Our Armed Forces serve the Queen, not Labour: Telegraph

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by hansvonhealing, Apr 11, 2007.

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  1. Daily Telegraph Opinion
    Our Armed Forces serve the Queen, not Labour

    The fiasco following the release of the service personnel captured by Iran confirms at least one suspicion: that this Government profoundly misunderstands the nature and ethos of the Armed Forces as institutions. While it has been happy, in pursuit of an at times reckless foreign policy since 1997, to send servicemen and women into conflict, it has never properly understood what this means for them, the forces and the country. The present Secretary of State for Defence, Des Browne, seems to have even less of a grasp of these fundamentals than his predecessors. That he could have allowed the 15 captured sailors and Marines to sell their stories to the media caused astonishment when announced a few days ago. On reflection, the decision - taken in full disregard of its consequences, especially for morale - is outrageous and profoundly damaging. By it, Mr Browne has done what no Minister of the Crown has ever managed to do: he has brought our Armed Forces to a point where some right-thinking people might start to hold them in contempt.

    This dereliction by Mr Browne is all the more disgraceful given what was, it seems, the reason for permission being granted in the first place. There were no "exceptional circumstances" to be accounted for, whatever was said at the time: those in the Forces risk their lives for their country day in, day out. There was, though, a desire on the part of the Government to look good in the aftermath of its humiliation following the capture of the 15. The sailors and Marines were therefore enlisted as part of a despicable spin operation. Most of them, fortunately, have had the presence of mind to refuse to play this game. Those who have not should be aware that they have done themselves and the Royal Navy no favours.

    As a result of the policy of the last decade, our Armed Forces are grotesquely overstretched and therefore exceedingly vulnerable. This Government has made ever more exacting demands on the Services while starving them of resources, equipping them inadequately, and presiding over a recruitment and retention crisis. The Prime Minister in particular has revelled vicariously in the heroism, professionalism and sacrifice of our servicemen and women while doing precious little to ensure that their jobs can be carried out more safely and accountably. Parliament is in recess. When it returns next Monday, Mr Browne had better go to the Commons and give a full and honest account of what led him to sanction the selling of the captives' stories to the media. When he next faces the Commons a week today, Mr Blair should be asked what Downing Street knew about this bizarre and unprecedented interpretation of Queen's Regulations, and when. Mr Blair may not much care: he is in his last weeks in his job. Since Mr Browne manifestly understands so little about the ethos of the Services for which he is politically responsible, it might be as well if he were too.


    Reckon this is bloody well said..
  2. Cow

    Cow LE

    Shame that by the time they(Government) all get back off their break this will have died down somewhat. I wonder if HM the Queen will have a chat with Phoney Tony in their weekly meeting?

    Reads ok, are they just writing what public opinion is saying at the moment or will they continue to support this line? Time will tell..
  3. This one is easy to put right. Vote Labour out at the polls next month. Calling all Scots, for the love of the English it is your duty to vote SNP. Come on Scotland you can do it. Finish off, what TCBlair is too afraid to finish.

    Des Browne, just go, you are useless and you have no credibility. Both Sea Lord's go, you have no credibility either and have turned the RN into a laughing stock.

    Blair you are going anyway, but just remember, you are a cnut of the highest order.

    Gordon Brown, you are Scottish, when you lose Scotland next month, you will have no mandate. How does it feel?
  4. With Big Phil (one our last FMs I believe) in for moral support?
  5. Cow

    Cow LE

    If Scotland go then Scotish MPs should no longer hold any power to vote in England so he'd be double shafted.

    Big Phil is a legend... should send him out to the Gulf more often for Moral boosting sessions, he'd say it as it is!
  6. :thumleft: Big up for Phil the Greek, the man who always knows the right thing to say!
  7. Also in the Telegraph-it appears, as some of us suspected all along, the PMs hands are all over this. Maybe the New Labour fawning that goes on with the Top Brass will now stop? Gentlemen you have a duty to look after your men, not your own careers or titles. Have less sympathy for Whitehall and more for your servicemen risking their lives on the front line. General Dannatt excluded.

