Ex-chiefs demand more forces cash

Biped

LE
Book Reviewer
#1
Britain's armed forces are over-stretched and under-funded, a group of former senior military leaders and politicians has warned.
They have formed the UK National Defence Association, led by three ex-chiefs of the defence staff.

One of them, Gen Lord Guthrie, told BBC News: "We are quite honestly struggling. I don't know much longer the forces can go on like this."

The group says defence spending should be about 3% of gross domestic product.

The defence budget has been set at £34bn for next year - about 2% of GDP.
BBC Lickety Click

The pressure is starting to mount, and Broon and Broone have responded with a press release:

"La La La we can't hear you, La La La"

If you want to see their website, go to UK National Defence Association
 
#4
I heard Col Bob on Radio 5 this morning, and he came across as a right old buffoon unfortunatly. If he is their regular spokesman, the message will be lost
 
#5
He was on breakfast TV. He didnt endear himself to me either. But lets hope that they get the message across.
 

Biped

LE
Book Reviewer
#6
If that's the case, I hope they get the message soon and find someone who is both telly-friendly, and sounds like someone that people can empathise with.

They are running a meeja campaign, and thus, they need someone who appeals to the meeja, or it will be an own goal, and lost before they even get off the ground.
 
#7
Can't help but think that all of the big cheeses mentioned in the Telegraph article should have done more to effect change whilst they were serving at the highest levels. None of them was particularly robust in dealing with their political masters. Maybe they were too dazzled by Blair and his celebrity circle style of government.

It's a vital message, to be sure, but I have the suspicion that these ex-senior officers are trying too little, too late in an attempt to salve their conscience.

Still, always the way, eh? Oiling the hinges on the stable door long after the horse has bolted.

Agree with the other posts above on Colonel Bob though. Seems to have lost his edge. Also, because he's trotted out so frequently as a commentator by all the main media channels and networks are we suffering from Bob fatigue?
 

Biped

LE
Book Reviewer
#8
I've sent an email to the bods at NDA noting some of the comments on Col. Bob, and suggesting they try and find someone who appeals in the manner of some of the more succesful Evangelical Christian blokes in the US; the ones that get the mass appeal through their accent, use of language and general appearance.

I've told them that Col. Bob, as nice as he is, doesn't come across on air as the sort of bloke that EVERYONE can relate to.
 
B

benjaminw1

Guest
#9
Augustus said:
Can't help but think that all of the big cheeses mentioned in the Telegraph article should have done more to effect change whilst they were serving at the highest levels. None of them was particularly robust in dealing with their political masters. Maybe they were too dazzled by Blair and his celebrity circle style of government.

It's a vital message, to be sure, but I have the suspicion that these ex-senior officers are trying too little, too late in an attempt to salve their conscience.

Still, always the way, eh? Oiling the hinges on the stable door long after the horse has bolted.

Agree with the other posts above on Colonel Bob though. Seems to have lost his edge. Also, because he's trotted out so frequently as a commentator by all the main media channels and networks are we suffering from Bob fatigue?
As this always gets trotted out; the question is "like what?"
 

Biped

LE
Book Reviewer
#10
Just done a search for the top bloke Cdr. John Muxworthy, RN on t'interweb and by all accounts, the chap is working very hard indeed to promote the cause through prolific posting on newspaper and other forums. He seems to be doing very well getting publicity in other areas too. To be applauded.
 
#11
Whether ANY Government will actually listen is an open question, but at least the right noises are being made by some very intelligent people.

Let's not waste time looking back at what they "might have done" in the past. I suggest that there are few [if any] here who have enough insight into what might have been achievable.

Instead of throwing mud, let's be grateful that some extremely senior and intelligent officers from all 3 Services, and major figures from elsewhere, are trying to do something constructive.
 

chimera

LE
Moderator
#12
Augustus said:
Can't help but think that all of the big cheeses mentioned in the Telegraph article should have done more to effect change whilst they were serving at the highest levels.
Yawn.....

Arrange following words in order.... chestnut, old, that.
 
