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Showing posts with label defence procurement. Show all posts
Showing posts with label defence procurement. Show all posts

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

The Defence of Liam Fox – a load of old Boles

Nick Boles MP offered a fatuous and increasingly irascible ‘defence’ of Liam Fox to Kirsty Wark, demonstrating just how thin the ice the Fox is skating on really is. But it also demonstrates the weakness – and the hypocrisy – of the Labour attack on Fox, with Labour snouts still dripping with their insatiable feeding at the trough for 13 years of M.O.D. incompetence accompanied by the enrichment of Labour ministers and their favoured squad of lobbyists, defence contractors, Middle Eastern dictators, et al.

Jim Murphy’s rather leaden attack on Fox in the Commons debate was also fatally flawed because of his party’s acceptance of cash from Cellcrypt, a company at the heart of the charges laid against Fox and Werrity.

There used to be a scatological version of the lyric of The Finger of Suspicion Points at You, a popular song of the 1950s, with the substituted line -

Someone crept into the Crypt, and crapped and crept away

the finger of suspicion points at You!

The defence discussion in the Commons that preceded Fox’s statement consisted of rampant self-interested questions about the distribution of defence spoils around the constituencies – the Defence as Job Creation Scheme concept of the defence of the realm. It was of course prudently interspersed with pious expressions of concern for our brave servicemen and women on the front line, who make all this profitable enterprise so rewarding for those who stay at home while they place their young lives and futures on the line, inadequately equipped, fighting for a cause for which no  coherent justification has ever been offered, although many contradictory and self-serving attempts are made at regular intervals.

In between all this inhuman cant, the brutal reality burst through occasionally, of death, injury, brain damage, psychological damage, broken-hearted relatives and ruined lives, in the form of interventions by the tiny number of MPs who really cared about our service personnel and were trying to alleviate their suffering and that of their families.

After this undignified, self-serving spectacle, Liam Fox and his chorus of loyal admirers defended - with straight faces, indeed faces set in a rictus of patriotic indignation – the series of astonishing coincidences, surprise meetings in dining rooms across the globe, family holidays that to everyone’s surprise happened just at the same time and in the same place as pivotal defence discussions, and diaries that miraculously synchronised, in a kind of unique serendipity, with the joint interests and undying friendship of Liam and Adam, a friendship that will surely go down in history along with David and Jonathan and other shining examples.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Scottish Labour and Defence–follow the money

Some correspondents have taken me to task by private email for alleged hyperbole in the following extract from my blog The speech that Iain Gray should have delivered at Oban to the party faithful, a fictional version by me of what I felt Iain Gray should have said at Oban.

Public spending in this country prior to the global financial collapse was not just out of control under our stewardship, it was totally corrupted by large scale rip-offs on expenses by Labour MPs and ministers under the protection of their shop steward, Michael Martin, now the noble Lord Martin of Something or Other, and by a combination of incompetence on defence procurement at the MOD, and obscenely fat profits for armament companies, which contributed significantly to the fortunes of former members of our government who were also directors of such armament companies, or consultants to them. Meanwhile, our brave soldiers died because of equipment failures.

That there was - and is - incompetence on defence procurement at the MOD is not a proposition that anyone seriously questions, after a barrage of documentaries and exposés. That defence companies and armaments manufacturers profited from this is undeniable – poor procurement practices always benefit certain suppliers.

That former members of the Labour Government profited from directorships and consultancies that they held because of their experience of defence matters while in government can hardly be seriously questioned.

I do not suggest corruption or illegal activities in such relationships – the really sad thing is that it is all completely legal, above board and open to public scrutiny.

A single example will suffice to demonstrate this – Adam Ingram, Labour politician, former Member of Parliament (he stood down at the May 2010 general election) and the longest serving Defence Minister in British history – 2001 -2007. A former trade union official and computer analyst, he entered politics in East Kilbride District Council in the 1980s.

A few facts of interest about Adam Ingram, derived from the excellent They Work for You site - link -

How Adam Ingram voted on key issues since 2001:

Voted strongly for introducing student top-up fees.

Voted moderately against laws to stop climate change.

Voted strongly for introducing ID cards.

Voted very strongly for replacing Trident.

Voted very strongly for Labour's anti-terrorism laws.

Voted moderately for a stricter asylum system.

Voted moderately for allowing ministers to intervene in inquests.

Voted very strongly for the Iraq war.

Voted very strongly against an investigation into the Iraq war.

Minister of State (Armed Forces), Ministry of Defence (11 Jun 2001 to 28 Jun 2007)

Minister of State, Northern Ireland Office (5 May 1997 to 11 Jun 2001)

Register of Members’ Interests

Remunerated directorships -

Non-executive Chairman of SignPoint Secure Ltd. emergency communications. (£45,001-£50,000)

(My note – a Freedom of Information Request to the MOD in 2008 on the MOD, contracts and Adam Ingram

08-09-2008-071953-008 06/10/2008

Copy of RFI 20-05-2008-094922-004

(Details of any communication and/or meetings between MOD/Adam Ingram and Signpoint Secure Ltd and details of any contracts between the MOD and Signpoint Secure Ltd made in the last two years.

The purpose and outcome of this FOI request is unknown to me at this time.)

Adam Ingram Advisory Limited, set up May 2008, to undertake consultancy work, to which is payable income from the following:

Non-executive Chairman of Argus Scotland Ltd; design and construction services in the urban environment. (£20,001-£25,000). Payments to be made on an annual basis.

Director, International School for Security and Explosives Education (ISSEE) (non-executive). Address: 3 Wesley Gate, Queens Road, Reading, Berks, RG1 4AP. Attend meetings and offer advice. (£10,001-£15,000).

Received payment of £1,150 (including VAT). Hours: 3hrs. (Registered 31 August 2009)

Consultant to Argus Libya UK LLP; design and construction services in the urban environment. (£20,001-£25,000). Payments to be made on an annual basis.

Consultant to Argus (Scotland) Ltd, Ravenstone House, 4 Ravenstone Drive, Glasgow, G46 6AL. Attend meetings and offer advice.

Received payment of £2,300. Hours: 5hrs. (Registered 31 August 2009)

Consultant to Electronic Data Systems Ltd (EDS); provision of IT services to public and private sector clients in the UK. (£50,001-£55,000)

5. Gifts, benefits and hospitality (UK)

28 June 2009, visit to Biggin Hill Air Show as guest of BSkyB. Overnight stay, dinner and entry to the show for my wife and I. (Registered 30 June 2009)

6. Overseas visits

23-26 February 2009, to Bahrain, to participate in Bahrain Security Forum as speaker. Return flight, business class, and three nights accommodation in Bahrain funded by RUSI and the Kingdom of Bahrain. (Registered 3 March 2009)

Register last updated: 12 Apr 2010. More about the Register

March 2010 – The Telegraph

A story that broke under the Lobbygate scandal, around the time Adam Ingram decided to stand down as an MP. Telegraph link