Saturday, July 18, 2009

Ainsworth Must Name the Minister Badmouthing Defence Chiefs

It really does come to something when a Defence Secretary has to write to his five junior ministers ordering them not to badmouth the Chief of the General Staff. But that is exactly what Bob Ainsworth did yesterday. It also demonstrates the weakness of his own position. Ordinarily, a strong Secretary of State would haul the culprit in and give him a good dressing down.

One can safely rule out Bill Rammell, who has only just arrived at Defence from the FCO. Quentin Davies has made a career out of sucking up to the military establishment, while Lord Drayson isn't stupid enough to do something so crass. So the spotlight, according to MoD sources, is falling on Kevan Jones, a Brown loyalist and close friend of chief whip Nick Brown.

Jones was sent to the MoD at the reshuffle before last to "mind" John Hutton and report back on his activities. He had got "history" with the MoD, having fiercely criticised them as a backbencher for extravagence and being a department full of upper class twits. Indeed, many thought it was a bit of a cruel joke on Brown's part to appoint one of the MoD's fiercest critics to the post where he would have to defend it.

If Bob Ainsworth believes Kevan Jones is guilty of badmouthing Sir Richard Dannatt he should sack him. Pure and simple. But to implicate all his ministers is a sign of a Secretary of State who hasn't got a grip on his department.

34 comments:

Brian E. said...

Surely Ainsworth can't sack anyone. Brown would more likely sack Ainsworth.

Colin said...

"If Bob Ainsworth believes Kevan Jones is guilty of badmouthing Sir Richard Dannatt he should sack him. Pure and simple. But to implicate all his ministers is a sign of a Secretary of State who hasn't got a grip on his department."

He should sack them all...

The troop funding issue has got the regime on the back foot. The pressure has to be maintained.

Jonathan Cook said...

Iain,

You may have hit the nail on the head. Year on year, why does Brown seem to hate the armed forces and undermine them?

The answer - it seems - is the usual. "Class War".


Government-by-chip-on-the-shoulder.

Rush-is-Right said...

In every instance of badmouthing, there is a badmouther, i.e. the person doing the badmouthing, and there is a badmouthee, i.e. the person listening to the badmouther.

It follows that the badmouthees (journalists) know exactly who the badmouthers are. It's up to them to list the names.

Cjamesk said...

David Crausby
crausbyd@parliament.uk

I believe as stated on another Blog that this is one of many "Honourable" cretins that has being trying to stain the reputation of General Dannatt.

This cowardly Government really does turn my stomach and this has not gone unnoticed either in the Armed Forces.

Lee H said...

Cowards!!

Never before has the saying - "Lions led by Donkey's" been so apt.

If it is Kevan Jones or anyone else for that matter and Dannatt will probably know then we only have to wait until the 28th of August and wait and see. That is when Dannatt finishes in office. Hopefully he will say his last couple of weeks have been difficult not because of the situation in Afghanistan but the sniping from the Under secretary of state for veteran affairs and his lack of back bone.

Anonymous said...

Ainsworth's letter is a smokescreen. As soon as Dannett retires, the Labour dogs of smear will be released on him. Ainsworth has only written now, and leaked the information, so that Labour can deny the smears when they start.

Lord Putrid knows that if it comes to a PR fight in the Court of Public Opinion between Labour and the General, the Government is going to lose, so he will have instructed Ainsworth to take precautionary action.

Windsor Tripehound said...

"Hasn't got a grip of his department"?

He hasn't even got a grip of the English language!

Anonymous said...

The great thing about blogs is we don't have to worry about things like facts and evidence before some poor saps name is put in the frame for badmouthing and gossip - we can just dish the dirt on them anyway, just like in real life !!!!

wordver = deduct...

what does it all mean ?

subrosa said...

Well said Iain. Ainsworth is completely unsuitable for the position he holds and has been promoted well above his abilities.

trevorsden said...

I would say the person doing the badmouthing is a Badmouthist and the person being badmouthed is the Badmouthim and the person reporting the badmouthing is, err ... the Badmouthaur.

