"Lewis Page spent 11 years in the navy, mostly as a specialist in underwater bomb disposal. Highlights of his service included commando training with the Royal Marines, and the opportunity to render safe bona-fide "weapons of mass destruction". Disappointingly, these WMDs were discovered in Wales rather than any sunnier clime. On leaving the service he wrote a book, Lions, Donkeys and Dinosaurs: Waste and Blundering in the British Armed Forces, which was so successful that it is now almost impossible to obtain, though a paperback is forthcoming. Page can be found on the web at www.lewispage.co.uk"
Thoroughly enjoyed this and couldn't agree more withthe sentiment.
I am tired of hearing how as soon as the troops clear a taliban stronghold it hets retaken that night because there are insufficinte troops to hold the ground. Any lifes lost in such a fire fight are devalued by the fact that in the end we have not really achieved anything. A shocking state of affairs when we are talking the lives of our troops.
I don't envy the DECs when they are subjected to this kind of political and financial pressure. It is impossible for them to please veryone. But it would be nice if they managed to please someone just occassionally.
Oh, christ, it's this bloke. He's got a well balanced view (As in, a massive chip on each shoulder, and an extra one on his head). What he writes should be taken with a pinch of salt, especially as he is completely blinkered and refuses to acknowledge the need to remain capable of differing types of war we may be faced with in the future.
My objection, I guess, is that its an article that is doing exactly the same as a blind-naked-schizo on a street corner. Shouting at everyone that everything is sh!t.
If you read it, you'd believe that everyone everywhere is at fault for everything except the guys on the ground. Its a rant against new carriers, Eurofighters, Apaches, Tigers, politicial figures, MOD figures, Senior Genls, FIST and more. It is easier to count want isn't wrong - and this would appear to be Common Soldiers and Days of the Week.
It reminds me very much of that rubbish that the BNP write, e.g. Unemployment, NHS not working, street crime and Monday mornings are all because of that Paki family living next door.
In case you've missed the glory of 'proper' writing.. It's normally wrapped around some kind of constructive argument. This article is just a bitch=session wrapping up severl months worth of reports into one long diatribe. There is nothing to say, wrong with the third tranche of EuroFighter or the RM getting a couple of new boats, or that these are getting missile defence assets too. But by listing them in a series of paragrpahs the author attempts to take the reader along with the argument, e.g. The govt decided on eurofighters instead of rifles that fire around corners for the army and therefore the RM getting new boats is wrong too...
Its like from some New Labour playbook. Tories hate schools therefore we'll fix the immigration problem... "Doh - OK"
Speaking personally, I like my jounalism from someone with an even hand and a bit of writing skill. This obviously means I don't watch BBC either.
There's nothing per see wrong with what he is saying, its just that its a rant and the reader is unable to arrive at a considered opinion.
Not at all in this case - This Lewis Page chap argues against Nimrod, Merlin, New Fighters, New Carriers, Destroyers etc. because he, in his emininent wisdom, feels they have no bearing on current conflicts.
Effectively, he wants to see the military geared towards fighting the kind of combat currently being experienced in Sandy areas, and to hell with maintaining the ability to fight differing kinds of war.
Lord Guthrie, for instance, managed to push through the decision to buy US Apache attack helicopters in the mid-90s rather than than the European Tiger. Sadly, the deal was hijacked by the UK whirlybird biz, more than tripling the price of the Apaches and delaying them by years, but at least we've got them now. By contrast, French Tigers won't be up and running until late next year.
A few months ago, Guthrie told this reporter that even with the Apaches assembled on a brand new purpose-built assembly line in the UK and specially fitted with Rolls-Royce engines, he'd faced an "unbelievable" level of opposition on the deal. Workshare for UK factories would have been much higher if Britain had bought the Tiger.
In the end, the MoD's finances could be sorted out fairly easily. Cutting the third tranche of Eurofighter; axing the Nimrod subhunters altogether; buying cheap vehicles, aircraft and drones from overseas rather than expensive ones partly made in the UK - all these would yield many billions in savings.
On the first point he is entirely wrong. Apache was under budget and on time.
Canceling the third tranche of Eurofighter will save nothing. Theres a complicated contract originally written to keep the Germans in which prevents us from paying less. Even if we don't take the fighters we will still have to pay for them.
Nimrod was screwed by continually changing the specs and failing to decide on the reccomended all new aircraft which the US were interested in as well. MoD opted for new wings on the existing planes which in the long run simply cost more.
Not defending the government or indeed MoD but if you are going to abuse someone at least get your facts right, otherwise it undermines your whole argument.
Lewis Page was a mine warfare officer who in 11 years in the mob didn't rise about the rank of Lt (Captain in the Army).
Are you really going to take any notice from this guy who has NO experience of operating in vessels bigger than Mine Warfare ones? He has got zero credibility and what experience is he drawing on that qualifies him to speak on Carrier Air Group Operations. Oh yeah, I forgot-fuck all.
Isn't it incredible that serving as a Lt for 11 years can make you an instant defence expert - why wasn't this guy fasttracked to 4* given his obvious knowledge? Oh wait, he's a chap who threw his toys out the pram when the RN told him he couldnt drive a ship without doing the same courses as all his peers. He refuses to acknowledge the wider defence picture, and views anything through the prism that "the big bad RN was nasty to me - bo hoo"
I dont think Page argues against new Carriers - just half arsed ones. He states that if the carriers were proper ones like the yanks have then they would do the job i.e. have decent early warning aircraft that protect the ship and others that see off air threats and a also do ground attack - like the F35 in its proper form. He argues for more amphibs like the Ocean and more helicopter platforms. His argument against the New generation of Destroyers and Frigates is that they aren't that good at defending themselves and would expend most of there air defence missiles in one sustained attack. I think we still need the ships but with a decent carrier to make them viable and with the aircraft to properly protect them- without one they can't even protect there own boarding parties...and the Falklands showed what happens when the missiles fail.
He may have left the navy with a chip on his shoulder but he seems to provoke debate!...and his comments about BAE seem valid re mostly duff equipment.