22 November 2006
Lewis Page’s “Lions, Donkeys and Dinosaurs”

While travelling by train yesterday, I looked up from the book I was reading: Lewis Page’s Lions, Donkeys and Dinosaurs to look at the new Wembley Stadium.

Or to put it another way: while passing one gargantuan waste of money I was sitting on an even bigger one while reading about another one even bigger than that.

Incidentally, I am not quite sure what to make of Page’s book.  His central claim is that the MoD keeps on spending money on systems that are late, over-budget, and either don’t work or, if they do work, don’t work as well as existing systems, or are irrelevant on the modern battlefield.  Which, if true, is fairly damning stuff.  And I would like it to be true - it fits in pretty well with my Government is incompetent line.

But I am dubious.  It’s all a bit too neat and tidy.  His prescriptions could be summed up as: abolish the RAF, buy more planes, buy a lot more helicopters, buy some proper aircraft carriers and buy American.  Oh and abolish the five most senior ranks in the two remaining services.

If the history of warfare tells us anything it is that strategy, tactics and procurement are messy affairs.  There’s never a silver bullet.

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