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And to think our defence ministers are a shower ...

"Dutch defence minister Eimert van Middelkoop says he is "very happy" he found a legal way to dodge his military service in the 1970s because he has difficulties in coping with authority". Source

It is pretty poor that no-one (to my knowledge) in the higher echelons of the current government has done military service, let alone active service - and no Secretary of State here has served with the colours since Tom King, and none with real moral authority since Gurkha rifles officer John Nott - but that Dutch fellow takes not merely the biscuit, but the packet, the shelf it was on and for all I know the factory where the things are churned out.

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Blogger Jonny Mac said... 10:00 am

"It is pretty poor that no-one (to my knowledge) in the higher echelons of the current government has done military service, let alone active service -"

Interesting point. Is it? Should the Defence Secretary be required to have served in the forces at some point? If, say, 20 out of 400 govt MPs have such experience, should one of them, as a point of principle, be in the Cabinet/Def Sec, regardless of other considerations? And if it is 'pretty poor' - poor on whose part? Brown's? Labour party selection procedures? The elctorate's, even?  



Blogger Croydonian said... 10:11 am

Fair comment JM. I think that there would be advantages to an American style system whereby people from outside politics are brought in to the administration to serve individual roles - Rice, Powell, and - cough - Paulson for example, none of whom have stood for the Senate or Congress. The Lords offers a way rounbd this of sorts.

Further, I think that both serious parties are guilty of promoting people from a career politics track, with insufficient emphasis put on life experience. While the lack of military figures is one example, note the lack of folk with an IT background. Instead the place is stuffed with wonks, lawyers and hacks.

Way back lost in the mists of time I started analysing pre-politics careers of sitting MPs, and came up with this:

"Of the first 50 - Abbott to Blears, there are nine lawyers, eight teachers / academics, four wonks, seven 'media' and a barman - Gerry Adams.  



Blogger Nick Drew said... 6:53 pm

years ago (197.. *ahem*) when I was at Sandhurst the Commandant addressed us on this subject, it was foreseen then that the outcome would be just as it is today

(and that no good would result)  



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