"Ministry Of Defence Must End Cycle Of Failure"

Bugger off "Changing the Guard", you need to change the channel to arrse.

Changing the Guard?

Ah - A fine spectacle, evoking the Nation's courage, glory, and strict disciplinary controls of times long behind us.

True Dit.

Whilst witnessing a renactment of that time-honoured ceremony a couple of years ago at the Horse Guards square I noted that a most unusual, but quite slickly performed, new movement had been added, bringing many ooohs, aaahs, clickings and flashings.

Chum and I were most intrigued to see how that brave Trooper re-mounted his patient charger (and managed to face the right way round, too) with absolutely no help from either his fellows, the crowd, or the emergency services.

The crowd melted and we mused, wondering ............Was it staged "Just because he was bleck?"

(As far as we could ascertain no ball bearings/marbles were involved.)



We're talking defence cuts, so it affects all branches, and I've never met a Perse who has any time for the Public Duties regiments.
Couldn't we get a couple of hundred unemployed actors/dancers to do all the tourist stuff (they're cheap 'cos they just want to perform to an audience) and get the uniforms from China ?
I think that's where the current body armour is made anyway.

And Trident is a single-purpose boat, and if it's ever used we're all knackered anyway.

A few dozen surface ships are far more versatile and cost effective because of it. How many Brit refugees can you get on a Trident ?


War Hero

But that's not the point. We DON'T NEED the ceremonial stuff (It's just nice to have).

But we DO NEED the best equipment for the guys and girls on the 'front line'.

No-one will die or be maimed because the Changing of the Guard is cancelled, but .....

I can see your very valid points. BUT...

Like it or not, one of the most recognizable aspects of "Britishness" is our ceremonials (along with black cabs, red buses, high tea, flat caps, green and pleasant land and all the other sh1t that tourists lap up). Imagine the world headlines when "Great Britain" can no longer afford to do these things. Yes, it's a front, yes I agree it's tribal, but wouldn't you also agree that keeping up the facade might be part of the larger geo-political game?

By all means, get rid of all the unnecessary pomp to save a few quid. But if we do then surely it must be time to stop pretending to be a big world player. It will be an indication to the world that we are "selling off the family gold" so that we can continue to punch above our weight.



That's not Britain you're describing, it's London and the Home Counties, and that's an area where recruitment has always been lowest (per capita).
Tourists flock to Embra Castle too ('S'cuse me officer, but what time does the One-O'Clock Gun go off ? '12.30 sir, you've missed it' says I), and although it's still a barracks and full of Percy's, they go for the history ('cos they usually haven't got much).

I really don't think we'd see a huge drop in tourist numbers if the ceremonial stuff was cut back. They said that charging for entrance to the Castle would destroy tourism in Embra - it didn't.

Bit of digging and I discovered that the ballistic vests issued for Iraq and early AfG cost £159 per unit, or half a Life Guard's (soft, sexy , leather .....) boot.
The new stuff costs around £1,000, and the MOD fought that all the way - 'Too expensive !' they cried, while still issuing 5 grand uniforms to Ceremonial Regiments.
Before that we had Jack being issued with highly inflammable work gear 'to save money'. But is was NEVER even suggested that the CR's should get cheaper uniforms.
We can see where the priorities are, and it ain't the guys and girls on the ships or in the desert.

I think we can make considerable savings and still punch our weight (above it if you like). We can do it without compromising on real, operational military standards too. At the moment our capability in operations is based on what we have left AFTER the Ceremonial stuff is removed from the equation.
Do we need all the Pomp at Dartmouth ? Do we need ALL the RM Bands ? Do we NEED a new Trident ? Does an Officers Mess (Coldstream Guards I think) NEED rosewood furniture ?

Ask any Jack or Bootie what is needed to do the job effectively and efficiently, without increasing the risks, and I doubt if a hat made out of a dead mammal (notice how I didn't mention those boots !) will be on the list.

When it comes down to the geo-politics, I don't think our military allies take much notice of the ceremonial requirements. They're more interested in how many operational units we can contribute in any situation. The Aussies punch above their weight too, but they aren't lumbered with a 'Ceremonial Requirement' that means 10% of their infantry are non-operational because of their tourist industry and 'tradition'.


I empathise 0_l_a, but I'm thinking more about the cash already being spent on the upgrade, and how useful Trident would be if the Middle East went completely mad (as opposed to just mostly mad).

There's no way NATO, the Russians, or the Chinese would nuke Riyhad or anywhere else. What would be the point ? 'We' have the capability to precision bomb anything we want with conventional gear - without putting ourselves at risk. But that would come from carriers and conventional nuclear subs - and any follow-up would be boots on the ground - all things we're in the process of ditching !

I know the Admirals love their Bombers, but it would be interesting to see how many jobs would be saved (and created !) by using the Trident cash for multi-purpose surface ships and a few more hunter-killers. I'd also enhance the roll of the Booties (I would say that). At the moment we have an army battalion (The Rifles) on permanent attachment to 3 Cdo Brigade. I spoke at length with a semi-retired 'Green Lidded' Gunner Colonel last year, and he said that most of those attached Percys want a green lid now, and they're working their butts off to get them. He reckons that in a couple of years the pecking order will be Royal > their attached 'Rifles' Battalion > the Paras, and he wasn't joking (he was 10 years with 29).
So I'd expand Lympstone rather that cut it back. But that's too far-sighted for our politicians. They can't see past the next election.

All our neighbours in Helensburgh were Bomber families, and some of the best people you could know. Kindred spirits - nobody liked them either. Too many wild parties - too much weird behaviour - too much loud singing - too much .......
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