Friday, September 04, 2009

Brown Fails to Convince on Afghanistan

While listening to Gordon Brown's speech on Afghanistan I have been doing further work on the new Yes Minister Miscellany we are publishing in October. His speech was clearly written by civil servants. I don't believe he wrote a word of it himself.

As ever when the Prime Minister delivers a speech on a subject he has no interest in, the delivery was stacatto, with little change in tone and with little emphasis. There was nothing new in it and as a restatement of government policy it did little to answer the points made by Eric Joyce yesterday. What the country wanted was a clear vision of where the Afghanistan campaign is going and why we are still there. Simply to say we're there to make Britain safer just doesn't cut it. It's perfectly possible to make the argument that it makes our streets more dangerous.

All in all a very disappointing speech delivered in a rat-a-tat-tat manner as if he were speaking like a machine gun.


bobthedog said...

The speech was awful, clearly written by another, and not even looked at or pre read before delivery. Thats as much time as the PM will give to one of the major issues facing the country.

Afghanistan is a disaster for the Labour party, and will be a major issue to the next government too. Not something to be rushed out in one speech. We should have a recall of Parliament to discuss the aims.

Thomas Rossetti said...

The only justification for staying in Afghanistan is if we believe that we can defeat the Taliban, and thus make the country peaceful and prosperous. For those who seriously think this is possible, how long do they think it will take?

At the risk of being labelled a "cheese eating surrender monkey" I suggest that I we should cut our losses and get the f-word out. When you hear that Afghanistan's parliament have approved a law to make it legal for a husband to rape his wife, and when you hear of the widespread fraud of the Karzia government, you have to wonder whether this is a worthwhile campaign. I would humbly suggest that it isn't.

Havocman said...

Brown fails to convince on anything - full stop.

WV - aping.

David Lindsay said...

A tribe which had resolved to vote for Abdullah Abdullah received no ballot boxes, but the ones that they should have had were opened to reveal thirty thousand votes for Hamid Karzai. Which were duly counted. Of course.

When you've lost Eric Joyce, then you really have lost. He had no doubt expected to be a Defence Minister by now. And he has a point. One such Minister was elected to this Parliament as a Tory, and another is Kevan Jones.

Blathering from the Tories about lack of military experience in this Government. But how much have younger Tories? How much has the Shadow Cabinet? Are we to have wars merely so that Ministers will have military experience? That is why they have the military top brass on-hand.

Polly Toynbee's Hairdresser said...

I caught a snippet of McDoom delivering this speech.
This man just looks and sounds like a relic of political history.

He has zero interest in the Afghan war or the British armed forces.
Despite what he claims are noble 'goals and objectives', if the US said it was pulling out next year, we would be legging it too, our noble 'goals' forgotten.

Afghan police are drug addicts and child rapists, Karzai has just pardoned the nephew of his chief election official from an 18 year heroin smuggling sentence, and another hero cowboy american pilot has just slaughtered 90 Afghans who were taking fuel from two tankers liberated by the Taliban.

NATO has no part in central Asia, and Britain under NeoLabour has taken it's role as America's stooge as far as that can go.
Unless all NATO nations contribute to the campaign in Afghanistan, none should.

Do the Tories really intend standing up to our American overlords as they hint?

Notts Al said...

Total disaster. For everyone. For our troops there and their families, the troops and families of the whole coalition, the people of Afghanistan. This is so not a winnable war or campaign. We have a great policy to turn the country into a NuLab. mirror image of Richmond High St; an impossible to achieve strategy, tactics bound by expedient knee-jerk reactions and decisions, an underfunded and under resourced fighting force, but worst, a P.M. incapable of delivering an alternative that will stop the cort├Ęges rolling through Wootten Basset in the near future, in case he loses more votes than he is doing already.
The tough choices are inevitable- Set realistic goals that are achievable in the short term, and then get out, saving lives now and in the longer term. Don't put it off until after the election, by when we may have lost another several hundred men.

Anonymous said...

We can win in Afghanistan we need the right strategy and commitment. Under labour we have never had that from the start.

I think making sure nuclear weapons do not land in the hands of hoodlums via Pakistan is a fair reason to be there.

jon dee said...

All the passion of a speak your weight machine with less useful content.

Lazy rhetoric constructed for a photo-op only and delivered by a tired man.

Eric Joyce sounded on the button compared to this.

Anonymous said...

He should get some better civil servants and speech writers!

Frugal Dougal said...

Perhaps those Allies who have forces in Afghanistan should give a collective statement to their "government" that if things don't start getting better, we're off. As President Reagan said to Neil Kinnock when the latter criticised the American presence in Britain: "if you want us to go, we will go".

Anonymous said...

Come on Ian the PM made it quite clear that we are there to do what has to be done until the Afghans can do it themselves ! Now that clears things up doesnt it...errr

D Hughes said...

McClown did seem to have his mind on other matters, just a bland delivery droning on without a flicker of interest, which is amazing when our troops are dying on a daily basis, what a farce this government has become.

Do we have to endure another 8 months of this?

Man in a Shed said...

Whats all the fuss about ?

I've told you Tractor production is up in Afghanistan and every brave serviceman is being given a copy of the Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath Telephone directory to use as body armour.

Anonymous said...

"Let Down by NATO"- well worth a read!!

Anonymous said...

trevorsden said..

Oh, Trev, I thought we were there to help the education of Afghan women. Well, that's what I was told a couple of months ago.

And before that I think it was all about getting the AQ training camps sorted.

I see now. It's a roving mandate, eh? Our brothers blood is being spilt for whatever the latest politician says it is being spilt for.

Did I get that right?

Uncle Bob said...

That's about 40 minutes of my life I'll never get back. And this was supposed to inspire confidence in the British mission? Any soldiers who saw it can look on the brightside, a change is merely months away.

