Archive for the ‘Forces’ Category

What with christams, new year and well life, it’s been a few weeks. But I hadn’t forgotten. So here’s another Friday fiver.

This week I saw a tweet from someone I follow on twitter

Now, I find Skip funny and provoking. Not to everyone’s taste certainly. But following the link i saw this charity.

Soldiers off the Street helps all branches of the forces. They provide practical and sound help to get people back on their feet and with a fighting chance of a decent life. Not a lot to ask for guys and girls who signed a blank cheque to the nation for everything up to and including their life is it?

The fact that this is needed shows what politicians really think of the forces. There to be discarded when inconvenient. Take a moment for a read, and if you can spare the price of a pint they even take paypal… go on, you know you’ll feel better for doing it.

How to deliver 10,000lb of diplomacy

Even now, when the memorial to the tens of thousands that died in Bomber Command finally battled through the apologist do-gooders barrage of politically correct AA, the Bomber Command Association have been left holding a bill which may see some of the 90 year old veterans who are trustees face losing their homes.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) said it had made an exception to contribute more than £1.5m. Big fucking deal. That’s less than £27 per man that gave his life. Thats less than 60% of the annual budget the MoD spends on full time union staff. For an organisation where the men and women in uniform who actually risk their lives cannot even be a member of a union by law.

If MP’s used less than 7% of the amount the greedy troughing bastard ingrates claimed as expenses in the last 12 months (£89,400,000) it would have paid for the memorial in its entirety (£6m), meaning the MoD would not have had to contribute at all.

If we used less than 23% of the money we pissed away in the socialist McCartney-fest of an olympics opening ceremony (£27,000,000) it would have shown we respected the 55,573 men who gave their lives as much as Harry Potter.

These men were forgotten for over 50 years. Their sacrifice deemed unworthy in the post war hand-wringing by intelligentsia and do-gooders. Their families without a memorial to their loved ones. Make no mistake. Without them we would not have beaten tyranny. But unlike so many other services, their memories were swept under carpets, quietly ignored, and made to be a source of embarrassment instead of pride.

So instead of a few extra pints and a kebab that you intended to leave on the pavement over the weekend, how about helping 92 year old RAF Bomber Command veteran Gordon Mellor and his few surviving friends keep their homes now the bastards have dumped the bill on him?

I donated here. RAF Bomber Command Memorial Fund

Tricky one isn’t it?

Just how much do you value your body? It appears that it is wildly different depending on your employer. If you are in the public sector, and especially local authorities I am afraid, it is a cultural right to “get your claim in”. It was one of the thing I despised about the entitlement culture in Local Authorities that gives any benefits office a run for its money An example is a trip and a groin strain… how much do you reckon? £9,128. I am sure there are contributing factors but really? Ten grand for a groin strain?

In another case heavy metal music fan is suing Newport Council for £25,000 compensation after slipping in a puddle of vomit at a whitesanke concert (imagine that vomit at a rock gig!)No actual injury but needed disinfecting (washing down to you and me).

By comparison what can you expect for combat injuries in the forces? Their website gives this as an example

Injury Tariff Level Tariff Amount % Amount Payable
Bilateral open heel fractures 11 £17,500* 100 £17,500
Open fracture of left femur 12 £11,000* 80 £8,800
Dislocation of left talus 12 £10,000 60 £6,000
Fracture of left fibula 13 £6,000 40 £2,400
Fracture of right fibula 14 £3,000 20 £600
Wound to left arm 14 £3,000 20 £600
Wound to right foot 14 £3,000 20 £600
*Including Supplementary award of £1,000 for each open fracture
Total Lump Sum Award payable                                                                                                                      £36,500

Not much for getting legs and arms blown to bits is it?
Guess we know the pen pushers priorities.

Falklands - Goose Green

Piece in the Grauniad about a little patch of the UK a long way away. Peter Peston writes that the future for the kelpers as he expects a mixture of military incompetence and political spinelessness to sell them out, and he justifies it all by the expense of protecting them.

