Howard promises to reverse regiment mergers

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  1. Howard promises to reverse regiment mergers
    By George Jones, Political Editor
    (Filed: 31/03/2005)

    The Government's decision to cut four infantry battalions from the Army was a "stab in the back" for the servicemen and women Tony Blair sent into the line of fire in Iraq, Michael Howard, the Conservative leader, said yesterday.

    He gave a pledge to reverse the planned mergers of historic regiments, including the Black Watch, if the Conservatives win the coming general election.

    Michael Howard looks at Eurofighter
    Mr Howard says Blair is gambling with national security

    Mr Howard claimed that in January more than 50 redundancy letters were sent to serving officers in Iraq.

    "To make matters worse, some of our servicemen and women were sent to Iraq without the right equipment - the right boots, the right combat kit or the right body armour. Nor did they have the equipment to cope with the threat of chemical or biological weapons," he said.

    In a speech in Blackpool setting out Conservative defence policy, he said regiments that were the focus of loyalty, the nurseries of military excellence and potent symbols of pride, were to have their identities casually erased.

    The Royal Navy, already smaller than at any time in modern history, was to lose three type 42 destroyers and three type 23 frigates. For the first time in 200 years, Britain would have a smaller navy than France, while the RAF would lose 7,500 personnel under Labour's plans.

    Mr Howard said Mr Blair was gambling with the national security and placing increased strain on the Armed Forces.

    He promised that a Conservative government would "save" the regiments and the three type 23 frigates that were being cut by Labour.

    A Tory government would spend £2.7 billion more on front-line defence than Labour.

    The Tory leader criticised Mr Blair for elevating European defence integration at the expense of Britain's long-standing commitment to the Atlantic Alliance.

    He said Britain's network of formal alliances and shared interests was being put at risk, despite the close co-operation with the US over Iraq, by "Mr Blair's obsession with the European Union".

    Gp Capt Al Lockwood, 53, the former fighter pilot who served in Iraq and is now standing against Tony Blair at the next election, yesterday accused the Prime Minister of letting down ordinary people and the Armed Forces.

    The official military spokesman during the Iraq war, will be the Conservative candidate in Mr Blair's Sedgefield, Co Durham, constituency.

    "Everyone who cares deeply about this country can see we are heading in the wrong direction," Gp Capt Lockwood said.
  2. I just hope that the people of sedgefield get behind Al Lockwood and kick Mr Bliar out of office.

    Come on the crab :D
  3. Least some one knows what the public wants!!
  4. Ah but will the POD smile.
  5. Guys - I've said it before - you're living in cloud cuckoo land if you think defence is safe with this clowns. Infact no-one in the current circus can be trusted with it. Some BIG decisions have to be made in the next few years - Carriers, Trident extension/replacement to name but two. The only way to do so is increase Defence spending as a % of GDP - and that will compete against everything else (transport, education, health etc). The only way to do that is to increase tax -and that will not happen as the electorate will never buy it. There is a finite limit to the amount of cheese paring and removal of excess civil servants, before you have to start putting cash back into the system
  6. An outstanding post Fozzy.

    Howard can blather all he wants. Why has he not taken up the hunt over Forces votes?

    The Government has achieved another lead, by talking about school dinners FFS.

    The Tories could regain ground, by bringing the issue of Forces voting to the fore. Our people go and do the business , and then are denied, whether by accident or design , their basic democratic rights? We enable democracy in far off lands , but are denied the same here?

    A land fit for heroes my arrse.

    That's got to be worth several political column inches, or even a bloody banner headline somewhere.
  7. Where's he going to get all of the SNCOs, WO and officers to be able to do this if they get made redundant first?
  8. Where does Charlie stand on this then PTP? I can't seem to find anything relating to a reversal or non-reversal of the intended cull!

    Nice post Fozzy..........poses more questions than it answers.

    I have one for you:
    If none of the present Political Circus' are to be trusted then who do you propose should?
  9. LWM , this from Sir Menzies to TCH on 30th Nov. last

    Note consideration of the Arms Plot is made in his query.

    You will be well aware of my interest in the proposals for re-organisation of the army, both generally and also from a constituency point of view, in relation to the Black Watch.
    I have no doubt that there is a case to be made for reform for the army, but not for reduction. To reduce infantry battalions by four is over optimistic against the pattern of present commitments, not to mention continuing uncertainties in an increasingly volatile world. To maintain the present level of forty battalions would allow for flexibility and even permit the accepted 24 month interval between operational tours, which has largely gone by the board in recent years.

    You can hardly have failed to notice the public disquiet about the proposal that the Black Watch and the other Scottish regiments should be amalgamated into a super Scottish Regiment. There is a genuine concern, which I share, that the espirit and links with the community which the present regimental system allows will be adversely affected and I do urge you even at this late stage to consider a solution which allows both for reform and retention of the existing regiments. It cannot be beyond the wit of those responsible to produce such a solution.

    I know that it has been said on your behalf that the proposed changes are for the army to decide, but I am sure that you will understand that it is Ministers and not Generals who must answer to the House of Commons. The proposals in their present form represent a major policy change, which Ministers have either to accept or reject.

    I urge you, even now, to think again so as to produce an elegant solution which meets the demands of modernisation, tradition and military effectiveness.

    Yours sincerely,
  10. But what of the Policy of reduction?
    Is Charlie going to allow the cuts to stand or will he reverse them?

    What are their plans for Defence Spending?

    Are they happy to have Labour make the cuts and then when/if in a position of power to say'T'werent us; we'll just have to live with it'?
  11. Thanks LWM (and PTP).

    To answer your question LWM - I really don't know.

    But whoever faced the facts and said - "guys, if you want this stuff and you want it done properly then its going to cost - so after we've looked at all sensible economies and cost savings - and that might mean a few sacred cows being slaughtered - then your taxes will very probably have to go up to pay for it" would get a fair hearing in the Fozzy household.

    I'd say the closest would be the Lib Dems - but I don't trust CK and some of his party are very anti anything to do with the Military (I exclude the Lord Tim and Ming from this) - as are large sections of Labour. The Tories have clear previous on this and cannot be trusted AT ALL.
  12. What's that? A politician jumping on a bandwagon? Well fancy that :roll:
  13. Howard is a lying scumbag. He'll say anything if he thinks it'll gain him some votes. Him and his party have absolutely no chance in the general election. I remember when he was Home Secretary and he was a sleazy piece of filth.
  14. LWM ,

    I do not have the specific answer right now, but I will get comms with the appropriate person , and come back to you on that.

    Wait out
  15. Opportunistic band wagon jumping bloodsucker.

    One of the most revolting pictures I've seen for years was that of Howard gloating over the old biddy who had her shoulder operation cancelled seven times: he was practically banging one out with barely concealed glee.

    This would be the same Tories that announced the scrapping of HMS Endurance in the early 80s, giving the Argentinians the nod about our lack of interest in the Falklands. Resulted in about 1000 deaths all in.
    wankerwankerwankerwanker [/rant]