The Curmudgeon


Friday, December 23, 2011

Private Army

Those nice people who wanted to sell off the forests are at it again. Among Daveybloke's Christmas reading is a report by Peter Luff, the civil servant in charge of defence procurement, recommending various options to reform the Ministry of Peace. Despite having been run, in the past, by such intellectual giants as Geoff Hoon and Adam Werritty, the Ministry's financial situation is so dire that its aircraft carriers lack luggage, its surveillance aircraft have been broken up for scrap and its most advanced submarines cannot detect Scotland. Naturally, expectably and inevitably, the solution is to privatise.

Three options are identified in the Luff report, and all of them boil down to increasing the kickbacks for the profiteering sector. The first option is the establishment of an independent body run by outside contractors as "as a semi-private operation, in a similar way to the Olympic Delivery Authority", which has apparently been a roaringly cheap success. Another option is for the contractors to run the procurement on their own "under ministerial scrutiny", much as our railway and energy systems have been simplified, efficientised and profitabilitated under the scrutiny of ministers in search of a directorship or two. The third way is to "keep the budget within the MoD but allow private sector expertise to be brought in", a practice which occurs at the moment but is known as arms industry lobbying, to the incalculable detriment and peril of our servicepersons.

Among the options which were not considered are practising what we preach to Iran on the subject of nuclear deterrence, and minimising annual defence expenditure by attacking fewer countries per year. Luff said on a BBC radio documentary that he was "open-minded on the options", and demonstrated his open-mindedness in the natural, expectable and inevitable manner by claiming that the only alternative to privatisation is an unacceptable status quo.


  • At 7:55 pm , Anonymous Madame X said...

    And just when you really need them, the corporation says, "sorry, we're currently servicing another client. You should have made a reservation."

  • At 8:22 pm , Blogger Philip said...

    I suspect it will be more a case of what's good for M&M Enterprises being good for the country, as when Milo Minderbinder, the wealth creator in Catch-22, signs contracts with both sides of an attack on a bridge. Since the Americans are going to attack the bridge anyway, and the Germans are going to defend it anyway, all Milo has to do is sign his name twice and he gets reimbursed for the costs of the operation on both sides plus six per cent.


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