This is an important, MUST-READ article from the Mail Online. Check it out!
via Bill for sacking troops to hit £500m: MoD discloses huge cost of the controversial cuts for the first time | Mail Online.
When I read this article, I was immediately angered. Then I tried to focus my anger, and started to thing about the latest news in response to a Freedom of Information request from a a Labour MP.
Firstly, I felt sadness for the soldiers consigned to the economic scrap-heap. They have served their country honorably and then are treated disgracefully by the Ministry of Defense (MOD) and the Coalition Government.
Secondly, the article justifies the cuts as necessary because of the huge black hole in the MOD’s finances. Here I have a problem with the Mail’s analysis and conclusions. What’s happened to the editorial policy of the Mail? If there has been serious mis-management by the MOD, this must surely be independently investigated and those responsible held fully accountable? This is just like the 2008 banking crisis, and the MOD’s executives should should be challenged in the courts. If found guilty, they should face jail, and forfeit there gold-plated pensions and severance packages.
Thirdly, my anger focused on the Coalition Government that only announced the size of the severance package when challenged under a Freedom of Information request. This is the same government that has publicly been congratulating itself on its openness. So what might David Cameron’s government be trying to hide? Firstly, I think that defense strategy and related policy has been an omni-shambles, without adequate independent risk analysis and bottom-up costing. How can the same government justify billions on a high-speed train when the defense of the UK is probably at its lowest level for centuries? Secondly, there is the huge question about David Cameron’s government’s economic management, with excessive austerity and huge cuts to public services, with billions going in pay-offs to Civil Servants to keep them quiet. Am I missing something here? Every self-respecting economist, including the IMF has questioned the UK’s excessive levels of austerity; to be clear, these cuts have been ideologically based, rather than evidence-based policy. Surely, pure ideological policy, without independent evidence is evil? For an extreme example of pure ideological policy look at the the Nazi Party in Germany.
Sadly, the Labour Party do not have a reputation for good economic management, otherwise a robust leadership could promise to hold Cameron’s government to account in the law, if they won the next election. Personally, I think that the Labour Government’s actions in response to the economic crisis of 2008 were like virgin snow in comparison to the economic incompetence of the last three years under Cameron. Where are the Labour Party’s big beasts?
To return to the sacked troops, I worry about their problematic transition to civilian life.
Let me turn this to an open question:
If the UK has an effective independent media, plus an effective Opposition Government, how should they both be responding to the increasing questions about the UK’s economic management and collapse in public services?
- Conservative radicalism can go too far – Telegraph (dralfoldman.com)
- Labour leader Ed Miliband sets out plans to give struggling firms a tax break (thejournal.co.uk)
- The death of the interim management industry? (dralfoldman.com)
- The decline of evidence based policy – Simon Wren-Lewis – Mainly Macro (dralfoldman.com)
- Dr Alf’s Two Cents: It is time for Lord Ashcroft and the Tory party to part company – Peter Obone – Telegraph (dralfoldman.com)
- Miliband condemns Cameron for ‘crisis’ in cost of living (itv.com)
- Miliband in pledge on minimum wage (standard.co.uk)
- Ed Miliband: Labour will increase national minimum wage (theguardian.com)
- Bank of America Merrill Lynch intern Moritz Erhardt died after overworking – Case for EU regulation? (dralfoldman.com)
- UK scraps ‘discriminatory’ immigration bond plan after outcry (therebel.org)
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Dr Alf poses interesting questions and like me some years ago wonders what on earth is happening with the MOD and more broadly, Government spending.
For me, the MOD is no longer a mystery.
This realization came some years ago when I looked at the record of MOD spending and its performance on projects, procurement and supply chain.
Since I was born, the MOD has not completed a single project or piece of procurement on time and to budget with the average over budget amount being quadruple the original estimate.
The worst example was the project for the Bowman Radio which was 12 times over budget and more than 12 years late.
Over the years, I have asked people with military backgrounds how this can possibly be, given that the standard used for all Government projects is Prince 2 which is the Government’s own standard and only allows for project tolerances of 6% to 8%.
The answers I have been given range from “mission creep” to low initial bids to Generals and Civil Servants and Ministers “gold plating requirements”, to Ministerial meddling to changes of Government resulting in expensive bids being junked.
To my mind, this might explain prices perhaps doubling over the course of a long build cycle of something like an aircraft carrier but not quadrupling or even more than that.
If one looks at the amount of money spent as a proportion of the total spend by Government, on defence, even I, as a non accountant, can see that the numbers do not add up.
Our Tri-Forces is now down to less than 100,000, too small to be able to defend the country or our sea lanes and this at a time when more than 50% of our food is being imported, our population is rising, we lack a coastal protection vessel to watch our coastline and 5000 farmers a year are going bankrupt whilst another 100 a year or more commit suicide.
The plan has always been to turn the UK military into a “plug and play ” component of US Forces and a new European Army which between them will form the basis of a World Army once Russia and China have been brought to heel.
Unfortunately for the proponents of this, Europe lacks the money to perform this role and the UK is so heavily indebted thanks to those behind the banking crisis who enriched themselves at taxpayers expense that it cannot even maintain a full-time professional Tri-Forces and now has to resort to sacking the Forces we have and trying to make up the difference with reserves who are too few in number.
The media, including the Daily Mail, concentrate on the redundancy and extraordinary costs associated with the sackings but does not deal with these bigger questions because they are not permitted to report on them.
This is because these matters are part of the much bigger Bilderberger Agenda of creating a World Army in stages, destabilizing the Middle East, destabilizing Russia, encircling China and formulating a Global currency starting with the Amero as and when the Euro and the dollar fail or are made to fail.
With an understanding of this bigger picture, one can see why the present Government and others in Europe and America since 1954, when the Bilderbergers were established in the Osterbeek hotel in the Netherlands with Prince Bernhardt at its head, are acting as they are.
Dr Alf asks about “An effective Media”, it is clearly becoming less effective as the Royal Charter under Leveson is set up and the politicians smarting at the Telegraph’s expose of MPs untrammeled greed and malfeasance during the expenses scandal now see their opportunity for revenge.
Labour, as an Opposition, is weak and ineffectual hence the rise of direct action by militant Trades Unionists like Unite, the RMT and the Teaching Unions and the BBC is little more than an Establishment mouthpiece packed with overpaid executives doing non jobs.
The UK is being managed into decline and lower expectations for the many and I cannot see on present trends that this will change for anything other than perhaps 4% of the population.