Bye Hollern, welcome David and Hamilton

By Kate Hollern, welcome toWayne David and Fabian Hamilton as junior Shadow Ministers for Defence. Does this increase in shadow ministers mean anti-military, anti-war Jeremy Corbyn is now focused on defence?

David and Hamilton’s CVs don’t really say much (as was the case for most of the shadow ministers in defence under the bearded man). The former has some time as Shadow Minister (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs) but that’s not golden factor for shadowing UK defence and the armed forces. The latter sat on the Committees on Arms Export Controls (formerly Quadripartite Committee), the National Security Strategy (Joint Committee), and the International Development Committee but again, it doesn’t mean he’s a pro-military or focused on UK defence person. In an case, like their boss Griffith, they haven’t asked a SINGLE WRITTEN QUESTION ON DEFENCE AS ON NOW, 4 NOVEMBER 2016.

Do your jobs!!!

Well Hello Clive Lewis

wait, hello while you missed your firs Defence Questions and instead partied at Glastonbury?

Word of Advice: Don’t or stop flaunting your reservist experience as your credentials. It’s was terrible your predecessor Thornberry claimed to be a Lieutenant Colonel, even one that is honorary.

Good bye Maria Eagle, hello Thornberry

Emily Thornberry, what do you know about UK Defence and the British Armed Forces besides wishes to unilaterally remove “Trident” aka the UK’s nuclear deterrent.

A quick search on “theyworkforyou” produces nothing of value on defence or the armed forces except maybe sexual assault issues.

Can her team teach her the ropes of defence or will she just scream about removing the nuclear deterrent?

Edit: She said

“”I have actually quite a lot more experience than people might think I do.
“I have a member of my family who is in the armed forces. I have a brother-in-law who is a general.
“I was actually made an honorary lieutenant colonel when I was doing court martials when I was a barrister and so I have a certain amount of experience of the military there.
“I have a regiment in my constituency. My father was a peacekeeper. He worked with forces all over the world in all sorts of warzones peacekeeping for the United Nations.
“He was Irish and I have to say he thought more highly of the British troops than he did of any other countries.”

That means:

Marry or get your family member into the military to be knowledgeable about defence.

Become a lawyer to charge soliders to know about defence. Also honorary ranks are great for your CV.

Make sure you have a “regiment in my constituency” (which? I can’t figure out) to be Shadow Secretary of State for Defence.

Make sure your daddy worked as a peacekeeper. If not, you are a dummy about defence.

Make sure your dad isn’t a Brit but he praised the British Armed Forces.

Welcome Lady Nugee!

Corbyn’s defence team

This site and owner is apolitical in British politics but I can’t just can’t help writing about beardman Jeremy Corbyn’s Shadow Defence frontbench.

Shadow Defence Secretary: Maria Eagle.
Formerly Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs for this whole week starting 14th September 2015, she has only tweeted one defence-related tweet and not asked a single written parliamentary question about defence. Her record shows she did ask very very rarely about defence issues and was a supporter of the 2003 Iraq War and the 2011 Libya intervention. And is, especially for the media, a support of the nuclear detrrent, aka ‘Trdent’. Still this current record shows nothing of value.

Kevan Jones–old timer from Miliband defence frontbench. Pro-nuclear deterrent and what’s more, pro-military. But he’s not the boss and lost a great boss named Vernon Coaker. Possibly stays as Shadow Minister for the Armed Forces.

Toby Perkins. Former Shadow Minister (Business, Innovation and Skills). Apparently he has asked some defence-related questions in the past. What role will he have? Shadowing Mark Lancaster?

Rachel Maskell. She’s a real newbie, never had a front bench post, only served on the health committee. This doesn’t sound promising.. She has asked about arms slaes and the military covenant. What’s more, she’s signed an Early Day Motion (EDM) regarding the upgrading on HMNB Clyde or Faslane. So she’s against the nuclear deterrent.

Here you are ladies and gentleman, you Corbyn formed, Eagle-led Shadow Defence team.

Hello there Maria Eagle

what do you know about Defence issues?

Your record:

Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Oct 2013 –
Shadow Secretary of State for Transport Oct 2010 – Oct 2013
Shadow Minister (Equalities Office) May 2010 – Oct 2010
Shadow Solicitor General May 2010 – Oct 2010
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (also in Government Equalities Office) Jun 2009 – May 2010
Minister of State (Government Equalities Office) (also in the Ministry of Justice) Jun 2009 – May 2010
Parliamentary Secretary (Government Equalities office) (also in the Ministry of Justice) Oct 2008 – Jun 2009
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice) Jul 2007 – Jun 2009
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Northern Ireland Office) May 2006 – Jun 2007
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education and Skills) (Children and Families) May 2005 – May 2006
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions) Jun 2001 – May 2005

Clearly no post ever held in defence, foreign affairs, or international affairs.

All hail Jeremy Corbyn’s team!

Is there anything wrong with embedded or exchange pilots?

Yesterday 20th July 2015, Michael Fallon released a written statement that furthered expanded upon a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request about UK personnel serving in other armed forces that have engaged targets in Syria. Later on, Fallon was “skewered” by man anti-war MPs, saying that he had hidden information from and lied to the UK Parliament and some calling for him to step down. (See full debate here .)

