Cameron's PR fluff inspired visit to the troops was initially greeted with much column inches. His Henry V-style emotive outpourings were just what the lads may have wanted to hear "I want to put you front and centre of national life again," he said. "I want you to help me create a new atmosphere in our country, an atmosphere where we back and revere and support our military. What you are doing here will never be forgotten, it is great and important work. You are incredibly brave and professional in what you do. I stand here as your prime minister, wanting to tell you from the bottom of my heart that you should be proud of yourselves and what you do because your country is incredibly proud of you."
He was appreciative of the former Government's initiative suggesting bribing junior Taliban to desert their tasks. His announcement of doubled allowances was well received but was it bribery? "Stick with it lads and we will see you all right" If a few million quid would asist in stifling calls to get out - so be it.
However, today's revelations about the premature disappearance from the MOD gravy train of the driver has set off debate about the Armed Forces review. It seems pretty certain that force levels will be cut back as part of guaranteed cost cutting at MOD.
So, what value the announcements about how greatly valued the soldiers are? "What you are doing here will never be forgotten" he said. Maybe not but will it be properly acknowledged? The really expensive toys in the defence cupboard are things to which we are contractually bound and huge penalty payments would fall due. This regardless of the money already invested in the planning and design aspects. It is in such 'non-essentials' as manpower that the easiest cuts will come.
There is an old Army adage that the secret of retaining a woman's love is to keep her well fuc*ed and poorly shod. Certainly one that has been used of late. The Army prides itself on Can Do and telling them they must carry on even more fuc*ed and less well shod would work. Doubling on per diem allowances would be a drop in the ocean if it kept them smiling whilst the knives are being sharpened ready to make savage cuts. Maybe the MOD civvy departing early could chip in a few quid with a car boot sale of the £1000 a go Herman Miller office chairs distributed in a MOD refurb at a time when troops were crying out for a few quids worth of personnel protection kit or buying their own equipment as the issued stuff was cheepo rubbish that did not do the job