The Ministry of Defence: A listening organisation

The Ministry of Defence never ceases to amaze.

In response to a leaked memo in which General Sir Richard Barrons outlines his concerns that the UK is ill-prepared to defend against a serious military attack a defence source suggested this was ‘sour grapes‘ after Sir Richard was turned down for promotion to head of the armed forces.

When Deborah Haynes revealed in The Times that the MoD had published the details of every regular officer, reservist officer and university trainee on a government website it refused to remove the list, insisting that ‘the security of our people is our foremost concern’.

When fat cat, Sir Bernard Grey was awarded a £60,000 ‘non-competitive’ deal to conduct a performance review on himself, an MoD spokesperson stated this would ‘provide best value for money’.

When an unfavourable report submitted to the MoD recommended an urgent review of its £440 million contract with Capita because it was failing in its recruitment mission the ministry responded by stating ‘action has been taken’.

When the Defence Select Committee lambasted the MoD for continuing to issue anti-malarial drug, Lariam to troops stating it should be used only as the drug of last resort, the MoD responded: ‘We have a duty to protect our personnel from malaria and we welcome the committee’s conclusion that, in some cases, Lariam will be the most effective way of doing that.’

When General Sir Richard Shirreff, the former deputy supreme allied commander in Europe (DSACEUR) expressed his opinion that cuts in UK defences were ‘a hell of a gamble‘ the MoD’s response was to state: ‘This guy has made a series of outlandish claims over the years. He’s trying to sell a book, so you have to expect such outbursts.’

On its website the Ministry of Defence claims to be a listening organisation. I leave you to draw your own conclusion.

SPIN ZHIRA: Old Man in Helmand is the unauthorised, unvarnished and irreverent story of one man’s midlife crisis on the front line of the most dangerous district in Afghanistan where the locals haven’t forgiven the British for the occupation of 1842 or for the Russian Invasion of 1979. Of course, all infidels look the same so you can’t really tell them apart.

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