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MoD spending £2.5m on new flags

#1
See below. I reckon they will look like:

this



or this



http://scotlandonsunday.scotsman.com/britisharmedforces/Anger-at-MoD-plan-to.4233961.jp

Anger at MoD plan to unfurl £2.5m of new flags

by Murdo MacLeod
DEFENCE chiefs are spending £2.5m replacing every flag in the British military in a move which has angered troops still fighting for their lives in warzones with outdated and inadequate equipment.

The Ministry of Defence has embarked on the unprecedented, four-year programme, saying tatty flags are bad for morale.

An English firm has been awarded a contract to supply as many as 50,000 replacement flags for the Army, Navy, RAF and Royal Marines.

But senior soldiers, families of serving troops, and opposition politicians last night condemned the MoD's priorities, saying servicemen and women were dying as a direct result of poor equipment.

Earlier this month, four troops were killed in action in Afghanistan, including the Army's first female fatality in the campaign, while riding in a Snatch Land Rover, a type of vehicle which has been harshly criticised for its lack of protection against bombs and mines.

The contract, which has been awarded to Zephyr Racing Pennants of Kettering, Northants,

includes new Union Flags, the Navy's Red Ensign and the Army and RAF flags.

In addition, the deal will also cover signal flags and unit pennants flown from vehicles as well as flags for individual bases.

All service bases and headquarters are required by the Queen's Regulations to fly the Union Flag daily, and they normally also display unit and station banners.

According to the company which will manufacture the flags, a typical Union Flag for use by the military, which measures 90cm by 180cm, will cost about £34.95.

Justifying the spending, an MoD insider said: "There's more to the military than bullets and bombs, you know. If you took the attitude of nothing but the essentials, then where would the parades and the nice posh uniforms be? You need these things too."

But the move has led to outrage. Rose Gentle, whose son Gordon Gentle, was killed at the age of 19 in Iraq in 2004 after his Land Rover was destroyed by a bomb, said: "This money would be far better spent on protecting the troops from harm and not leaving them in lightly armoured Land Rovers."

Former tank commander Colonel Stuart Crawford said: "I could think of a lot of better ways to use this money. I know that it won't buy very many Eurofighters or even bits of Eurofighters. But all the spending money on things like this all adds up and the Ministry of Defence is notoriously profligate when it comes to taxpayers' money.

"Is £2.5m spent on flags really appropriate when we have our armed forces fighting two wars?"

SNP defence spokesman Angus Robertson said: "While it is indisputable that flags are maintained at an appropriate standard, it does occur that so many other areas of military spending are not receiving the funding they need. Many people will be asking themselves whether the Ministry of Defence have the right sense of priorities."

Tory MP and former infantry officer Patrick Mercer said: "If you are going to have a flag flying then you want it to be clean. The whole point of having a flag is for it to be a symbol to everyone and if it's scruffy or absent then it's not good. But it seems an awful lot of money for what is after all something at the luxury end of military spending."

And Ben Wallace, who served with the Scots Guards before becoming a Tory MSP and then MP, said: "Flags do actually matter a lot to soldiers. They are a part of belonging and they are important. But that's a very considerable amount of money to spend on this."

Explaining the contract, an MoD spokeswoman said: "This contract is for the replacement of flags in all the armed forces at all bases, including on ships, over the next four years. They do get worn out over time and they do need replacement. We do have an awful lot of flags and you don't want them to look tatty. It's bad for morale."

Tragic losses blamed on equipment shortages include the death in Basra in 2003 of tank commander Sergeant Steven Roberts, who handed over his body armour to a colleague shortly before he was shot.

In 2006, the death in Afghanistan of paratrooper Captain James Philippson was partially blamed on shortages of night-vision equipment and machine-guns.

In 2004, a group of Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders ambushed in Iraq were forced to attack the enemy in a bayonet charge after running out of ammunition. And in 2006 it emerged that British troops serving in Iraq had suffered more than 2,500 failures of weapons and vehicles during the first two years of operations in Iraq. Equipment which failed included the army's main battle tank, the Challenger 2, Land Rovers, rifles and machine-guns.

Meanwhile, relatives of some of the 14 servicemen killed when their RAF Nimrod plane exploded in Afghanistan in 2006 are planning to take legal action against the Ministry of Defence.

The families are in talks with lawyers in London about taking a case to the courts.

Earlier this year, a coroner ruled that the entire RAF fleet of Nimrod aircraft had never been airworthy and should be grounded.

Graham and Trish Knight, whose son Ben, 25, died in the crash are among the families who plan to lodge an action.

Knight said: "We have been in touch with solicitors in London with regards to taking legal action against the MoD for my son's death. The talks are at a preliminary stage.

