Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Tory Military Cuts. Media Silence. As for the Chiefs of Staff...

Sherlock Holmes* famously identified "the dog that didn't bark" as the key clue in the solution of one of his more puzzling cases. Dogs bark when dogs are expected to bark, and when they don't bark, you must look for a reason. So it is with that other pack, the media pack, which raises a clamour when a big story breaks or there is a signifcant development in a major news story......they just love the scent of blood, and oh! how they bark when they smell it!

Except, there is a very big news story which has been going on for months now but the media pack hasn't so much as growled. That story is the neutering of the UK's defence capability and it has hardly raised a ripple.

Jim Murphy reacts to the latest cuts Tory here, but you don't have to take the latest cuts into account to see that the Tory Party is effectively dismantling the British military machine.

What interests me is the question: what if it was the Labour Party that was decommissioning ships, ordering aircraft carriers with no planes on them while, at the same time, sending newly built planes costing £millions each, to the knackers yard before they have even flown a test flight? If it was the Labour Party that was destroying our ability to rescue our own citizens from dangerous countries and sending in half-arsed James Bond-style missions to Lybia to be captured by peasants with pitchforks, meanwhile sending P45s to soldiers srerving in Iraq and Afghanistan, what would the media be saying then?

You don't really have to ask, do you? The media would be exploding. Think of the Mail or the Express, and the unholy righteousness they would unleash on any Labour minister making even a tenth of the Tory cuts to the army, the navy and the air force. The Sun! What hyperbolic headlines would they invent to vilify the cowardly pinkoes who are betraying "our boys"?

Whitehall itself would be like a war zone, with unhappy politicians ducking and diving to avoid the missiles launched by the Tory press.

But it's not been like that. Yes, the cuts have been reported, and the numbers are a matter of record, but the fury, the indignation, the outright outrage at the extent and depth of the damage being done to the countries defences: where is that? Where are the stentorian editorials and the hysterical headlines? Where is the sound, where is the fury?

It seems the right wing media is quite content to give the Tories an easy ride on this one, (which should be no surprise, really), but there are other silent dogs......

.....the military chiefs.

In the dying days of the Labour Government you couldn't open a newspaper or watch the TV news without being blinded by the light gleaming off a row of chest medals as one or other of the chiefs of staff or senior generals railed against Labour's crimes. Not enough helicopters, the wrong armour, ill fitting boots, radios that didn't work. All serious matters, and the more so if you're the one with pinching boots in a scorching desert or the squaddie withstanding enemy fire while trying to radio for a rescue helicopter.  But aircraft carriers with no planes on them!!! Come on! And newly built aircraft scrapped before they can take flight!! And perfectly serviceable and much needed boats sold off to the Argentinian and Australian navies at a fraction of their real value. In the annals of defence cuts these are the cuts to beat the band (the bands are being cut as well of course).

Meanwhile our (presumably Tory) defence chiefs sit back and say damn' all. They can swallow anything, endure any humiliation, fire any number of Tommies and Jack Tars, take anything the government can throw at them. As long as it's a Tory government.

* Sherlock Holmes is of course a fictitious character...... I know that.... the incident of the dog that didn't bark is from Silver Blaze, a short story published in The Memiors of Sherlock Holmes, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.


  1. Can't disagree. I expect they have all been promised seats in the House of lords and a guaranteed income of £300 a day + memoires money + ridiculous unfunded pensions, till they pop off.

    After all it's not them that will be fighting with no back up. They'll be taking lunch at the club, on expenses and spending the afternoon in a pleasant porty haze with their mistress, or boyfrined or whatever.

    On attend rien de plus ou de moins.

  2. This is interesting. You and Paisley's infamous Terry Kelly posting very similar blogs with the key elements being the 'right wing media' compliance with draconian cuts to the military and the top brass saying nothing.

    Do you guys get briefed on these things or did it just occur to you both at the same time?

    What's really annoying of course is that you're both completely right - even the bloody BBC, who have relegated the latest death in Helmand to 6th place headline below the Dalai Lama ceding his political roles and a new Barnado's project with asylum seekers... What a disgrace!

    Excellent analogy too - The dogs that aren't barking!

  3. Sorry Jim, I've never heard of Terry Kelly, so he can't be that infamous!

    He obviously reached the same conclusion as me at the same time...not surprising...

    ..the infamous General Dannett was on Newsnight* last night, smirking away at the cuts... don't affect me anymore lads, and anyway I voted Tory so haha!

    *We briefed J Paxman as well...! What a machine!!!

  4. Ah Braveheart! You're missing a treat!

    Maybe Paxman follows Terry Kelly too?

  5. I had a peek... ...I might give him the odd visit...

  6. I find most of my visits to him exceedingly odd...