Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Why Didn't Bob Ainsworth Just Say No?

The court case today involving the MoD in an attempt to reduce compensation payments to injured soldiers could not have been more ill timed. The contrast with the pictures of four coffins arriving back from Afghanistan could not be starker.

But this was a misfortune of the government's own making and could so easily have been avoided if any of the Defence Ministers involved had had any political nouse or influence. When their civil servants came to them with proposals for the case, all it would have taken was for Kevan Jones or Bob Ainsworth to say no, and send them away with their tales between their legs. And that would have been an end to it.

To be fair to Labour, they have raised compensation payments to injured servicepeople to a considerable degree. But this saga has undone all the political kudos which had been won in previous years. As Norfolk Blogger writes, this is something that won't go down at all well with Labour's core vote, as well as the rest of us.

But that's what you get when you appoint a Defence Secretary with no political clout. Mr Ainsworth has gone away on holiday for two weeks. The question is: will anyone notice?


Moderniser said...

If Labour keep on going this way, they aren't going to have a core vote left.

Peter said...

Compare the payouts to the soldiers to that of the MOD staffer who got £500,000 for tendonitis last year.Scandalous.

Russell said...

This Government's ability to shoot itself in both left feet must be without parallel in modern times. It is almost as if someone at a high level is perversely determined to antagonise both the voting public and the House, including the Government's own supporters.

Now who could that be?

DMC said...


I absolutely agree and finally somebody has started talking about the mismanagement of not just the Defence dept but most government departments.

We talk about 4 defence secretaries in 4 years but that is no different to the other departments.

Since 2005

Dept for Communities/Local Govt- 4 secretarys in 4 years

Dept for Health- 3 in four years

Dept for Education- 3 in four years.

Home office- 4 in four years

Foreign office- 3 in four years.

I calculate that ministers will spend no more than about 13-17 months in any department, if there is no continuity then no wonder things are going wrong.

Neil M said...

Thank you for highlighting this, Iain.

Anonymous said...

Is it not time we reinstituted the practice of issuing white feathers for cowardice. Gordon Brown, Bob Ainsworth & Jeff Hoon would be my prime targets.

Mirtha Tidville said...

Liebour has spent the last 12years hating anything to do with the military, amongst many other things that have been decent and constant in our lives. They cant change, they dont know how to...the confusion that reigns among them is that the Miltary have,quickly, reached new heights of respect and love from the British people.
In pursuit of their apathy Broon and Bliar appointed a sucession of deadlegs, none of whom were up to the job and hey bingo Defence is suddenly at the top of the agenda being run by the Daily Mail as opposed to the Government...you couldnt make it up and I truely beleive that this will be a huge issue at the next GE...

Bring it on.......

Gazza said...

Now posted on a more relevant thread.

I wanted to comment on yesterday's 'Successful end of Stage 1 of Panther's Claw' media line from Gordon Brown.

This line smacks to me of classic Mandy-inspired communication spin to diffuse the rapidly growing criticism of mounting British deaths & lack of helicopters in Afghanistan.

What better way to try & draw a line under the criticism than by promoting "Stage 1 and all its July deaths and political incompetencies are behind us. NOW -we have brand new Stage 2 which will be a great new beginning."

Remind you of something Gordon & Mandy have tried before ?.... like "ignore Old Labour and our failings because we've now developed brand spanking new 'New Labour' !

Our soldiers deserve better.

Anonymous said...

Why Didn't Bob Ainsworth Just Say No?

He cannot because of who his political masters are.

Anonymous said...

"To be fair to Labour, they have raised compensation payments to injured servicepeople to a considerable degree."

Not by choice, though the government hoon on the World At One was happy to take the credit for it.

Instructional Design Ltd said...

'New Labour Politics: the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it wrongly, and then applying unsuitable remedies'

And completing the whole process in a manner of complete and utter ineptitude and incompetence.

Anonymous said...

Iain, please tell me this is one of your little 'jokes'..

"Mr Ainsworth has gone away on holiday for two weeks.."

WTF ?? Who is in charge of this shower of sh!t* ?? I hope this is the Number One Trap on Question Time and Any Questions this week, because in the absence of PMQs the Minister needs to full the heat of public anger on this..

What is crazy is that the poor soldier is being screwed by the old 'pincer' movement of 'no dosh' for equipment and then 'less dosh' when they get hurt as a result.

Either way, the MoD wins all round.
If they could argue that compo was resulting in poorer equipment for the front line one could see some sort of logic.

But in a near £40 billion defence budget this is just incompetence coupled with kicking the soldiers when they are down injured.

Lord Elvis of Paisley said...

Anyone considering voting Labour after this latest debacle should be hanging their heads in shame. Total and utter scum.

Warsteiner said...

Sorry, but this is the day I lost the little respect I had left for this Government.

Absolutely despicable shower of scum.

