I watched last night the all woman audience Question Time. Politicians have much more difficulty answering questions from the public than the usual press hacks stereotyped questions. Last night was no exception and the nauseating Caroline Flint, sometime Blair Babe, sometime Gordon minister who fell out with Gordon and resigned.
A woman in the audience said her 18 year old son was due to be deployed to Afghanistan and she had had to go and out of her own pocket by what seemed to me pretty basic kit for her son, webbing, as the MoD supplied stuff was not fit for purpose. This met with the usual waffle and change of subject from the repulsive Flint but of course no answer to the question.
This was followed up by a woman who asked as snatch Land Rovers were death traps why did we not simply go out and buy the American heavily armoured vehicles that the US Army had purchased for its troops when their Hummers had also proved disastrous. Wow, good question. Again no answer from Flint just the usual reading from the Labour hymn sheet, author G Brown, about how much more money the government were spending blah, blah blah.
Today I received an unrelated call from my relatively near neighbour Major Niall Warry (rtd) and I asked him about this. He explained that circa 2002, the warmonger Blair, had signed a deal on military procurement with his EU chums saying we would buy EU developed kit. Hence the common sense option of buying our soldiers the good American vehicles which would have saved many of our boys lives was not an option by EU dictat. This chimed true to me as I remember trying to get EU funding 20 years ago for research projects. I was astounded to find the rabid hatred of the Americans that pervaded the EU commission. Why I asked are we wasting time and effort on duplicating what the Americans have already done very well. We do not want Anglo Saxon solutions was the reply I got, we want European solutions to European problems.
It only cost money then but it is costing our boys lives now! Why, oh why can our moronic UKIP MEPs not try and make some real political capital out of what could win us millions of UK votes rather than making us a laughing stock by boorish rude attacks on van Rumpuy by Farage and Cathy Ashton by the belted Earl. They would both do better to belt up and look at why our soldiers are dying in Afghanistan. They could try talking to the families of the bereaved and even try going to Wootten Bassett! Its a simple message. The EU bureaucracy is costing our soldiers lives. But no the allure and glitz of Brussels bars and restaurants now dominates the lives of our political warriors!
We have a Eurofighter that has still not flown, is miles over budget and years behind schedule and will not be any better than the current US plane that is available off the shelf at a fraction of the Eurofighter cost. Its the same with the heavy lift military transport that has just had its maiden flight. We could have had the US plane in service now at a fraction of the price.
I am not comfortable writing on military matters as I have never served in the forces. I am amazed that we actually have managed to buy Chinook helicopters from the US, but really I should thank God the EU bureaucrats have not thought about building a European Chinook. Just 8 miles from where I write this is the Westland's Yeovil helicopter plant. Is it beyond the wit of the MOD to negotiate a Chinnok assembly deal for Westlands?
Our soldiers have as always also been let down by their own Generals who are kept in line by the usual Government threat of with-holding their K or peerage if they don't do what the government wants. Its nice and safe to protest after retirement to a cushy billet in the Lords. Men of real integrity would make their protests while in post and be prepared to resign if necessary. Courage comes in many forms.