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Subject: How Blair is destroying our Forces
Forest    6/19/2006 9:05:43 PM
How Blair is destroying our Forces One reason British troops continue to be killed and injured in southern Iraq is that they are expected to patrol in lightly-armoured Land Rovers which give them no protection against roadside bombs and rocket-propelled grenades. Meanwhile, their American counterparts walk away unscathed, even when their RG31 armoured patrol vehicles are hit by the same explosives. Yet the Ministry of Defence has not equipped the British Army with the RG31, even though it is built by a British-owned company. This is a small but chilling example of the shambles the MoD is making of Britain's defences, thanks not least to the way Tony Blair is trying to pursue two contradictory policies at the same time. This has not been properly appreciated because media coverage of defence has become so scrappy. On one hand, as we saw yet again with his recent visit to Washington, Mr Blair tries to keep in with the Americans by committing thousands of hard-pressed and ill-equipped British troops to fighting the insurgencies in Iraq and Afghanistan. Bush and Blair still like to talk of keeping alive the Joint Strike Fighter project, the last major example of Anglo-US collaboration on military hardware. On the other, as we saw again with his subsequent visit to President Chirac, Mr Blair has stealthily agreed to Britain playing a key role in the planned European Rapid Reaction Force. For this, he and the MoD have been prepared to restructure the British Army, scrapping the old regiments, and to commit colossal sums to buying every kind of European equipment, including two giant aircraft carriers, which we are to build with the French. The MoD's top priority is to meet the "Helsinki goals", agreed by EU leaders in 1999, on the creation of an integrated European defence force. The project is co-ordinated by the European Defence Agency in Brussels, led by a former senior MoD official, Nick Witney. To this end the MoD has been prepared to spend billions on EU-made missiles, ships, trucks, artillery and armoured vehicles, not to mention a French-led project to build unmanned aircraft, which Blair discussed with Chirac earlier this month, following Britain's withdrawal from a similar joint project with the US. This has left the British Army starved of proper resources for its current tasks and so overstretched that it must rely on thousands of territorial soldiers, with its morale sapped by the dangerous lack of proper equipment and by the MoD's insistence on enforcing the European Convention on Human Rights in situations to which it was never intended to apply. The real problem is that all this has been so hidden away behind layers of stealth and deception that no one ever asks any longer that fundamental question: what are our Armed Forces for? Behind the scenes, the driving force of national policy is to fit us to play our part in building up a European expeditionary force, capable of operating anywhere in the world. But no one can explain the purpose of such a force, for essentially it has only one: to promote the cause of European integration. This leaves us, in an increasingly darkling world, with forces ill-designed to protect any national British interests. Indeed, so dependent are we now becoming on equipment bought from our EU partners, including our most basic guns and ammunition, that it will soon be inconceivable that we could operate without their consent. Meanwhile, our armed services are being asked to perform dangerous tasks, knowing that they no longer have much practical support from a Government bent on exploiting them politically, for purposes they find it increasingly hard to under-stand. When the final charge sheet is drawn up against the way Mr Blair governed this country, one of the most damning charges will be the way in which he destroyed its Armed Forces. Yet the remarkable thing will be how almost nobody at the time noticed it was happening.
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StudentofConflict    RE:How Blair is destroying our Forces   6/20/2006 10:05:07 AM
Check out Sky 1 10pm tonight, programme on this very subject. IMHO, the socialist filth hate the armed forces, because they're bastions of what they see as conservative values, such as honor, loyalty, honesty and decency. Labours sole interest is in buying the votes of worthless chavscum and handwringing liberals with our money. Look at the immigration problem,it'll never be sorted because hes importing unemployment , which is like free votes for labour by putting up benefits. The man (and his worthless toadies) hate everything this country once stood for. I mean have a look at recent govt info commercials-like the TV license or speeding cameras. Do we live in the home of the Magna carta,the mother of parliaments, and liberty, or is it east germany now? Here endeth rant, I get impassioned about these things...
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Liver    RE:studentofconflict   6/20/2006 5:52:26 PM
Come On...... - Blair Socialst, where the hell did that come from, hes kept it hidden mightily well over all these years hasent he. I mean recalling clause four and totaly reforming (some would say destroying) the Labour Party as it once existed was a stroke of sheer inspiration, i mean it threw Everybody (apart from you that is) completely off his trail. As for this tory monopoly on what was it, ah yes "honor, loyalty, honesty and decency." well you know they kinda had me fooled to with all that stuff that happened in their last govenment you know all that stuff about: - Jonathan Aitken and the conviction for perjury - David Mellor and Tim Yeo had to resign over sex scandals - Tim Smith and Neil Hamilton Cash for Questions and lots more besides all that, but then i suppose the ideas of honour loyalty, honesty and decency are all relative anyway and besides i cant seriously be suggesting that you should judge the "FILTH"(no comment on who the filth is ;) ) by the same standards as the fine upstanding protectors of the interests of the british poeple can you, my god that would be unthinkable!!!! As for all you other comments such as "Look at the immigration problem,it'll never be sorted because hes importing unemployment , which is like free votes for labour by putting up benefits" - where the hell did you pull it from what are your facts and what exactly IS the immigration problem, sounds like some good old fasioned tory jingoisim to me, in the finest traditions o' the party of course, old chum. no johnny foreigner here thankyouverymuch!! we're happy with our little island fortress, what say we give the frog a good kicking old bean, ah to return to the days of empire........ well as to that: - we have an ageing population, with a declining proportion of our nations fine inhabitants being economicaly active, the immigration is proping up the uk economy. - unemployment one of the lowest in europe and one of the lowest in the world and in recent years has shown no real prospect of dramaticaly shifting upwards despite imigration making up roughly half of the uks population increase between 1991 and 2001. and as for The speed cameras and tv licensing what exactly is your problem ..... you reserve the right to break the law?????? Here endeth my rant too.
