Discussion in 'Current Affairs' started by smeeg, Mar 28, 2010.
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One of the reasons given for travelling First Class was that the senior officers could work at their laptop or read classified papers without journalists gaining access to them.
As far as I am aware classified information dhould not be worked on whatever class of travel.
As I said on ARRSE:
Since when has a PR measure of this level of savings been drawn up by the PM personally? This is just the clear direction from PR10 that all staff (Mil and CS) are to travel standard class unless the first class seats are cheaper (which does occasionally happen on some routes). Personally I'd rather save some money by not sitting in a bigger seat than by cutting a programme, but who knows.
Utter non story from the Times - their defence coverage is getting very patchy and trivial as of late - a shame
No doubt the the officers understand that sacrifices must be made for the sake of progress, albeit in this case a minute financial progress, alas, to allow Members of Parliament to still travel by first class, is like placing them higher up a hierarchy than our own admirals and senior officers.
I doubt this is something many people would agree to given the fact the officers are the ones out waging war, whilst the MPs sit in Westminster, claiming expenses on a plethora of properties.
Of course, the Bill would have been highly pushed by the Commons, but surely the Lords should have sent it straight back with a big red cross on it.
And Slim, 'As far as I am aware classified information should not be worked on whatever class of travel', I had exactly the same concern, it does seem a little worrying after the whole 'MI5 agent leaves laptop on train' debacle.
In the not so distant past, all Officers of OF3 (Lt Cdr) and above were entitled to first class travel. I can understand this being downgraded due to current financial straits (and it was, ages ago), but I do believe that those of Flag Rank, especially in uniform, should be afforded First Class.
It's not just about restricted work, it's also the availability of a worksurface (which are pretty sparce in standard class) and comfort. If you can rest on the way to a meeting etc then you are more productive at the other end. If you arrive grumpy and pissed off then you won't be much use.
I suspect Brown is using this as part of his class war. Like many recent cuts, the savings are paltry in comparison to Defence expenditure and are thus symbolic and pointless. Cost of everything and value of nothing, etc.
...or, as the 'squeaky clean' Mandlebum would say, quote, 'altogether rather grubby'
He said this on TV when opining on the recent 'lobbyists'
SPOT THE CIVIL SERVANT!!
Your arguments, like those of your masters, are nonsensical. To compare the savings made by such a measure to cutting an entire programme is ridiculous - the potential savings are minor at best. Surely the fact that we need to degrade our most senior officers in this way shows just how disastrous Labour's management of the books has become. Either that or (and I find this more likely) it is a badly judged attempt to fight the class and privelege war on yet another front, trampling on centuries of history and tradition to reduce the stature of some of the most respected positions in the country to that of a builders mate!
And while we're here, don't give me that crap about senior civil servants travelling standard class, I had this very same conversation with one just this morning and I was told that of course they had to travel first class from London to Doncaster return because they couldn't possibly do paperwork in the space available in standard class!
Aaah Lonestar, the reasoned voice of the wannabe Officer Cadet who has just passed AIB.
The savings from the PR10 measure to cut first class travel are enormous - all officers and CS are SO2 level and above are entitled to it at present, and the costs can be huge - for instance the cost of a standard return to Salisbury is (or was) about Â£30, whereas the first class return was nearer Â£100. Multiply that by the tens of thousands of staff entitled to it and you rack up enormous savings.
This measure wasn't proposed by Downing Street, it wasn't forced on the military by Gordon Brown. It was made by the MOD, through military officers and taken and approved by the Defence board (which includes all the chiefs of staff).
The reason it was taken is because Defence is utterly, utterly broke and as and when you come to serve, then you may eventually get the bigger picture of how bad our position is right now. - thats why we're doing this measure. Its nothing to do with centuries of history and tradition - thats just hysterical nonsense.
As for the departments position - I don't know what other Depts do, but I do know that in the MOD, for any rank, first class travel doesn't happen anymore.
I think that ranks in a similar position to senior level Managers/Directors of private enterprises should travel first class.
On the rare occasions that I can afford First Class travel on trains and planes I am many times more productive and more refreshed at the end.
The rest should travel with cattle, or be thrown into post bags to travel in the Royal Mail carriage.
I still have my ticket from when I got flown home Raffles Class from Singapore So much better than economy.
When I joined my last company as a field engineer in 1993 we flew business class everywhere. It was with great delight that when speaking to a guy while waiting for the luggage to arrive I found that he was an RN commander and he was travelling cattle class, he was over the moon to have been upgraded by BA to Club class for his journey home. Seems it was normal for senior occifers then to travel economy even on long haul.
