Saturday, July 18, 2009

Kevan Jones Has 'History' With Sir Richard Dannatt

A reader just contacted me after reading the blog this morning on the Defence Secretary writing to his junior ministers urging them not to brief against the Chiefs of Staff, and in particular Sir Richard Dannatt. The reader had a transcript of an interview given by Kevan Jones on 18 November 2007 to the Westminster Hour, when Jones was a backbencher and member of the Defence Select Committee. Mr Jones was none too complimentary about Sir Richard's comments on a report on the military covenant. Here's what Kevan Jones had to say...

I think where I depart from General Dannatt is that clearly the report that has been put into the public domain was either written to be leaked or was written in a format which could easily be picked up by the press which I think is a bit unfortunate.

General Dannatt and the chain of command have got to take responsibility. Remember they are the ones who are stopping the medal which I think most people want for people are killed or injured in Afghanistan or Iraq. They were the ones who actually blocked my bill in terms of trying to get the British Armed Forces Federation recognised and they also downgraded the independent commissioner for the armed forces.

Where was General Dannatt and Jackson and others saying to government look we can’t commit on two fronts (Iraq and Afghanistan)?

What angers me a little bit with some of the military chiefs is that in the so called leaked report today General Dannatt talks about army housing becoming less safe.

When they’ve got opportunities to influence politicians they should do it and not do it in the backhanded way clearly that Dannatt and others think that they will change politicians’ views.

What he’s doing, I think, is trying to get into an area of public policy in terms of a political debate which I think he’s way beyond his remit. What he should be doing is clearly using the Defence Committee and others to raise these points but you know it’s no good remaining silent.

What they should do is speak out there and not try and nudge, nudge, wink, wink, say no more and say this is something that is wrong which clearly the Conservatives are using to bash the government with.

Strong stuff. So it's quite clear that Mr Jones hasn't exactly got the highest opinion of the Chief of the General Staff. No wonder MoD insiders are pointing the finger at him.


Anonymous said...

kevan does not look like a soldier.
Sir Richard Dannatt is one.

I say that is the government problem.

Paul Halsall said...

I'm rather more worried about a soldier challenging the civilian command.

Anonymous said...

"I'm rather more worried about a soldier challenging the civilian command."

And to think we were worried about Labour letting soldiers get killed in rubbish jeeps and then lying about a lack helicopters being the problem.

Your sycophancy towards the government has put everything in perspective now.

Scott said...


Precisely. What amazes me is the complete lack of poltical judgement on display here. In any battle between Brown's henchmen and the generals for public sympathy just who do they think is likely to win?

and @Paul Halsall,

Count yourself lucky that is all you've got to worry about. Some people, such as General Dannatt, have far more serious concerns. The lives of his soldiers first among them.

sixtypoundsaweekcleaner said...

I'd say that Sir General Dannatt has earned our respect with the years he had spent in the Army. He has proved himself.

Our government, however, are shoddy in comparison.

Anonymous said...

Dannatt isn't the Chief of Defence Staff he is the Chief of the General Staff

LM said...

I think the dictionary definition of a coup is the sudden, unconstitutional deposition of a legitimate government, by a small group of the State Establishment — usually the military.

Irrespective of political persuasion Let's be careful here

Anonymous said...

I'm rather more worried about a soldier challenging the civilian command.

The rest of the nation are more worried about the competence of the Civil command.
Its not Civil and they are not in Command. The labour government continue to scramble from one disaster to another blaming everyone and anyone for their own woeful failures.
Not long now though.

Barnacle Bill said...

Quite frankly if Sir Richard were to wake up on the morning of August 29th and decide to really challenge this particular civilian command, I would fall in behind him straight away.
If there had been more backbone in the ranks of NuLabor MPs we might never have ended up in this mess.

Anonymous said...

Latest polls


Before that we had 41-27-20

I think these results were before Browns appalling appearance before the liaison committee. Its hard to see it getting better (for Labour).

Elby The Beserk said...

What appalling English the man writes. Appalling. No wonder we are in such a mess, these people are no more than petty bureaucrats and pen pushers.


Anonymous said...

Sorry to post again, but Barnacle, its not that backbone is lacking in Labour ranks. Its far more deep rooted.

Even a headless chicken has backbone.

Jess The Dog said...

Kevan Jones put the boot in over the cost of "official residences" for officers in senior posts (usually 2 star, or Maj Gen/Rear Admiral/Air Vice Marshal).

Here he is, asking about the cost of "chicken wire" at the residence of the Adjutant General (who had

"Mr. Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 3 May 2007, Official Report, column 1851W, on army costs, for what purpose the chicken wire was erected at the residence of the Adjutant General."

There's more as well, about other costs and the staff in the household of GOC London District. I think the reason for these petulant questions was that the Adjutant General had spoken out over poor accommodation Jones has form in attacking those who criticise the government.;jsessionid=977154C38BBCA3999FE55B33620509B4

The self-appointed class warrior should have paid more attention to helicopters, Land Rovers etc...may have saved a few proletarian body bags if he had done so, rather than trying to hasten the revolution. Twat.

Oldrightie said...

Barnacle, I'm with you. Where have you been?

Jess The Dog said...

There's more here...

Jones tried to get dirt on the Chief of the General Staff back in 2007 over helicopter flights, even though this information was a security risk.

Anonymous said...

labour don't get it
and won't because it's to late
when the election is called
afghanistan will still be headline news and they will be on the wrong side of the can they not see that no helicopters equals no labour.

Martin S said...

Kevan Jones has the look of the night about him...

...The night soil, that is. Where is the Night Soil Man who will take him away?

Cynic said...

