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Grant Shapps inherits an army in decay

Grant Shapps is one of the Government's better communicators. Credit: Getty

August 31, 2023 - 5:15pm

It’s been quite the year for Grant Shapps. Following his appointment this morning as Defence Secretary, he now has the dubious honour of having served in no fewer than five Cabinet posts in the span of just one year.

On the surface, Defence must look like a fairly comfortable brief compared to a poisoned chalice such as the Home Office. There is a broad cross-party consensus on the most pressing policy issue, Ukraine, and few politicians suffer from having an excuse to endlessly say nice things about the Armed Forces.

Indeed, Ben Wallace became by some distance the most popular member of the Cabinet, holding an unchallengeable lead in league tables ranking Government ministers.

Yet this rosy picture is misleading, because the Ministry of Defence is a department beset by serious, systemic problems. Some of these are not really its fault, of course, but it is fair to ask about the increasingly ropey state of the Armed Forces.

Ever since the end of the Cold War, successive governments have seen the Defence budget as an easy cut. Yet while budgets have been pared back time and again, politicians have never had an honest debate about a more focused (some might say limited) role for the military.

Thus, the Armed Forces are expected to do everything — maintain the strength of the army, remain a two-carrier blue-water navy, and so on — on less and less money, with predictable consequences. This problem is compounded by a stubborn insistence on expensive, top-of-the-line kit which we are very, very bad at buying.

Again, broader Government priorities are partly to blame. Unable to honour all its ambitions on existing projects but unwilling to go through with cancellations, projects are salami-sliced and extended to spread (and thus, inflate) the costs.

But the Ministry of Defence has also failed to get a grip on the problem. Major projects are consistently wildly over-budget and late. Nor do they all even work: to date, the only damage done by the ÂŁ3.5 billion Ajax armoured vehicles has been to deafen some British soldiers.

So bad has this become that the Defence Select Committee has recently launched a full inquiry into the problem, headed up by Mark Francois. But avenues for scrutiny are limited, with the MoD having consistently fought off efforts to open up defence spending to interrogation by Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee.

By fending off independent oversight, the MoD has tacitly taken responsibility for making sure defence funds are well spent — and manifestly failed. Wallace, a former soldier well-respected in the defence community, failed to get a grip on this problem; there would appear to be little grounds for optimism that Shapps will be an improvement.

Defence procurement, though, is a granular, unappealing topic that will take a long time to solve. So close to the next election, Rishi Sunak putting one of Cabinet’s better communicators in one of the Conservatives’ stronger briefs looks much more like a political decision than a managerial one.


Henry Hill is Deputy Editor of ConservativeHome.

HCH_Hill

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Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
8 months ago

It’s not worth saving anyway!
Thanks to the abandonment of the well tried and tested policy of firing ‘aimed shots’ for the American doctrine of “suppressing fire’ the Infantry are little better than cowboys.
Young graduate officers are far too old (23/24) and grossly over qualified for infantry combat.
All sorts of ludicrous regulations to prevent so called bullying have sapped the fighting spirit of the’ teeth arms’.
Days spent discussing such idiotic ideas as ‘diversity’ and ‘inclusiveness’ at the cost of training are pointless.
We are supposed to be training disciplined killers NOT social workers and ‘’Aunt Sallys’.
Far too many young soldiers are married which is extremely detrimental to “good order and military discipline “
And finally employing WOMEN in the front line is sheer madness. When they get caught* and they WILL get caught, they will be sodomised and raped on an industrial scale, and probably flayed alive by trophy hunters!
We might as well scrap the whole dam shooting match and hire 100 thousand Gurkhas instead. They would be far better value for money and they don’t mind dying.

(*ie: Prisoners of War.)

Last edited 8 months ago by Charles Stanhope
Matt M
Matt M
8 months ago

I often wonder whether the dinghy-boys arriving in Dover every day couldn’t be whisked off to one of the islands off the east of the Falklands and told they can either 1. stay here in a tent until you are deported to your homeland or Rwanda or 2. sign up for a ten year stint in the army (assuming they pass the training) after which they can have citizenship and a resettlement allowance to move to Doncaster or Tenby or wherever.
The training could be as “old fashioned” as you like. There would be no women recruits, no “diversity and inclusion”. The recruits would all be younger than the graduates you say are too old (indeed some of them try to pass themselves off as school kids). The pay would be low but accommodation and necessities would be provided. The officers would be British, naturally.
They could be based on Weddell Island off the main Falkland Islands when not deployed, in case of an Argentinian sneak attack. Perhaps if the boats keep coming we could have divisions on St Helena, Ascension, Pitcairn! They could be a South Atlantic version of the Ghurkhas or modern day Sepoys.

