Thursday, September 03, 2009

Labour Defence PPS Quits

Guido broke the story, which has now been confirmed. The PPS to the Secretary of State for Defence, Eric Joyce, has resigned his post. Channel 4 News have just sent a press release out, giving the following details...
In a letter to the Prime Minister - and seen exclusively by Channel 4 News – Eric Joyce lays out his reasons for standing down concentrating on Afghanistan and the need for “greater geopolitical return from the United States for our efforts.”

In a long letter to Mr Brown, Mr Joyce refers to a “critical time for Labour and Defence” and cites “problems which need fixing with the greatest urgency”, adding “we cannot win (the next election) unless we grip defence.”

Mr Joyce warns Mr Brown that the Conservatives “think they can convince the public that we have lost our empathy with the Defence community. We must not allow this to happen.”

Relating to recent responses concerning the lobbying of government by defence chiefs he adds that “Behind the hand attacks by any Labour figure on senior service personnel are now, to the public, indistinguishable from attacks on the services themselves.”

Then going on to say “above all, Labour must remember that service folk and their families are our people .. and we must at literally all costs continue to show by our actions that we mean it.”

In relation to Afghanistan, Mr Joyce writes: “We also need to make it clear that our commitment in Afghanistan is high but time limited. It should be possible now to say that we will move off our present war-footing and reduce our forces there substantially during our next term in government.”

He also cautions Mr Brown that “I do not think the public will accept for much longer that our losses can be justified by simply referring to the risk of greater terrorism on our streets.”

Adding: “Nor do I think we can continue with the present level of uncertainty about the future of our deployment in Afghanistan.”

He also calls for a second round in the Afghan elections saying “I do not think the British people will support the physical risk to our servicemen and women unless they can be given confidence that Afghanistan’s government has been properly elected.”

Saying that the British people “would appreciate a more direct approach by politicians” he tells Mr Brown that “we must be much more direct about the reality that we do punch a long way above our weight, that many of our allies do far too little, and that leaving the field to the United States would mean the end of NATO as a meaningful proposition.”

He then calls for greater “geopolitical return from the United States for our efforts” adding “for many, Britain fights; Germany pays, France calculates; Italy avoids.”

“Most important of all” Mr Joyce writes “we must make it clear to every serviceman and woman, their families and the British public, that we give their well-being the highest political priority.”


It will be interested to see the level of panic this causes in Number Ten. It is difficult for them to brush it off, as Joyce is one of the few Labour politicians with a military background. According to Wikipedia...
He joined the army in 1978. Initially a private in the Black Watch, he went on to attend the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst and was commissioned into the Royal Army Educational Corps (later Adjutant General's Corps) as a Captain in 1987.

Is this the start of a rather traumatic September for Mr Brown? One can but hope.

40 comments:

Houdini said...

Sad case of a man trying to ingratiate himself with the electorate after an appalling time with the expenses row. Where has he been for the past eight years before the furore over equipment? Where was he as a former member of the Black Watch when bodies were being buried from that Regiment?

He's not the first and probably won't be the last.

Anonymous said...

There goes Labour's Defence credibility and the media will lap this up gives them something to write about during this silly season

Thomas Rossetti said...

Spelling: "interested" needs changing to "interesting". Strangely enough, I have the opposite problem, and write the latter when I mean the former.

(Only trying to help!)

million pound man said...

Eric Joyce was an education clerk in the Black Watch. He was asked to resign his commission under murky circumstances.
He didn't manage to stop Labour from scrapping the Black Watch and having it amalgamated into The Royal Regiment of Scotland.
He became the first "million pound " expenses MP and is a figure of fun in Scotland for his unconventional interviews on Newsnight.
He was a prominent trougher in the two homes scandal and will lose his seat in the election.

Bath plugs for the many, not the few said...

'...Joyce is one of the few Labour politicians with a military background.'

Not only so, he must be one of a very few who have any real life experience in a proper job.

Mr Eugenides said...

Much as I wish boundless ill on Brown, any dispute in which "Major" Eric Joyce is involved leaves me itching to back the opposing side. If it weren't for the fact that his seat is rock-solid, even in Brown's Britain, I'd think this was opportunism.

Alan Wallace Jury Team said...

Houdini's got it about right. The depth of Joyce's unpopularity here in Falkirk is astonishing. He really is despised. Looks like he's going for an anti-war ticket as this area has a lot of young men & women in the forces. Like everything else Joyce does, this is cynically calculated to the nth degree.

Anonymous said...

Is this the chap who claimed so much in expenses.? Not a very well written letter-probably his only hope of keeping his own seat. Brown must be furious and worried-defence as election issue will play into tory hands.

NickofTime said...

