Thursday, October 29, 2009

Gods Battle Successfully Against Stupidity

I've wondered oft time before whether HMG know what they're doing. When they announced the cessation of all Territorial Army training for six months I was convinced they'd taken leave of their senses.

OK, the recession Labour produced has led to a recent rise in Army recruitment - presumably on the basis that you can learn a trade, and that while you may get shot or blown up at least you'll get paid in the interim. But the military compact is a long-term one - and to kick the volunteers, of all people, in the teeth seemed insane from both a short and a long-term perspective.

Short term - at any one time there are 500-odd TA personnel - part-time volunteers - in Iraq or Afghanistan. We need these people and we need them with decent morale. It's a blunder.

Long term - I keep hearing that we'll be expected to be in Afghanistan for decades, in the mighty struggle to get little Nooria to school and make Afghan democracy like the UKs, but with more all-women shortlists. IMHO it would be cheaper to wait a few years until UK democracy is more like Afghanistan's, but that's by the by. We should value highly those men and women who willingly give their own free time (and sometimes much more) to defend our country. In many families and many parts of the country there's a tradition of service. A tradition is much easier to break than to recreate.

I was pleased to see a few Labour MPs like Lindsay Hoyle put their heads above the parapet - and I'm pleased that the whole thing's now been reversed, and no cuts are to be made, although this episode will not be forgotten by TA members or families. But I still wonder what kind of system - and more, what kind of person - could have produced that idiotic decision in the beginning ?


Anonymous said...

Apparently the idea to cut TA training came from the Army knowing that our beloved government's military ignorance would make them look at the financial saving and accept the proposal. It was a tactic copied from "Yes, Minister" to show that there was no fat on the defence budget. There is - the Armed Forces are top heavy.

dearieme said...

It's been so long since we had a really big war (thank goodness) that the forces are bound to have got top heavy; moreover, many of those at the top are bound to be duds.

Anonymous said...

Yeah it was a trick by the Army, but the government must have been pretty stupid to fall for it.

TDK said...

what kind of person - could have produced that idiotic decision in the beginning ?

Don't be silly Laban.

Like you I inhabited the left in my youth and even then the Territorial Army was regarded as people playing soldiers. Our comrades can see no reason to have an army. So why would anyone want to be in one part time?

That's not to deny the older statist socialist impulse to use an army to impose good. That's surely where Blair got the idea. He comes from the traditional "let's take the three C's to the savages" do gooder school.

Anonymous said...

A few years back our forward looking genius-like strategic experts in government decided they could save a few bob by dispensing with the services of TA helicopter pilots.

Luckily we didnt then embark on a war in a mountainous, land locked country like, oh I dont know Afghanistan for example, where helicopters and their crews would be vital. Otherwise we might have ended up in the farcical situation of the MoD mooting the recruitment of civil pilots to fly helicopters.

However, we live in the real world where such nonsense doesnt occur...

Anonymous said...

More nonsense...

The British military have for many years used the M2 0.5in caliber machine gun. Its a well proven weapon, no question about that.

And why do we use it, well one reason, of course, is that its a NATO standard. We can share guns, spares and ammunition with NATO allies.

However in Afghanistan our Nulab pals decided they could save a few more bob by buying cheaper ammo for our M2s. The Soviet 12.7mm to be precise, obtained more cheaply from Eastern Eurpe than the pricer M2 ammo.

As Wiki says "It is the approximate Russian equivalent of the NATO .50 "

Approximate being the problem.

Its cheaper than the NATO ammo but it doesnt quite fit and makes the M2 jam. If they really wanted to save money, a more viable alternative would have been to bite the bullet (uninentional pun) and buy Soviet style 12.7 machine guns to match the ammo.

But of course we cant do that, we would be defecting from a NATO standard!

I believe we have gone back to buying the proper ammo now.