He can say that all he wants but since we all know he's nothing more than a sock puppet for Gordon Brown, his attitude to funding the armed forces being well know, I don't think anyone will be holding their breath in anticipation.
Our forces are the best, and deserve the best. Few people can be more aware than I am that we are now asking a lot of the services and their families. Iraq and Afghanistan place huge demands on our personnel. Many have been wounded; some have lost their lives. Every death or injury saddens me greatly, although this of course can be nothing to the pain and loss suffered by the families.
I sense a growing public appreciation of the sacrifices that our forces and their families make.
Well Des, I think I'll take the Royal British Legion's view on that. For the RBL to mount a campaign addressing that very point, with supporting evidence from all three services. You are in cloud cuckoo land. Having never served our countries' armed forces, you are not qualified to comment, and your words themselves are an insult to all who have.
That does not mean that we, the Government, cannot do better. But the truth is that we strive constantly to ensure that the Armed Forces have the best possible package of care.
"in theatre" we have numerous instance where a lack of airframes has delayed the evacuation of injured pers. "In theatre" we have consistantly been unable to supply even the most basic of equipments to our forces. "In theatre" we are more over-stretched then ever.
Selly Oak - Remind us if you would Des, just how many injured soldiers have contracted MRSA whilst at Selly Oak? Remind us how many families have had to speak publically on conditions there, in order to have things changed? Remind us why the government cannot fund dedicated military hospitals?
Headley Court - Yes, world-class and having to rely on charitable donstions to exist. Stop taking credit for somewhere that the government should underwrite - or, do you figure that the cycle-rides, sponsored bricks and tin rattling is the best way for a nation to show it's appreciation?
Remind us how many pers, this actually relates to?
...and after deployment we try to ensure personnel get a "decompression period" to unwind. If specialist assessment and treatment is needed it can be carried out at any of 15 military Community Mental Health centres in the UK.
"We try" - doesn't quite tally, with Gen Dannet's view on harmony guidelines does it? Perhaps the Minister would be good enough to start publishing figures for the workloads of these 15 CMH units and the number of practioners managing an increasing incidence of PTSD and other post operative conditions.
Veterans can use the Medical Assessment Programme at St Thomas' hospital where they will see a clinician with a background in military psychiatry. This scheme will soon be supported even further by military experts working with NHS mental health trusts.
Will this mean that sevice pers will continue to find themselves in treatment with drug dealers, in order to have their condition worked on by MHS mental health professionals, due to there not being enough military psychiatric resources?
Treatment for qualifying war pensioners is organised by Combat Stress, to which we have greatly increased our funding. War pensioners are entitled to priority NHS treatment for any disability which is accepted as having been caused or aggravated by service.
The system is so straight forward that Combat Stress, RBL and others are now having to mentor applications, in order to ensure their process through the system. Please go onto defend the Armed Forces Compensation scheme and your thoughts on why families have to "speak to the media" before the government does a damn thing?
Despite media reports, we are providing by far the best kit our forces have ever had - delivering more than £10 billions' worth in the past three years. We have initiated a rolling programme that is flexible, responsive and delivers good kit on time to the front line. We have spent over £1 billion on force protection, and more on new helicopters, unmanned aerial vehicles and weapons. We've just announced that we are buying 140 more Mastiff vehicles for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. We will do more.
Yet, in spite of this, we've embarked on two major operations, which we have been unable to sustain from Day 1. For every British job and procurement contract, we've had vehicles relying on sadbags in the footwell for IED protection, an increasing reliance on the US military to supply essentials to us and soldiers having to rely on their families to supply the most basic equipment.
The opinions from the people who really matter - those on the front line - are encouraging. On my recent visits to Iraq and Afghanistan, troops gave positive feedback on a range of equipment we have delivered: Mastiff, Bulldog and Viking vehicles, Osprey body armour, Challenger tanks and base security.
WTF = Just how out of touch are you and your advsors?
Now, instead of the "How do you find the new kit?" type questions, why not sit with those stagging on HERRICK and ask; "How many tours have done in the last five years?", "How is your family being affected by your back to back tours?", "Do you trust the government to look after you and your family if you are injured or killed on ops?"
As the senior British commander in southern Iraq, Maj Gen Jonathan Shaw, said in June: "I have never seen a theatre so well supplied with new kit this steady trickle of new kit has had real and almost instantaneous impact."
We are working hard to put this right, but it cannot be done instantly. This year, we will spend £870 million (up from £700 million last year), and we plan to spend over £5 billion over the next decade. This is a big project that will take time. We are dealing with a legacy of under-investment that goes back decades. We are also helping people to buy their own homes and look to do more in this area.
The new Cross-Government Strategy on Service Personnel will let us examine our progress, take a fresh look at a number of areas and to set out our agenda for support in housing, health, education, skills or welfare. No government has done this before.
I doubt it. I would imagine that the public would support the armed forces more, were it not for the government's continual "everything is alright, no, really everything is alright" approach to military operations, logistics and healthcare.
The Ministry of Defence said he was referring to individuals, who were not necessarily widely representative.
OK so the MoD responds by stating how the majority of servicemen really think, but pass an edict just a few months before explicitly banning servicemen from expressing their own opinion. Not convincing.
A typical response from a member of this government when confronted with a problem of their own making - tell the public that they are wrong and misguided, that only they know what's best and to treat the electorate as imbeciles.
Two recent articles spring to mind the immigration saga, 1000 illegal immigrants working in sensitive posts , no sorry 5000, aww alright 10k but it's ok we've got this covered. Another was the binge drinking headline in which the government laid blame for the drink culture firmly at the feet of the middle aged middle class's, not teenage chav's. Cant move for the 40 year old managers/professionals causing drink related crime in my area.
Back to the thread, I note that our SoS Def (Part Time) does not even have the courtesy to hold a press conference or interview where his political spin may be questioned, but releases a press statment quoting statistics where it suits and none where it would highlight the current problems.
No Des there are no problems in the Armed Forces, personnel are not leaving in their thousands, everyone is happy with the standard of pay/accomodation/equipment/compensation/medical care/OWP. If you believe this can be solved by a few tweaks and not a radical overhaul of the military covenent, then YOU are the misguided fool.
On the OWP can anyone tell me if we still get LSSA+/++ bonuses or were they replaced with the tax-free bonus (here this cash will grab the headlines. What, it replaces what already exists. really we'll look into that) Think the government was addressing this issue some time ago when it was highlighted, haven't heard an answer since