Thursday, November 06, 2008

Does Gordon have the courage to Ride in "Snatch" Land Rover.

No, is the simple answer, yet he expects our troops to do it. Despite all his bletherings about how much money he has or will spend, the problem is that at the moment there is no choice. Not enough helicopters and not enough of the new vehicles on the ground.

When Gordon or one of his minions travels to to Iraq or Afghanistan, they seldom travel in anything but planes and helicopters, which are what the soldiers would choose as well if they had enough of them.

I attended a families day recently for the Royal Marines and saw the vehicles they would be using on the ground on their current tour. They still included the "snatch" Land Rovers and Vikings that have caused so many deaths.

According to the Telegraph

The recriminations over the resignation of SAS officer Major Sebastian Morley in protest over the Ministry of Defence's "gross negligence" in forcing his troops into the vulnerable vehicles spilled over into Prime Minster's Questions. Gordon Brown was asked by Gerald Howarth, the shadow defence minister, if he accepted that when Major Morley deployed in Snatch he "had no choice whatsoever contrary to all the assurances given to commanders that they would have whatever equipment they require?"
Mr Brown said the Government had "done our best in recent years to provide the equipment that is necessary" spending £1 billion on 1,200 new armoured vehicles.
Families and opposition MPs rounded on Gordon Brown, criticising his evasive answers in the Commons on the day another British soldier was killed in Afghanistan.
Col Bob Stewart, who used the flimsy Snatch during his time as a commander in Bosnia in the 90s, said the Prime Minister's comments that the Government had "done its best" was not enough to prevent the loss of 34 lives
"The Government certainly has not done it best. If they had done their best they would have found other vehicles that would have saved lives. They might have ordered these better vehicles now but its too late for the 34 people soldiers who have already died in Snatch. This problem has been highlighted for many years now but only now have they came round to the idea of addressing it.

Let us not forget this is not a new problem Have a look at this article from June 2006 nearly 2 1/2 years ago on the exact same problem. The BBC reported then:

Our correspondent says 18 British troops have been killed by
roadside bombs while travelling in Land Rovers. It equates to almost a quarter of British soldiers killed in hostile action, Conservative MP Roger Gale told the Commons. "These vehicles are widely recognised to be inadequately armoured to withstand roadside bombs and in consequence are seen as a soft target for insurgents," he said.

Des Browne the multi-tasking Defence Secretary responded

"This is a serious issue. I've asked for a review into this," he said. "There are medium and long-term plans in relation to vehicles and I will be looking in the short-term at what we can do to respond to the situation."

So 30 months and a further 16 lives later our forces are still being forced to use this vehicle. This is government ineptitude on a gross scale.

As usual this government is doing too little too late. It has done this in almost all its aspects of government be it defence, the economy, foreign policy, policing, environment or the NHS. It is incapable of preventing problems and can only apply a sticking plaster on the gushing wounds it has helped create.

The only good thing is that people are now seeing this and will again give Brown and his minions a bloody nose as they vote in Glenrothes, the constituency next door to his own, and return an SNP MP.

Gordon Brown accused of 'evasive' response over SAS deaths - Telegraph

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

President Obama - Cameron:Important moment for world

Conservative leader David Cameron said Mr Obama was the first of a new generation of world leaders.

"In electing Barack Obama, America has made history and proved to the world that it is a nation eager for change," he said.

"This has been an exciting and inspirational contest with two great candidates.

"In these difficult times people everywhere are crying out for change. Barack Obama is the first of a new generation of leaders who will deliver it - he has my whole-hearted congratulations.

"This is an important moment not just for America but for the world.

"Barack Obama's victory will give people a new opportunity to look at the United States and see her for what I believe she is - a beacon of opportunity, freedom and democracy."

Let us hope this is the first of a number of changes in World Leadership to rid us of stale and discredited leaders.

Ananova - Cameron: Important moment for world

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Sack this Idiot - Quentin Davies

I see Quentin Davies was forced to make an abject apology to the father of one of the soldiers killed in Afghanistan according to the Telegraph:

The defence minister Quentin Davies has been forced to make an "unreserved apology" to the father of the first woman soldier to be killed in Afghanistan following remarks he made about the safety of military vehicles.

Perhaps now he will also apologise to SAS commander Major Sebastian Morley who resigned in disgust at the "gross negligence" of the Government to equip Special Forces troops.

Quentin Davies is not fit to lick the boots of any of our service personnel and should be sacked by his masters.

Tobias Elwood at Conservative Blogs had this to say.

Regimental ties were a plenty at Defence Questions yesterday, with Conservative Members queuing up to demand an apology from the newly appointed Procurement Minster and turncoat Quentin Davies.

The Minister struck a very lonely figure indeed on the Labour Front Bench as no less than six Conservative MPs asked him to apologise to the House of Commons, indeed, to the British Army for suggesting that British military commanders based in Helmand Province were choosing the wrong vehicles to take out on patrol.

As if there was a choice. Dozens of soldiers have been killed or injured using the soft skinned 'snatch landrover', a relic of the Northern Ireland hostilities, so called for its role in plucking undesirables off the streets of Belfast; an asset in Ulster but now a liability in Afghanistan. There have been repeated requests for this vehicle to be replaced and, last year, the Government finally conceded. To avoid a lengthy procurement process the MOD bought the reliable and heavily armoured Mastiff and Jackal vehicles 'off the shelf' and these are now arriving in Helmand.

We waited in vain for a proper apology. When the Minister makes his first trip to Afghanistan he will quickly learn about the limitations commanders have in relation to mobility and protection. Until then the Defence Secretary might want to keep him on a tighter leash...

The cry for a tighter leash would be better said as letting him off the leash to wander aimlessly like the turncoat he is.

Who would want this man on their side in any battle.

Minister forced to apologise for Army family insult - Telegraph

Monday, November 03, 2008

Quentin Davies - An idiot

A request I sent to Malcolm Bruce's office today.

I note that Mr Bruce is down for a Topical Question this afternoon at Defence Questions. As the Next of Kin of a serving Scottish serviceman currently deployed in Afghanistan, can I ask that he might ask a question about the suitability of Quentin Davies for a Ministerial Role at the MOD in the light of his statements this weekend, in particular his statement as follows "Obviously there may be occasions when in retrospect a commander chose the wrong piece of equipment, the wrong vehicle, for the particular threat that the patrol or whatever it was encountered and we had some casualties as a result.", in reference to the use of so-called "Snatch" Land Rovers. The impact this sort of statement has on the morale of those serving at the moment makes this sort of crass idiocy beyond belief.

I realise that Mr Bruce is not my MP but his constituency is the closest to mine and those of many of the service personnel currently serving in Afghanistan who are based at Arbroath.

Yours in hope

Minister accused of 'insulting the memory of soldiers over SAS chief slur' - Telegraph