For some suitable background music while reading this post, feel free to turn your volume right up and set these four tracks running:
Yet again the top brass tell it like it is and yet again they'll probably be ignored by the Government:
Air Chief Marshal Sir Simon Bryant has told MPs that intense air operations in Afghanistan and the Middle East are placing a “huge” demand on equipment and personnel.
In a briefing paper delivered to senior politicians and obtained by The Daily Telegraph, the RAF’s second in command said morale among airmen was “fragile” and their fighting spirit was threatened by being overworked.
Many areas of the RAF were “running hot”, he warned, while the servicemen’s sense that the nation valued their efforts was being undermined by the Coalition’s defence cuts.
The Air Force was also now finding it difficult to recruit staff, he said, with many specialities understaffed by up to a quarter.
In his conclusion, Air Chief Marshal Bryant — whose full title is Commander in Chief (Air) — warned that the ability of the RAF to deal with unforeseen emergencies would be rapidly “eroded” if the Libyan campaign went beyond September. “Two concurrent operations are placing a huge demand on equipment and personnel,” he said.
I'm beginning to get a better handle on this matter. Presented to Parliament way back in October 2010 The Strategic Defence and Security Review (.pdf) clearly underestimated the probability that new military conflicts (other than those in Iraq and Afghanistan) would arise. It is entirely possible, of course, that there was a complete disregard for any warnings that may have been issued by the intelligence services (there are precedents). Whatever, it's hard to believe the Government's claim to be supporting the armed forces in the currently-widening theatre of ongoing intensive operations.
Basically, the Government's line in October was:
We've cut the budget, we think that we can cope with the current situations and with a little bit extra on top, but beyond that, we're fcuked;
and now it's
We appreciate that our servicemen and servicewomen are willing to lay down their lives for the alleged greater good. As a reward for their unselfish commitments we'll under-fund them, under-equip them, cut their pay and slash their pensions.
It's all going to hell in a handcart. Or at least it would if the Government hadn't nicked the wheels to patch-up another Snatch Land Rover.
Perhaps we'll have to bring these back into service:
Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (image source)