Good job this fellow quit, for his own sake, I mean. The fact that this man actually seems to care what the British Public think surely disqualifies him from the labour party. Broon will ignore these comments like he ignores everyone and everything else who care or say they care about the people they represent.

The Purpleline said...

He should have raised these points long ago and should have done so in parliament. A typical spineless labour politician hypocritical rat leaving Browns sinking ship.

I have it from a good source the second attack on Brown is beginning, it started yesterday with the big bird ex Home Secretary comments to undermine Brown, today we have Joyce and tomorrow we will have another event.

If you are, betting men and women take a bet out on Brown being history in October.
Mandy is about to pull the plug.

P.S. If the Germans, French and Italians are not taking their share then we should cut our contribution to the EU to pay for our military. They are fighting there to save the capital cities if those countries as well as England.

5 Blair glory wars and many lives lost, yes Labour are the party of the armed services. NOT!

trevorsden said...

He does not know what "geopolitics" really means which strictly is 'the impact of geography on politics'.

Not sure what Joyce is really after - seems just a crude quid pro quo.

Arguably what we really need is greater geopolitical return from Afghanistan Pakistan and the EU for our efforts. Can he tell us what "geopolitical" return Canada is getting from the USA?

A telling comment is "Labour must remember that service folk and their families are our people"
ie working class (not sure his premise is true) and without doubt surely a wide swath of working class voters with connections to the services will be appalled and by and distanced from Labour over the way it has behaved over Afghanistan.
This is something which will have significant electoral consequences. For Brown and Labour Joyce's comments are far too late.

Could Defence undo Brown? oops, Sorry I am on ID'sD not PB.com

Anonymous said...

One more RAT jump's ship

trevorsden said...

From what others are saying this resignation seems to be a case of 'Survival of the Fritest'

(I hereby give away copyright on that phrase)

canvas said...

I can't see Gordon making it to the General Election. I think he must fall on his sword.

PS> Iain, did you read page 20 & 21 in London Evening Standard? Could you help out this poor woman in some small way? Perhaps out of a sense of loyalty to SW? The government must help her find out the truth of what really happened...

Anonymous said...

Just wait until al-Megrahi pops his clogs on the day before the Labour Party Conference - a racing cert...

Eddie said...

Could this not be the weapon of choice for the opening salvo against Brown in the run up to the Conferences?

He was being referred to as a Blairite this time last year when he put his name to a "Progress" group statement attacking Brown.

Plettan said...

So Major Minor, Lord Hee Haw Ho Hum, bites the dust in a cloud of unknowing whence he has emerged as little known as before he entered politics. A leg end of his time.

Anonymous said...

The same Major Joyce? Surely not?

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/226266.stm

Anonymous said...

I knew Joyce when I had the misfortune to serve in the Army with him. He had a permanent chip on his shoulder and bore out JM Barry's observation that 'it is never difficult to tell the difference between a ray of sunshine and a Scotsman with a grievance'. He had a major chip on his shoulder about having come up from the ranks and about his failure to be selected for promotion to Lieutenant Colonel. That surprised none of us because he was often difficult, aggressive, moody and disrespectful to his colleagues and superiors. He always had time for 'the boys' and sided with them (which I suspect is partly behind his thinking on this resignation), but was disliked and distrusted by most of his fellow officers. Things came to a head when he disobeyed Army regulations and wrote a pamphlet for some left wing pressure group (possibly even the Fabian Society, but I can't remember) in which he slanged off officers and social distinction in the Army. He was then required to resign (i.e. effectively sacked). To everyone's horror he then reappeared as a Labour Party parliamentary candidate and we all assumed that the pamphlet was part of a successful effort to make himself persona grata in those quarters. Frankly I think Gordon Brown is better off without 'friends' like Joyce, but the mere fact he was even employed says much about the PM's judgement. Having said that Joyce does make some reasonable points in his letter - it is just a shame they come from such a discredited source. But as for loyalty to his colleagues- clearly leopards don't change their spots.

David said...

"....while colleagues at Defence sealed it [the deal]". In other words, murdering Serb civilians was fine because they did not kill any Brits, but murdering Afghanis is a problem because they are fighting back. Typical warped, amoral New Labour logic.

Jess The Dog said...

This is a devastating attack. Brown has not even a fig-leaf of defence credibility. This should be a resigning matter for Brown - but it won't be. Might be the beginning of the end though.

Johnny Norfolk said...

Well one things for sure there will nothing said about it on Newsnight.

Newsnight are fully towing the Labour party line and avoiding the difficult questions for Labour.

VotR said...

Explosive stuff Iain. I wonder if Ainsworth will follow? He was moaning enough about his job recently.

Mirtha Tidville said...