Paul Halsall said...

Not a good speech, and GB looks like he has given up.

But there are a number of issues with Joyce's speech that should be raised.

The main one is are we "punching above our weight". Assuming the US is "punching at weight" it has a pop of 300 million and has 100,000 plus troops in Afghanistan. We have a population of 60 million and so (on a population basis and assuming this is our fight), we should have 20,000 troops there.

Now it may be (and I would consider this seriously) that we need to disengage from our US alliance and work purely within an EU framework.

But if we are to keep the US relationship, we should stop thinking we are punching above weight (although others might be punching below).

Again, I think it may be time to at least consider ditching effort to ass-lick the US.

But do you, Iain? Because it is only by ditching the US that we can withdraw from Afghanistan.

And more to the point does anyone really believe that Cameron would do anything to ditch the US?

[My nephew, a Royal Marine, now has an assignment to Afghanistan in March. I am just terrified about this, I want the UK out, but I hate Tory posturing when on this issue they will do nothing.]

Anonymous said...

Someone has said on ARRSE, that the t**t sometimes known as the prime minister has met the relatives of the dead and injured, can anyone on here confirm that or is that yet another of his spin untruths, to you and me, LIES!!!

Neil A said...

Our objective in Afghanistan is clear. If we leave and the Taliban reconquer the country, destroying any hope of education for girls, healthcare for women or normal international relations, then we failed. If we leave and the country manages to hobble along, with elections that are dodgy (but less dodgy than half the world), a government that is corrupt (but less corrupt than half of our international "friends") and security forces that are incompetent and brutal (but just about hold the place together and don't engage in regular massacres of innocents) then we have succeeded. Personally I think that if we hold our nerve long enough then we can achieve success on those terms.

The long term test of our success will of course be whether the government we leave behind manages to gradually improve both itself and the country to the point where Afghanistan begins to resemble civilisation. That process needs to be carried out without our (military) help, however.

Flemingcrag said...

Brown could not speak in any language or manner of delivery that could in anyway justify the death of a single British soldier in the support of Karzai's Government. This "coat over my shoulder" clown, runs a Government that is as corrupt as Brown's is incompetent.

That said, anything he might attempt to say to try and explain this unholy mess he and his Government got us into in Afghanistan should be made directly to the British public and not as a rebuttal of anything that lickspittle, previous sycophant Eric Joyce has to say.

This is just another Labour MP with an eye to how he can hold onto his parliamentary seat at the next election. There was no real concern for the suffering of the frontline troops in Afghanistan, this was just another example of a Labour rat divorcing himself from any blame for what his party up until now has done with his full support and thus in his name.

I vouch the people of Falkirk will not be taken in by this weasel, they will will remember his previous claim to fame as the biggest sycophant in Labour ranks even outranking Lord Foulkes for the odious title of biggest crawler on two legs.

The Purpleline said...

I know this has been said many times, but I watched him and I could honestly say with my hand on my heart, that I believe he is cracking up.

He appears to be asking himself, many questions, he comes up with the answers he wants to hear as well, but surely, whoever writes his speech must have seen the irony of the mad as a hatter mentalist causing merriment with his constant reference to talking to himself.

I also note with caution the Blog comments on another site, where they believe the mentalist is taking heavy drugs for depression. I would not be surprised to see him leave office by Ambulance. The man has been promoted above his natural ability and pay grade. It might be the pressure of living a lie, as we all know he is homosexual by instinct, the Brown, Blair and Mandelson love story is a classic awaiting publication.

Anonymous said...

Did I hear right or did our prime mentalist mention someone called Alky Ada?

Unsworth said...

Brown fails to convince, full stop.

Roger Thornhill said...


I must point out an error in your article.

The title reads: "Brown Fails to Convince on Afghanistan" when it should in fact read "Brown Fails to Convince."

Elby the Beserk said...

Mr. Thornhill got there before me. Quite so!

The Guardian is hedging its bets. One line under the headline says it was a "robust" speech, the next that it was "tired".

Make your fucking minds up.

Meanwhile, what to do with The sick man of Europe?

Nigel said...

>>the speech was awful, clearly written by another<<

You got the first bit right, bobthedog, but this sounds like authentic Brown to me:

"...And every time I ask myself these questions, my answer is yes, we are taking the right action..."

Anonymous said...

The sooner England rids itself of this sleazy scotch lunatic, the better!

Spartan said...

Making the UK safer? ... Just when did the Taliban ever attack mainland UK?

l do however remember the IRA campaign and we didn't jump through hoops for them so why should we for this lot?

l'll resort to my tinhat with a windmill on top for protection from terrorism ... it makes damn sight more sense than the cr#p we're fed!

Anonymous said...

May I recommend The Sick Man of Europe
by Anna Raccoon on September 4, 2009


Read more:

Anonybot said...

I regret to say that I have formed the opinion that the country can no longer afford to allow Brown to remain as Prime Minister. I had my doubts when he was allowed without challenge to become leader of the Labour Party and therefore Prime Minister but gave him the benefit of the doubt.It is now, however, clear to everyone that this man is unfit for the office and that not since Neville Chamberlain in 1939 has there been a Prime Minister held so low in both national and international esteem.

The Cabinet must act and act soon. This man is doing untold damage to the UK's reputation abroad

Wasted lives said...

The lamentable quality of senior civil servants - all promoted in the 1980s on new dubious grounds - indeed showed itself in the speech.

"As you sow so you shall reap"

Afghanistan is a re-run of the Vietnam war - Americans trying to prop up a corrupt regime.

Quietzapple said...

Joyce's points were a little contradictory, check Tom Harris and some of the posts there.

Anyone else want a re-run of the Afghan election?