Why Do I Bother

The post I did this morning on the press and communication officers was picked up by Guido over at Order-Order, a widely read political blog.

In his post he described the torrid time the MoD is having with issues on the covenant, sacking by email and loads of half trained pilots getting the boot for example and pondered who at the MoD would be handling all this bad news.

To quote from the Order-Order post;

As troop numbers are being slashed, who is responsible for mopping up these PR disasters? Well according to research by Think Defence, a battalion of spinners. They conclude that there are 697 personnel from both the military and civil service engaged in MoD spinning. Perhaps Fox should look again at where the axe is falling. Maybe send them an email.

At no point in the post did I call them ‘spinners, and although I have done a couple of silent edits the general thrust of my argument was to question the numbers of those engaged in communication activity and ask what they do, not insult people or present a distorted and salacious view. It’s not ‘research’ as Guido alludes to, its simply paying attention to openly published information in response to a parliamentary question.

Since Think Defence was started a couple of years ago the general tone has been one of respect but not deference, questioning but not judging (except where it relates to politicians) and striving to provide a forum for an improved debate beyond the ill informed tripe of ‘more admirals than ships’ and ‘civil service pen pushers’ even though there are one or two self indulgent rants now and then.

In fact, in numerous posts I have defended the MoD, civil servants and others against the general narrative, so it really is upsetting to think that the site might have strayed into tabloid territory, made a bad call and undone lots of hard work.

Mistakes can be made and I wonder if this was one of them.

Think Defence is a ‘spare time’ activity for all the contributors and it is at times like this, it makes me question why I bother.

Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
February 15, 2011 5:04 pm

Dude don’t be so down ! You have been misquoted by someone else, happens all the time on the interwebs. If anyone looks for the site as after effect of reading Guido, they will come here and read what you actually wrote, and lots of other good stuff. Hey even “real” journalists get miss-quoted, do don’t let it bother you.

Your hobby as become my hobby, for which I thank you. My own IT related blog as suffered massively since you opened this forum, due to all the time I spend reading and participating here :-) You do a marvelous job and you your cohort of regular readers and contributors are supportive and would not have it any other way.

The bottom line – the posting was not a mistake, don’t fret.

February 15, 2011 5:08 pm

“Think Defence is a ‘spare time’ activity for all the contributors and it is at times like this, it makes me question why I bother.”

Because the community you have built here is bigger than a mis-quote from a political blogger.

February 15, 2011 5:13 pm

TD, I wouldn’t worry too much as most people know that you would probably never have used those terms. Hopefully those reading the post on the other blog would have the sense and curiosity to refer to the original post here on this blog. But hey it is a political blog after all gotta change the language about and do something to get the punters in.

I think this blog tends to be a little different because most of the folks commenting and contributing or reading are either ex-military or have some other connection to the military or possibly just oddballs like me.

PS, I fully agree with Jed and Jedibeeftrix

Phil Darley
February 15, 2011 5:53 pm

Admin…. Calm dear boy I think the words Storm and Teacup spring to mind; or if you prefer Army speak the guy is talking bollox!!!

No impact on this fine Blog… Which is supported by fine chaps…. Like needed!!!! ;-))

A friend of Mr Gladstone
A friend of Mr Gladstone
February 15, 2011 6:03 pm

Be strong, shrug it off. This is an excellent balanced blog which manages to be both accessible and knowledgable at the same time. I don’t agree with some of you world view, but As a fully paid up sandal wearing pro European liberal I would say we need the strong analysis TD provides.

Phil Darley
February 15, 2011 6:04 pm

Bloody iPhone spell check. Last coinage should have read meeeee!!!!

Anyway get back to blogging. The reduction of Typhoons from 232, down to 162 now apparently it is going to be 60!!! Plus they have stopped fitting the PIRaTE sensor. None fitted to T1. they fitted it ti the first 10 T2s and have now stopped fitting it!

