It Should Never Have Come To This, The Times

micksmith

Old-Salt
No huff taken Hackle. You were just making a point which is what both the blog and this forum are about. I was talking generally about a concept, you were talking specifically about something much more tangible. As far as I can see we're in general agreement.
 

Glad_its_all_over

ADC
Book Reviewer
micksmith said:
No huff taken Hackle. You were just making a point which is what both the blog and this forum are about. I was talking generally about a concept, you were talking specifically about something much more tangible. As far as I can see we're in general agreement.

You could do worse than engaging offline with cpunk to get the full griff on the thinking behind BAFF and progress to date.
 
micksmith said:
No huff taken Hackle. You were just making a point which is what both the blog and this forum are about. I was talking generally about a concept, you were talking specifically about something much more tangible. As far as I can see we're in general agreement.

Cheers for that Mick.

We surely owe it to everyone in HM Forces not to spread misinformation on something so important as whether a federation would try to interfere in operational decisions. I have found no evidence that such a concept has ever been seriously advocated in this country, not now, not ever, and definitely not by us.

regards, h
 

Glad_its_all_over

ADC
Book Reviewer
shandyswiller said:
So what is next? We have a ten point summery with more work on the way, but for this to gather pace, where next? what evidence is there to support the need for a federation. Baff cannot just walk up to parliament and hand over some paper and say "we need a federation because the press reports about our armed forces say its bad, deepcut and Majar al-Kabir prove this so it must be true" That would never wash in the house. So how do we get our point across to the people who need too? Im sorry :( but I do not see this taking off other then just talking about it on this forum.

Well, ultimately, in order for a federation to work, people have to join it. There is, whether we like it or not, a commercial imperative, in that the BAFF under discussion has to pay for its operations (as no-one wants an MoD-funded body, to my mind). This implies that, in order to attract people to join, there has to be a clear benefit and I gather that a lot of work is going on to identify the immediate benefits - legal insurance, that kind of thing - which would justify the investment in membership. I'd guess there's also a fair amount of other engagement going on in order to prepare the ground for this. I firmly believe this is an idea whose time has come and that it will happen.

There is a lot of evidence for both the need and the enthusiasm for a federation of this kind, going all the way back to the Bett report and some more recent academic work. There's been resistance to using Arrse as the vehicle for any polling on the grounds that a. that's not what Arrse is for and b. any Arrse poll is necessarily not going to be terribly representative. I imagine that when launch -a few months comes along another vehicle will be found for the Federation discussion, in both Internet and real-life terms in order not to embarrass or compromise the COs Good and Bad (and also to keep people from concatenating some of the good stuff in the NAAFI Bar with the very serious conversations here!).
 
shandyswiller

I gather that you support this initiative, so I can sympathise with a degree of impatience to hear more about it. However, this only started in January; we already have teams working on different aspects; they are all members of this website and have all worn the uniform or are currently serving; there are also a growing number of external expert advisers and other contacts.

Let's credit these people with a bit of commonsense: nobody imagines that the project is going to take off by "just talking about in this forum". You say for example that
Baff cannot just walk up to parliament and hand over some paper and say "we need a federation because the press reports about our armed forces say its bad, deepcut and Majar al-Kabir prove this so it must be true" That would never wash in the house.
No it would not, but you are perhaps forgetting that there has already been parliamentary contact and that the line taken has been slightly more sophisticated than that.

You are absolutely right shandyswiller in thinking that this is a very challenging and serious project. For that reason it is often not possible to discuss every aspect of campaign strategy in open forum. On the other hand, the Federation itself has been frequently discussed from the ten points onwards and that process will continue.

For example, the "ten points" will come back for public discussion in the near future. While the existing draft document has served us remarkably well, there is scope to tighten up a couple of paragraphs and thus clarify a couple of important points about what the future Fed would and would not get involved in.

I hope that makes things clearer. See also G_i_a_o's comments.
 
shandyswiller said:
I understand what you are saying, but you still have to prove the case to a parlimentry body, who will not reconise BAFF as an orginised offical body that represents the good of the Armed Forces unless legislation is passed. If you only have oral evidance being give against a federation by the CDS and others at the DSC,who consider such things, what chance do you have if no oral evidance in an open arena as the DSC, that can be given in oral format to counter the CDS claims? There needs to be some basis of evidance to prove the current system needs such a body in place that will be reconised by parliment and the Chain of Command.

