Sunday, 13 June 2010

Order of the Boot

So, Stirrup has gone. I was not aware that the Queen's Birthday Honours included the Order of the Boot but he certainly qualified for such and award. Whether or not The Times were aware of his impending departure when they did the Officers' Mess inquiry we shall not know but those revelations cannot have helped.
His jacket had been hanging from a loose nail anyway. He entered into machinations with Brown so as to deny Dannatt promotion, "There is little love lost between Sir Richard and Sir Jock, who was part of a "fix" in 2008 that prevented Sir Richard from being considered as a candidate to succeed him as Chief of the Defence Staff. In a deal masterminded by Downing Street, Sir Jock agreed not to retire last year but to stay on as Chief of the Defence Staff until 2011, keeping him in the most senior military post for five years. He took over in April 2006, before troops had been sent to Helmand province, and would normally have retired in 2009. The move scuppered the succession hopes of Sir Richard, who was viewed by Downing Street as too outspoken, and of Admiral Sir Jonathon Band, then First Sea Lord. The Iran fiasco, when 15 sailors and marines were taken hostage by Revolutionary Guard gunmen in the Gulf in 2007 put paid to his chances." Britain’s top military commander faced mounting pressure to step down from generals who believe that he lacked the necessary experience to lead the war effort in Afghanistan.
There existed a growing view in Whitehall that a soldier, rather than an airman, should run the Armed Forces up to 2014 — a period when the Army will absorb an increasing amount of the MoD’s resources because of its leading role in the Afghan land war.
The Conservatives are committed to holding a strategic defence review.Senior Whitehall sources said that it also made sense for a new man, from the Army hierarchy, to head the Armed Forces — both to bring fresh ideas to the review and to help to implement its conclusions.
The possibility of a change at the top led to tensions at the highest level in the Ministry of Defence. The chiefs of the Royal Navy and RAF were particularly concerned about the prospect of further cuts to their services.But the chance to appoint Dannatt has gone - he tied his coat to the Tories in advance of their coming into power. This was not a terribly productive alliance and Dave is very keen to be seen as on-side in military matters. Note his use of the phrase 'front and centre' - That is an idiom from the military world, where anyone ordered from the ranks to come "front and centre" is required to step forward out of the ranks, usually to face the NCO. However, it is one I never heard in my military service in a British army so I can only assume Dave got it from late night viewing of Burt Lancaster doing the naughties with a very nubile Deborah Kerr portrayed in From here to Eternity or his script-writer does not have access to's wiki.

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