The person defining and analysing the badmouthing is the Badmouthary.

Looking at Jones' CV ... letter writing call for Blairs resignation ... he looks favourite. But Davis must be pretty desperate by now and Rammell has been getting the 3rd degree on TV.

Oh ... the person allegedly benefiting from the badmouthing is, through historical precedent, known as the "bastardbrown"

Timothy Wallace said...

When was the last time a Labour smear didn't backfire?

trevorsden said...

For those interested - I am currently watching Tony Robison (Labour luvvie gawd bless him) on Time team. they are on a marsh in Lancashire and being driven around in ... A Viking, the tinny tractor that has killed a number of our soldiers.

It's hopeless equipment like this - suitable for transporting archaeologists and not much else - which lies at the heart of the dispute and controversy.

VotR said...

Smearing, it's all Labour know. What goes around... if Labour get smeared in return, it is well and truly deserved. Even if smeared by their own.

Anybot said...

There are very few politicians on the Government benches that are fit to even lick the boots of Sir Richard Dannatt and it's obvious that Labour have badly misread the "public mood" regarding the General. However it appears that the "penny has finally dropped" as evidenced by the instructions from Ainsworth and the strenuous "rowing back" from the original statements of the earlier part of last week accusing Sir Richard of political bias and a "closet Tory"

The truth is that this Labour Goovernment has committed our forces to a difficult and probably unwinnable war on "the cheap" and for which our forces are paying for with their blood. I totally discount Browns obfustications and his continual mantra of an increase of 60% in our helicopters and an increas of 84% in flying time - IT'S TOTAL MEANINGLESS BABBLE - the ultimate blame lies with him for paring down the helicopter budget when he was Chancellor.But no one should accept contrition - Brown nevr says sorry or admits blame for anything

Sir Lancelot de Boyle said...

There is no limit to the depth of contempt for the loathsome individuals who currently 'run' this country. To send troops to war with inadequate manpower and resources is treasonable. As Gen Sir Michael Rose commented on radio 4, whilst Bush was dramatically increasing the US defence budget, in response to the War on Terror, Blair and his Stalineque chancellor were cutting ours from 2.8% to 2.2%.

I am sure that Gen Dannatt has infinitely more credibility than the politicians as he, unlike them, is a man of distinct moral rectitude and courage. Soldiers, however, do not like to see their general slagged off. It is very damaging to morale and they deserve better. Moreover the inadequate ministers who have been assigned to the MOD are a disgrace as is the man who appointed them.

Attacking the individual, rather than engaging in rational argument, whenever anyone dares to differ from the spun party line has been a hallmark of this disreputable administration from day one. There is nothing left in our once upon a time Great Britain that New Labour hasn't destroyed.

Rogue Gunner said...

Iain we all know the whole of the Labour party despise our defence chiefs and look at them as Tories, because they went to Sandhurst and their families usually have more money than the Socialists.

Anonymous said...

Why do you rule out Rammell? He is utterly detested within the MOD, having come with a bad attitude and a complete ignorance of all things Defence. Given that the MOD/DfID v FCO spat has been one of the main contributing factors to the current problems in Afghanistan (as in Iraq) then he should be the No1 suspect. The other Mins are relatively decent - especailly compared to him. Even Mr A isn't really disliked - he's doing the best he can, and frankly he's not got an enviable task.

Oh, and for Rammell I do mean really despised already. He's Min(AF), responsible for Personnel, Military and Civilian. His lack of knowledge and - most of all - his downright rudeness have got him into a position within weeks that normally takes Ministers years to achieve!

James Higham said...

Ordinarily, a strong Secretary of State would haul the culprit in and give him a good dressing down.

Therein lies the problem.

bewick said...

Kevan Jones and Nick Brown were both Councillors at Newcastle upon Tyne City Council. The very place where, as a senior officer, I first noticed the bullying of public servants by politicians - a technique now fully honed in Government.
Not that either of these two actually bullied me, they weren't actually very senior politicians when I knew them, but they were part of the clique who tried - and failed. So no surprises then.

