Monday, May 18, 2009

An Expensive Shot In The Foot

In case you missed it, a tax-funded quango has just succeeded in further undermining the fighting capacity of our armed forces.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission has spent an undisclosed, but doubtless considerable, sum of our money pursuing the sad case of Pte Jason Smith, who died of heatstroke while serving with the Territorial Army in Iraq in 2003. Largely as a result of the Commission's efforts, the Court of Appeal has ruled that the Human Rights Act, and in particular, the "right to life", applies to British soldiers on active service.

So how's that going to work exactly? How are our army commanders going to discharge that obligation while still beating our enemies?

As we've blogged many times, it is absolutely right that our frontline troops should have the very best kit and support we can buy for them. And it is disgraceful that they are still forced to cope with death-trap kit like the so-called snatch Land Rovers* and those decrepit Nimrods.

But that is a political issue - we should make our politicos do much better than they have over the last decade.

It is not a matter for the crackpot Human Rights Law: the very last thing we want is to place yet another burden on our frontline commanders.

We blogged the superquango Equality and Human Rights Commission several times while it was being set up in 2007 (eg here and here). It costs us £70m pa, and it's headed by long-time Labour insider Trevor Phillips (on £110 grand pa). And its finances are so questionable the National Audit Office has reportedly refused to sign off its first annual accounts.

Another £70m contribution to George's spending cuts?

You bet.

Meanwhile... mid-life Mr Phillips himself is mainly focused on his new life with his new partner:

*Footnote - Tyler recently dined with another patriotic Major of his acquaintance. This one is very familiar with Land Rovers, having used them both on operations (if I told you I'd have to kill you), and to scout his considerable acreage in East Anglia. But he recently drove a Toyota Land Cruiser, and was absolutely amazed at how much better it is. Now he's switched, and even though he knows his military-family-back-to-Waterloo father will be spinning in his grave, he will never go back. Another fine old British tradition bites the dust... until, that is, you remember that the original Land Rover was actually no more than a Jeep rip-off.


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