I’m not entirely surprised to learn that the MoD’s top brass have blown £120,000 on luxury hotels costing up to £800 a night. After all, the ministry’s austerity chief, Sir Bernard Grey, ran up an eye-watering £23,000 expenses bill all on his own.
It is always a fairly safe bet that, given the slightest opportunity, an MoD spokesperson will say something cringingly stupid and inflammatory and this case is no exception. Apparently ‘hotel stays such as these are only approved when they are the most cost-effective solution and there are no suitable alternatives.’ Of course, it would be insulting to put the top brass up in Travelodge.
Meanwhile, soldiers endure cold showers and the sergeant and his family live in near derelict housing because the defence estate is managed in the most appalling and despicable fashion by CarillionAmey. A company the MoD recently saw fit to recognise with an Armed Forces Covenant Bronze award.
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.
‘Brims with authenticity and dark humour.’
Patrick Hennessey, bestselling author of The Junior Officers’ Reading Club
Doug Beattie, bestselling author of An Ordinary Soldier
‘A must read.’
Richard Dorney, bestselling author of The Killing Zone
‘The best book by a soldier concerning the Afghan War that I have read’
Frank Ledwidge, bestselling author of Losing Small Wars
SOLDIER The official magazine of the British Army
‘Not just for soldiers’
William Reeve, BBC World Service and Afghanistan Correspondent