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flamingknives    RE:studentofconflict   6/20/2006 6:18:05 PM
AIUI, much of the sourcing for that article comes from a Dr. Richard North, who is a Eurosceptic and seems to think that the sun sets when the US sits down. The RG-31 might be a good thing to have, but we already have the CLV, which is a similar, if smaller, vehicle. Furthermore, when the British army was in Northern Ireland during the height of the IRA's activities, they were using full-on battlefield APCs. The use of these was discontinued after the IRA destroyed a number of these using command-detonated mines. Apparently, armoured vehicles had a distinctive noise and were easily identified for attack. The loss of US Abrams in Iraq and Israeli Merkavas in the occupied territories indicates that no vehicle is entirely safe.
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Lawman    RE:studentofconflict   6/21/2006 4:40:39 AM
Dealing with this in stages: Immigration - legal immigration is a good thing, illegal immigration is a bad thing. Anyone who does not see a difference between the two is sadly misguided. Legal migrants come to the UK, earn money, pay taxes, and generally have a better work ethic than most of the current population. In contrast, illegal immigrants generally pay no taxes, do not get proper jobs, and often get involved in crime, for whatever reason. The TV license and speed cameras - these are indeed a bad idea, and contribute very little, other than making the BBC more venomous and the police richer. I would support the abolition of speed cameras and the tv tax, but it must be done by popular means - perhaps a referendum, following a mass petition. Support for the military - the problem is one of votes. The labour party recognises that spending X amount on the military may buy a few more votes, but if that same amount were spent on opening a new school or hospital (even if it closes down a year later), it would buy quite a few votes. The other problem is Gordon Brown, vote-buyer in chief - he uses the purse strings to leverage support for him (for the eventual showdown with Blair) and to buy votes. The sad truth is that the Tory party are not much better, they may complain about Labour letting the troops down, but they would not increase the budget either. Personally, I would like to see the UK spending 3% GDP on defence, possibly more, with far more funding for the actual frontline forces (the Army, RAF aircraft, and RN ships, not just the MoD). An end to the endless contractorisation would probably help, since it is almost never more cost effective. Taking a leaf out of Australia's book would help - look to increase capabilities, even if it costs money - the UK should easily be able to afford four times their force, which would be truly impressive. As for the European defence force, or whatever they are calling it this week, I actually have to say I agree with it. I am a Euro-sceptic (I feel the UK would be better served by membership in EFTA, possibly supplemented by membership in NAFTA), but for peacekeeping purposes, having a dedicated force might make sense. I feel the UK should have ~50,000 troops for peacekeeping, preferably cooperative with NATO (particularly Poland, Italy and Canada), and a further ~50,000 for offensive purposes.
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Forest    RE:BBC   6/21/2006 9:16:49 AM
I don’t have a problem with the way the BBC is funded. If we commercialise the Beeb it’s reason for existence changes. The BBC is a service; the commercial stations only exist for one reason – to make money. If they could show adverts 24hrs/day they would – from their perspective the programmes are an expensive annoyance, a necessity to attract as many viewers as possible to watch their commercials. If the Beeb plays by these rules it will inevitably lead to a huge drop in standards. More populist drivel and banality on a par with Big Brother. And when was the last time you saw a funny sitcom on ITV? Because of the way the Beeb is funded ensures it is one of the most scrutinised media organisations in the world, this maintains standards. However, it doesn’t always get it right. Question Time for example – one of the most persistently biased current affairs programmes on the telly. Speeding Cameras: I wouldn’t have a blanket ban – anyone doing 70 near a school should be hanged by their dangly bits – and I’m not talking metaphorically.
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Lawman    RE:BBC   6/21/2006 10:48:24 AM
I disagree - the BBC's programming is no better than anyone else's, we are simply forced to pay for it. At least when ITV put on nonsense, you can change channel, and you are thus no longer paying for them (not watching the adverts, thus they get less revenue), but with the BBC, you are paying for them, whether you watch it or not. The notion that the method of funding means a higher quality of product is a common suggestion by the BBC, but they are no better than anyone else, they are just smug! They do not have to ensure a quality product, because their funding does not rely on viewers - look at BBC3 and 4, which have about five viewers! BBC2 has been dead for many years - it is the dumping ground for unwatchable programs (especially once the Simpsons switched to 4...). Also, nowadays, the BBC do have advertising, it just happens to be for other BBC programs! Basically, I would like to see the TV tax abolished, since it really does not offer much quality - it is as expensive as a basic cable or satellite TV package, but offers very little. If they actually had to earn some of their money, then they would genuinely have to make a quality product. As for speed cameras, I do not disagree with their existence, but I believe they should not be used as a revenue source. They should be used in certain areas, but only for dangerous areas - they are actually dangerous themselves, since drivers suddenly slow down for them, and then speed once past them, to make up for lost time. There should be a system more like the American 'traffic schools', where drivers who speed can be sent, and taught a tough lesson, not risk losing their license for a few minor offences.