The big question is: Should UK troops embedded in foreign/allied armed forces be engaged in active operations which the UK parliament, specifically the House of Commons, has not approved? Fallon’s argument is that “Embedded UK
personnel operate as if they were the host nation’s personnel, under that nation’s chain of
command, but remain subject to UK domestic, international and Host Nation law.” This means there are legal guidelines when personnel are embedded in other militaries. The stronger argument is that:

The convention that before troops are committed to military operations the House of Commons
should have an opportunity to debate the matter, except in the event of an emergency, applies to
the deployment of UK forces. UK personnel embedded within other nations’ armed forces operate
as members of that military
.(Emphasis added)

So when UK personnel are embedded or on exchange, they are effectively controlled by those external armed forces. They get to perform what those armed forces conduct, and in this case, operations over Syria. They, as Fallon and this pompous ass Major state, are subjected to UK law and the law of the host nation they are under. So if they strike the wrong target or inflict civilian casualties, they can get charged under two different laws. But the bottom line is, they are effectively under external command and control. Repeat, external or foreign command and control.

The Shadow Secretary of Secretary of State, Vernon Coaker, argued that yes it is common practice to embed UK forces to other forces. However:

British troops embedded with US forces at the time of the Vietnam war were not allowed to take part. Similarly, Dutch marines embedded with the Royal Marines were brought home before the 2003 Iraq war, and US troops embedded with the British Army were not permitted to patrol the streets of Northern Ireland.

That is a sound counter argument, and Coaker stated the worst case scenario: What if one of those pilots was shot down and captured by Daesh/ISIL forces. Fallon countered with the slightly weak argument that the UK has supported the US action in Syria,Operation Inherent Resolve, from the start. He didn’t specifically address the part about the possibility about being captured and killed. Let me try to address that. First, it is a stated possibility. Yes a poor Jordanian pilot was treated in that manner, however, that is only one example. No US, French or Canadian forces have been shot down by Daesh or Syrian air defences. In fact, the US has been careful to only strike at Daesh-controlled areas and have indirectly communicated with the Syrians, via the UN on US strikes in that country. On top of that, the US has used advanced support and combat aircraft such as the F-22 to prevent any shooting down of aircaft. So there have been safety measures in place for US, French, Canadian or UK exchange pilots. It’s not some crazy “yee-haw” for any of them.

Second, all military personnel, whether just British or on exchange, always face threats. Daesh is a vicious organisation. Well, so were many other state and non-state groups. Fallon stated quite correctly that UK troops hasve served with other armed forces since the 1950s. That means for more than sixty years, UK personnel have faced threats when on exchange. In any case, you join the armed forces knowing there’s a risk, not joining it to serve away from hostilities.

Third, as Fallon and some supporters of this move have said, embedding UK troops assist with military knowlege and boost understanding of other countries’ capabilities. As a former solder now MP Jonhnny Mercer remarked,

When I was serving, one of the most frustrating things was an almost uninformed debate about our military action. Does my right hon. Friend agree that questions about embeds, and asking special forces capabilities to be raised on the Floor of the House of Commons, belie a fundamental misunderstanding of how our forces operate, and that in interoperability it is vital we have embeds to ensure we take part in the international fight against terrorism?(Emphasis added).

Therefore, it is a gain for the British Armed Fores to have such exchange. The constant counter-argument of the House of Commons did not authorise it and this breaks the Ministerial code only works to a weak extent. People forget that there’s such thing as the Royal Prerogative, which enable decisions to be taken without the backing of, or consultation with, Parliament. (There are better links that explain the Royal Prerogative for the UK, just google it.). The government of the day, Conservative, Labour or Coalition, need not inform the Houses of Parliament on every move they make in international affairs.

A further argument is that there is already UK direct and indirect participation in strikes against Syria. HMS Duncan is helping defend the present USS Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group, as it it predecessors HMS Defender and HMS Dauntless. There are, (not publically stated but known) UK Special Forces such as the Special Air Service or Special Boat Service operating around Syria, and possibly even the Special Forces Support Group (SFSG). As known, Special Forces operations, at least in the UK, are never officially broadcast and will never need parliamentary approval. Given such activity, why fret over personal on exchange?

Let it also be known (as through Fallon’s statement and parliamentary debate) that such exchange runs both ways, that is, personnel from other countries join UK units on operations. A clear example is the Baltic Air Policing, where a US Marine Corps fastjet pilot and a French Air Force pilot ere on exchange with the Royal Air Force (RAF), flying Eurofighter Typhoons. Their parliamentarians didn’t scream that they were notified, did they?

Personal go on exchange all the time for decades. Some people even served in other forces long before this practice was formalised. A clear example is that of the American pilots who served in the RAF during the Battle of Britain . They ran the risk of being punished by their own country. Coming back to the present and the argument, RAF personnel are on the Maritime Patrol Aircraft training programme Seedcorn in the US, Canada and even New Zealand. Parliament knows this. Would UK MPs try to stop them from serving?

Where’s your new Shadow Team, Labour?

The anti-nuclear weapons/Trident Scottish National Party has finalised their front bench teams–seethis link. The infamous/famous Angus Roberston, who used to ask a gazillion questions on defence, has handed the role to a certain Brendan O’Hara. Along with him aresome other SNP Members of Parliament. Their backgrounds? I don’t know.

What I do know is the SNP has a group of MPs ready to shadow defence and other key government topics. Labour? Labour has only chosen Shadow Ministers in the Commons and in the House of Lords. The big-sized Vernon Coaker is still Shadow Defence Secretary. But where is his team? (as of 22 May 2015 ) I know two former MPs, Gemma Doyle and Alison Seaback lost their seats in the 2015 General Election. But there are still 200 plus other old and new Labour MPs. Hurry UK Labour, form form your front bench team for defence and other departments.