Last edited 8 months ago by Matt M
Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
8 months ago
Reply to  Matt M

Your point 2 is an excellent idea and in fact precisely how the Roman Army used to work.
In their case it was 25 years of unmarried service, then the grant of full Roman citizenship . Any wife they now took also became a Roman citizen as did any offspring*.

(* even if born before discharge! ie: previously they were legally b*stards.)

j watson
j watson
8 months ago

Elements of that are quite amusing CS, and I do agree that we can forget our military have to be trained to kill. An unpleasant reality for many. Now of course they also do other vital work, and the training to ‘peace-keep’ when needed in difficult circumstances under provocation cannot be ignored.
But my question is more – why are we struggling so much with recruitment and retention in your view? (albeit there seems a growing proportionate tendency to a more comfortable rear echelon). And what do we do about it practically and seriously? Two kids in the Forces who grapple with this dilemma on almost daily basis.
This challenge is a factor in how the selection criteria has widened. It may not be the only factor, but you’ll know without it our ration strength would be even lower.
So many other questions of course about how we’ve fudged Defence strategic reviews for decades whilst trying to ‘punch above our weight’ and maintain the impression of a Global Britain. How long for example do we think our Aircraft carriers would stay afloat in the South China sea if hostilities really kicked off there?

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
8 months ago
Reply to  j watson

Well, and in reverse order, our two carriers would last about a long as their predecessors HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Repulse did in 1942. In other words few hours!
As to “punching above our weight”, I have always detested both those words, and the concept behind them. Nothing more than grossly embarrassing hubris, and so typical of our degraded Foreign Office and its pathetic mandarins.
I must admit I just don’t know on recruiting! We just don’t seem to have young MEN made of the ‘right stuff’ anymore! Worse, those that do turn up are generally obese and very unfit, and virtually impossible to turn into proper soldiers in the mere eighteen (?) weeks available. One must also ask who would really want to be a soldier in this day and age? Particularly, when they see for example soldier F of the Parachute Regiment still facing vexatious prosecution 51 years after the ‘event’.! (Thank you NORAID.)
Finally, yes there is the ‘peace keeping’ role, a wonderful euphemism for something that invariably turns nasty! Then, ‘when the drum begins to beat’ we find out who the real soldiers are!

ps. I note that tactfully left out the terrifying prospect of women in the front line! Well done.

j watson
j watson
8 months ago

Concur with first two paragraphs entirely CS. At least PoW and Repulse saw what was coming. They won’t this time.
My kids also concur the starting physical condition is appreciably lower these days, and some of the threshold for passing out also lowered, despite contentions not. They recognise though we all tend to be a bit rose tinted about the past. (Albeit you’ll also know that if we go back some decades the starting condition of recruits was even worse and you can see that in records of how they gained weight and height just from exercise and being properly fed quite quickly
On one level Irag/Afghanistan didn’t aid army recruitment esp. Body bags for something increasingly deemed pointless etc never helped much. But I also suspect that something more existential like the Ukrainians are experiencing would generate a huge influx. The reflex will still be there I think. But we don’t really have that threat. Demographics not in our favour either – there are just fewer young people than in our day.
We can better ‘sell’ the careers and the purpose. We can certainly better pay and recognise. Kids want a qualification. Often the Forces give them a trade they can subsequently use, but less so the frontline Squaddie. Maybe some guarantees about how they get really good training and support back into civvy street a marketing option. They do of course get some assistance but it’s not enough and not marketed.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
8 months ago
Reply to  j watson

Perhaps it should be a prerequisite that if you wish to join the Police you MUST have served at least three years with the ‘Colours’ would be a start?

ps. I personally do not believe that the Ukraine is worth the bones of even ONE ‘British Grenadier’ nor I suspect do most Britons.

Last edited 8 months ago by Charles Stanhope
Albert McGloan
Albert McGloan
8 months ago

Presumably it is MoD indoctrination that means ex-soldiers regurgitate the most comical PC gibberish? Such people would make the police even worse.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
8 months ago
Reply to  Albert McGloan

Former members of The Brigade of Guards used to join the Metropolitan Police in some numbers, much to the betterment of that force.
Sadly 
no longer.

