Well it's certainly a novel way to gee up the troops - float the possibility of losing before you begin the battle. And I'm not talking about Winston Churchill before the Battle of Britain. "We'll fight them on the beaches, well, we'll do our best but our army reforms haven't gone quite far enough yet." I've always rather liked Francis Maude. He often has the guts to say things that need to be said. Every Conservative I have met this morning has been quite explicit in saying that this wasn't one of them.