THE LAST DITCH An Englishman returned after twenty years abroad blogs about liberty in Britain
Judge critical of MI5 testimony
Army chief denies Government rift

General seeks UK Iraq withdrawal

Link: BBC NEWS | UK | General seeks UK Iraq withdrawal.

The blogosphere is enjoying the Government's embarrassment. I think Sir Richard should be fired. He is entitled to his views, but the Army exists to defend the realm and to implement with deadly force the foreign policy of the elected government. He has a positive duty to make his views known to his political masters. As Chief of the General Staff, he will have had ample opportunity to do so. For him to criticise that policy in public is disloyal, to say the least.

There are two possible justifications. One would be if the Government has been trying to use him to make propaganda. If he was ordered to give the interview, then I would entirely respect him for telling the truth as he sees it. This government has "form" for that, at least in relation to the police. Chief Constables have long been reduced to Government mouthpieces and have done themselves no credit by their willingness, nay eagerness, to play politics. They have lost the respect of the public and put an end to "policing by consent." Sir Richard would be right not to make the same mistake on behalf of the Army.

The second would be if he was authorised by his Commander-in-Chief, the Queen. If Her Majesty has tipped him the wink, however, that would amount to a constitutional crisis of the first order. Like my glorious namesake, I am a Republican. Much as I like and respect Her Majesty personally (unlike her idiot heir) I must hope that she, normally so acute, has mis-stepped. That would damage the monarchy as much as Sir Richard's remarks will damage the Government.


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"I say this with a heavy heart, because I think that the Chief of Staff is right in what he is saying, but he has no constitutional role to utter such seditious remarks about the elected government of the day, no matter how dishonest and craven that government is"

You do realise this interview was approved by the MOD?

The General is commenting on military matters with the permission of the MOD, it wasn't about Blair. That is what the media want this to be about, but it's not. He hasn't disobyed a lawful order, or told the army they are coming home regardless of the governments wishes.

As for the government seeking exit to please the military as you (GUTHRUM) put it on your own blog. If HM Forces were telling the government what to do, do you think all those infantry regiments with centuries of service would have been amalgamated? Or that we'd still be trying to fight in two theatres on the cheap?



If the only people you can suggest as representatives of "culture" are Alan Bennett or Simon "I could never vote Tory" Schama are representatives of "culture" then God help us when the republic you dream about is born. Frankly, if we must have a republic, the president (who should only have the "decorative" function of the present dispensation)should be selected by lot: the idea of any politician or so-called "celebrity" becoming pres is appalling.


Why do monarchists always use this arguement about either President Blair or Thatcher, we can still have a Political Prime Minister, and a representatative of culture as President, Alan Bennett,Simon Schama etc. The American model of a Republic is not the only one, which just replaces a constitutional monarch with an elected one with despotic powers.


1. According to Sir Richard on his interview on Today this morning he had the go-ahead from Des Browne

2. He made some unexceptionable remarks (if taken in context) about the length of our military engagement in Iraq (a small part of his interview in the Mail BTW): this was not the panicked "let's get out now no matter what!!" statement sought by the BBC etc.

3. Much as I revere your namesake, Tom, the greatest argument against a republic is "Mr President Blair and the First Lady".


What an unholy mess Blair has put in. This is the worst intervention by the Military since the rule of the Major-Generals in the 1650's. If Blair does not sack him by the end of today, it will be a constitutional crisis of the first order. I say this with a heavy heart, because I think that the Chief of Staff is right in what he is saying, but he has no constitutional role to utter such seditious remarks about the elected government of the day, no matter how dishonest and craven that government is. If the Royal family has any role in this, it would be the final step to a Republic that I would openly welcome, then we could dispense with the nose in the trough honours and peerages. The last intervention by the military was that of the army doing a security exercise at Heathrow, that rumour has it that they failed to inform No 10 about, and was perceived as a 'show of strength'. The Chief of Staff has to go immediately, rapidly followed by Blair,then rapidly by a general election.

Reading on the Bog

Sadly, he should be sacked. I actually find the prospect of mutiny in our armed forces THE most shocking aspect of living in Blair's Britain.

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