The other problem is that the Police are simply NOT officered
properly, and thus they have became a quasi trade union, dominated by the Canteen Culture, much to their disgrace.

Albert McGloan
Albert McGloan
8 months ago

The problem with the police is that they’re representative of modern Britain.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
8 months ago
Reply to  Albert McGloan

Far, far worse is the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).
At the end of the day it is the CPS who tell the Police what to do and whom to prosecute .
And who ‘judges’ the CPS?God only knows! But there needs to be an investigation!

Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
8 months ago

Most constabularies actively reject applications from service veterans. Afraid their dedication to duty would show the rest up, presumably.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
8 months ago

Precisely!
Well said that man.

Peter B
Peter B
8 months ago

Do we still have Grenadiers ? I’m hoping the answer’s yes, but fearing it’s no …

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
8 months ago
Reply to  Peter B

Yes.

Matt M
Matt M
8 months ago

The army might well be in decay but this is because the 2021 Strategic Review made it clear that they were not the priority for defence spending.
Given we are an island, highly dependent on trade routes and with overseas bases and territories their priorities seem appropriate: expand the Royal Navy to be the “foremost naval power in Europe”, maintain (in fact increase) our nuclear deterrent, more satellites, drones, cyber, special forces and technical research.
You can’t have everything and this seems like a reasonable plan to me. After all should Russia invade, we can supply the ships and intel and the Europeans can supply the land forces.

Last edited 8 months ago by Matt M
Champagne Socialist
Champagne Socialist
8 months ago
Reply to  Matt M

“(in fact increase) our nuclear deterrent”
Why? Hideously expensive and utterly pointless.

Matt M
Matt M
8 months ago

We are pretty much un-invadable as long as we have the ability to destroy our opponents too with nuclear warheads. Along with good air defences, cyber and infrastructure protection, that would be enough to keep the home island safe from any aggressor. But to keep it supplied we need a navy (and allies).

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
8 months ago

Your sister Carla Valentino ‘popped in’ the other day, but now sadly seems to be gone again.

Last edited 8 months ago by Charles Stanhope
Alex Carnegie
Alex Carnegie
8 months ago
Reply to  Matt M

Perfectly logical but there is an unfortunate historical precedent. In the 1930s the politicians initially refused to increase defence spending because of the strength of the pacifism movement. Gradually from 1936 it did pick up but they made similar choices as today: the Navy and the latest shiny new modern weapon systems. In particular both Chamberlain and the top Treasury official were seduced by the RAF’s (erroneous) claims that bombing had made the Army as irrelevant as men with bows and arrows. As a result, as late as March 1939 – six months before the war started – the Treasury was still preventing the Army from buying any anti-tank guns since the former said it was inconceivable that the latter would be deployed in a Continental European war. You know the rest. Deployment to France necessary. Not enough anti-tank weapons to stop the Germans. Dunkirk. Since Victorian times the Army has been politically unappealing but then repeatedly suddenly needed urgently.

Matt M
Matt M
8 months ago
Reply to  Alex Carnegie

Perhaps, though wasn’t the mistake deploying the Expeditionary Force to France if it was known to be under-resourced?
Maybe the lesson is to build up the navy, intelligence and air defences, as per the Strategic Review and stop politicians committing our scare infantry resources to land battles we can reasonably avoid.
Wouldn’t it have been better (with hindsight) to not have deployed troops to France in 1914 or 1939 or to Afghanistan and Iraq in the 2000s?

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
8 months ago
Reply to  Matt M

Certainly NOT to France in 1914, but you will have to ask Niall Ferguson for an expert opinion on that.
As to 1939-40 we were effectively driven into the sea and saved little more than our underpants. Probably the most humiliating defeat since Yorktown, and certainly worse than Singapore.
The other two were little more than ‘live firing’ exercises, although again we ‘underperformed’, at least in US*eyes!

This photo says it all!

comment image

(* Their nickname “The Borrowers “ comes to mind!)

Last edited 8 months ago by Charles Stanhope
Alex Carnegie
Alex Carnegie
8 months ago

Why do you see Dunkirk as worse than Singapore? At least they got away while Singapore was Britain’s largest ever surrender (? ).

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
8 months ago
Reply to  Alex Carnegie

They ‘got away’ as you put it, because the German Quartermaster General did not want to feed, water, guard and transport 330,000 PoWs whilst the attack was in full flow and the ‘mission’* had yet to be accomplished.
The losses at Singapore were a mere 60,000, so rather minor in the scheme of things.
As you know full well, had the US NOT ‘bailed us out ‘ in late 1940 it would have been all over.
The fact that we had got most of the by now virtually unarmed BEF** back home would have been of NO consequence.

ps. Did you recognise the photograph by any chance?

