Friday, October 09, 2009

Dannatt Explains Why He Said Yes to Cameron

Last night, a friend of mine attended a lecture by Sir Richard Dannatt, and thought you might like to share some of his thoughts...

Fulfilling a long-standing commitment to a leadership charity of which he is a trustee, General Sir Richard Dannatt last night gave the Windsor Leadership Trust Annual Lecture, entitled "Leadership in Turbulent Times". He broke with the tradition that the lecture be given under the Chatham House Rule and spoke and took questions on the record.

Sir Richard first gave his reflections on leadership, referring to the importance of the trio of team, task and the individual. Although inevitably using military language and examples, his clear exposition of the need for clarity of mission and the exercise of moral courage reached out to the diverse audience. He made explicit reference to his own personal faith and asserted that faith in something - although not necessarily a religious belief - is often vital for a leader.

The lecture alone would have more than satisfied under normal circumstances, but everyone wanted more from the man of the moment. Step forward Martyn Lewis (former BBC journalist and now a successful businessman) who proceeded to question Sir Richard and chair a wider discussion.

Lewis's opening question asked Sir Richard when he had started discussions with David Cameron, what had been offered and when and, crucially, whether he was already considering a move into the political arena whilst still leading the Army.

A seasoned politician would have deflected some of the question but Sir Richard was clear that his straight style was not going to change. "I don't know David Cameron well," he revealed, before going on to explain that DC called him while he was on a fishing holiday in Scotland in the last couple of weeks and that he took the call whilst standing in the river "quite deep and with a long line out".

Responding to a direct question about why he felt the need to enter the political arena, Sir Richard was clear. "The defence of our realm, the safety of our citizens and the welfare of our armed forces" was oft repeated as he explained that he views the current situation, especially in Afghanistan, as too important for him to feel comfortable taking on the role as a commentator, admitting that he hopes that a more executive role will offer the opportunity to make things happen.

Sir Richard's strong moral code and track record of speaking his mind will lead, on occasion, to challenging conversations with his new political colleagues. He has already said he won't give DC an easy ride when he thinks he's wrong. And former military colleagues will undoubtedly find it awkward to manage the uncharted territory of so senior an officer sitting in a suit with politicians when he was so recently in uniform with them. But Sir Richard as a Minister in a future Conservative administration is a very real possibility - he says that is what he anticipates will happen should DC become Prime Minister. Such significant challenges are not beyond the man who spoke last evening and, if others also rise to the challenge, the reward will be a contribution from a man of experience and absolute integrity who is dedicated to the service of his country.

19 comments:

simon said...

There was a piece on Today this morning with excerpts from the Lewis-Dannatt interview.

Desperate Dan said...

We have endured 12 wasted years of the thugs and boors of the Labour Party and its supporters.
I welcome the appointment of Sir Richard as a herald of the decency, civility and integrity we can expect from a Conservative government.

Anonymous said...

If Dannatt was a man of absolute integrity don't you believe that he should have waited until the 20 November when he leaves the Army before engaging in party politics?

Bon said...

As a HUGE supporter of the Forces (I've ploughed HOURS into BFBS) I'm so happy this has happened.
If DC gets in, Dannett on the board can only mean good things (finally) for our teams abroad.

Botogol said...

he is a smug peace of work. Here he is explaining how he was trapped with two colleagues in Ireland and - God intervened to make sure he lived while one of the others was injured and one died.

telegraph

Doug said...

I don't know why there is all this fuss about blurring politics and military. The Duke of Wellington was PM twice. Many of the post war politicians were ex-military.

Colin said...

I really regret the way this has panned out. His authority has been diminished, as has his credibility and in fact, his integrity and judgement.

It was all so unnecessary, any announcement could have waited.

Anonymous said...

Why the idea that just because this man was in the army and promoted (out of trouble is the usual army way) that he is automatically decent, civil and of integrity. He clearly is not.

Jimmy said...

""I don't know David Cameron well," he revealed, before going on to explain that DC called him while he was on a fishing holiday in Scotland"

What a charming story. So his number's in the book?

RH said...

Sir Richard is a top bloke. I know some uniformed chaps who've met and dealt with him and they have nothing but good things to say.
We have not had a competent and honourable man covering defence since Lord Carrington. About time I'd say!

Thatsnews said...

If Dannatt was a man of absolute integrity don't you believe that he should have waited until the 20 November when he leaves the Army before engaging in party politics?

Unless, Anon, he values the lives of the soldiers he commands more?

I mean, he and his troops have had to fight not only the enemy but also the Taliban. The enemy being armed forces hating creeps in the Labour Party.

Thatsnews said...

Could the Labour trolls here do us all a favour?

Go to the next funeral of a soldier murdered by the crass stupidity of Ainsworth, Brown and the like and come out with the rubbish you have being spewing here and on other blogs? Ah, but you won't, will you?

We know that, being dyed-in-the-wool lefty weirdos that you hate the armed forces, but you just haven't got the courage to go public with your anti-UK armed forces twaddle, have you?

"Who sir? Not me sir! Why I just LOVE the armed forces! Why only the other day I didn't spit on a soldier as he passed by me in the street!"

Anonymous said...

That's news

Queen's Regulations specifically prohibit regular personnel from “any active part in the
affairs of any political organisation, party or movement”

You may think it is acceptable to breach that provision - I don't - the rest of what you say is irrelevant

Mirtha Tidville said...

Thats News....I have to agree with every word you said. Anon@4.47 appears to fully fit your bill

andrewha said...

Personally I wasn't convinced when I heard that Cameron had recruited Paul Danan as a military adviser. But them somebody told me I might have misheard.

Dimoto said...

I hope Dannatt's role is as a highly qualified technical expert.
I wouldn't feel very happy with an ex-soldier and militant Christian being involved in decisions on war making.

PaulM said...

Firstly, Gen,Dannat has not as yet taken an active role in politics, he has merely let it be known that he will accept a peerage and serve in a future Tory Govt. if asked. Secondly, when did he cease being simply a practicing Christian and start being a "militant" one? Frankly, Christian or not I would be delighted to have him giving the benefit of his vast experience and knowledge of warfare and the Armed Forces to our politicians in the future. After all, who better to do this than an "ex-soldier" ?

Anonymous said...

"Gen,Dannat has not as yet taken an active role in politics, he has merely let it be known that he will accept a peerage and serve in a future Tory Govt. if asked."

Yes and he allowed the announcement to be made in the middle of the Tory Party conference with Cameron trying to make political capital out of it
- and he then gives an on the record lecture as reported above. If that isn't an active role perhaps you might wish to explain what is - so would you really allow all serving members of the armed forces to be equally passive?

Quietzapple said...

Dannatt's clever propaganda effort re the £3 minus btles of wine suggests that it was mostly more anti Labour propaganda.

Not all simple soldiers are simple soldiers.