'The Fork in the Road – Sorting out the UK’s defence policy debacle'
I emailed my MP with regards to EU Ref's campaign about the Land Rovers and general piss poor provisioning of Her Majesty's Forces.
He kindly replied with a copy of his latest pamphlet:
"I make no apologies for what I am about to say. It will be unpalatable to many both in Government and Opposition who take the view that there are no votes in defence. I write it because after four years as Shadow Foreign Secretary and six months as Shadow defence, necessarily restricted by the doctrine of collective responsibility in relation to spending commitments, I can no longer stand back and watch while the well-being of our armed forces and the safety of our nation are being compromised in the way that they currently are. The sentiments I express here are not so much my own as a distillation of the very strong if private feelings I have encountered amongst serving members of our armed forces and others with a deep understanding of these issues over the past few years.
All governments mislead the public about defence. It is part of the nature of the politics of defence that a programme of disinformation is perpetrated by politicians, refined by Treasury mandarins and ‘loyally’ articulated in public by serving Defence Chiefs. It is a conspiracy constantly to pretend that our defence capabilities are improving and our objectives succeeding when the reverse is the case. Never has that conspiracy of disinformation been as great as it is today. And no Government has been more blatant in advancing it than our current Government.
They would have us believe that they are increasing defence resources, streamlining and improving our defence forces and that those same defence forces are more than able to meet the very substantial military commitments which this government has imposed upon them. Talking privately to our forces on the ground, as I have done recently as shadow defence secretary, makes clear that nothing could be more dangerously further from the truth. Our armed forces are more overstretched, more under-equipped, more over committed and more under-trained than at any time in the last fifty years. In their weakened state they are ever more frequently being asked to respond to unforeseen and unexpected new commitments such as Afghanistan in 2001. This is no theoretical point. It is factual and it goes to the very heart of the safety of our troops in carrying out the increasingly dangerous tasks they are being asked to do.
I think he has secured at least one vote for the next election.