Monday 9 February 2009

Defence Training Review : Forty shillings but no drum?

Under the Defence Training Review, the Government is concentrating much of its service and support units’ training into a smaller number of training sites which will be administered by private companies. Many of these training roles are to be relocated to a site in Wales, bless them, but the review itself is proving controversial not just because of potential and real job losses.

CAN isn’t covering this from the employment angle even though it is right and proper that the unions should seek to protect their members’ livelihoods. The right to combine into unions is one of our nation’s hard-won rights and freedoms that our armed services are, in some part, fighting to protect today.

Do you know how the Taliban conduct public sector pays negotiations?

Me neither, but I bet it’d give even my flinty former Thatcherite heart a warm feeling nostalgia for the expression ‘fight the cuts.’

Here’s what some trades unionists say, for information.

Now, here’s what some of the top brass say in three slow-loading pages.

I’m an old-style privatizer myself but fifteen years of experience of the ‘Peace Dividend’ and eleven of them under this government’s private finance initiatives tend me to suspect that this may essentially be a cost-cutting exercise and an exercise in constituency-based political influence.

And I don’t feel one jot better protected from what I’ve read about it so far.

I’m hoping to get some specific contacts for those who wish to be active in organised protest against these moves, and this post is therefore a work in progress, but in the meantime, here is the MOD’s contact page.

I’ll update as soon as I get more information.


Freedom of speech isn't merely a pie-in-the-sky 'human right' conjured up by political philosophers to give activists something to do. It’s the product of centuries of political supply and demand in response - in part at least - to public sector corruption, jobbery, and the perils from secret government.

CAN has publicised the plight of public-sector military trainers and their campaign to keep jobs local to them, and also within the public sector. Oddly enough, I find myself in sympathy with them on this one, but that’s not the issue here.

What is the issue is that the MoD is trying – according to the union concerned – to prevent them from publicizing their cause. See an article about the general issue of the campaign here.

An anti-secrecy watchdog, Index on Censorship picks up this story here.

Now I’m all for operational secrecy in military and intelligence matters; this country’s security must come above all else in my opinion, but may I remind readers on the freedom-loving Right that it was official secrecy that let the pre-war appeasers have their way as Britain and its Empire disarmed - despite the imperial government’s knowledge of what the Axis Powers were up to?

So these people are campaigning to keep their jobs where they are rather than having them exported to Labour Heartlands Wales on the one hand, and also making the twin claims that the whole exercise is costing the taxpayers way too much and may be threatening national security.

I don’t know whether they are right and wrong about cost and national security, but hushing them up isn’t going to do much for financial honesty or our country’s safety. Plus it is a democratic right – long established in law – to protest against threats to one’s livelihood.

I daresay that they could do with some moral support – and any other kind you might like to offer.



How to find stuff in Citizens and Neighbours.

No comments:

Post a Comment

By clicking Publish you indemnify Citizens and Neighbours and accept full legal responsibility for your comments.
Neither the author nor other commentators have any responsibility for comments made by visitors to this blog. There isn't always time to delete scurrilous and ad hominem comments in each post, but please email if something is repeatedly bugging you and you think we need to take action...entitle it " bad comments" and enclose a link to the post concerned.


Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner