Monday 9 April 2007

A catastophic error?

Kelvin Mackenzie, former editor of The Sun, calls the decision to allow publication a "catastrophic error" and Lord Heseltine, former defence secretary, is fuming. All rules, regulations, discipline and traditions had been thrown aside in ways that were quintessentially New Labour, he said.

That man then went on to say that there must be an inquiry into who made the decisions to put the boats into such a vulnerable position and this blog's world is now turned upside down, finding ourselves in some agreement with the Lord High Europhile himself.

Mackenzie, on the other hand, retails how the Number 10 spin doctors were contacting all the main media offices last week, offering "help with their editorials". Looking through the prism of his relationship with No. 10, however, he thinks that the concern was that they were losing the propaganda war with Iran, and that is how he then sees the publication of the boarding team's stories.

The indications are, though, that both Mackenzie and Heseltine have got it wrong. The decision to allow the "frightened fifteen" to publish looks more like "old Navy" than "New Labour". To judge by the reaction of the CGS, Richard Dannatt, this was very much a Navy "do", orchestrated not by Downing Street - nor even by the MoD - but by the Admiralty.

This does suggest that the real agenda is still about saving the skins of a few over-paid, under-performing officers like Commodore Nick Lambert and, ultimately, the First Sea Lord, Admiral Jonathon Band. It seems that the Navy brass, in their rush to cover their own backsides - and hide the real catastrophic errors - are holding the entire political establishment to ransom, and causing inestimable damage to the Navy in the process. Funny, not even the Iranians did that.