Alas in 2000 my company made us a gift of reducing out travel to economy. The savings were astronomical, Business class is about three times the cost of economy.
Completely irrelevant comment, I am perfectly entitled to an opinion and my view on government policy in any area is nothing to do with being in the RN or not, if it was an RN specific issue I might be able to see your point. However this is a general issue reflective of this rotten bunch you work for, as such I will say whatever I wish.
I am firmly of the opinion that senior military officers should travel first class, they should be treated with the respect and dignity their positions warrant - you wouldn't find the Directors of Marks and Spencer, the governor of the Bank of England, and YES, the Defence Secretary travelling cattle class - can you tell us when the military lost it's standing, was it when this bunch of left wing dribblers arrived in 1997??
This government has a record of intentionally trampling on tradition and of targeting institutions which evoke images of class and privilege in a cheap attempt to score points with knuckle dragging morons. This decision may not be solely motivated by this trend, but it is certainly relfective of the disregard for what is proper and just.
You can have your opinion, but do not try and mask your pro-institution, seemingly pro-Labour government views as being reasoned. You aren't fooling anyone!
Okay, so, lets say you take that Â£70 cost you have given us, which seems a ridiculous amount more than normal first class costs. And then times it by four for the four travel warrants a year, Â£280. Then lets multiply that by the number of staff entitled to this. I don't have an exact figure, but you say tens of thousands, so I will be conservative and say 50,000 or so?
Total Saving = Â£ 14,000,000
Total MoD Budget = Â£35,600,000,000
Percentage saved in comparison to total budget = 0.039% 3sf.
(Apologies for only having access to 07/08 figures)
The estimated money saved is tiny in comparison to other cuts that could have been made, I mean, Education Maintenance Allowance currently costs Â£600,000,000, and that's a complete farce as it stands. (Coming from somebody who gets Â£30 a week from EMA to attend college, just 'cause my dad moved out.)
Danny - good break down but only on one route and assuming people only travel 4 times per year. Majority of personnel will travel a lot more than that - often on the London to bristol route, where the cost is over Â£100 difference for a 1st class vs standard ticket. If you do that route then you'd be amazed just how many staff officers and CS are lurking in those carriages - without it I think FGW would go broke.
The reality is that the savings are far greater than you've allowed for, given that the majority of people will travel often weekly on business.
There is another cost-cutting 'solution' (...& it as has been applied to various Govt. Depts. elsewhere)
Analyse the movements made, pinpoint the most travel-costly destination(s) (eg No.1 Bath for the RN?) then relocate those travelling to each of those 'popular' destinations pro rata.
Side benefits? These generally include; smaller carbon footprints all round and a substantial freeing-off of real estate in expensive areas. Investment in more video-conferencing should largely eliminate unplanned travel.
Morale Factor? undoubtedly significant, but this has rarely been a key consideration for those making such decisions, so dispense with personal upheaval bleats by stressing: "....For 'tis life in a Service-coloured suit...." & "...You shoudn't have joined if you cannot take a joke..." etc.
The Military's involvement in these decisions? As always, the ambitious but innocent "Aye, Aye sir!" types will always enthusiastically agree with their more Machiavellian-inclined masters (Political &/or Departmental).
Dissenter's resignations? History indicates that these will merely allow those lesser gifted, but with a with a more pliant nature, to accelerate their relentless climb further up the food chain.
Totally didn't realise that they could be used for business travel etc. and lets be honest, what actual experience do I have of how often service personnel travel!
Nevertheless, it would be interesting to see what the serving senior officers have to say on the matter if we have any lurking in the RR shadows?
Thanks Stix, probably the first informative post I've seen on RR yet heh
Kevan Jones, a junior defence minister, said the decision, â€œis not intended to humiliate anyone. It is about getting value for moneyâ€.
A theme, no doubt, MP's believed in delivering to constituents during last years expenses fiasco ? 8O
Sorry Twiglet, but I think your comment that tens of thousands would be entitled to it might be a mite exaggerated, it memory servers we have aprox 230,000 serving service personnel, so you would be saying 1 in 5 members of the armed orces are entitled to 1st class travel!
I have no doubt in my mind that savings have to be made, I also have no doubt in my mind that officers of Captain (RN) and their equivalent in the other services should be allowed to travel 1st class (Business Class on Air Journeys) when travelling on Duty, and the removal of this privilege has little to do with cost savings and more to do with 'putting the military in its place'
Mikh - two points, firstly I ran the checks on the DASA website and got approximatelty 30,000 entitled personnel.
Secondly, I cannot set how a measure put forward by the military, approved by the military is in anyway a means by the military to put themselves in their place. Its a railway journey, not a means of putting the bourgeois in their places!
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