UK Military Avoiding Awkward Questions

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by not_observed, Aug 6, 2017.

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  1. Poor title. No one is avoiding awkward questions.

    It's a journalistic moan because they can't get what they want.

    The Defence Staff et al are there to run the armed forces and provide military strategy, not be at the beck and call of the media.

    There's a nice little hole for this thread.
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  2. I'm actually chuffed to bits the military top brass are not behaving like media luvvies, it's so old hat!

    If a journalist wants to enquire about low morale, low recruitment etc, then you'd think they'd realise the government set the agenda for the Armed Forces not serving officers.
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  3. Don't ask or expect journos to do much intelligent thinking. It's not what they're paid for.
  4. What the MoD could really use is an SME in media, publishing, and military operations.
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  5. ......or we could just go back to telling then to ****-off, as they have 'no right to know'
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  6. Or a L/Cpl with a certificate in I.T. for PowerPoint presentations.
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  7. That's awfully un-fluffy, though.
  8. Sixty

    Sixty LE Moderator Book Reviewer
    1. ARRSE Cyclists and Triathletes

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  9. Give it time. It's halfway there.

    Dingerr sums it up nicely.
  10. Why put yourself under pressure answering questions of substance when you can be an internet hero with 120 characters of "correctness" on Twitter? #pride #diversity #thisisbelonging
  11. Sarastro

    Sarastro LE Reviewer Book Reviewer

    Except none of that is true, I'm afraid @dingerr

    There has been an encroaching and deliberate policy up at the top levels of the MOD, which is what this guy is talking about, to reduce any top level military officer (the Chiefs or thereabouts) from commenting to the media except in the most controlled circumstances. I've been in / following this stuff during much of this period, and the reporter is absolutely correct.

    It has been going on for at least 7 years now, as a deliberate reaction to attempts by David Richards as CDS to do the opposite, and liberalise communication from VSO to the media. Given their constitutional and institutional status as the decision makers and (supposedly) top experts on UK Defence, a more liberal policy is hardly unreasonable. As the reporter notes, the US have a much healthier approach to this.

    Richards' initiative received huge pushback from Philip Hammond as SoS Defence (who apparently came close to removing Richards from post for it), which was carried on by Michael Fallon, unsurprisingly as he's a chronic political omega pack dog, and so relies on hewing absolutely to the party line, barking louder than everyone else, and hoping that nobody notices he hasn't actually got a clue. Houghton was a wet and a weed with a slinky for a backbone, and it seems Stu Peach - who in some previous jobs was mildly outspoken - has been firmly read the riot act too, and generally kept his mouth firmly shut.

    It isn't just the media, either. Given the predominance of social media everywhere, it has also trickled down to appearances at things like the RUSI Land Warfare conference, academic lectures, engagement with allied open forums (NATO, US and so on).

    Whatever you think about the constitutional position of senior military leaders commenting on government policy, directly or otherwise, to have such a blanket muffler applied to the entire senior military profession is hugely detrimental to both good Defence policy and a healthy military. We live in a democracy where politicians are meant to be held accountable for their actions. Within Defence, the politicians are deliberately silencing the professionals, so the politicians can drive through often misguided and misformed policies with the minimum of objection. Moreover, this kind of atmosphere means that the VSO who get selected for top jobs are inevitably the ones who have toed the line, been malleable to political demands, and generally avoided fits of moral courage. The guy at the bottom of my signature would never have even made 3 stars these days. If you think that is good, we severely disagree.

    This isn't about stiff upper lips and being quiet professionals, like many in the military seem to think. It's about an incompetent, unscrupulous political set silencing unwelcome facts, and exploiting the "quiet professionals" ethos of willing idiots like Houghton to achieve it.

    That is bad for the UK, bad for the military, bad for you, and ultimately, bad for all of us.
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  12. Which is often what its little better than and then they get all sad face when they ca't get their message out to the Media.
  13. .....still tell them nothing. During GW2 I was getting the Cencom press releases and realtime int summaries, the two were virtually identical. The press could have just reported what was actually happening......but no, they had to go with their own agenda, mainly inaccuracies, speculation and straight made-up crap. Worthless bastards

    Yes I'm sure there were exceptions