Sunday, July 05, 2009

MOD's weird sense of what's important

I know that service personnel and their families often get a raw deal - there have been scandals about our troops being ill equipped on duty, badly cared for if they are injured and poorly housed at home.

Now I discovered in today's Sunday Herald that the MOD includes travelling time from places like Iraq and Afghanistan in the calculation of soldiers' leave. So, exhausted troops, who may have faced all sorts of ordeals and traumas in the field, have their time at home, when they can relax with their families, and recharge their batteries, cut short.

No wonder soldiers and their families feel undervalued!

What worries me is that there are bound to be cuts in defence spending in the current financial climate. Will this Government sacrifice basic amenities at home and abroad for troops in order to waste £20 billion renewing Trident? Nick Clegg tried to pin the Prime Minister down on this at PMQs last week.

The Government will sign the first contracts for the replacement of Trident over the Summer. The economic climate was very different when Parliament made the decision to replace the system. That should surely be revisited.

It strikes me as bizarre that the MOD is splashing out on a new nuclear weapons system which, as well as being completely immoral, is strategically unnecessary, when the troops that we have on the ground are denied time with their families and not provided with the basics they need to do their jobs. Those are not the priorities I'd choose. In my experience you get the best out of people when you treat them properly. It's a lesson the MOD would do well to learn.

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Wardog said...


What makes this worse is the an(anonymous) MoD spokesperson when they've cited the Defence Minister.

Labour have tried to paint Bob Ainsworth as a hero with the troops, speak to any serving soldier and you'll get a very different story.

More Labour spin, more soldiers lives.

Utterly shameful and tragic.

PJ said...

I couldn't agree more!

There are a couple of apt sayings in the services one of which is that if the military were a business it would have gone bust a long time ago. The other is that if the services had more women making key decisions it would be run very differently (read "better" when it comes to personal/personnel/compassionate matters).

One of the main reasons women leave the services is that it is made almost impossible to have a family and return to work. Impossible because there is little to no consideration given to co-locating families. I was told by my posting officer to choose between my career and my family - not a tough choice!!

I understand the ramifications of military decision making but in an organisation that claims that flexibility is the key to military power - there is a total lack of flexibility when it comes to remembering that service personnel are people as well as military assets.


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