He goes on to state

They’d get on far better if Argentina was a helpful neighbour.


Do we want to keep paying and paying as the decades roll away? Paying to sustain a little colony that can’t grow and prosper without fear.

So we should just roll back and abandon them because it is an expense and an inconvenience. You fucking Quisling.

We were happy to use the place when we needed a seabase in the Southern Atlantic, both military and for whaling. In 1833 when the british settled the Falklands the country Argentina did not even exist. The Islanders voted overwhelming in a free vote to remain British. If the right to expect to be defended is subject to simple expediency then why not give up all overseas territories? Like Scotland they receive a net subsidy from the exchequer, most are nearer a foreign state than Whitehall, and I am sure a foreign power would love to take them all on.

As for military capability. We are woefully deficient in carriers and carrier aircraft. That is not the same as defenceless. unfortunately the capabilities we do have mean more direct action if attacked, such as tomahawk strikes on the Argentine mainland, and our submarine fleet is more than capable of implementing a naval blockade. Both require the political nerve to cause larger death tolls than would otherwise be the case, but our lack of planning leaves little choice.

Ultimately it is a simple question.

Do we support British subjects in a far flung place, support the rule of law, and the right of self determination?
or do we abandon them for short term political gain and economic expediency?

It will not be easy, or pleasant, or cheap. But the first duty of the state is the protection of it’s citizens. Be it from terrorism or direct attack. if it cannot do that what other purpose can it serve?

For a fraction of what has been spent in overseas misadventures, or that is poured away in aid to countries that pursue nuclear weapon programs, or that is thrown at the idle who think they deserve wages equivalent to the top 10% of society we could fulfil our duty to our fellow Brits.

Any administration that sells them out should be forever labelled as traitors and hounded from office. I promise to never vote for or support any organisation that is party to collaboration in doing so. Maybe if enough promised to do the same they would realise the consequences of their actions.

I hope you put some cash in the poppy tin this weekend. It matters. Whilst I am aware that all current serving members of the armed forces are volunteers their families are not and require help just as much sometimes.

Anyways, cracking article in the Indy that helps explain why I think the forces do not get the recognition, pay or resources they deserve. After all when was the last time a diversity officer felt the need to write a letter like this? Ignore the spelling and remember this was a 19 year old man sent to fight on your behalf.

Cyrus Thatcher was killed on 2 June 2009. This is the letter he wrote to be delivered to his family if he died

Hello its me, this is gonna be hard for you to read but I write this knowing every time you thinks shits got to much for you to handle (so don’t cry on it MUM!!) you can read this and hopefully it will help you all get through.

For a start SHIT I got hit!! Now Iv got that out the way I can say the things Iv hopefully made clear, or if I havent this should clear it all up for me. My hole life you’v all been there for me through thick and thin bit like a wedding through good and bad. Without you I believe I wouldn’t have made it as far as I have. I died doing what I was born to do I was happy and felt great about myself although the army was sadly the ending of me it was also the making of me so please don’t feel any hate toward it. One thing I no I never made clear to you all was I make jokes about my life starting in the Army. That’s wrong VERY wrong my life began a LONG time before that (Obviously) but you get what I mean. All the times Iv tried to neglect the family get angry when you try teach me right from wrong wot I mean to say is I only realised that you were trying to help when I joined the army and without YOUR help I would have never had the BALLS, the GRIT and the damn right determination to crack on and do it. If I could have a wish in life it would to be able to say Iv gone and done things many would never try to do. And going to Afghan has fulfilled my dream ie my goal. Yes I am young wich as a parent must brake you heart but you must all somehow find the strength that I found to do something no matter how big the challenge. As Im writing this letter I can see you all crying and mornin my death but if I could have one wish in an “after life” it would be to stop your crying and continueing your dreams (as I did) because if I were watching only that would brake my heart. So dry your tears and put on a brave face for the rest of your friends and family who need you.

