Sunday, November 26, 2006

Lord Drayson Needs to Get Out More

EU Referendum Blog highlights the issue of equipment shortages in Iraq and Afghanistan HERE. They quote a footnote to a story in The Times yesterday.
Lord Drayson, the Defence Procurement Minister, said that he was unaware of ammunition shortages or equipment problems in Afghanistan after claims by a Royal Marines sergeant that troops in Helmand province did not have enough grenades, night-vision equipment or armoured vehicles.

I alluded to this recently HERE, but the examples of armed services personnel claiming that they have to beg or borrow equipment from the Americans because theirs is defective, promised but never delivered, or never promised in the first place are too numerous to all be coincidences. I do hope Lord Drayson soon leaves his MoD ivory tower and pays a visit to the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan so he can learn the truth of the situation. Does anyone know if he has ever been?


Anonymous said...

I believe he said on today's Politics Show he had recently paid a visit to Afghanistan. But then, he also said the troops were getting "everything they need", so I don't know what to believe.

Anonymous said...

Even if he does go, do you think his handlers will allow him to be put anywhere near some real frontline troopies?

There'd be some carefully staged photo op of him in shirtsleeves talking at a group of carefully selected, neatly washed and ironed squaddies. Then a couple of shots of him enjoying a "typical meal" with the same squaddies all of whom would be under orders not to speak unless spoken to and to smile politely.

There'd be the obligatory macho shot of him sitting on a tank or field gun. And maybe, if he really feelt his martial credibility needed bolstering, one of him in a hilltop op watching a distant explosion through a pair of high powered binoculars.

At no time will he meet frontline soldiers nor go within fifty miles of the enemy. And nobody he might meet would be allowed to display their bad manners by raising matters like equipment and supply deficiencies.

Of course Drayson could prove me wrong by spending a couple of days in a platoon house in Helmand. But then again how many media hacks would have the balls to go and photograph the event?

Anonymous said...


For a certain value of "need" I'm sure my Lord Drayson is actually telling the truth.

Anonymous said...

I saw the interview on Sunday`s BBC Politics Show when he repeated that the troops will get what they ask for. However, listen carefully and you will hear him qualify that undertaking by saying it depends on what comes up through the "chain of command" or similar phrase. I take that to mean that once it gets into the MoD the military are/will be nobbled by the politicians, political advisors and civil servants - not necessarily in that order. In other words it is a typical NuLabour smoke and mirrors commitment.

Anonymous said...

It's confirmed by those who should know that he visited Camp Bastion, Afghanistan some time ago.

Drayson is simply lying. He was told about these shortages in no uncertain terms by those on the ground. Of course 'being unaware' is Drayson's particular speciality.

Not too sure about Iraq, but I doubt he's been there. Let's also recognise how short politician's memories are - a sort of convenient political Alzheimers.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps Cameron could give him a lift whilst the CBI conference is on !

Anonymous said...

I saw some footage when Rumsfeld was sacked of a US Marine really slagging that particular master tactician off in a press conference when the loon was at the height of his 'powers'.

I bet that Marine never has to buy another drink again.

Anonymous said...

Nope. The Tories can't lecture anyone on defence procurement either.

That has been a disaster area for decades and nobody seems prepared to grasp the nettle and deal with the whole thing.

There's the purchase of the horrendous L85 and L86 - weapons that have endangered soldiers since their introduction and have cost double their original purchase cost to put right (although the L86 is still awful). Then they tied us into the Eurofighter deal (still not combat-capable and lacking a battle to fight anyway).

We waste millions on buying useless kit purely because it is British rather than actually going and buying the best on the market and investing in the men and women on the front line.

Anonymous said...

PoliticalHack said...

"Nope. The Tories can't lecture anyone on defence procurement either."

That's hardly the point. It is this cretinous government (nine years and counting) that has failed to supply adequate weapons and armour to troops which it has sent into grave danger on two fronts.

It really is irrelevant to start discussing the actions of previous governments nearly ten years down the line. Or is the Government's position "Well we knew that there are equipment shortages but we decided to send the troops in anyway"? If so then that amounts to gross irresponsibility leading to the deaths and injuries of many of our young men and women.

What does PoliticalHack have to say about the purchase of defective ammunition from various sources because it was cheap? Or the failure to supply body armour, proper boots, armoured vehicles, helicopters, etc, etc.

So, it's OK to send the troops then is it?

And now Blair and Brown want to spend vast amounts of our money on 'upgrading' (i.e. almost total new purchase) of the Trident nuclear weaponry system. Why? Who stands to gain financially from that little wheeze?

Def Con One said...

You seem to have it in for Lord Drayson. Ask anyone who has worked with him at the MoD and I would venture they will probably tell you that he is the best Defence Procurement minister anyone can remember. I appreciate that that is not setting the bar very high but he is doing a much better job than you seem to give him credit for.