Dear Chief Secretary to the Treasury,
I'm afraid to tell you there's no money left.
Signed, Liam Byrne

(Outgoing Labour Chief Secretary to the Treasury. May 2010)

Monday, 8 March 2010

Media military purdah*.

The same astonishing story in both the Telegraph and the Mail but nothing, as yet, on BBC
The Ministry of Defence has been accused of ordering a “truth blackout” over the war in Afghanistan amid warnings it is attempting to “bury bad news” during the election campaign.
It seems unbelievable that with so many British troops fighting overseas that any government of any free nation should decide that the public must not be allowed to know what is going on -  and only because there's an election to choose a new government.

So, maybe Mr Brown's visit to Afghanistan was electioneering after all, and maybe there's a ring of truth behind Mrs R's comment to the other Rigbys about the less than positive photos shown in the media and also on the No 10 Flickr account

We have learned that the government dislikes criticism - any slur, and condemnation of policy or outcome is quickly rebuffed by a personal attack against the critic, whose family life is dissected, the tiniest faults dragged into the public eye by sanctimonious, holier than thou, individuals who have, of course, never done anything wrong - or if they have their chums rally round in support.

They tried to do this with General Dannatt, they couldn't believe that any high-ranking individual would have a clean background wrt expenses - but he did, which made the troughing MPs look rather silly. Mrs R has now heard General Dannatt described on the radio as "a Conservative", so obviously that, now, is a slur and maybe, as ex-military, he shouldn't be able to speak during the run up to the election. Surely not?

Perhaps though, Bruce Anderson's piece in the Indy indicates opinions the government does not want aired, or encouraged, in the "run up" to an election.
Hitherto, Gordon Brown's behaviour has seemed incomprehensible, but the answer is now clear. The indecisiveness, the self-pity, the chronic nervous strain, the constant ill-temper, the barely-suppressed violence: all is explained, on the assumption that the Prime Minister still has the residue of a conscience, and that his personality is crumbling under the stress of telling all those lies.
He goes on
Lying to Parliament used to be regarded as just about the gravest offence that a politician could commit. But there is a worse one: lying to or about the armed forces. That is what Mr Brown has done, repeatedly: the worst crime of his premiership.
 At the Labour Conference in 2007, Mr Brown wanted to portray himself as the soldiers' friend. So he announced that 1,000 men would be coming back from Afghanistan before Christmas.
After Mr Brown had finished speaking, a few hundred people would have thought that they could ... start planning the welcome home party. They then discovered that of the 1,000, 270 were already home, and another 500 knew their return date.
The same has happened, yet again, as reported in the Times
... Prime Minister ... indicated on Saturday [6th March 2010] that £100 million would be spent on 200 new vehicles to replace remaining Snatch Land Rovers, under the Urgent Operational Requirement budget.
A tender notice for up to 400 LPPVs was sent out in February 2009.
So that's a cut then, isn't it - fewer than were originally ordered,. Maybe nobody in government wants to be caught out, none of them wants us to know that they are cutting and they are reducing the resources for operational forces whilst fighting a war.

Maybe though, they simply don't want us to see these sort of jokes.

From Dave Brown in the Indy

or this one, from Peter Brookes in the Times
Maybe we shouldn't laugh at politicians - or should we?

Maybe the blogosphere will also be sanitised, because apparently
"MoD websites will also be “cleansed” of any “non-factual” material including anything containing troops’ opinions of the war"
Maybe they don't like the idea of us seeing pictures such as the emotive one Cold Steel Rain is showing, and maybe they no longer want sites such as Helmand Blog to continue. We are already 'not told' how many soldiers suffer serious injury, merely those who lose their lives, so we're used to 'not knowing'.

It'll be interesting, though, to see how they deal with ARRSE which is already discussing this 'news blackout'.

The last words have to be quoted from that site, and the individual who points out :-
... its fantastic that the British Army are in other countries fighting to give other people freedom and free speech, whereas in the UK we cannot exercise this right ourselves.

* "purdah" from the Telegraph


Witterings From Witney said...

Bloody well said Mrs. R.

Not a lady to be 'crossed' methinks and, I presume, a lesson Mr. R learned very early during his 'marital bliss'

Have linked.

Mrs Rigby said...

Oh, did you notice the anger? The internet demons must have been on the march.

Thankfully 'for real' we're much more demure and 'calm and collected'.

Thanks for the link.