Saturday 18 August 2007

A thoroughly irresponsible post

One tries to be careful and measured when writing for this blog, not least because it reflects on our reputations and the authority of what is said. Every now and again, though, there is a powerful temptation to throw it all up in the air and say, "bugger it" and simply lash out.

Hence, two pictures by way of contrast, which ignore all the subtle nuances and all the reasoned, structured arguments and related issues. The first is a picture of the first of a batch of Leopard 2 Main Battle Tanks being delivered to the Canadian Army in Afghanistan. These are replacing (or supplementing) the clapped out Leopard 1 tanks, which have been providing back-up to coalition forces in the theatre (including, incidentally British forces).

The other picture is from the MoD website, puffing the delivery of the first of its Austrian-built MAN trucks for the British Army.

We have had much to say about these trucks, not least questioning why we had to buy from a foreign manufacturer when vehicles with a better specification could have been built at home.

This would have given a boost to our own industry and, probably, in the fullness of time, created export opportunities. I simply do not see why UK taxpayers' money should be spent on giving jobs to Austrians, when our own workers are idle. Such are the joys of the Single Market.

However, the more immediate point is to observe that it would be rather nice to see pictures on the MoD website of British tanks being delivered to Afghanistan, instead of PR pictures justifying a crap decision – to add to the many other crap decisions – made by the MoD.

There – I told you this was a thoroughly irresponsible post. I'm off to an airshow today, so blogging will be light. We have pouring rain, with low cloud and lousy visibility. I must be mad. But then, you knew that.