Saturday, 18 July 2009

Led By Sheep

The real British Lions are fighting in Afghanistan. In this month alone, 16 soldiers have died there bringing the total to 185 since the start of a conflict that we have all forgotten why we are fighting in.

Yesterday, Sir Jock Stirrup was at Downing Street refuting the PM's insistence that enough was being done to equip our fighting men while the Head of The Army, General Sir Richard Danatt said, as he stepped down, that we simply did not have enough resources deployed in Afghanistan. It is a tough time for Brown, who in his tenure as PM and Chancellor has overseen the systematic cutbacks in our Armed Forces at a time when we have endeavoured to fight more wars.

Meanwhile, Peter Mandelson was out 'shopping' for the Armed Forces and saying that they will get the equipment needed. I suspect he is quite good at shopping.

Action Not Reaction

The fact of the matter is that the situation has been allowed to get this serious and desperate that it has taken 16 lives this month alone and the two most senior Forces Chiefs to break rank and openly criticise the Government in order to get a reaction out of the Government. Had it not been for 16 men dying in July, life in Helmand for our Forces would have gone on as usual. Now the New Labour 'spin machine' worked so sweetly by Mandelson tries to make it look as if a) they give a damn and b) are doing something about it.

It's a far cry from the huddled bodies and massive fees paid to investment bankers in order to get answers on the bank bail outs. Money was no object then and ministers were ready to do all night sittings to save the necks of people who had screwed us so royally. All the regulators, executives and Non-Executives are still in their jobs bar a miserly few and £11.5m in investment bank fees and £26.8m in legal fees was paid to the very people complicit in the disaster.

It's like paying the Taliban to get advice on how to get more helicopters. Frankly, they probably have more idea than our Government does.

What appalls everyday people is that we question why the soldiers are in Helmand and what they are fighting for anyway. But that does not mean that we think any the less of our Armed Forces - they are led by sheep at the very top, who know nothing of how to equip an Army and stand by the men they so quickly send into danger.

In their crisp suits and serious faces they make it a 'priority' to do something only when the two most senior Army Chiefs break the political law by standing up and denouncing them. And the Opposition are no better, seizing on it only for political gain. There does not seem to be an honest person amongst them or any that actually gives a flying whatever for the 16 men who died this month and the 185 families that have been affected by the decisions of gutless people so far.

Politics is all about politicians feathering their own nests in the good times and saving their own necks in the bad. This year has been an 'Annus Horriblus' for modern politics and it is time we were served by honest people who backed up what they say with real commitments and action.

Our Armed Forces deserve far better than this and they deserve not to die for no reason or for the lack of the right equipment. It is utterly shameful that we have let them down so pathetically.

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