Wednesday, 22 July 2009

'Loyalty Not Helicopters Required'.

Former Labour Minister, Lord Foulkes, has suggested that what the Army chiefs need is more loyalty rather than resources and their utterances about the matter amounted to disloyalty.

Just to be clear about what the idiot said, "[Sir Jock Stirrup and General Sir Richard Danatt] threaten to undermine our effort in Afghanistan and give succour to the enemy". He suggested to peers that the two should be reminded of the "importance of loyalty particularly when we are engaged in a very difficult war where victory is essential for the future safety of this country".

Some might suggest that the two most senior Armed Forces Chiefs were showing loyalty to their troops, 18 of who have died in July so far alone. Some might suggest that the two most Senior Armed Forces Chiefs might know a little more about running armies and fighting wars than armchair heroes like Lord Foulkes. Some might suggest that Lord Foulkes' comments were reminiscent of the politicians who ran the First World War out of Downing Street rather that experiencing the appalling conditions of the front lines for themselves.

Some might suggest that Lord Foulkes could not give a damn about the 190 troops that have died in Afghanistan because the war is not about life or death or our future safety but about politics to him.

I must admit that Rt. Hon. Lord Foulkes of Cumnock (a name to conjure with to be sure) has all the ht credentials to be a top level idiot. On his website, because he is hip and up to date on all matters technical, he sagely points out that peers are not elected (how else would Alan Sugar become one, let's face it), but he goes on to say, "Although we are not elected, there is no reason why we should not, and every reason why we should, be accountable."

In that vain, it was Foulkes who valiantly tried to distance the establishment from Fred Goodwin at the height of RBS crisis by writing nasty letters to the FSA on behalf of 3 of the former Non-Executive Directors of RBS who had allegedly been threatened after asking questions about the bank's financial situation. Lord Foulkes is certainly a loyal Labour MP and so deserved of his peerage granted in 2005.

In his long career in politics, because that was his calling, it is notable that he has not spent a single day serving in any of the Armed Forces. Nowadays he has the jolliest of jobs as a backbench sniper for Gordon Brown and is a loyal pseudo-Scot as he was born in Oswestry before being called to that most political of lands - better still he is President of the Caribbean Council which means his regular 'holidays' on those lovely Islands are all fully paid for by mugs like us. And boy does he love the area as he is on Boards for something to do with the Dominican Republic and a Cuba Initiative. He's well looked after when it comes to getting suntans, as he is on the Virgins Island Group, Tobago, Central America and Belize. Very nice and comfy.

But, as with most MPs and peers, he has 'other interests'. In January he hit the headlines in The Times as he is paid £36,000 to introduce the law firm Eversheds to select committee Chairmen in the Lords and Commons and he shows great loyalty to Eversheds in doing so.

And when it comes to expenses, Lord Foulkes is a high quality operator. In 2008, Foulkes had been criticised for his expenses claims, which included around £45,000 over a period of two years for overnight subsistence to stay in a flat he had inherited. Between April 2007 and March 2008, Foulkes claimed £54,527 in expenses from the House of Lords. Which is interesting in itself, as on 25 June this year he asked the question to the House to forecast how much revenue was being lost to HMRC by people 'evading tax' in places like the Channel Islands.

Clearly, while Lord Foulkes has a strong sense of loyalty, he has little in the way of scruples.

Of course, some may suggest that as he has not ever been shot at by a member of the Taliban or stood beside a person killed by a roadside bomb or done nothing more than read a few books on the military that he has no idea what he is talking about by asking commanders to show 'loyalty'. Indeed, who is he asking them to be loyal to? Gordon Brown? Parliament? The Queen? Us?

Another Labour Lord sees it differently - Lord Malloch Brown said yesterday, "When you have these modern operations and insurgent strikes what you need, above all else, is mobility." As he stepped down from office, like so many Labourites, he has suddenly found his conscience and spoke the truth.

The British Government is letting down our Armed Forces in Afghanistan and it is the Government who is disloyal to our troops, not their commanders. Foulkes can use his own name to get lost.

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