Des Browne the intellectually challenged Scots solicitor spoke to the Royal British Legion's Scottish annual conference last June. His dull speech has now been published as part of the papers for the 2008 conference ending today in Perth. His remarks, about servicemen' s pay, unreported at the time, have timely appeal to historians , military amputees and the guys who tighten up the nuts, wipe an oily rag over the engine and kick the tyres of the Tornado GR7A's, Chinooks, Merlins, Apaches in the balmy and delightful region of Kandahar.
The part time Defence Secretary last year asked hundreds of delegates from Legion branches: "Why don't we pay servicemen and women in a comparative rate to uniformed organisations in civilian street?"
They cheered him to the rafters when he replied ;
"I have to say the honest answer to that, for a number of young people, particularly those who join the Army, before they join the Army, they would not have been accepted by any of these organisations. "
So, Tommy Atkins is too stupid to be a Traffic warden, Community walker abouter with a yellow jacket, maybe, even a school crossing attendant .... a word of advice Des, keep that to yourself when you next visit Bagram wiith a massive security detail.
Wat Tyler (who sounds supiciously like an accountant on the loose) @ Burning our Money in his post on Thursday "The Army And The Navy Need Attention " provides a detailed and usefully annotated breakdown of squaddies pay
According to the cash-strapped MOD, Dannatt's pay discrepancy claims are simply untrue. According to their version, an 18 year old private in Afghanistan gets a fairly healthy sounding £26 grand package, comprising:
- Salary: £16,227
- Operational Allowance: (182 days) £2,380.56 (during six month tour of Afghanistan)
- Longer Separation Allowance: (182 days) £1,132.04
- Other perks including dental care and free eye tests: £510
- Financial assistance for learning costs: £2,175
- Subsidised living accommodation: £425.83
- Estimated annual employers' pension contribution: £3,148.04
- Total: £25,998.47
Which is more than a traffic warden, widely reported today to be on £17,000 pa. So the General is way offbeam. .. well up to a point Lord Copper says Wat.
The average pay of traffic wardens is higher than £17 grand. According to the Office of national Statistics ONS, in April 2007 it was running at £20,526 pa - call it £21 grand today. Wat then proceeds to break down the supposed benefits our squaddie enjoys in a detailed and devstating analysis , from cockroach infested flats to being provided with a hospital bed when his legs are blown away. Wat calculates the squaddie ends up net,net with less than the overworked and well liked and respected traffic warden. Read it.He also supplies the following (MOD ?) chart which reveals a fascinating tale of decline and a continuing recruitment and retainment problem...
Which Dickie Dannat and his gold braided predecessors have, from the evidence of the above chart, have been keenly aware about this accelerating problem for
Those interested in recent history might like to ponder why we are throwing more ill eqipped, ill trained troops, with insufficient ISTAR capability, helicopter lifting capability wich is putting such an enormous strain on the guys who couldn't hold a job down issuing parking tickets.
They may also like to reconsider why we are in Afghanistan especially after reading Des Browne's fellow scot John "we won't fire a single shot" Reid's response to the question Anne Milton raised 27th Feb 2006 in the House of Commons .
"If he will list the aims of the UK deployment to southern Afghanistan. "
There is an interesting set of pics from Afghanistan / Helmand / Gordon Brown etc on Flikr by Jim Birt - from which the above has been taken. Thanks Jim.