What’s next, take out the radar and replace with concrete. Try only using nod engine, just stop flying them!!!

You can’t make thus shit up!!

Fluffy Thoughts
Fluffy Thoughts
February 15, 2011 6:49 pm

Guido’s place and this place should not mix-nor-match. Can we go back to [the ols ways of] insight and not b1tch-fights…. :?

Fluffy Thoughts
Fluffy Thoughts
February 15, 2011 6:50 pm


Too much Dutch! Should read:

Can we go back to [the old ways of] insight and not b1tch-fights…. :?

paul g
February 15, 2011 7:02 pm

guido? i didn’t even get past the pompus name to read his obvious pants, anyway i’ll take him/her/it seriously when they can quote cubic area of a 40 ft container without having to look it up.
I’ve just read a comment from a 15 year fat albert pilot who obviously thinks this site has some credence, crack on fella if only for shits and giggles!!

John Hartley
John Hartley
February 15, 2011 7:24 pm

The civil service is not what it once was. This is not a rant against civil servants, just a statement of facts. Politicians were so scared of knowledgable “Sir Humpheys” they replaced them with pliable types that would not challenge them. Now we have a generation of politicians with almost no knowledge of the real world. The combination is toxic. It leaves the state rudderless.

February 15, 2011 8:05 pm

Its ‘teh Internetz’, brown stuff like this will always happen, ignore it and shrug it off, TD… even if it was an editing mistake…it happens, and you’ve countered it; end of discussion.
This place is one of the few online places where things are more balanced and thought-out, and gives options to things that are often portrayed as singular. Thats why its one of the few sites I regularly visit.

Also, lol its a political blog… x) our experiance from such people is currently not a shiney one! Perhaps you should email him ;)

Michael (Civ.)
Michael (Civ.)
February 16, 2011 12:54 am

Really, please don’t worry about it.

Do not even think of falling on your sword.

Who else asks the difficult questions that you ask & in the way that you ask them?

I do not know of any other site that covers the future of defence & related subjects in such detail. Almost always you are constructive & sometimes (i think), you really do have some stunning idea’s.

Then think about all the downright stupid decisions that the Gov. & MoD/Military sometimes come up with…..you are more than eltitled to rail about these incomprehensible decisons.

One other thing, all publicity is good publicity.

February 16, 2011 1:53 am

Please try to ignore such incidents. Only once have I felt like throwing in the towel and that was when I was attacked by a Scottish blogger. One thing I did learn from it was that I would never contribute or read any blog which did not have a private email address as the issue could have easily been resolved in confidence. Of course they were delighted to receive a mass of comments that day and I decided not to have a public argument.

On a more serious note, I rely on your balanced opinions of certain military matters which are of interest to me.

So, onwards and upwards. You’ll feel better shortly.

February 16, 2011 11:14 am

Big Jessie. You do what you do in a mature, fair and grown up way and leave the direct action to the rest of us in the comments section.

For what it’s worth I would fire every single press guy in the MOD; no questions, every one and appoint the next career civil servant in line to do the task.

Sound odd? It shouldn’t; that’s exactly how Bernard Ingham came to be Thatcher’s press officer; she didn’t have one until she was told it would be a good idea and she took the first bloke in the queue.

Gareth Jones
Gareth Jones
February 16, 2011 11:58 pm

Just got around to reading the offending blog. What a waste of space/time. Worse were the comments. One of the main reasons I like this site is not just the excellent articles but the informed and (generally) civil debates which follow.

@TD – Just echoing previous commentators; Keep up the Good Work and ignore the idiots!

Dangerous Dave
Dangerous Dave
February 18, 2011 12:00 pm

Not to mention, if you threw in the towel over such a trivial person, errm incident, where would wierdo’s like me hang out and get acclimatised to “normal” people? :-D

February 24, 2011 8:35 am

You bother, because someone has too, without some form of debate most of the mad ideas coming from the politicians and the mod would side past completely unopposed, without so much as a whimper.