Chris Paul said...

What twaddle. Dannatt is playing silly buggers. Is clear. Demob happy. Pre-roll for his memoirs. A man prepared to make military issues into a political football. Ainsworth needs to pre-empt any and all name calling from all his team for this traitorous and despicable chancer.

But he can't stop me. LOL.

Dannatt and/or his pals stymied a GB visit this week but has been gaming the media in a premeditated and destructive way. His sodding shopping list doesn't even include troop moving helicopters.

Spy drones he wants.

It's enough to drive a man completely bananas. But this one is already there.

PS: Are you not libeling Kevan Jones here? Dangerous stuff.

Anonymous said...

OT but this is on PH and BBC:-

The Ministry of Defence has defended the practice of effectively spying on servicemen suspected of lodging false claims for damages for injuries.

Since 2000, 284 claims have been secretly tracked and monitored, less than 1% of all claims, the MoD says.


284 = less than 1% so the number of soldiers injured badly enough to need compensation is over 28,400.

How do the public feel about that?

Cleethorpes Rock said...

The Army Rumour Service website is apopletic at the treatment of "Rev" Dannatt, a much liked soldier and leader.

We need to "out" Kevan Jones as the guilty party and keep up the pressure for his removal.

Flemingcrag said...

If Bob Aintworthit really wants to get rid of the person who has been responsible for the cowardly attacks on Sir Richard Dannatt, the remedy is simple; resign.

Sean Haffey said...

I expect whoever is anonymously briefing against the armed forces would wet himself in a combat situation.

Jess The Dog said...

"What twaddle. Dannatt is playing silly buggers. Is clear. Demob happy. Pre-roll for his memoirs. A man prepared to make military issues into a political football. Ainsworth needs to pre-empt any and all name calling from all his team for this traitorous and despicable chancer.

But he can't stop me. LOL.

Dannatt and/or his pals stymied a GB visit this week but has been gaming the media in a premeditated and destructive way. His sodding shopping list doesn't even include troop moving helicopters.

Spy drones he wants.

It's enough to drive a man completely bananas. But this one is already there.

PS: Are you not libeling Kevan Jones here? Dangerous stuff."

Chris Paul: Your wretched party has sent thousands of soldiers to war with inadequate equipment. I saw first-hand the debacle surronding UORs (urgent operational requirements) and procurment in the prelude to the Iraq War. I also took part in the pre-war planning for Iraq (as well as supporting the early days of Veritas) and I can testify to the fact the Iraq war was a Bush/Blair done deal in 2002.

Your party and your ministers have blood on their hands. Tony Blair promised the UK would pay the "blood price". Geoff Hoon (konwn universally as "That C*nt Hoon or TCH by the military, ask anyone) is directly responsible for procurement delays leading to loss of life, and widespread cutbacks even as the Iraq war was ongoing. Hoon famously fell asleep in Iraq during a briefing on the IED threat - as reported by eye-witnesses. Gordon Brown ignored the needs of the Armed Forces as Chancellor and he is ignoring their need as Prime Minister. Successive Secretaries of State and Ministers of Defence have been Brown puppets, demonstrating Brown's contempt for the military - a part-time Secretary of State role for Des Browne - but the appointment of the useless Ainsworth is scraping the bottom of the barrel.

Back to Afghanistan - General Dannatt has an enormous amount of respect amongst the Army and Armed Forces. The briefing against him - during a time of war - is unprecedented; in fact it is treason. All this has done is mobilise military opinion behind Gen Dannatt and against the governemnt: even Sir Jock Stirrup (not a man to rock the boat) has weighed in against the government.

If Labour continue to smear General Dannatt, now and after he leaves, then there will be enormous uproar amongst those in uniform as well as those of us who have left and can speak out. I would expect some highly damaging resignations to follow - we've seen the junior officers resign, we've seen the commanders resign (Lt Col Tootall of the Parachute Regiment)and when the generals resign the public will really take notice. This government will not survive a senior military resignation over Iraq. Such a resignation could come at any time.