    Blair drawn into blame game over payments

    By Toby Helm, Chief Political Correspondent
    Last Updated: 2:04am BST 11/04/2007

    Tony Blair was being dragged into the "cash for stories" fiasco last night as former military chiefs and ex-ministers blamed Number 10 for allowing the freed British hostages to strike lucrative deals with the press.

    Downing Street claimed Mr Blair was 'informed but did not give explicit approval'
    As the Government tried to palm off responsibility for the debacle on to the Royal Navy, Downing Street imposed a virtual news blackout on the story, refusing to say anything about the Prime Minister's role.

    Gen Sir Michael Rose, a former Army Adjutant General and director of UK special forces, said that the treatment of the hostages after their return from Iran had clearly been masterminded from Downing Street.

    "In my view the decision to treat the hostages as heroes from the outset can only have come from Downing Street for I cannot believe that any Service chief would have signed up to a policy that is so ultimately damaging to the military ethos," Sir Michael told the London Evening Standard.

    He noted that there had been "clear political advantage" for Mr Blair to have the hostages hailed as returning heroes after he had so obviously mismanaged "the initial diplomatic situation" following their capture.

    Peter Kilfoyle, a former Labour defence minister, said that it was not credible for Des Browne, the Defence Secretary, to deflect blame on to the Navy for a decision that was ultimately the responsibility of government.

    "Not only does it seem unlikely [that the Navy took the final decision], it seems very much like an example of a minister trying to distance himself from a great embarrassment," Mr Kilfoyle said.

    Downing Street, which claimed at the weekend that Mr Blair was "informed but did not give explicit approval" of the sale of stories, backtracked, saying that it would not answer questions about the Prime Minister's role, or lack of one, in the affair.

  8. Not at all like Hos Tonyness to develop sloping shoulders at a time like this! :roll:
  9. Couldn't agree more. To have (Buff)Hoon could have just been bad luck, but to have this complete twat Browne is a clear insult from the top. Completely useless, background as a bean counter, lacks any charisma, understanding or decisiveness. Throughout the aftermath this whole charade he has released one written statement (no doubt written by a POLAD) - a completely ineffective coward. Why doesn't he do everyone a favour, take responsibility, and bugger off as soon as poss?
  10. Des Browne's first instinct was to blame the Navy in an attempt to distance himself and his master from the heat. Well that seems to have backfired this morning. He is in charge, he takes responsibility. His only interest is political survival, I would agree, he appears to be a coward. Maybe the Top Brass are realising that Mr Blair is not as nice as he appears, their careers might have been served best by looking after their men after all.

  11. Please God get rid of this bunch of tw@ts in charge.

    I wouldn't let Phil the Greek anywhere near The Fleet at present; what he would say would probably upset an awful lot of Very Senior Officers and politicos (the small p is deliberate - the only capitalisation they deserve is Capital Punishment).
  12. If Scotland go then Scotish MPs should no longer hold any power to vote in England so he'd be double shafted.

    Anyway in the interests of the environment Scottish MPs should take the train to Westminster and stop flying........that should give them chance to sleep on those nice journeys from Haggisland
  13. Not so very long ago, HMG was venting their anger at the way the Iranians were parading the 15 like circus animals on TV.

    How long had they been back in the UK before they were being 'pushed' in front of the TV cameras here?
  14. The Telegraph has followed up with a piece on Des Browne.
    Here: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/04/11/niran111.xml

    "I think I am taken seriously," he once said, "because there is an enormous amount of respect for our Armed Forces. Defence ministers around the world routinely ask me if their troops can be deployed with ours."

    Now, after his decision to allow Servicemen to sell their stories - later rescinded - Britain is more ridiculed than respected.