As Gordon Brown sups his cuppa and eats cake with Veterans at the Cabinet War Rooms today he might reflect that his efforts might be better spent ensuring that our troops in Afghanistan get the resources they need to do their job safely. In Defence Questions yesterday David Ruffley MP raised the question of our armed forces in Afghanistan using so-called "Snatch" Land Rovers to get around. These are vehicles which are completey unarmed and without protection, not exactly the sort of thing you want to be seen in in downtown Kabul of a night. Des Browne, a man so overpromoted he makes Ian McCartney look statesmanlike, replied that the armed forces didn't want to use armed vehicles because it "gave the wrong impression". Bollocks. They would dearly love to use vehicles which are equipped to protect their men properly, but they can't do so because they aren't available. Why aren't they available? My armed forces contacts tell me it's because the "Soldier's friend" at the Treasury won't give the armed forces they need to do their jobs. Let's hope Gordon Brown enjoys his cake today and that the veterans he meets tell him exactly what he can do with it.
UPDATE: 9.52. The influence of this blog is deeply worrying. A mere half an hour after writing this post I switch on Sky News to be told that Des Browne is launching a review of the use of these Snatch Land Rovers. Either I'm ahead of my time or this story has been running all night and my post was completely coincidental. I suspect it's the latter!
Iain, is there a subliminal message in your choice of Austin Powers/Dr Evil photo of GB we should be aware of?
Iain, Richard North on the EU Referendum blog initiated the research and campaign that has led to these questions being asked.
He started this 7/8 days' ago. Why has it taken so long for you to highlight this?
JT, There's no pleasing come people is there?! I was only alerted to this earlier this morning by a friend in Parliament. Credit to Richard North. I do look at his blog, but obviously not as often as I should!
And it was nicked by the Sunday Times this weekend
Good question, especially as Charles Clarke seems to have applied for the role of Mr Bigglesworth.
Iain, but you do please me!!
Your blog is worth checking out several times a day, as is the EU Referendum one.
Stalin's Gran - it wasn't "nicked" by the Sunday Times. Given that the whole aim of Richard's work is to expose the deeply damaging effects (direct and indirect) of Britain's integration with the EU, the story was given freely to the Sunday Times and gratefully taken up.
jt - if it's been somewhere else first, that's "nicked"...
He's not pretty is he, Gordon Brown?
Ditto jt. You beat me to it.
Mr Dale, please read, link this blog, do a profile or anything. Their blog is suprisingly low profile considering its quality and the strength of their posting. They get very few comments either and deserve a lot more for their sterling efforts.
I do think that the Sunday Times article was quite good...the diagrams of the vehicles really do highlight how inadequate the Landrover's protection is.
I'm surprised that the story hasn't had wider coverage. That said I shall probably be shot down in flames pointing out all the places it's been that I have missed....
Iain, why is it every time you mention Gordon Brown, you run a photo of him? The man is nauseating to look at. I mean, physically sickening with that gruesome mouth and those bright red lips. PLEASE!
At the very least, post a warning so one could scroll down with one's eyes closed.
This trend for British soldiers to just make do with what they have got has been going on for many years, undoubtedly our soldiers are very professional , however I can tell you that their moral especially in Iraq is very low. As an ex soldier I can tell you that I used these land rovers in Northern Ireland in the late 80s, they are ok for petrol bombs low velocity rounds, nail bombs ect, but as we are being told not much good against an RPG, which luckily was a very rare occurrence in Northern Ireland. If the Labour Government pumped a tiny percentage of our tax money being spent on `Jollies` around the world by the Queens flight, or even collected John Prescott’s Community charge , we may have the best equipped armed forces in the world. Look at the difference in the Israeli Army’s approach to one of their soldiers been abducted in the news now. Our Government especially the Prime Ministers Wife would be more interested in representing the soldiers captures, than looking out for our lads interests.
Finally I have heard pathetic excuses that it would take the MOD years to make a suitable vehicle for use by the military, well there is one very good platform in use now in Iraq , called the Stryker, its an American vehicle , but that did not stop the MOD purchasing the Apache attack helicopter (Better late than never) See it here
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