Remember the inquiry into Iraq. The Tories will probably promise an inquiry into Afghanistan. A lot of us know embarrasing secrets from both operations, and the pieced-together picture will do enormous damage to the reputation of this government. This is why Brown did not want the inquiry, because he knows what is coming.

Regarding the briefing ministers (traitors): I reckon Kevan Jones (who laid into the cost of staff residences for senior officers....not so forthcoming about second home allowances perhaps) may be one as he doesn't like the generals, and Tom Watson's name has also been raised, purely as idle speculation, honest....

Tom said...

There's going to be a reckoning one day, when someone comes clean about all the smearing that's gone on at Gordon Brown's behest all this time, and how it contributed to the demise of the Labour party.

Sir Lancelot de Boyle said...

Well stated Jess The Dog you have said it all! Having seen them all, including sleepy Fred Mulley, there are none to beat this lot for utter ineptitude. Politicians just don't grasp the simple equation that commitments must be matched by resources.

Jimmy said...

What has been said about Dannatt that isn't demonstrably true?

Mirtha Tidville said...

Well said indeed Jess the Dog...

I note the apologists for this shower of shit that passes for a Government never ever never discuss the crux of the matter. Its always negative spin. Still should any of us be suprised!!!

As for Bob a Jobsworth..if it wasnt so serious he`d be funny...

Gareth said...

Why does Ainsworth need 5 junior ministers under him? The Departments are meant to be run by the civil service and represented by the Minister in Parliament. He does not need so many hangers-on.

The bloated nature of the Government is just one of the many issues at the heart of how ineffective our departments and Parliament have become.

If MPs are not to have second jobs they shouldn't be in Government either as their presence in Parliament is compromised. An appointed Gov. might be better held to account as fewer in Parliament would be in the pocket of the Government.

There is some merit in criticising Dannatt and his ilk. The MOD budget is getting tighter and tighter but they persist with very, very expensive toys when there are much cheaper alternatives that could be operated in much larger numbers. The RAF in particular is loathe to consider alternatives to it's fast jets, but fast jets cannot provide the best support to our troops in Afghanistan. They can do a good job at dropping bombs and buggering off from one firefight to another and some surveillance work but they cannot be fielded in enough numbers to be in more than a few places at once, and cannot hang about for long. Light aircraft could. Apache helicopters could. Both could and should be used to combat the IED threat and keep tabs on the Taleban far more.

The same is true for the Army - protecting future projects and buying vehicles that are not up to the job (Panther, Jackal, Wimik, Vixen, Vector, Viking - great for hooning across the plains of anywhere but vulnerable to IEDs, so why are the MOD using them for regular patrols on roads that are easily mined?)

The problems begin when the politicians stop exercising their authority over the MOD and just sign the cheques and send troops off to die. The Government wanted our Forces to be interventionalist peacekeepers. It should have had made sure the Forces were better equipped for that.(And note, better doesn't have to equal more costly or more complicated.) As it turns out the Government never bothered to steer the MOD far from their Cold War trajectory and our troops are paying the price.

The troops, pilots and support staff in Afghanistan are doing a bloody hard job and the best they can, but it could be done far smarter as well.

Not a sheep said...

Apart from Peter Mandelson, which Labour cabinet minister has "got a grip on his department"? Not very many I would say.

trevorsden said...

Mr Paul - it was the MoD (they say themselves) which stymied the visit. I think they probably did Brown a service - the notion of a UK helicopter being taken out of service for his propaganda would have been repugnant to the entire nation and diverting resources to protect him at this critical time would be disgraceful.


Good points both Jess and Gareth.

As I say in my blog - there are uncanny parallels with the politics (and other aspects) of WW1 and Afghanistan.

http://trevorsden.wordpress.com/2009/07/18/trench-echoes/

Political briefing against the military is nothing new.

Joe Public said...

Why have we got a Defence Secretary, and not a War Secretary?