If I said what I wanted to the post would be deleted and judging by comments in the pub I was in tonight I am not in the minority.

The People are not happy.

vervet said...


Apologies in advance for pedancy, but do you really mean "... tales between their legs." ?

OT - wv = clamp !!

Rabid H said...

The defence budget is nothing but a fund for keeping jobs in labour marginals as far as the govt is concerned.
Dead squaddies arent that big a deal to broon, they arent important not like celebrities being a bit tired or dying or the very wealthy wanting to hobnob for honours.
You'll notice just how effective Joanna Lumley was in slapping woolas about. They were so in awe of her they had no defence (pun intended).

spark up said...

you think that's bad? wait till the bill lands on the british doormat for war-crimes in iraq and afghanistan...my dear god, we haven't said sorry for slavery yet, let alone pay compensation for genocide of the kikuyu during kenya's mau mau struggle.

Anonymous said...

I understand one of the troopers in question has fully recovered and is on a tour of duty having passed fully fit to serve.

I'm reserving judgement on this one because whilst I am as incredulous as the next guy about the massive pay outs for stress and minor injury at work, there is a principle here that the compensation scheme is known and limited and one of the claimants seems to have no grounds for the additional claim.

Anonymous said...

With the eception of Robertson all the Labour defence ministers have been dumbos. Has nobody looked at them or listened to them? I hope like me when they're in Whiehall in November they'll be aghast at the numbers of limbless and blind young men. Will they reflect on how Blair liked to play toy soldiers with the British Army and Brown just looked on.

Houdini said...

To be fair to Labour, they have raised compensation payments to injured servicepeople to a considerable degree. But this saga has undone all the political kudos which had been won in previous years.

No they haven't, though it may look like it. They have created the biggest legion of injured soldiers since WW2 and have consequently had to make larger the compensation bill, both because there are so many more and to help recruiting. You'd know this if you had ever worn a uniform or knew anything about it.

Sorry for butting in, now you can go back to your tacit sucking up to Labour you have been indulging in for some time now in your rush to be the all inclusive and centre blogger with no charge of fascist to apply, and it's tails not tales.

Just saying so don't start crying again.

Joe Public said...

Seems Yvette Cooper is the only Minister with Balls.

Anonymous said...

'End of phase one - successful' - is a hostage to fortune which will probably come back and bite Brown.

The only saving grace our forces have is that the American Army are now taking over much in Helmand.
But this too is likely to bite back as the Americans will be more aggressive than we have been and our involvement is likely to lead to continued deaths.

This campaign is of course an Obama/ Democrat inspired one and ironically the left are being hoist on the petard of their anti Bush rhetoric. iIs our forces that will suffer.

And lets be clear - we have a big defence budget - its not been spent properly. we can afford to compensate our forces properly - we are just wasting money elsewhere.

Labour by the way have been serially incompetent for 12 years - the media are too dumb to suss it out.

Anonymous said...

This is a disgraceful episode.

Why should military who've been sent to war by politicians of little integrity and even less intellect, have to fight again for their compensation? And how many Labour have done military service? What do they understand or know (or care?) of it?

On a political level, just how much more incompetent can this govt get? Does Gordo listen to the news? Do his advisers listen / advise?

If I was cynical (and I am) I would say this is a Mandelsonian plot to make Gordo look inadequate (no help needed though is there?) and bring about his downfall - then in steps Mandy to the rescue, with 5 years to prepare against Team Dave.

I thought the dying days of major's govt were bad (woke up to the news each morning thinking .... it can't get any worse can it?) but this lot knocks spots off the last Conservative lot.

I despair.

Rob said...

They really are a bunch of spineless bastards aren't they.

The british public have a tremendous pride in our soldiers, we don't often talk about it but the respect we have for them is always there and we know that man for man they are the finest soldiers on earth, often under-equipped and understaffed but professsional to the end. And then something like this happens which really gets our goat, they're out there dodging bullets for us, the least we can do is look after them when they get injured, also equip and staff them adequately when they are in theatre on active duty. Ainsworth and his junior ministers are a disgrace for allowing this to carry on. Sadly, this is symptomatic of the present government's attitude to our armed forces. I hope the next government will take a very different view for if they don't then they will be viewed with as much contempt by the public as the current shower of shit in the MOD.

Anonymous said...

Typical hypocracy from this government of jobsworths, liars, cheats and scum.

Martin S said...

Why? Because Bob "Fred Kyte" Ainsworth is not fit to lick the boots of ANYONE in the British armed forces.

Anonymous said...

'Defence of the Realm' point out the likely level of casualties and compensation the MoD are trying not to admit to


It is one thing to commit our troops to a war because you think it in our national interest - but it is another to do it incompetently.

Sadly Labour are serially incompetent. Remember this is the party that gave us the Great Gold Sell Off --- The Great Pensions Shambles --- and more ...