(*The capture of Paris.)
(** British Expeditionary Force.)

Alex Carnegie
Alex Carnegie
8 months ago

You are absolutely right about the U.K. being basically bankrupt by late 1940. and thereafter being dependent on US support.

I may have been impressed by the Singapore collapse partly because I spent part of my childhood living in what had been the Changi POW camp. Then as an eight year old I made the mistake of reading King Rat by James Clavell and suddenly understood why our roses grew so well and that the scratches on the floor of my bedroom meant they must have been sixteen men sleeping there in 1942. It has never seemed to me like a remote episode in the history books.

Photo – Rommel? Calais?? Tobruk??

Last edited 8 months ago by Alex Carnegie
Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
8 months ago
Reply to  Alex Carnegie

Yes agreed a great book King Rat.

Photo: Especially for your good self is the surrender of the 51st Highland Division at St Vaéry-en-Caux in June 1940.
On left, as you correctly spotted is Generalmajor Rommel, looking rather smart, and to his right the rather unfortunately named GOC, Major General Fortune and his staff, all looking rather scruffy.

Alex Carnegie
Alex Carnegie
8 months ago
Reply to  Matt M

Again perfectly logical. Chamberlain and the Treasury saw things the same way and were genuinely surprised when the French refused to go along with a scheme where they did all the fighting and dying while the British merely observed from the air and sea. If the U.K. wanted an alliance then a commitment by troops was necessary. The emotional logic of alliances, I suppose.

1914, Iraq and Afghanistan – agree.

j watson
j watson
8 months ago
Reply to  Matt M

Is not the scenario much more that we would not be conquered by an invading army in the historical sense, but weakened and conquered from the inside out via Cyber warfare, drones etc, fifth columnists supported by control of media and messaging, and the collapse of allies elsewhere?
Plus we have nowhere near the navy to protect trade routes for ourselves let alone help others. For example we are completely incapable now of anything approaching the reconquest of the Falklands (albeit ditto for the Argentinians).
So much seems to come back to the essentialism of alliances and how these are developed and sustained.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
8 months ago
Reply to  j watson

Too late! The Trojan Horse is already here.

j watson
j watson
8 months ago

You’re not far wrong I fear. If you have time read Alex Joske’s ‘Spies & Lies’ about how CCP been conducting a covert infiltration strategy on multiple levels for over a decade. Putin tried similar but probably less successful and shot himself in the foot last 18mths.
I think we have woken up to this, but took longer than it should have. Made the hubris of fixating on a few aircraft carriers patrols through S China sea look a bit daft.

Alex Carnegie
Alex Carnegie
8 months ago
Reply to  j watson

Spot on. Britain never won European wars because it had an enormous army but because it had an unrivalled ability to assemble coalitions. Louis XIV – Marlborough had Dutch and Austrian contingents. Napoleon – Wellington had Dutch and Prussian. WW1 and WW2 – same. Consequently the armed services need to be designed with this as much in mind as a stand alone force. Therefore bigger Army. QED. Arguably just done it again in assembling support for Ukraine in the first few weeks.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
8 months ago
Reply to  Alex Carnegie

You omitted to mention that ‘we’ PAID those coalitions most handsomely.
‘The British Way to War’ so to speak.

Alex Carnegie
Alex Carnegie
8 months ago

True. But with borrowed money. So: Coalition building skills + good credit score = British way of war?

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
8 months ago
Reply to  Alex Carnegie

Our credit rating was good, even the Rothschilds would lend us money!

Matt M
Matt M
8 months ago
Reply to  Alex Carnegie

Britain has never had a large standing army and has always relied on conscription (and paid allies) at times of crisis.
Of course alliances are important but again, there is no point trying to specialise in everything. To be a good partner it is better to have a valuable specialism. In our case, the SR recommends that is naval and I can see the argument. Why would we develop large armoured divisions or huge infantries? Better to let the continental countries look after that, as they are more likely to find themselves on the sharp end of an attacking land force. They can save money on their navies to invest in these areas by relying more on us. After all, the RN blockade of Germany was one of the most decisive (and destructive) elements of WW1. And it would probably have been better for the British Empire if we had limited our involvement to that.