Given that CDS's comments about a Federation were not to the Defence Select Committee and that we have already given written evidence to the particular Committee and have offered oral evidence, as was clearly reported to you in the main Federation thread. I am afraid that this is going round in circles. No disrespect intended, but I am afraid it is fairly pointless to say "you have still to do A, and B, and C" - unless you really imagined that the federation was somehow going to spring into being overnight.
 
Shandyswiller -

I think hackle has already responded to the points you raised. As he says, unless you imagine that a fully-formed Federation is going to spring up overnight, you will have to understand that the work involved is complex and vast. Just because you can't see it doesn't mean it isn't happening!

For my own part, I think you are placing too much weight upon CDS' evidence, some of which may have been incorrect as to fact, and some of which was probably to be expected, especially if he (not unnaturally) took the suggestion that the CoC may not be as perfect as he says as personal criticism, since he heads it. I can't imagine any member of the committee would take the statement that the chain of command would break down if troops had an outside body to refer to as fact, unless CDS provides some concrete proof. Personally I think he will find his position difficult to defend, not least in light of the recommendations of the recent inquiry into Deepcut.
 
shandyswiller said:
This is simply not the case, as has already been pointed out

Where has a serving Soldier from the grass roots been able to give oral evidence in the house of lords? Never and it will never be allowed by the chain of command. Written evidence maybe, but not evidence that be could cross examined by a committee and the CDS at the same time. it would never be allowed, far to embarrassing for the CDS :lol:


You originally asked about the possibility of one of those behind the federation giving evidence, and that has been answered. You have now changed the question, and are not asking whether it would be possible for a serving soldier to give oral evidence (which it is), but asking whether or not it has happened!

Basically, as has already been said, Parliamentary Committees can call whomever they wish to give evidence; the decison is not made by CDS or the chain of command. Indeed, I suspect it would be a foolish officer indeed who tried to prevent a soldier giving evidence. As far as I am aware, witnesses, including CDS, are not able to cross-examine other witnesses.
 
shandyswiller

What is the use of all this? You started off by saying:
So what is next? We have a ten point summery with more work on the way, but for this to gather pace, where next? what evidence is there to support the need for a federation. Baff cannot just walk up to parliament and hand over some paper and say "we need a federation because the press reports about our armed forces say its bad, deepcut and Majar al-Kabir prove this so it must be true" That would never wash in the house. So how do we get our point across to the people who need too? Im sorry but I do not see this taking off other then just talking about it on this forum.

Now you are saying that a serving soldier will not be permitted by the Chain of Command to give evidence.

So what? What useful contribution are you really trying to make to the federation project?

You first argued that the Federation must give oral evidence
- then you said that the evidence has to be from "the serving member ... willing to put their career on the line"
- now you are saying that a serving soldier will not be ALLOWED to give evidence anyway. WTF?

What are you expecting the federation initiative to do about it, apart from putting the best possible case to the best of our ability?

No sarcasm intended. What you have discovered for yourself today is the recognised "chicken-and-egg" problem - basically, the argument that ideally you need a federation in order to give proper expression to the desire within the armed forces for a federation! See what I meant about going round in circles?

The team have a lot to do and with great respect, enough time has now been spent on this philosophical question. Thank you.
 
No one here has said this would be a walk in the park. There will be bridges to cross and the Black knight will try his very best to stop us but these will be crossed in Time. For example, the action against Manning Control and its subsequent collapse after it was first exposed was not just done on assumptions or one piece of evidence. It took Time to establish, points of contact had to be made with both the (right) members of Parliament and the (right) members of the press. Manning Control was a very complicated and emotive subject that could not be figured out over night. It took months of research and persuading. Some of the evidence that was needed before both press and politicians had the backbone to print or speak out had to be obtained through a verity means (no more said on that one, for now) documentation then had to be verified, cross referenced with PQs and presented in a coherent format that could be understood by all, again this took time. Some on the Manning Control group had the same frustrations as some here and the same doubts. As I said to them, keep your powder dry and wait out.

These words are very true

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”

That was sent to a good friend, who was heavily involved in the manning Control episode, It was personal to him. Very true words. The same can be said for this matter, people will get stuck in when the time comes.
 