I want each and everyone of you to forfill a dream and at the end of it look at what you have done (completed) and feel the accomplishment and achievement I did only then will you understand how I felt when I passed away.

[To his brothers:] You are both amazing men and will continue to be throughout your lives you both deserve to be happy and fofill all of your dreams.

Dad – my idol, my friend, my best friend, my teacher, my coach, everything I ever succeeded in my life I owe to you and maybe a little bit of me! You are a great man and the perfect role model and the past two years of being in the army I noticed that and me and you have been on the best level we have ever been. I thank you for nothing because I no all you have given to me is not there to be thanked for its there because you did it cause you love me and that is my most proudest thing I could ever say.

Mum, where do I start with you!! For a start your perfect, your smell, your hugs, the way your life was dedicated to us boys and especially the way you cared each and every step us boys took. I love you, you were the reason I made it as far as I did you were the reason I was loved more than any child I no and that made me feel special.

Your all such great individuals and I hope somehow this letter will help you get through this shit time!! Just remember do NOT mourn my death as hard as this will seem, celebrate a great life that has had its ups and downs. I love you all more than you would ever no and in your own individual ways helped me get through it all. I wish you all the best with your dreams.

Remember chin up head down. With love Cyrus xxxx

You would forgive me for thinking we have.

A whole bunch of strike and protests gear up in the next few weeks. Education specialists protesting they only get £25k pensions, students protesting they might have to pay for their education past 18, the occupy LSX movement continue their occupation of St Pauls protesting against the big bad capitalist whatevers (not sure they actually know.. probably something to do with mung bean casseroles and LGBT footwear)

Meanwhile, an ex-soldier and his wife committed suicide as they struggled to survive on £56 a week. Between them. They used soup kitchens every day (walking 6 miles there), they gathered free veg. They tried in vain to look after themselves. Their 12 year old was taken into care after the wifes learning difficulties prevented her looking after her properly. Where were all the fucking diversity co-ordinators on those days? Where were the dance workshop facilitators? Where was the rent rebates and cheap housing reserved apparently for people on £100,000 salaries?

Put your hand in your pocket. Now. There is some change there you wouldn’t notice if you lost it. If not, check the floor of the car, even the back of the sofa. Next time you see the poppy tin stick it in. It might make the difference of life or death to someone who did the dirty job the people you elected sent them to do (and until we have an IQ test associated with sufferage, the job they did in your name). It’s a a chance to make the sort of life/death decision they did every day on duty. I don’t care if you wear a poppy. What matters is they get the help and support they deserve.

You could choose not to I guess. You may object on moral pacifist grounds or some such. I hope when the snow hits, or the streets flood, or the emergency services go on strike again that you won’t be expecting them to come help you again when no-one else would. But that’s what they signed for isn’t it. To do all the jobs too dirty for anyone else….

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

John McCrae, May 1915, written for funeral service on the field at Ypres

Read yesterday that salty old sea dog and ex-First Sea Lord (1SL) Admiral West, Baron of Spithead, has sailed into choppy waters again by transmitting before checking the signal.

Now elevated to a labour life peer West was one of three authors commissioned to write a report for Labour on defence procurement.

Apparently his lofty perch has transformed him into a strident opponent of cuts to the armed forces however

…the former first sea lord said the UK was still a first-rate military power, “not like bloody Denmark or Belgium”. These countries were, he explained, “second-tier powers.”

Really? A first rate military power? I would suggest that one measure of whether a country can claim to be a first rate military power is the ability to act unilaterally when called upon to. (For those that claim that the age of acting alone is past, look at the support the UK received in 1982 from our NATO partners.)

The ability to act alone ensures you are not dependant on other nations to provide support or mutual defence. It is the rationale behind an independent nuclear deterrent that Admiral West has supported for his entire career.

