Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Fox Writes to Ainsworth Over Ridgbacks

Following on from the story below about the Ridgback vehicles being delayed on their way to Afghanistan (scroll down two stories), this is a letter Liam Fox has just written to Defence Secretary Bob Ainsworth. Click on the image to enlarge it if it is difficult to read.

UPDATE: Defence of the Realm has some intriguing news related to this story.


Unsworth said...

Good for Fox in making this move. But a pity that only now has this happened. Many in the military have been making these points for a very long time, so one might regard this letter as opportunistic. But, opportunism notwithstanding, if it causes things to move rapidly then than is all to the good. If it causes Ainsworth and his colleagues immense discomfort and embarrassment then so much the better.

Servicemen and women are dying and suffering terrible wounds each and every day. Yet the MoD and its Ministers are on holiday - indeed they seem to have been so for years. They are morally repugnant scum.

Inspector Morse said...

Love it!

10/10 for Liam when the next ConHome survey comes around.

vervet said...

Good as far as it goes ... which is not far enough. Questions are raised and possible courses of action are floated - but all a bit too 'chummy'.
I think that all such correspondence should take a far more direct line - state exactly what course of action the party would take if in government. Challenge the addressee to give good reasons why they will not action as recommended.
Our troops need these vehicles now ... send by commercial heavy-lift aircraft immediately ... send UK troops with the flights to guard the vehicles, if there really is a need for secrecy.
This could be done within days ... IF this pathetic shambles of a government had the will.

Inspector Morse said...


Go here:

Cynic said...

MOD have ex=plained it and its all very simple. These are intended for the relief Brigade which deploys in October so they left them sitting in Dubai ready to deploy then.

When you think about it, its totally rational. Lets keep it nice annd neat and in little boxes that officials at MOD can easily manage. Yes troops on the ground are bing killed now bevause of the alck of thsi armour but balance that against the form filoling needed wif one of these Ridgebacks got damaged while they were using thyem when they 'belong' to the another Reghiment. Why it would take years to sort out.

Jules Wright said...

where are the remaining 100 as announced by brown in december 2007? why, they don't exist of course. he will have drawn them down into the 2013 budget with a rise of 0%. or some such lying bollocks.

in 50 short days in 1982, we (just) deployed a fully-supported land, sea & air battle group 8,000 miles to the south atlantic.

today it takes three weeks to move six urgently needed armoured vehicles a short air-hop into theatre.

idiot ainsworth should swing by his nuts for this. as should MoD uber-muppets bill rammell, the execrable quentin davies and its permanently useless undersecretary sir bill jeffrey.

TA Major said...

The military may well have been making noises within MoD but have they also been lobbying the Parliament as a whole? If Liam Fox was unaware of the exact situation then it is a fair request. I would be very surprised and disappointed if he was aware of the problems and only now acted.

The MoD under NuLiebour does seem to do its best to shoot itself in both feet (politically) whilst letting the troops get shot for real.

peter_dtm said...

= I look forward to your response =

shouldn't that be along the lines of :
I look forward to hearing your reasons for this debacle; and what active steps you have put into to place to rectify the situation. I look forward to seeing a timeline with definitive actions by specific dates; which;' if not met; will result in people responsible losing their jobs and your resignation.

In short we expect to see behaviour from you and your department that is in line with the wages we pay you and the expectations of the people who employ you.

Penfold said...

This is an open goal for Fox.
Let's see what he makes of it. It is a golden opportunity to score a quick and easy goal against NuLab and rattle Gordo's cage yet again. (Lets see the damages bill/inventory for the holiday cottage if he's been clearing the table with a sweeping arm.)

If Fox resembles the England footy team at a penalty shoot out, then DC will have to bin him pronto, friendship, connections, whatever, "pour encourager les autres".

I've said this before, it is not unique to the left to starve the Defence budget of funds. The Falklands got started as a result of Nott's review and the publicised demise of Endeavour, along with naval cuts. That gave ideas to the Argentinian junta, with the consequent results. Prior to that, we had budget paring between the wars, and subsequent to 1945 many decades of angst as we withdraw from Asia to Suez and then UK with force numbers slashed and kit decimated.

bugsmalone said...

What on earth makes you think Ainsworth will (a) be able to read the letter and (b) if he does that he'd understand it? The man is a cretin - "ellycopters", my God.

Eckersalld said...

I should image the Americans will be having a giggle about us protecting our technology... Like they'd want the overpriced, third-rate, badly designed tat we've been making since the 80's.

DiscoveredJoys said...

What was it Winston Churchill used to write on his memos?

"Action this day".

Joe Public said...

Now the Taliban know the Ridgebacks are in an arab/muslim country, no doubt a friendly stevedore will try to secrete Tracker chips into them.

Oldrightie said...

Why are we surprised. Labour's mantra, "If it ain't broke, break it".

Anoneumouse said...

12 Dec 2007 : Column 304

....I can announce today, fully funded from the reserve, 150 new protected patrol vehicles specially procured for Afghanistan, bringing to 400 the total of new protected vehicles bought in the last 18 months for Iraq and Afghanistan. We will combine that with increasing numbers of Sea King helicopters in Afghanistan, and through NATO, new contracts will be negotiated for leasing commercial helicopters to move routine freight, freeing up military helicopters for military tasks......

DespairingLiberal said...

