22 July 2009

Spinning about helicopters

I listened to Gordon Brown try to defend his position on helicopter support in Afghanistan today.

He resorted to some dubious quotes from a Lieutenant Colonel and an Air Commodore. Now, respect to those guys, although important and relatively senior, they are hardly at the top of the tree as far as the MoD goes - which suggests to me that Gordon cannot find anyone of 3 or 4 star rank to support his line.

His first quote was from Air Commodore Simon Falla who said that we had more helicopters than Australia, Canada and Holland. Great sound bite, but the truth is that we have more troops in Afghanistan than those three countries combined. This can only have been said to make the aforementioned soundbite. What other logical reason can there be to quote those countries and not Germany, Poland, Spain etc. etc.? Troop numbers can be found here.

The second soundbite was from a Lieutenant Colonel Nick Richardson who said that "helicopters would not have saved the lives of the individuals last week". Note "last week" not that deaths have not occurred in Afghanistan because of a lack of helicopters.

It is a real shame that this sort of spin is being used. Why not just admit what everyone knows and sort it.



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