B

Biscuits_AB

Guest
In response to a few of Shandy's points. I'm now ex serving and I've nothing to fear from standing up and telling anyone what the current redress system involves when a soldier seeks redress. I went through a redress which lasted 3 years. I've still got my copy and it makes for a good read. I experienced and can provide evidence of ranks closing, 'mobbing', threats and lying. I was lucky to have been in an 'investigative body' at the time of my redress. The conduct of Officers from the same unit was shocking. The 'luck' I refer to is the ability to find evidence and to ask the right questions, an ability to understand law, a knowledge of where to find answers to legal questions and to have the ability to take a story apart.

I have extensive experience of cross examination in a variety of courts including Crown and for a variety of offences including murder (not by me of course). I have been through the mill with some pretty good Barristers and I've never wavered.

I'll stand up and speak to CoC. I've nothing to fear and nothing to lose. I'll tell the truth and I'll back it up with documentry evidence in the form of my redress.
If necesssary, I'll meet with anyone who has similar experience or who wants a similar matter investigated in order to put forward more than a single case, in order to provide evidnce that the current redress system can be and is open to abuse and is unfair.
 
Please, don't ever think of a Services' Federation.

It will become the preserve of the politically motivated resulting in members of HM Forces being thoroughly screwed.

One only needs to look back to the 1970s to see the disastrous effects of the Trade Unions and a Federation will undoubtedly become just another Trade Union.

You will lose you ethics, your professionalism, your unity and your comradeship.

One of the reasons that HM Forces is the only institution still respected by the general population is that you get on with the job and you do it bloody well.

That reflects your culture and management.

Every organisation has its faults but don't for one minute believe that by mimicing civilians you will get a better system or that you will get a better quality of management. There is more lousy management in civilian life than you would dare to think of and even the good stuff is very much worse than you have.

You are different from civilians. Be proud of the fact and don't mimic them otherwise you will lose their respect and sooner rather than later you will lose your own self respect.

You are special - well less than 5% of the population has had the spine to do what you do.

Finally two comments: Samuel Johnson said "every man thinks meanly of himself for not having been a soldier or not having been at sea" - include now the RAF which did not exist in 1778 - and Field Marshall Carver said in the '70s that members of the Armed Forces are "twice citizens".
 
B

Biscuits_AB

Guest
ConcernedWarrior said:
Please, don't ever think of a Services' Federation.

It will become the preserve of the politically motivated resulting in members of HM Forces being thoroughly screwed.

One only needs to look back to the 1970s to see the disastrous effects of the Trade Unions and a Federation will undoubtedly become just another Trade Union.

You will lose you ethics, your professionalism, your unity and your comradeship.

One of the reasons that HM Forces is the only institution still respected by the general population is that you get on with the job and you do it bloody well.

That reflects your culture and management.

Every organisation has its faults but don't for one minute believe that by mimicing civilians you will get a better system or that you will get a better quality of management. There is more lousy management in civilian life than you would dare to think of and even the good stuff is very much worse than you have.

You are different from civilians. Be proud of the fact and don't mimic them otherwise you will lose their respect and sooner rather than later you will lose your own self respect.

You are special - well less than 10% of the population has the spine to do what you do.

Finally two comments Samuel Johnson said "every man thinks meanly of himself for not having been a soldier or not having been at sea" - include now the RAF which did not exist in 1778 - and Field Marshall Carver said in the '70s that members of the Armed Forces are "twice citizens".
I can see your concern, but you are limiting your argument by making comparisons between soldiers and those civvies who went on strike in the 70s.

A Federation is not a union and the Forces Federation has stated that it will not become one.

It's a shame that Fd Marshall Carvers statement isn't broadcast today to those people who feel that service personnel are 4th class citizens.

Times have changed since the 70s.

Why should the interests of Service Personnel be ignored just because they have 'put up with it' for decades?
 
Where exactly does it state in QRs or any of the Armed Forces or single Service Acts that a soldier (etc) cannot be compelled to appear before a Parliamentary committee to give evidence without the permission of the CoC? These committees can compel attendance with the threat of criminal charges, as some of the "peerages for cash" donors have found out when trying to dodge the Committee on Standards and Privileges. MPs and Peers are exempt from compulsion (with the exception of the aforementioned Committee with regard to MPs) although ministers will attend and give evidence if requested. I am instinctively doubtful of this but I dimly recall seeing a circular (or something) regarding evidence to Parliamentary committees whilst in uniform.