Anonymous said...



remember Bush on the aircraft carrier in 2003 "MISSION ACCOMPLISHED" in Iraq ...

brown is even less believable .

utter disgrace

I've got to ask ....is brown the 5th man ?
More successful than Blunt , the next stage in the cold war ?, not just by giving our secrets or gold away , but actively destroying our military ,industry ,finance, and even the very roots of our British society .

who still hates us that much ?

Will historians centuries from now looking back ,have difficulty in deciding who caused the most damage to little Britain .?
Caesar , William , Hitler or Brown ?

JohnofEnfield said...

This Government is running away from its responsibilities.

No minister was willing to answer the case made on News at Ten tonight by a very brave wounded soldier from Bradford.


Not a sheep said...

It should be noted that Bob Ainsworth was criticized for allegedly excessive claims for repairs to his second home and in 2007-8 he claimed the maximum permissible amount of £23,083 for second-home allowances, making him the joint highest claimant. Bob Ainsworth was also one of the 98 MPs who in 2007 voted to keep MPs' expense details exempt from the Freedom of Information Act.

So does Bob Ainsworth think it right that his second home allowance for one year is worth more than the partial disability of two soldiers?

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


What is pedancy?

Any connection with pedantry?

Peter Thomas said...

"And I’m very proud of what our forces have achieved over the last few weeks - indeed for all the time they’ve been in Afghanistan.” Gordon Brown.

Yes, so bloody proud, Gordon that you wish to cut any compensation claims for those injured no matter how badly. The High Court has already said that the MOD's case is "absurd" and yet you still spend even more taxpayers' money on well-heeled lawyers and just won't take no for an answer. You are a bloody disgrace!

wapping boy said...

"So does Bob Ainsworth think it right that his second home allowance for one year is worth more than the partial disability of two soldiers?"

And that is why the general public now hates MPs so completely. MPs aren't worth the spittle of our injured soldiers, when they vote themselves such huge allowances for doing sweet fa whilst simultaneously denying people who fight and die for this country the funds they need to survive.

To be fair to Ainsworth, it's not just him. It's all of them. Expenses isn't the half of it - all MPs are complicit in the selling out of our armed forces. MPs are total, utter, worthless scum.

Charlie the Chump said...

Just pay the damn money, there are only a few, £10M max, peanuts in comparison with the cost of Iraq - or are Labour afraid that casualties will rocket over the next few years? We should be told the truth.

Well, if we want to take the fight to our enemies - and I firmly believe we must - this must be the price we pay for asking our servicemen to stand up and take it, or rather lose limbs or worse.

The country has to be sold that sober fact and no-one, Labour or Tory, is yet able to give voice to this.

As to Ainsworth, oh dear oh dear oh dear (head in hands).

Rush-is-Right said...

And where's Cameron? He should be sticking the boot in. If this isn't an open goal I don't know what is.

Anonymous said...

I think ministers must have known about, and approved, this legal action. There's no question of civil servants just having gone and done this on their own. Ministers must have been consulted in advance and said yes.

As you say Iain, they simply had to say "No, Stop!" - and it would have stopped.

Anonymous said...

I think that Bob Ainsworth is not only rapidly proving himself to be an inept Defence minister, but also an utterly inept Politician.

Even the humblest student of Politics would sense the sheer stupidity of this lawsuit. It's all the more insulting for all the 'supporting the troops' bullshit that Labour ministers keep spouting. And then - as you say - Ainsworth pisses off on his holidays in the middle of it all.

If Brown has any dignity he'll have a P45 waiting for "Blakey" when he returns. If Brown or Mandelson had any moral compass they would have intervened already to stop this shameful lawsuit in it's tracks.

I think most people outside the New Labour cabal have already added this to the list of reasons why New Labour should be removed from office and Parliament - utterly.

Anonymous said...

It really is a scandal - both the action itself and the timing of it. I blogged about it here yesterday:


If anyone fancies a gander and a comment, i'd be very interested.

James said...

Kevan Jones has appeared on our local news progs Westcountry Live and BBC Spotlight visiting a services rehab centre in Devonport.'Such a huge debt of gratitude we owe these lads' he states.
Not a huge amount of compensation then?

Anonymous said...

just seen " bollacks bob" on the news...... stating that the "MOD MAY HAVE made a mistake in this case ".

there is a village somewhere short of its idiot ...methinks

Anonymous said...

oh ....

and if the "uman rights laws" allow those Iraqis to come to the UK and trial our soldiers in a civil uk court on something that happened in a combat zone , then surly those same laws can be used for an injured solider to claim civilian amounts of compensation in the very same courts.

Brown is a bean counter with poor people skills . If the compensation becomes so expensive that the cheaper option is better equipment to protect the troops, then they will get better protection . 'tis said that you cannot put a value on a human life .But the MOD does it all the time , there are cars that cost more !