Last edited 8 months ago by Matt M
Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
8 months ago
Reply to  Matt M

Precisely, and bearing in mind what AC (above) has said about the British propensity for Coalitions, it makes the decision of 1914 almost incomprehensible.
There can have been NO greater failure by the ‘Patrician’ class in British history

.none!

Matt M
Matt M
8 months ago
Reply to  j watson

They said we couldn’t retake The Falklands in 1982. They told us our aircraft carriers were floating targets then too. And that our army was too small.
Of course we could retake them today. It is traditional British defeatism to think otherwise.
The Royal Navy is still a formidable force (of course it is not comparable to the 19thC RN but so what). And it is growing at a considerable rate.
The Strategic Review makes exactly the same point you are making about the importance of investing in cyber security, unmanned aircraft and other technology. 5th Columns are only possible if the country is disunited, in WW2 they were rolled up pretty easily by the authorities.
As for allies, of course that is necessary but committing under-resourced troops to theatres where they will under perform just to appease an ally is the height of irresponsibility. Not good for them, or us. Far better that we focus on a few things and offer those services to the alliance.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
8 months ago
Reply to  Matt M

The Chiefs of Staff did NOT say we couldn’t retake the Falklands. In fact they said just the opposite.
It is alleged that they told the PM the ‘butcher’s bill’ (BB) could be around 2,500, and on that basis she said “go ahead”.
In the event the BB was only around 260.

Matt M
Matt M
8 months ago

Not the CoS but many in the press and many foreign countries said exactly that. ANd obviously the Argentinians gambled that that would be our own conclusion.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
8 months ago
Reply to  Matt M

The Press know nothing! A bunch of mainly male hysterics when it comes down to it.
As to ‘Jonny Foreigner’ what else would you expect?
The Argentinians were encouraged by the obvious feebleness of the Labour government under
Callaghan & Co, and obviously hopelessly underestimated Mrs T. Now doubt their ridiculous ‘macho’ culture played a part there.
Oddly they didn’t remember their own history, when they had given us a good beating in 1806/7.
Finally they may naively have expected the US to ‘save them’, by invoking say the Monroe Doctrine. It did look for a moment as if US General Haig was going to a stop things, but fortunately nice Mr Reagan sorted that out!

Alex Carnegie
Alex Carnegie
8 months ago
Reply to  Matt M

The Russians certainly and I think the some of the Americans believed it was militarily impossible.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
8 months ago
Reply to  Alex Carnegie

‘They’ would.
Torpedoing the Belgrano was a good start, it demonstrated resolve and also terrified the rest of the Argentinan Navy and crucially their Aircraft Carrier, which subsequently never left port!

polidori redux
polidori redux
8 months ago

Grant Shapps inherits an army in decay
Just like the rest of the country.
Somebody please put this wretched parliament out of our misery.

Jonathan Nash
Jonathan Nash
8 months ago

Fortunately he is five different people.

David Lindsay
David Lindsay
8 months ago

No one complains when the Education Secretary has never worked in education. No one complains when the Health Secretary has never worked in the NHS, which is the largest employer in the country. Yet it is considered objectionable that the Defence Secretary has never been in this country’s tiny Armed Forces, which are that size even though Britain has the sixth largest military budget in the world. Don’t ask, don’t tell. What good has it done the Armed Forces to have had a succession of khaki fetishists as Secretary of State?

“The Ministry of Defence is back on the path to being once again world class with world class people,” wrote Ben Wallace, which must have been why he had resigned. Only “back on the path”, and who steered it off that path in the first place? Who was Secretary of State for Defence for four years until yesterday? Which party has been in government for 13 years? I could have taught Claire Coutinho in school, but I am used to that sort of thing now. What really strikes me is that Wallace is only seven years older than I am, yet he looks as if he could be my father.

Sore at not having been promoted to Secretary of State for Defence from her present position with no policy role, Lord High Admiral Penny Mordaunt, who ought to enter all rooms to the sound of Sir Joseph Porter’s Songhas managed to get herself into the Daily Mail anyway, by flogging the dead horse called National Service. As if they would turn up. Or as if the Armed Forces would want them to.

