Commons committees CHINOOK C3 - input from Arrse

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by Whiskybreath, Jul 14, 2008.

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  1. Today I happened to tune in the telly to a live session of a Commons Select Committee dealing with a Defence issue - the Chinook C3 contract (about which I know nothing, but those being interviewed by the Committee were the experts - the PUS, Sir Bill Jeffrey, Chief of Defence Materiel General Sir Kevin O’Donoghue and Lieutenant General A C Figgures, Deputy Chief Of Defence Staff (Equipment Capability)). Thoroughly boring stuff to someone long departed from things military, but I soon perked up when one of the members quoted an anonymous writer on an "army website" in his question to the three named officials.

    Up to that point, and subsequently, during questioning by other members, there was a lot of huffing and blowing about whether Boeing or the Ministry was at fault for what has been, apparently, a catastrophic contractual cockup. Richard Bacon MP quoted at length from the unnamed website, using the straightforward language used therein ("I wouldn't put it like that", said the PUS), the gist being that the MoD project team had had its' head firmly up its backside for the duration of the contract's life, resulting in an extremely poor return for taxpayers' money and a squadron of duff choppers sitting in a hangar for seven years (After a pointed question or two, it was admitted that nobody had been sacked for the ballsup).

    The contextual ins and outs of it all are of great interest to many here, I'm sure, but what gripped me was the extent of the influence that an anonymous poster on a website (who knew what he was writing about) exerted over a particularly important element of our parliamentary institutions; those officials (including a couple of very quick Generals) were put firmly on the spot, and the results of that session I have no doubt were strongly moved by the quotes put up by Bacon.

    I haven't found the relevant post on ARRSE (it might be elsewhere, of course), but it all says to me that the nature of British parliamentary democracy is being changed and improved by the likes of ARRSE, which isn't abridged by a Letters Page sub-editor or censored by a grey Ministry man with a rubber stamp. Long may it be so.
  2. Thanks for the Tracer WB , I'll stick on Parliamentary TV and see if I can find it, Of course he may have been referring to PPrune, but I can think of at least 3 posters with sufficient gravitas , knowledge and scathing wit to merit quoting :D

    Did he mention Light Attack Helicopters by the way?
  3. Sixty

    Sixty LE Moderator Book Reviewer
    1. ARRSE Cyclists and Triathletes

    From memory (never a reliable indicator) it was possibly the last 'Helicopters' thread that Sven took down in flames.

    Can definitely remember those points being raised on Arrse though.
  4. Bingo, PTP: Brighton Hippy's eloquence shone through the Committee Proceedings, as related by Mr Bacon:

    Cue much General-Officer-type shuffling and coughing and PUS doing goldfish impressions (well, not quite, but I was clapping).
  5. ...didn't mention Light attack helicopters; I think they were up to their codpieces with the big choppers. The Tory members were rational and penetrating, as was Austin Mitchell and someone from the LibDems, but some Glaswegian affecting a Haymarket Scotsman accent (I started to count the 'divnae's and 'havenae's) was being chippy for the sake of it, with a poke about Royal junketing...

    It'll all be in Hansard!

    Edited for idiocy
  6. Incidentally, PUS intimated at one point that he, too, lurked on a 'military' website or two in search of wisdom.

    Wotcher, Bill!
  7. Indeed , evening Bill and Nick ;)

    Oh and various others who stalk the corridors of Arrse.

    Brighton, you're a hero, can we have an autograph? :D
  8. Good spot WB - well done, and "right-on" to Brighton Hippy. Magic Mushroom made some detailed posts as well - we are fortunate to have more "expertise" on-tap, than Westminster can muster.

    Question is; If they're reading Current Affairs, how many will own-up to visiting The NAAFI on a regular basis? :)
  9. WB - I know of at least one Tory MP who uses the site for intel (not the naafi, neither). And don't forget the mention of arrse in a Lords debate about getting the armed forces to register to vote back in 2005. Lord Garden said:

    26 May 2005 : Column 599

    "There was one beacon of light in all this: there was an unofficial, if somewhat irreverent, website called the "Army Rumour Service", where volunteers posted information to encourage servicemen to register to vote and to get out and vote. This was done in a totally non-partisan way, and links were made to all the electoral registration offices so that registering could be done on a voluntary basis. That is the kind of thing that the MoD should have been doing."

    And, of course, half of Fleet St reads it and pinches copy from it as well.
  10. Silly me. This post by Magic_Mushroom was also quoted extensively by Bacon:

    There was some consternation about the term "pants".

    Gen Figgures should really get off the use of terms such as 'Green Army' in this company, which he used at least three times. It's the sort of thing which will be picked up by Parliamentary Walts and used by them to demonstrate their military coolth. /DS mode
  11. Moments like this make me feel CA is returning to it's old self :D
  12. Link to the uncorrected transcript of the hearing. Clicky

    The question which refers to the 'army website' is Q54-Q56.

  13. Thanks Countryman,

    I was reading some of that with my hands over my face, Dr. Who v Cybermen stylee. Some of the exchanges make very uncomfortable reading, and bear out remarks previously made by knowledgeable posters here.

    It also becomes very obvious in the exchanges, that the committee do read this forum.