Frankly who cares....there appears to be little appetite or discipline left in the ranks..all they ever do is fight and squabble among themselves...best leave them to it....

trevorsden said...

he says ...
"It should be possible now to say that we will move off our present war-footing and reduce our forces there substantially during our next term in government,"

NO - this is far from the truth. Such a policy would be a political fig leaf. If we leave on that pretext then all that we have done to date will be wasted. The Afghan Army are nowhere near ready to stand on their own.

The Tories could get away with it - as they had no part in the original decision. The other problem is that its Obama that's upped the anti and its not going to be easy for Brown to 'dis' him.

Sandy Jamieson said...

Of course in the elections for the Scottish Parliament two years ago, the Falkirk West seat (i.e most of the present Falkirk Westminster seat) went Nationalist. Indeed the previous MSP Denis Canavan defeated official Labour opponents. It should be remembered that in the 1970s the Larbert part of the seat returned a Nationalist MP while Denny had a former Tory MP as Provost for a while before re-organisation and the top of the town around the High Station was Tory.
Now if the Labour votes in Bainsford, Bantaskine and Camelon begin to evaporate and the Tory voters in Top of the Town and also in parts in Larbert and Stenhousemuir tactically vote SNP, then Eric Joyce is in trouble.

Anonymous said...

The twat seems to think that Gordon was Chancellor in John Major's Government when he says that Labour got into power in 1997 'on the back of Brown's achievements' or some such waffle. Read his letter to see this nonsense.

Anonymous said...

If there was any justice in this once great country of ours... every single piece of Socialist Shite would contract cancer and die horribly and painfully.

True Belle said...

He must be off on an autumn cruise! From one cosy zone to another.

IN A BEAUTIFUL PLACE IN THE COUNTRY... said...

More like jumping ship.
I predict something big is on the horizon , someone is going to go public and they will be completely vicious on Labour's recent non-action in Afghanistan.
Right in the middle of Gordon's big conference moment
And he wont have a leg to stand on.

There will no miracle and no
chance for a Brown bounce.

(putting on a Emperor Paplatine voice here)
Afghanistan will be the beginning of the end of the Labour Party.

Elby the Beserk said...

At September 03, 2009 7:52 PM , The Purpleline

If you are, betting men and women take a bet out on Brown being history in October.
Mandy is about to pull the plug.
//

Oh no he is most definitely. Meddlesome will prop Brown up until the Irish Referendum is done. I see the Rothschilds - big mates of Mandy's, natch - have been brought in to make sure it is.

For those who think otherwise, the EU is in effect a mediaeval Guild for Bureaucrats and the rich.

We simply serve to serve them. Our pockets are there for them to loot.

And don't bother calling me anti-semitic, I'm not. I dated a Rothschild once :-)

Elby the Beserk said...

@Anonymous said...

// bore out JM Barry's observation that 'it is never difficult to tell the difference between a ray of sunshine and a Scotsman with a grievance'
//

P.G. Wodehouse in fact; regardless, a very funny statement! When I read it, I think of Sralex Ferguson.

Elby the Beserk said...

One thing he gets right is that we now perceive any attack on military bigwigs as an attack on our servicemen. Which in effect it is.

They have no fucking idea how MUCH WE LOATH THEM.

(Standard disclaimer, voted Labour 32 years, Iraq, wouldn't piss on... etc. etc)

Quietzapple said...

Tom Harris hopes to invite him to write a guest blog.

http://www.tomharris.org.uk/2009/09/03/eric-joyce-resigns/#comments

Perhaps a PPS who looks for a career change is not so big a news item?

Undermining the first elections in Afghanistan for a very long time is at the least badly judged.

Anonymous said...

That would be this Eric Joyce?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fm20dU5O9MU

I think he was refreshed at the time; to see a Labour MP get a hard time like this on BBC Scotland is virtually unheard of.

Forlornehope said...

Who was it who said that the 1945 election was the Army Educational Corp's only battle hounour?

Constantly Furious said...

As I've just said: Joyce doesn't care about our soldiers.

Eric Joyce doesn't give a shit about the Army. He was thrown out of the Army for endlessly criticising its "snobbery". He was described as "unemployable" by the Army, so who better to be a Labour MP? He hates the Army, so who better to work in Defence?

His letter to Brown was all about how to help the Labour Party, not how to help the poor bloody Army.

True Belle said...

Constantly Furious

Calm down , do you think we are all stupid?

We know , you know .

I wonder what his real end game is?

True Belle said...

The name of the end game might be pipeline politics-

http://www.rabble.ca/news/2009/08/pipeline-politics-afghanistan-and-new-great-game

Maria said...

According to Wikipedia the 1960s and the 1980s happened in the 1970s...