Ben Wallace’s military credentials are barely less questionable than Mordaunt’s. But ignore anyone who advocated a military intervention unless you could imagine that person as an 18-year-old in battle. In Ukraine as in every case, the call for war is coming from the liberal bourgeoisie. That is the class least likely to join the Armed Forces voluntarily, or to see combat even in periods of conscription. Operationally, that is of course just as well. But if there is not a strong enough case for conscription, then there is not a strong enough case for war. Unless a country needed to mobilise its entire healthy and able-bodied male population of fighting age, then it is not under sufficient threat to justify going to war at all. Britain is not.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
8 months ago
Reply to  David Lindsay

What’s wrong with Ben Wallace’s military credentials?

Samuel Ross
Samuel Ross
8 months ago

Britain’s army and navy, once the world’s best, is not now in the top 20 or 30. A sad fall for a once-great nation. Ah, well. Who knows what the future h;olds?

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
8 months ago
Reply to  Samuel Ross

‘We’ did it ourselves, and CANNOT blame anyone else.

Matt M
Matt M
8 months ago
Reply to  Samuel Ross

Not quite true that Samuel. The Royal Navy is world class. Obviously not at the US level, nor China. But after that we are in the running. The Russians have lots of vessels but very old. The Japanese are building a very strong blue water navy. But then so are we (and we are part of AUKUS so we have privileged access to technologies that Japan doesn’t).
We also have very good signals intelligence, cyber and some well placed human assets (it is suggested we had eyes inside the Kremlin at the start of the war)..
We have a small army with excellent special forces but then Britain has never had a large peacetime army. In fact not that long ago, the British and American publics disliked standing armies and were distrustful of seeing soldiers in uniform.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
8 months ago
Reply to  Matt M

What the French Navy like these days?
They used to have a very fine looking Aircraft Carrier that ‘stole the show’ at the Spithead Review a few years ago, rather embarrassingly!

Last edited 8 months ago by Charles Stanhope
Matt M
Matt M
8 months ago

The French Navy is very good though perhaps showing its age (most of their frigates were commissioned around the same time Gerard Depardieu was starring in Green Card with Andie MacDowell). They are very proud of their new Barracuda class attack subs.
Their aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle is nuclear powered and about halfway through its life. It took 11 years to build and ran way over budget and so the planned second ship was dropped. For a while they were talking about buying an Elizabeth class ship off us but that idea was dropped in 2013.
Macron has now announced a new design with possible sea trials in the late 2030s.

Last edited 8 months ago by Matt M
Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
8 months ago
Reply to  Matt M

Thank you.

Peter B
Peter B
8 months ago

As with the NHS, I think the bureaucracy of the MoD is so embedded that the only way now is to start a new parallel organisation focused on the actual jobs that need doing and nothing else. Grow that and wind down the legacy MoD.
I hate to bang on about this yet again, but “Parkinson’s Law” told us how the future would be. Almost 70 years ago now. We’ve just sat back and let it happen. The proportion of funding actually making it through to the troops continues to drop. OK, so it’s not as bad as things like HS2. But nothing’s quite that bad for overspend and waste.
Also a note that the MoD is sitting on huge unused land and property assets that could and should be put to better use.
While we’re here, stop lowering standards for Army, Navy and Air Force recruits. You don’t build a world-class organisation by lowering standards (recent adevertisting campaigns a case in point). By some miracle, we still seem to have some world-class capabilities – like training other militaries. And some good kit.

Rob Britton
Rob Britton
8 months ago

Grant Shapps is a prime example of the Peter Principle. The more useless you are the higher you are promoted.

Champagne Socialist
Champagne Socialist
8 months ago

Great to see the free speech enthusiasts at Unherd requiring my posts to be approved.

Alex Carnegie
Alex Carnegie
8 months ago

I think you are not alone and being picked on specifically. I am getting the same treatment intermittently. It may be that the eagle eyed folk at UH – or perhaps UH’s software – have drawn up a list of “usual suspects” who require adult supervision and we both feature. If so, you may be wrong in assuming one of us hypocritical free speech freaks has denounced you.. Meanwhile, after inspection they seem to approve most posts after an hour or two so it’s not yet the end of civilisation – though I do hope it is not like the last stages of the “Let a hundred flowers bloom” campaign in 1957 (if you are familiar with Chinese history).

Last edited 8 months ago by Alex Carnegie
Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
8 months ago

May I give you a word of advice CS.
The term CS dates back at least sixty years if not earlier. Unless you are a very elderly marxist hippy, it is entirely inappropriate for one so young as your good self.
Perhaps WOKE WARRIOR would be more appropriate, and thus the ‘younger’ commentators on UnHerd would then understand exactly what you are, n’est pas?

Last edited 8 months ago by Charles Stanhope