"If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or your arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen."

Monday, 13 July 2009

Holding Brown To Account

Brown: Liar liar hair on fire.

As politicians prepare to vie for the moral high ground and deflect & apportion blame in the Defence debate this afternoon, journalist Bruce Anderson articulates what we're all thinking:

"In one respect, the army's greatest virtues have left it open to abuse. It is too loyal, too wedded to its duty, too reluctant to complain. Soldiers are used to operating on the basis of make-do and mend. Orders must be obeyed, tasks completed. If the right kit is not available, grab whatever is to hand. If this means additional risks, that is what soldiers are for. The battlefield is no place for committee meetings.

All that is ingrained in all three services. It has earned a gratitude too deep for words. It deserves awed admiration. This government has expressed its gratitude in cynical exploitation.

Wherever there is out-dated equipment, whenever men's lives have been endangered by a failure to spend small sums, one man's fingerprints are always to be found: Gordon Brown's. After 1997, the then Chief of the Defence Staff, Charles Guthrie, offered every Cabinet minister a briefing on defence. All but one accepted. Gordon Brown could not be bothered. The only time he took a positive attitude to defence was when there was a prospect of some warship construction at the Rosyth shipyard, in his constituency. Otherwise, Mr Brown was uninterested, negative and surly.

In part, this was just another way of wreaking his resentments on Tony Blair. Mr Blair came to admire the forces, and wanted to fight wars. Mr Brown did what he could to avoid paying for his rival's pleasures. Here, Tony Blair was greatly to blame. Well aware of Mr Brown's weaknesses, he chose to indulge them, at the cost of soldiers' lives. He expected under-equipped soldiers to stand and fight in Afghanistan, when he was too wet to stand up to his Chancellor. It is a stain on Mr Blair's reputation.

But he at least fell short of hypocrisy. Since Mr Brown became PM, there has been talk of services' days and a minister for veterans. The new PM has regularly tried to wrap himself in khaki, whenever he thinks that there might be votes in it. Yet he has done nothing to remedy the deficiencies which he spent ten years creating. His interest in military matters is on a par with his talk about values and Britishness: a contemptible abuse of language and decency."

Full article here


  1. Blair was every bit as hypocritical - just better at hiding it. Peter Oborne's Rise of Political Lying details various instances, including Ecclestone and more serious issues.

  2. Hi Fausty, I don't know why more people aren't interested in politics since it affects every part of our lives. Perhaps the recent hoo-ha over expenses and now the events in Afghanistan will galvanize opinion.


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