Even if permission from the CoC was required to permit attendance, it would be an exceptional breach of protocol and precedent if Soldier X was summoned and ordered not to attend by the CoC.

http://www.parliament.uk/commons/selcom/cteesystemmay2003.pdf

Governments have frequently reaffirmed that ministers and civil servants will attend committees when requested

A reading of the evidence of CDS with regard to a Federation indicates clearly that his answers were ill-prepared, almost certainly because the subject may not have been anticipated in the evidence session. The throwaway comments with regard to UN forces "downing arms" indicates this lack of coaching. It also appears that the Armed Forces Bill Committee was less than impressed with his evidence.

In any case, evidence could be submitted in writing or in confidence and the CoC would never know.

Is there actually anything in Service law that prevents the establishment of a Federation? Adam Ingram doesn't appear to think so, when he conceded there were no legal barriers to the establishment of a Federation in an interview with the Herald newspaper earlier this year.
 
ConcernedWarrior said:
a Federation will undoubtedly become just another Trade Union.

Dear CW. Your post is very eloquent, and I for one agree with much of what you say about the distinctive character of HM Forces. But how exactly could a Federation "undoubtedly become just another Trade Union"?

Has that happened to either the Police Federation (founded 1919) or GCG, the representative body for GCHQ staff?

Not that the Forces Federation would be a carbon copy of either organisation - see the 10 points.



PS - regarding the other current topic, it is interesting how the federation project is currently under 'attack' from two opposing directions, leaving its supporters occupying the moderate middle ground.
 
CW - what you say may have been the case when you were serving, but times change, and people and organisations have to change too. Incidentally, did you read the Federation summary and thread before posting?
 

Glad_its_all_over

ADC
Book Reviewer
Just to align myself with Biscuits in response to shandywarrior, I'm ex-Regular and would have no problems whatsoever standing up and doing the business with a Parliamentary committee. I suspect that the initial oomph from all this will have to come from ex-Regular and -Reserve types with nothing to lose until the unpleasantness is all over, for exactly the reasons you give - although, as pointed out, there is absolutely nothing to stop any person, whether military or civilian, from being invited to come and talk to the DSC, That's the key point, you talk to the DSC, it's not a question of our hypothetical Joe Squaddie bandying words with CDS in front of a bunch of politicians - these people matter and have clout.

On the wider point, shandywarrior, I think hackle has been enormously patient. I'm still not clear what your argument is - if you're anti-Federation, good, don't join and when it starts up, try to talk people out of it, with reasoned and logical argument. If you're indifferent, fine, we won't expect to hear from you. If you're pro, but have reservations or ideas, terrific, let's hear them. This can only work if the input from the serving soldier, sailor and airman (all ranks up to 4*) is incorporated. Old farts like me and Biscuits are all very well for doing the easy bit, but the heavy lifting has to come from those whose interests this is all designed to represent. All you're doing at the moment is throwing bottles from the sideline.
 
reading of the evidence of CDS with regard to a Federation indicates clearly that his answers were ill-prepared, almost certainly because the subject may not have been anticipated in the evidence session. The throwaway comments with regard to UN forces "downing arms" indicates this lack of coaching

why ill-prepared? he must have thought that in the first place.

Who will be coaching the serving soldier? How many have had to put up with visits by members of Parliament, You get told what to and what not to say before hand. They turn up and talk to you, behind them is the RSM bearing down on you looking through you, to his left is the CO grinning but doing the very same and you know what those looks mean. I have seen soldiers who have made just one remark out of turn to these people during visits. one was just a joke. Their careers took a downward turn, never to return to what it was. They was destroyed and it was done in such a sly way that they had no grounds for redress and left the army broken people.[/quote]

That last line or two is the worst part of the army, now and in the past . If men who've risen to the respective top of their carrer ladder can't cope with the odd word out of place by troops under their command than may be they should consider counselling? Or maybe the roughy toughty life style of army banter is not for them............

Thro I have noticed some of the brighter political thieving, lying scum avoid TA grunts when they're presing the flesh....."A tendancy to say "Oy, C**t! why can't I get........?" does upset them......
 

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