensive make belief any more
    Patrick, Yorkshire

    Send us your comments

    "If you want to be able to do everything, be a mini-America, so you can do high-intensity conflict, go everywhere where there are international problems, you really need to scale up by quite a large amount," he told the BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

    "I don't think that we can afford to. America is spending half a trillion dollars a year - 10 times what we spend. They spend more on research than we spend on defence."

    'Additional strains'

    He said the forces were "truly overstretched", something which could not be fixed quickly.

    In November, a National Audit Office report warned that the UK's armed forces were 5,170 under strength and had been operating at or above planned-for levels since 2001.

    It said the strain of fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan at the same time, was one reason for shortages.

    The Ministry of Defence acknowledged "additional strains" on staff, but denied forces were overstretched.

    Former Air Chief Marshall Sir Michael Graydon said a "modest increase" in the defence budget was not unjustified, but he said the security of its people was the number one task of government.

    But he added: "We mustn't fall into the trap of becoming a peace-keeping militia.

    "An ability to conduct full-scale military operations is the foundation for successful peace-making and peace-keeping."

    Mr Blair is not expected to make any announcement about the withdrawal of UK troops from Iraq, but has said he hopes to make a statement in the coming months.

    Come on then El Presidene,lets here the spin!!