considered over-the-top remarks by m'Lord Admiral Boyce and other former top brass chronicled here can do nothing but fuel calls for faster Lord's Reform.
Morale in the armed forces is vital to maintaining the UK's defences. That remains true whatever disagreements there might be over current UK military interventions, whether inside the Labour Party or in Parliament. Ditto military spending. NB Under Labour it has enjoyed and continues to enjoy real growth.
But this is what m'Lord said as reported by Hansard:
The message is clear: the Government, especially the Treasury, still have a completely peacetime mentality. For all the Government’s platitudes about commitment and caring for our Armed Forces, the visible sign of this is conspicuous by its absence when we see a budget that so inadequately resources our Armed Forces’ levels of activity. Certainly commitment is starkly absent when we see the appointment of Ministers who are not devoted solely to their task, as shown by the double-hatting of the Secretary of State and the previous Minister for Defence Equipment and Support.
I make absolutely no apology for raising this subject again; it is very serious. It is seen as an insult by our sailors, soldiers and airmen on the front line—I know because I often have reason to speak to them—and it is certainly a demonstration of the disinterest and, some might say, contempt that the Prime Minister and his Government have for our Armed Forces. It shows an appalling lack of judgment at a time when our people are being killed and maimed. It is not for nothing that the Chief of the General Staff has said that his people feel undervalued. They really do deserve far better from the Government.
A BBC response from Prime Minister Gordon Brown in Kampala is reported here. But in his busy day, I hope that he has got the rapid rebuttal team taking a close look at trends in extravagant life styles enjoyed by Britain's top brass and reviewing whether morale would be affected by Lords' Reform, which would make the current military intake in the Upper House the last of the line.