"Had this been a bus company and the vehicle had been unworthy then legal action would have been taken, if not by the families, then by the Crown Prosecution Service.

"There have been no charges and nobody has been brought to blame for it. I feel that the Ministry of Defence is not beyond the law."
 
#2
...the Navy's Red Ensign...

Quality journalism.
 
#3
Yokel said:
...the Navy's Red Ensign...

Quality journalism.
Surely an oxymoron, especially when discussing the Scottish press?

And as for this

Justifying the spending, an MoD insider said: "There's more to the military than bullets and bombs, you know. If you took the attitude of nothing but the essentials, then where would the parades and the nice posh uniforms be? You need these things too."


- why do I suspect the 'MoD insider' is actually Wee Shug McGlumpher, former caretaker of the local TAC?

IS
 
#4
Oh god, this thing has reared its head again - clearly ARRSE and the wider media haven't had a "lets bash the MOD for no good reason" session for at least 24hours.

We use flags - in fact we use lots of flags for lots of reasons. They tend to get worn out quite quickly and look really shite when they do. We (MOD) have two options when this happens:

1. Do nothing and don't replace flags, leading to lots of angry media articles about how us MOD CS scum hate Britain and the armed forces and have no pride because we don't want to spend a tiny amount of money (2.5m) on new flags. Naturally its all part of a plot, usually linked to the EU. Cue MOD "insider" claiming that its the latests example of "PC gone mad". Link to other spurious articles about the MOD.

2. Buy some flags to ensure that we look smart and not like a bag of shite. Cue lots of angry media articles about how the MOD has far too much money and is wasting lots of it (£2.5m) on flags and that us MOD CS scum are clearly a bunch of jingoistic f*ckwits for daring to spend money on a flag while Sapper Blogs is dying in Helmand. Cue MOD Insider claiming that all CS know feck all about the armed forces, despite the money for operational procurement being in a very different budget to flag procurement - and even if £2.5m is roughly 1/12800th of the MOD annual budget!
 
#5
At £35 a flag and say on average 3-6 flags per unit, can't they just take the cash out of Regimental funds?

£200 quid from the regimental coffers isn't going to bust any units Regimental subs now is it? Christ, the CO probably spends more on complimentary drinks for guests in a year!
 
#6
it's only taken since June for this to appear, non story really.
 
#7
devilish said:
At £35 a flag and say on average 3-6 flags per unit, can't they just take the cash out of Regimental funds?
Because we don't pay subs for kit thats supposed to be issued.

Did the qoutrage bus do a tour 4 months ago when the story was first published?
 
#8
Yawn. Is this what we call journalistic probing fire?

I feel deep sympathy for Mrs Gentle, but I wish people wouldn't stick a microphone under her nose whenever something like this rears its head.
 
#9
the_guru said:
Yawn. Is this what we call journalistic probing fire?

I feel deep sympathy for Mrs Gentle, but I wish people wouldn't stick a microphone under her nose whenever something like this rears its head.
Agreed, I've every sympathy for the woman but it really grips my sh!t when, at every turn, her supporters roll her out to quote on anything the MoD say or do.

I firmly believe it is those around her who feed her grief. Let the woman move on FFS and go and look elsewhere for a band wagon to ride on.

And as for reg subs being used to pay for kit you should be issued, £200 is hardly going to break the bank is it? It wouldn't even get the reg footie/rugby team a strip.
 
#10
devilish said:
At £35 a flag and say on average 3-6 flags per unit, can't they just take the cash out of Regimental funds?

£200 quid from the regimental coffers isn't going to bust any units Regimental subs now is it? Christ, the CO probably spends more on complimentary drinks for guests in a year!

Because to get half a dozen flags made would cost more than £35 each, especially unit/regiment/service specific flags that would need to be done as one offs. This way a company gets a big order, agrees to make all the usual flags and the smaller quantity specialist ones for a set fee.

If every unit had to go out and buy their own it would end up at double the price.

Anyway it's a non story as stated above, they're picking at everything just now to try and slate the MoD, there's a lot of money being spent on vehicles, weapons, etc and you really have to laugh when papers like the NOTW have a glowing story about the MoD buying £1 billion worth of Mastiff/Ridgback/Jackal/etc and then slagging off the MoD two pages further on because of something like this.
 
#12
What a complete an utter non-story. The forces use flags and they need replacing after time. The amount they are quoting works out at £50 per flag which I would suggest is not a bad deal when you consider the different types, sizes and patterns that the company will have to produce; many of which will be a single item rather than a batch.

The MoD insider quoted must have been the resident skip licker rather than someone who actually knows what they are on about.

I agree with the sentiment of most of those above and despise the fact that Mrs Gentle gets wheeled out to quote on things that she really doesn't have any factual knowledge about but still has an emotional tie to!
 

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