For those of us with short memories, how about a reminder of the emptiest of emptiest.
The leaked letter from Liam Fox, on the subject of Nimrod MRA4 said
Deletion of the Nimrod MR4 will limit our ability to deploy maritime forces rapidly into high-threat areas, increase the risk to the Deterrent, compromise maritime CT (counter terrorism), remove long range search and rescue, and delete one element of our Falklands reinforcement plan
Speaking on ITV1′s This Morning programme, on the subject of the leaked letter David Cameron said;
“His fears are unfounded because we are not going to take bad decisions”
That one turned out fine then.
A few other gems
“But as the prime minister, I can absolutely guarantee you we will have well-funded, strong armed forces to defend our country”
“You are the noblest end of public service”
“It’s time for us to rewrite the military covenant to make sure we are doing everything we can”
“We have got tanks that can roll into Russia, we have got too many aeroplanes ready for a dogfight with the Soviet Union air force – but we haven’t got enough helicopters in Afghanistan”
Remind me Prime Minister, how many Chinooks have we ordered
“I am passionately pro-defence, passionately pro our armed forces. I will not take any risks with Britain’s defence”
Liam Fox might not actually agree with that and said so in the House of Commons, speaking on Nimrod
“I recognise this means taking a calculated risk on the capability Nimrod provides.”
More from David Cameron
“While our troops are right now at war in Afghanistan, risking their lives, they must get every penny piece of funding and equipment they need and I will make sure that they do”
Yes, by making many of their comrades redundant, cancelling programmes and stripping out capabilities that just might keep them alive in the future.
Lets examine the Coalition Governments balanced scorecard so far
- Reducing the planned purchase of 22 Chinooks to 12
- Delaying Trident for political reasons that will cost billions
- Cancelling Nimrod MRA4
- Reducing armour and artillery, if reports are to be believed, to the bone
- Reducing surface vessels
- Reducing Tornado
- Withdrawn Harrier GR9′s
- Withdrawing Sentinel
- Slashing allowances and expenses
- Setting up the armed forces for a post Afghanistan change in terms and conditions of service
- Implementing a 2 year pay freeze
- Reducing pensions
- Reducing service personnel by 17,000
- Reducing the MoD Civil Service by 25,000 which will likely result in more work for service personnel
- Removing the External Reference group from reporting on the Military Covenant
- Trying to convince everyone that the SDSR was a considered and balanced review (thats my favourite joke of the year)
And all this before Planning Round 11 kicks in.
The next time anyone says the Conservative Party is ‘strong on defence’ I am going to vomit.