There always seems to be this wierd disconnect between what the pen pushers at MoD do and their perception of what is important, and the poor bloody infantry.

I wonder if the Army should send round some recent returnees from the front to pass on a bit of well-worded advice and information?

I'm glad Liam Fox is doing this and I hope other politicians from all parties will join in - clearly the government is not in any meaningful sense running the war with any sort of respect for what our armed forces are going through, or with clear goals or a driving sense of managerial urgency. I get the feeling it's all "business as usual" in the corridors of Whitehall with no doubt numerous meetings still going on at the MoD about the distribution of paperclips and the expense account adjustments for next year for senior people.

Sexy Legs said...

Ainsworth is a boy in a mans job. He aint fit to lead our boys. Get rid of him.

Iain, given your clout and your friendship with Esther Rantzen, you should propose an idea to her. Over on TRUEBLUEBLOOD a great idea is being proposed of Esther standing against Speaker Bercow. What do you think? Ask Esther tonight over coffee?

Thomas Rossetti said...

Fox has done well to raise these points, but this has taken far too long. As I understand it, British troops have been under-equipped in Afghanistan for quite some time.

The Government needs to be clear about which direction we're taking in Afghanistan. Are we staying there until the Taliban is defeated and a proper democracy is installed, or are we leaving soon? Are we planning to negotiate with the Taliban or not? It simply cannot go on like this.

Unsworth said...

@ TA Major

Is it the job of the Military to lobby politicians for kit? They spend enough time fighting the 'War on Terror' (whatever that is) and, on the second front, fighting the MoD.

Is it your case that there should be mission creep to the extent of lobbying MPs? Why don't we just eject the Government by force and install an interim military governance, until such time as HM decides that elections should be held? It could hardly do worse, let's face it.

Not a sheep said...

Well done Liam Fox, about time. I look forward to Bob "chip on my shoulder" Ainsworth's reply.

As to Esther Rantzen standing against Speaker Bercow; someone has to, the man is a disgrace.

SHB said...

If we don't have any military cargo planes available why don't we charter a 747 freighter.

In case Bob has forgot, or maybe he just hasn't noticed, the biggest airport (passenger and freight) in the Gulf is on the other side of the city to where the trucks are.

Bob has obviously spent too long working on not supplying helicopters and forgot all about this.

Yet more proof, if you needed it, that there is no one in this Government who can organise anything.

I would have thought that it was a pretty simple conversation.

MOD Person: what do you want me to do next?

Bob: move those trucks from Dubai to Afghanistan by Sunday, end of message.

Anonymous said...

Surely the reason that Ainsworth was promoted to the cabinet as Defence Minister was because it makes the other 20 odd ministers look good; rather like plain man being made to look handsome by being photographed alongside David Mellor

riddler said...

Not sure of the significance of the Defence of the Realm link. It's dated May 2008.

Anonymous said...

"This is an open goal for Fox." -- It may be so.


Whilst it is important that the government be held to account - it was the disaster of the Norway Campaign and a vote in parliament that did for Chamberlain - it is quite another to be seen as, or to give the opportunity of being traduced as - relishing in British death calamity and disaster.

Opposition have a difficult path to follow.

What we should also be considering is that the 'Husky' which has been selected by the MoD has been rejected by the US Army as being completely inadequate as a MRAP vehicle.
For the bigots who seek to bash America BTW both 4x4 Ridgeback and 6x6 Mastiff are our versions of the US Cougar (made by Force Protection Inc.)

Its hard to see how they can be 'secret' to the Americans. The British do put armour over the view ports whereas the US do not. It could be some reactive armour but surely to goodness it could be covered up!!

These vehicles are big Mastiffs are bigger at 25 tons (!) and are not a panacea but the Taliban with the IED have created a problem to which these big MRAP vehicles are the only realistic solution.

Note that some Mastiffs were delivered in Feb 07 - but given the time-scale needed to build up and train forces and wear down the enemy we are in for a long slog - the Taliban are looking to make as many easy kills as possible which makes the govt own slowness even more mystifying.

Anonymous said...

Re the DoR story - this is dated May 2008 and as I see it talks about deployment to iraq. well we are effectively thrown out of Iraq now as we were useless and I am not clear that these 'Bushmasters' were deployed.

Is this the right link? I see no relevance to this 18 month old story and what is happening now. Except it shows the total confusion in the MoD about vehicle procurement.

Tom said...

There was a Ridgeback sitting in the parade ground outside Wellington Barracks until a week or so ago for a fortnight. It was in full view of Birdcage Walk and could have been photographed very easily. So I don't understand the "UK EYES ONLY" thing,

Jess The Dog said...

UK Eyes Only....bullshit.

Only equipment protectively marked to that extent would be electronic counter measures kit for IEDs (which could be fitted in theatre and transported seperately...assuming it didn't get lost) and cryptographic keys....not much good if one cannot speak to one's coalition partners over an encrypted network, and crypto keys are loaded seperately in periodic updates anyway.

jafo said...

So this is Bob Ainsworth's idea of "busting a gut" to get equipment to the troops in Helmand, is it?

We all know why these things happen - the Government doesn't care about the troops so the MOD doesn't care either.

Martin S said...

That should have been addressed to Fred Kite.

Bob looks and thinks like the character Peter Sellers played all those years ago. Is Bob Ainsworth a protected species?