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Forest    RE:BBC   6/21/2006 12:41:24 PM
Hi, They do not have to ensure a quality product, because their funding does not rely on viewers It is precisely for that reason that the BBC DO have to ensure quality programming. It is precisely for that reason the BBC is scrutinized by government cultural committee ensuring that the voter’s ‘TV Taxes’ are being spent properly. If the BBC fail to provide value and quality, their Charter will not be renewed. ITV, Ch4 and five are primarily aimed at a specific demographic (the major demographic that’s often dead from the neck up) hence the lack of inventiveness and creativity on the commercial channels. ITV has given up on current affairs altogether! I don’t want the BBC to compete with this. Like a said, the Beeb performs a service. Do you think PM’s Questions, the Trooping of the Colour, Queen’s speech, Last night of the Proms, Remembrance Day etc etc would be shown on the commercial channels. No, there’s no money in it for them. In fact the once great Ch4 seems more interested in subverting our country and traditions; look at the left-wing bias of CH4 news, or the ‘alternative’ Queen’s speech at Christmas (who was it last year, Sharon Osbourne??) A for ITV news, it’s laughable. Dumbed-down pap more interested in sex scandals and movie stars. That’s what you get when TV stations are only interested in pandering to the least ‘discerning’ parts of the population who make up the bulk of television viewers, and whose ONLY goal is to make money. There’s nothing wrong with making money, however, I’m just suggesting that if the BBC go down the same route, quality and diversity will suffer greatly. CH4 TV tonight 21 June 2006: Big Brother Gordon Ramsay’s F Word Big Brother Desperate Housewives Desperate Housewives (again!) Big Brother (yet again!) If you want to complain about BBC waste, I think we’d be on more common ground :) Speeding Cameras: Yeah, totally agree :)
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Lawman    RE:BBC   6/21/2006 1:22:01 PM
I disagree about quality control - the BBC knows that its charter will not be ended, certainly not under the current government. I feel that if given a referendum, the public would overwhelmingly support the abolition of the TV tax - it is not reasonable to expect the public to go on spending a small fortune on paying for the few worthwhile things the BBC broadcast. The programs you mention could easily be licensed out to other channels - anyone would broadcast it if they were paid like the BBC! I would agree that the programming of ITV, 4 and 5 tends to be borderline moronic, but this is partly due to the need to compete with satellite channels. To be honest, if people want to watch rubbish, they should probably be allowed to, but they should be the ones to pay, not the rest of us - with the BBC, you still get the same rubbish, but everyone pays. On the subject of current affairs programs, I strongly disagree - the BBC is just a left-wing rant half the time, not helped by the fact that their recruitment method consists of the Guardian! As long as they continue to recruit that way, then I think they should avoid editorialising the news. Personally, I feel that the news should be reported, and then bring in individuals to comment, keeping it fair and balanced. If the BBC had to live by commercial standards, then they would rapidly learn to economise, but as long as they get a blank cheque from the public, then there is nothing to hope for.
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flamingknives    Speed cameras or speed limits?   6/21/2006 1:40:33 PM
It does make me giggle when people wax furious about speed cameras. After all, it's not really the camera that's the problem, but the speed limit. Often speed cameras are set to enforce speed limits set too low, and this is the real issue. An 'A' road, for example, should not have a 30 mph limit since it is a transit route that people use to get places. Otherwise, I'm perfectly happy that criminals pay for the police force. It seems to smack of a certain poetic justice. Anything that reminds people that they have a responsibility when driving a car is a good thing. Many people forget that a large car on a motorway has the kinetic energy of a 3-inch tank shell.
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Lawman    RE:Speed cameras or speed limits?   6/21/2006 2:15:06 PM
The complaint about speed cameras is not that the money raised by them goes to the police, it is that they are seen as a revenue source. Personally, I think the money raised from speed cameras should actually go to the emergency departments at hospitals - they are the ones who actually have to deal with the problems when accidents happen! The problem is that speed cameras are often put on pieces of road simply because that location will catch more people, not based on any increased dangers - particularly near speed limit changes. I am not so sure about changing the speed limits - personally I think people tend to drive too fast on narrow roads. The key is to give a penalty, perhaps assign a few hours community service, in place of penalty points - that would make a lot of sense, and remove the direct benefit to the Police in installing the cameras. As for the kinetic energy of the car, I am not sure about how directly a car should be compared to a tank shell - in reality, as long as a motorway is properly maintained, motorways tend to be some of the safest roads!
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