For a Navy to be truly independant it must be able to maintain a combat air patrol. This requires 2 things. Carriers and Carrier Aircraft. Even countries such as Thailand and India who are so destitute we have to send international aid to can manage to deploy these.

Unfortunately the Sea Harrier, which had proven its capabilities in the Falklands, Kosovo, and numerous other conflicts was retired in 2006 before a replacement was even close to being ready. Without these aircraft there was little point to maintaining a Carrier fleet.

Care to guess who was 1SL between 2002 and 2006 when the decision was made to reduce the RN to a coastal defence force reliant on the RAF and other nations airfields?

Yep, you guessed it Gordon Brown favourite sailor Admiral West.

Want to know where his loyalties really lay?

In 2007 he was security minister, and adviser to Gordon Brown, he admitted in an interview that he was not totally convinced to the need to extend detention without charge to 42 days. Within 2 hours after a meeting with Gordon Brown he had reversed his opinion. “Being a simple sailor, not a politician, maybe I didn’t choose my words well,” he said of the U-turn.

Somewhat embarrassing as West was the minister charged with navigating the controversial legislation through the House of Lords.

And I thought integrity was a vital quality in a Royal Naval Officer.

If the Royal Navy, the bastion of this nations security for over 500 years has been reduced to that of a second tier nation, then Admiral West has figured largely in it due to the irreparable damage he wrought on his watch.

“Simple sailor” my short fat hairy arse. More like political climber who sold his soul and his service for a peerage and Gordon Browns approval.

So now HM Forces are struggling to maintain a campaign against the remnants of a Third World dictatorship whilst we are being supported by NATO and half of the dictators own country.

Who’d have thought that a ground attack harrier based on a carrier just over the horizon would be better at providing timely ground support than an Air Interceptors based hundreds of miles away in a foreign country? Or that attack and transport helicopters would be handy at tactical ground support? Or that decent reconaissance aircraft would be a bit useful? Or that having more ships than a peddalo company on brighton beach would let the forces cover a bigger area no matter who good each individual ship is?

Who writes these defence reviews? Perhaps they should actually ask someone who has a clue for a change…

Nice TV piece on HMS Bulwark visiting London as she take over the role of RN Flagship. Speaks volumes for the shocking state of our armed forces that the Flagship and “pride of the fleet” is an LPD that entered service a decade ago.

Anyway, she puts on a good display as you would expect and is a very capable ship at what she was designed to do. Which is amphibious operations.

What she cannot do in any serious way is protect herself, or her battle group, or project power far inshore, or maintain a combat air patrol, or launch any serious ground attack. In fact the RN have pretty much given these roles up as they consigned the Carrier and Fixed wing assets to the scrapheap.

Good job the French are here to enforce a no fly zone just over 1000 miles from the nearest British territory (Gibraltar).

So everyones favourite retirement home for poorly terrorists continues to descend into a quagmire of chaos and lunacy courtesy of Middle East Peace Envoy, Tony Blairs favourite north African hugging partner.

Meanwhile, one of the worlds largest producers of bullshit, the UN, continues it’s apologist handwringing debacle as to whether it should do anything other than write a terse note asking the resident African nutjob fascist dictator and ex-chair of the Human Rights Commisson to please stop killing his population?

Dave C and his buddy Billy Hague wade into the fray, casting themselves as defenders of liberty and open democracy (as long as you don’t want to see their expenses thank you so very much), except their keenness to show the big boys in the US that we can still come out to play in the proposed no-fly zone is somewhat hampered by the fact that WE DON’T HAVE ANY CARRIERS OR CARRIER AIRCRAFT CAPABLE OF DOING THE JOB, and it’s quite a long way to the nearest friendly airfield.

In fact like everyone in the public services the Nimrod R1s are going to have to work a little bit longer before they can retire just so we can take pictures of Gadaffi murdering people.

You fucking idiots.

Sorry, but it needed saying.

They are just pouring salt into a festering wound today aren’t they?