#13
In light of the 'what if' comments made here, it would be interesting to see how the current crop of senior officers respond.
 

Biped

LE
Book Reviewer
#14
skintboymike said:
In light of the 'what if' comments made here, it would be interesting to see how the current crop of senior officers respond.
I would assume some form of covert membership and support would be the order of the day. I don't suppose there would be any problems with membership for currently serving head-sheds as the UKNDA is apolitical, and not, to all intents and purposes, a protest movement (though if the heat is felt in No. 10, they might brand it as such.).

I'd say that as a grass roots organisation, with the exceptionally well-connected and powerful membership therein, it should be able to punch well above it's weight. Let's also remember (despite the fact that they've posted Col. Bob to the front line) that many of these people are media savvy in the extreme, and lucid in their argument.

I expect good things from this.
 
#15
chimera said:
Augustus said:
Can't help but think that all of the big cheeses mentioned in the Telegraph article should have done more to effect change whilst they were serving at the highest levels.
Yawn.....
Yeah, I know it's a recurring theme, but the phenomenon never seems to change. Mebbe I'll be the same when I get close to drawing my pension too.
 

chimera

LE
Moderator
#16
Augustus said:
Yeah, I know it's a recurring theme, but the phenomenon never seems to change. Mebbe I'll be the same when I get close to drawing my pension too.
Some of the big cheeses retired years ago - some back in the time of the last Conservative Government. At the end of the day they are well connected - members of the Lords, Commons, ex CDS, CGS, 1SL, CAS, Government Ministers, etc. If they can't have influence amongst the great and the good then God knows who can.

I do agree though that Bob Stewart is over exposed, and doesn't come across well.
 
#17
Biped said:
I expect good things from this.
I expect that if they do a good job then the Labour party machine will be plotting a smear campaign very shortly.

When they do start slinging mud around - and they will - how prepared are the NDA to get stuck back into them and how can they do that without at least appearing to have a political agenda?
 
#18
The departure of Lord Drayson points to the deepening crisis in Britain's defence policy and funding.

Also includes this titbit:

"Today, a group of retired senior soldiers, including three former defence chiefs, are launching a pressure group to make the public and government aware of just how bad the shortfalls in support for our forces now are. Behind the scenes, they are trying to arrange a breakfast meeting with Brown to spell out why his budget plans for the forces do not work, and why increasingly they put the lives of servicemen and women at risk."
 

cpunk

LE
Moderator
#19
Much as I wish the UKNDA well, it is doomed to failure because of the nature of what it is trying to do. The bottom line is that they want considerably more money to be spent on defence. This either means that money is taken away from other areas of the budget: health, education, welfare, transport, the environment; or it means that taxes go up. Neither of these are vote winners from the politicians' point of view. Is it possible that Winston Churchill, General Guthrie, Admiral Boyce, Bonkin' Bosnian Bob et al will be able to mobilise public opinion to accept either cuts in services or higher taxes? I doubt it, and if they can't, the current government aren't going to spend too long listening to them; they are, after all, all yesterday's men, several of whom have close ties to various parts of the defence industry.

Also their claim that they are 'apolitical' or non-political is clearly highly disingenuous. They are explicitly opposing the policies of the current government and there is little doubt in my mind that serving personnel who get mixed up in this may find themselves in difficulty. If, for example, the Conservatives or Lib Dems were to broadly adopt the principles of the UKNDA, what would the UKNDA do? Endorse them?

Commander Muxworthy and his colleagues are evidently idealists but I wonder how long Bonkin' Bob and some of the other media commentator types will stick around as spokesmen for the UKNDA when they discover that broadcasters won't pay them for their appearances any longer?

Anything that brings the state of our Armed Forces into the public arena is a good thing, but gathering together a group of retired officers, many of whom the public are only dimly aware of, is not, I suspect, going to have much more than a relatively brief impact.

BTW, memories are short. Commander Muxworthy, aka 'Frustrated', appeared on Arrse about 18 months ago during the BAFF debate.
 
#20
Is this not another BAFF??
 

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