Who would make a good SoS for Defence?

#1
Ok, so we’re agreed that the current SoS for Defence, Bob Ainsworth is not up to the job.

Nor is the hastily promoted Armed Forces Minister Bill Rammell. Nor are assorted throbbers like David Crausby – the MP for Lettingsoldiersdieandlearninglessonslater.

It must be quite clear in Downing Street that it was a mistake to appoint a bunch of communists, union conveners, British Rail management trainees and groveling ‘yes men’ to such important ministerial positions, especially prior to the start of Operation Panther’s Claw. Well, it must be now, as they read the newspapers and weep.

So who do we pick instead?

Granted, a circus chimp would offer a greater insight into the brief that the current shower and would be a lot cheaper too: expenses would run to a few bananas, a squeaky toy and some J-Cloths.

But let’s try and come up with a sensible candidate for the top job; someone who actually knows something about the military, about helicopters, about the arguments concerning armour and mobility.
Someone who has actually served in the British Army might be a good pick.

I nominate Patrick Mercer, Tory MP for Newark and Retford, currently the Shadow Minister for Homeland Security.

He served in The Sherwood Foresters. He did nine tours in Norn Iron and understands the current arguments regarding helicopters, IEDs and proper armoured vehicles.

He also commanded his battalion in Bosnia and has possibly done some other things (Persec)…..

He would be ideal, imho.

Are there any other candidates out there who actually know what they’re talking about and who might do a better job than Ainsworth / Bubbles the Chimp?

Perhaps we should send a list to Downing St and to The Boy Dave, who is going to inherit all this when Labour are immoliated by an outraged electorate and driven from power.

A competent Secretary of State for Defence is as much a priority as a competent Chancellor.
 
#2
Litotes :)
 
#3
msr said:
The key word, msr was "sensible". Oh ... hang on ....
 
#4
Patrick's the man, but he's too plain speaking for the modern political age. Of course, it doesn't need to be an MP or member of the House of Lords - someone can just be co-opted. In which case I'd go for Tim Collins, or possibly Joanna Lumley?
 
#9
King_of_the_Burpas said:
I nominate Patrick Mercer, Tory MP for Newark and Retford, currently the Shadow Minister for Homeland Security.
Although an obvious choice and would bring an acceptable degree of insight to the role, is he politcally tainted enough to allow common sense and strategic decisions he knows need making to overrule (personal) political ambition and the government line?

I personally don't always agree that old soldiers necessarily make good politicians, even defence/Armed forces ones.
 
#10
Failing any of the above, I'll have a shot at it. I can't do any worse than the present SoS + I have more military experience.
Now where do I claim expenses?
 
#11
Lord Guthrie.
 

Bouillabaisse

LE
Book Reviewer
#12
Boris Johnson

I know, I know ... but he's highly intelligent, speaks his mind and seems prepared to consider alternatives to shooting people
 
#13
Fat_Cav said:
King_of_the_Burpas said:
I nominate Patrick Mercer, Tory MP for Newark and Retford, currently the Shadow Minister for Homeland Security.
Although an obvious choice and would bring an acceptable degree of insight to the role, is he politcally tainted enough to allow common sense and strategic decisions he knows need making to overrule (personal) political ambition and the government line?

I personally don't always agree that old soldiers necessarily make good politicians, even defence/Armed forces ones.
He's never struck me as being overly ambitious politically. Ainsworth, on the other hand ...

One thing's for sure, he'd stand his ground in a tussle with the Chancellor regarding levels of funding and how the dosh should be spent.

There are others - Col Stuart Tootal??

Assuming you could prise him away from Barclays.
 
#14
Might as well get someone who will make a proper job of things



After all, we don't need an independent nuclear deterrent do we. The world is a nice place full of flowers and butterflies, it must be, that nice European parliament says it is. Plus its all TOO much money darling! I mean how would we afford treating illegal immigrants on the NHS? Or sending ASBO kids off to Disneyworld Paris? if we get some new aircraft carriers, or helicopters. I mean what do they need helicopters for?

GET SOMEONE WITH A PAIR!!
 
#16
Lord Walton of Detchant


Yes I know he's an ex-medic but has got serving experience.

Seemed a very switched on bloke when I heard him speak over the weekend.
 
#17
Joanna Lumley - nae worries....
Boris Johnston - a box of frogs, but would smack bottoms
Paddy Ashdown - he's got Ops experience.... a bit wet though
Me - a bit too "Fire for effect and ask questions later"
Spuddy - "Fire for effect... and no questions"

I can't stand Labour, but Jack Straw seems to have his head screwed on... comments please. OR... Crispin Blunt, he may have been a Rupert in the Hussars (Queen Mary's Own), but he's a decent chap and has got the youth and knowledge to understand front-line stuff.

FFS, all we want is decent kit, decent comms and decent transport
 
#19
I often think its a good thing that we have civil control of the military, seeing as most countries that have Generals as Defence Ministers and Heads of State are fecking third world dictatorships, but seeing Ainsworth on the telly the past few days has made me think a serving Defence Minister may not be that bad an idea - at least he would have an understanding of the issues involved, rather than being another minister just shuffled in for a few months, or shuffled in because the previous incumbent quit the Govt as we saw en masse a few weeks ago.

Just how much expertise can a person have if they are bounced from ministry to ministry every reorg every few months, or if they are appointed to fill a gap when the previous postholder fecks off?

What we need is people who are experts running the show. SofS's/Ministers who have worked and studied the field they are responsible for. People who have proven success in that field, academics, people who have spent time overseas observing other systems and cases for example. I'm not saying that they have to be/should be serving military, but they certainly aren't the current crop.

Either the political parties need to develop a cadre of experts in various aspects of Govt, or we need to minimise the importance of the postholders whilst permanent Civil Service seniors and CDS/CGS/1SL, who HAVE spent a career working in the area, take on more and more importance - they have the professionalism, and this goes for a lot more ministries than just Defence. The present incumbent would then be reduced to nothing more than the PMs spokesman on defence, and be very rigidly 'advised' by those who actually have a clue.
 
#20
Negligent-Discharge said:
Joanna Lumley - nae worries....
Boris Johnston - a box of frogs, but would smack bottoms
Paddy Ashdown - he's got Ops experience.... a bit wet though
Me - a bit too "Fire for effect and ask questions later"
Spuddy - "Fire for effect... and no questions"

I can't stand Labour, but Jack Straw seems to have his head screwed on... comments please. OR... Crispin Blunt, he may have been a Rupert in the Hussars (Queen Mary's Own), but he's a decent chap and has got the youth and knowledge to understand front-line stuff.

FFS, all we want is decent kit, decent comms and decent transport
ND - shurely shome mishtake? Mind you, I'd put Blunt into the team somewhere.
 

Top