"legitimate government"

We have a Governmnet tht is led by an unelected PM who ignores Parliament, that is pursining policies that often have never been put before the voters, is running the country into debt and ruin, is stuffed with cronies who are elevated to the Lords because the cant get elected, has been caught out running a smear campagin from within No 10 using public money and where senior Ministers have been forced to resign for falsely claiming expenses.

You did use the word 'legitimate' didnt you

Cynic said...

But dont worry. A military coup is very unlikley as

1 we dont have the troops

2 they would have to borrow London buses to get to Parliament and you know how reliable they are

Anonymous said...

I know this is off topic, but I've posted some observations from norwich north on my blog today (Tory Activist).

More will be posted tomorrow... :)

Cynic said...

Still the Minister can console himself with his work well done in Parliament. Last year TheyWorkForYou quotes him as joint 1st for claiming Additional Costs Allowance (mind you there are a few of them in joint 1st place)and 95th overall on expenses. I am sure it was just a busy year.

Still, with a majority of 16000 he's a shoo in to get back next time but he may just feel a tad lonely on the opposition benches.

Sad. But the Army will still be there.

Paul Halsall said...


Hey, I have a nephew (my godson) in the Royal Marines, and had both a father and grandfather serve, so don't give me any crap about me or mine lacking love of country or military contributions.

The fact is, that the war in Afghanistan may well be worth fighting but it is not, for the UK, an existential war. Moreover, as almost all recent UK press coverage seems to ignore, our forces are a mere adjunct to US policy. If Obama decides to end it, our troops will not stay there.

So this is no major conflict, nor are the supply and *materiel* 'issues' any different from in any other little war.

So, while I have no truck with New Labour, I think it's fine to snipe at Dannatt if he is engaged in a little campaign.

Moreover, if as seems likely the Tories win the next election, I think the military need to subject themselves fully to that hussied up PR agent the Tories have decided to put forward as leader of their party.

Anonymous said...

Considering what the Army is going through at the moment, and they're doing their duty without complaint, only the lowest and most disgusting people would even think about briefing against the Army. (and we're stretching it a bit by calling the Nu Lab mob people).

Neil A said...

@ Paul,

I understand where you're coming from in terms of the armed forces not challenging the authority of the elected government. I am in the police and we are in a similar position, though less stringent. I think there is a flip side to that though. The political masters of the armed forces have a moral responsibility to be honest about the decisions that are taken. I don't ever want to hear a minister say "The army are satisfied with the equipment they have" or "no request has been received from the air force for that". If the politicians want to use private discussions with the forces as a shield to hide behind then it is only fair that when politicians lie to the public about the situation that the servicemen concerned are able to stand up and be counted. If you have submitted a report to the goverment saying "we need at least 2000 more troops" and the PM gets up and says "we have sent 700 more troops which the army tell us is sufficient for the task" then frankly you have a right to complain.

foxtrot1 said...

@Paul Halsall - so yippe- some of your family served the crown - what about YOU?

If I asked your godson I bet I would get an entirely different persepective on things - your pontificating about the size and importance of wars infuriates me!

Bullets kill, you fool - whether it be in a full scale declared war; a police action or aid to the civilian powers - Bullets kill.

And when legitimate governments send troops into action they have a moral duty to ensure they are given the best equipment available to survive.

If the General took it upon himself to do an Oliver Cromwell for us, I'd be there right alongside of him - as would most of the British Army.

Think on THAT Paul

Anonymous said...

What these Nu labour scum don't like is that the forces swear an oath of aliegence to the HM Queen Elizabeth, not them. Thank God.

eeyore said...

I'll have to take your word for it that it's strong stuff. I can scarcely understand a word the inarticulate stumblebum is saying.

Unsworth said...

@ Paul Halsall

"Challenging the civilian command"?

Where has "civilian command" got us so far? How many dead - on all sides? You seem to believe that this is a 'small war' so the number of dead is irrelevant. Would you like to comment on Iraq, then, and the (far too many) other military adventures which NuLab has embarked upon?

You'd support Kevan Jones, eh? So he thinks he can run a war sitting on his arse in London? He thinks he can slag off the military with impunity? What kind of scum is this? As always with NuLab and its supporters the game is to attack the man rather than deal with the problem.

Do you seriously believe that anyone in Government right now has the slightest ability to command an army?

Frankly your views are beneath contempt - but are no doubt typical of these 'politicians'.

As to your nephew etc, well so bleeding what? Does that give you personally any real insight into the views of the military? Clearly not. If you want to understand what is actually going on spend some time reading the comments at ARRSE - that might help you a little.

No doubt you'll have had extensive debates with your military relatives. I wonder which regiments they served in, what actions they fought in and, for that matter, whether they and their contemporaries would agree with your position. I have lived and worked with many Marines and can assure you that such views would have been regarded as 'quaint' - to the point of extreme annoyance.

Sir Lancelot de Boyle said...

It is reported on ARRSE that Gen Sir Richard didn't appear, as expected, on Andrew Marr this morning. I wonder what happened there: the Prince of Darkness strikes again?

Anonymous said...

Kevan Jones was the minister who had appear before a select committee to defend the HMG/MoD position on the gurkha issue before it caved in to the publicity campaign. He told of how he'd been to Nepal, spoken to the veterans who wanted to stay in Nepal where their pensions was more than sufficient, but that it was their relatives who saw the Lumley campaign as a chance to emigrate to the UK off the back of their OAP grandads. I have to say he sounded pretty impressive, speaking from a Treasury briefing note.

Anonymous said...

One of the reasons he's a shoo in is because of his big personal vote, he's certainly helped me when I've contacted him.

Still, this and the fact he's useless at his job is disgusting.