Members of Parliament and the TA

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by Sangreal, Oct 27, 2009.

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  1. MPs should be allowed to serve in the TA and speak freely in Parliament on TA matters.

    89.0%
  2. MPs should be allowed to serve but, by convention, should not involve themselves in TA matters.

    7.0%
  3. MPs should not be allowed to serve in the TA to prevent a conflict of interest with the chain of com

    4.0%

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  1. For anyone who knows how the Army RP staff work, the decision to make savings of £20m by suspending TA trg would not have been taken easily and would be cognisant of those areas of Army spending that were being safeguarded in order to sp operations in Afghanistan and the Regular Army (the TA may be the reserve of first choice but the Regular Army is still the army of first choice!). Mindful of this, the subject of the TA cutbacks has become emotional to say the least, not only on this splendid website but also on the hallowed grounds of Parliament.

    Clearly there have been certain concessions made to the TA in the past couple of days due to mounting political pressure. I would argue though that this pressure has been brought to the Government’s and media’s ‘in-trays’ by personal, and highly privileged, questions from serving TA officers who are also MPs. Whilst the proposed cuts to the TA are unsavoury, the matter of ‘TA MPs’ raising questions in the House against a chain of command which they can opt to circumvent is, I feel, militarily immoral and not conducive to MPs serving in the TA in any capacity. Either that or they should be barred from raising issues apropos the TA (clearly this option is unthinkable in the Commons).

    I am interested what the thoughts of ARRSE are.
     
  2. OldSnowy

    OldSnowy LE Moderator Book Reviewer

    It's a simple constitutional matter in my eyes - MPs are 'citizens' and as such should be allowed - indeed encouraged - to join, and be in the reserves.

    Put it another way - possible embarrassment to some people in the Army is no reason to disallow them from Service.
     
  3. Perhaps if the current and past CGS's had had more influence, and current and previous PMs / Chancellors SoS for Def spent time on the front line (other than for photo opportunities) this would never have become an issue.

    If UK PLC wants a military then it must fund it.
    If it then wants said military to go to war for the best part of 15 years it must pay for it.

    Anything less is politically immoral.

    Those same "TA" mps also fight hard for the regular army, navy and airforce. We forget that at our peril.
     
  4. Links to Hansard would be helpful.
     
  5. FORMER_FYRDMAN

    FORMER_FYRDMAN LE Book Reviewer

    On that basis, let's ban every profession from the Commons. Anyway, it does senior officers no harm to know they can be circumvented every now and then. Further, the standards of moral courage in any organisation improve when it's harder to cover things up - it would be one effective way to improve performance across the public sector.

    The original TA decision was a bad decision full stop. If someone feels undermined they've only themselves to blame and, if they were relying on controlling all the information channels to protect themselves, then more fool them. Parliament should be about running the country properly, whatever it takes, and having TA soldiers present adds to the reserve of up to date awareness of the military and what it does.
     
  6. So, not matter what their rank, a TA officer/OR (who happens also to be an MP) can publicly and officially disagree with a 4* general without the normal chain of command conventions of that all other servicemen are bound by?
     
  7. At the end of the day they are citizens of this country (as are regular officers) and have that choice. Rather than slating them, I'd be happy that they support the military in those spineless corridors.
     
  8. BuggerAll

    BuggerAll LE Reviewer Book Reviewer

    I have been surprized and annoyed by the way some people on ARRSE have seen this as a Regular v Reserve issue. It is not and should not be seen as such. This is an attack on the Armed Forces by a common enemy.

    There is no proof that anyone in the military CoC has collaborated with Brown and his cronies only Brown's word which is worthless.

    In an ideal world CDS and CGS would have said 'No, sorry but don't you know there is a war on? There are no more cuts to be made, if you insist its a political decision you make it and you take the consequences and I resign...'

    Of course it's not an ideal world and they also have a conflicting duty to stay and make the best of the pooh stick we have been handed - as do we all.

    As for the MP's they are not arguing that the cuts should have fallen elsewhere in the defence budget but that they should not have fallen at all. Don't fall into the ZaNU Labour spin trap of believing that there is no money. Money is tight but there is plenty of money for things which Brown believes will buy him votes.
     
  9. I think those are the rules. Any other bits of our Democracy you wish to abolish ? Parliamentary Privilege is an issue that you meddle with at Peril to us all. Note also that the few TA Offrs in parliament who kicked off on this are significantly outnumbered by other MPs expressing concern - up to and incl a former SoS for Defence.

    The Army in Society eh ?
     
  10. FORMER_FYRDMAN

    FORMER_FYRDMAN LE Book Reviewer

    Yes, because, by dint of standing for election and winning, they put that point to the electorate, whether overtly or not, and the electorate consented. Since the people are essentially sovereign, in theory at least, that carries precedent over military convention.

    Don't worry about this one too much - we owe the existence of the SAS to a junior officer's willingness to tie his chain of command into knots, Orde Wingate was notorious for going straight to Churchill when he didn't get his way and Churchill himself wrote books critical of the high command whilst himself a junior officer.
     
  11. I can assure you that Regular officers do not have the choice of standing for, let alone being elected, as an MP.
     
  12. BuggerAll

    BuggerAll LE Reviewer Book Reviewer

    Do you really believe that that is what he meant? Or are you just a troll?
     
  13. No but they have the choice to contact their MPs (do they not). At the end of the day what is required is sympathetic ear(s) in Parliament, backed by the courage to follow the argument through.

    If some ministers (or the PM) are now licking their wounds, I care not.

    Not so long ago, there would have been a large number of those in the HoP who would have served, and more importantly understood.

    Would you also suggest that Ex TA / Regs should not stand for Parliament?
     
  14. This has nothing to do with Parliamentary Privilege.
     
  15. Assumption is always bad.
    Did they ask these questions becaus it affected them personally, as you intimate,
    Or as members of an elected parliment, representing the voters who elected them on an issue, that obviously ranges across a wide spectrum of the populace,and could have far reaching impact for the Armed Forces as a whole?