GW: Is He The One?

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This week has seen the Outrage Bus started up and driven off at speed so frequently that the engine is overheating and the clutch is knackered. No doubt the Sunday papers tomorrow morning will have more pain and upset to surprise us with and there will be more than a few Members of Parliament who have spent today dreading the call from a reporter asking, 'Can you confirm that in September of 2015 you.........?' 

One of the items of outrage that seemed to put Tory MP's and the press instantly into a state of spontaneous combustion was the reshuffle following Sir Michael Fallon's resignation that catapulted Tory Chief Whip Gavin Williamson into the front line as Defence Secretary. "Too young,' 'too inexperienced,' 'not ex military,' 'caused the reshuffle himself,' were some of the typical reactions. One lady Tory MP was reported as describing him to a journalist as a 'self serving cxnt.' A lady MP who, by the way, ought to be dragged into a corner and read the riot act and told that if she ever speaks to a journalist about a colleague in such unprofessional and unbecoming terms again she'll be fired. Still, it is Parliament we're talking about, not a 'normal workplace.' 

Looking at it from the cheap seats, I would point out to these Tory MP's, and the press, that Gavin Williamson, (who I hadn't heard of before this week), is three years older than was David Cameron when he became leader of their party, (only four years after becoming an MP), and is only one year younger than was David Cameron when he became our youngest Prime Minister since 1812. So, they can stick that in their pipe and smoke it.

Moreover, being given responsibility at a relatively young age is bread and butter to the Armed Forces. More important is the question of whether he is capable of running such a big and complex department. We won't know the answer to that for a wee while but one thing is for sure, Defence has not been given the attention and commitment that it needs by successive governments for years so Mr Williamson can hardly do a worse job than have his predecessors. 

If then, Williamson can quickly grasp his complex brief and throw his talents and obvious political acumen behind his department it could be a career defining time for him and, given his sponsor is the PM, a positive for Defence. If though, he simply becomes a conduit for the Treasury and shrinks his department further then it will take years to restore the damage given many areas are already finely balanced on the line of viability. There is a new saying gaining currency amongst the lads, 'We don't do a show of force anymore, we do a show of face.' That has to change, immediately, before some bad people chance their arm and have a go. 

For the time being, I'll mostly be ignoring the Westminster Bubble crowd in giving Mr Williamson time to succeed. I very much hope he does.  

Action This Day Mr Fallon Please


We learn from his website that the Defence Secretary spoke at the British Legion reception at the Conservative party conference recently, described thus,

"Michael spoke at the Royal British Legion’s reception at the Conservative Party Conference recently.

Referring to the Armed Forces Covenant he said:  “It is particularly fitting, in the 100th year anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War, to reflect on the importance of the Covenant.  Our armed forces today, like those of a hundred years ago, embody the best of British, and it is right we honour all that they do for our country.  We must never forget the willingness of our armed forces to make the ultimate sacrifice for our country.”

Importance of The Military Covenant
“The Military Covenant recognises that the whole nation has a moral obligation to members of the armed forces and their families. This isn’t just about Government – it is about society’s commitment as a whole.”

“I am proud that this Government has enshrined the following principles in law:

  • that no current or former member of the armed forces, or their families should be disadvantaged compared to other citizens in the provision of public and commercial services;
  • and that special consideration is appropriate especially for those who have given most such as the injured and bereaved.”

“Never again can the Covenant cease to be honoured.”"


Just one question Mr Fallon, I appreciate you run a very big department with multiple responsibilities but just in passing, why is there a four month waiting list for non urgent PTSD referrals in the Tidworth Garrison?

Action this day Mr Fallon, action this day please.

Why Fox Must Thin Out


 "It is better to have a lion at the head of an army of sheep, than a sheep at the head of an army of lions." - Daniel Defoe

Dr Liam Fox has been under attack from elements of the media and Westminster for many days. No doubt some political scores are being settled and some ambitious individuals are attempting to exploit the uncomfortable position in which he now finds himself. His supporters are highlighting his good work and justify recent reported incidents as poor judgement calls. Innuendo and suggestive rumour has become mainstream and all the more unedifying the more the pack leap onto that particular bandwagon.

It's not good enough though and Fox must pack up his kit and thin out. This is why...

It is hammered into young officers from the day they walk through the gates of Sandhurst, and subsequently their regiments, that their mantra must be "others before self." Integrity and moral courage are absolutes; not fuzzy aspirational buzz words. Servicemen of all ranks have, in the past, lost both their names and their careers for lapses which are insignificant when compared to the growing list of bollocks dropped by the Defence Secretary. 

He must leave because he has lost the moral authority to lead the men and women of the services who have a right to expect much, much better; as does the nation.