Sunday, 18 March 2012

A general update on the aims and objectives of this blog

Now that this blog has been running for approximately three months, Humphrey wants to provide a general update on its aims, direction of travel and other useful information.


This blog was created as a result of the author feeling immensely frustrated at the poor level of defence reporting across the media. This is in turn led to regular posts on sites like ARRSE, where many popular misconceptions came up that were debated at length. The author felt that too often, several well-worn subjects were discussed, and that the same arguments cropped up again and again.

As such, this blog was born – its original aim was to provide a home to deeper articles on a range of issues which are of interest to the Defence community, and to try to correct misunderstandings on some issues. It also seeks, where appropriate to try to use these articles to put across a different perspective to the one often adopted in the press.

The author tries to put together a collection of articles which can vary in style, length and content. Broadly though they try to reflect an issue, look at it from a perspective that may not be immediately obvious, or which may not get the same level of comments as other more popular narratives.

As the blog has evolved, and different types of articles trialled, the following have become wider aims – the list below summarises what the current aims of this site are:

The aim of the Thin Pinstriped Line is to provide high quality and non-partisan written analysis on relevant defence matters of interest to the author.

Site ‘No Go’s

While this site will always seek to comment on many defence matters, there are some things that as a rule of principle, the author will adhere to. Firstly, this site will not generally comment on specific leaked papers surrounding spending rounds or other matters – the author has nothing but abject contempt for those individuals who betray their privileged access to material in order to leak it to the media.
Articles such as the ones relating to PR12, and particularly the situation with the F35 are leaked for a reason, in order to play into an agenda for someone. Personally the author does not wish to dignify such articles with comment – its very easy to put together papers which imply that options which would mean the end of vested interests, but these must be seen in the wider context of the options process, and all that this entails. It is very dangerous to comment on one specific option – particularly when decisions likely haven’t been taken, and when the paper has been leaked to influence as well as inform.

Additionally, there are some areas where the author simply doesn’t have sufficient technical or professional knowledge to comment meaningfully on a defence matter. While there will occasionally be articles talking about some wider defence issues in an open manner (for instance the Cyberwarfare post), there will also be times when the site will not mention an issue – this is generally because the author does not feel qualified to talk about a subject.

Additionally, the author tries to steer clear where possible of particularly partisan or political matters – because while he has his own, strictly personal, political views, he does not think it appropriate to comment on issues which can be as much about political footballing, as it is about defence. An example of this would be the recent argument over whether Forces pay should have been frozen this year – it is very difficult to make an entry into this arena without taking sides in what is a much wider political debate.
Finally, as a general rule, this site does not discuss theoretical matters such as “Future RN in 2025 with no CVF” or “Army with no tanks but lots of helicopters”. These are fascinating matters, but there are other sites which cover them in a far better way than this one. The author would strongly recommend visiting as a good starting point for this form of discussion.

Site Updates
This blog is intentionally written in the authors spare time and at home on his PC, rather than at work. This does mean though that when things get busy, the ability to update it or write an article becomes more challenging.

For the last few weeks, and certainly for at least the next two-three weeks, the ability to do multiple updates is limited due to the author having a very busy real life. However, the intent is to try to update this site at least once per week – the author feels it is better to do one good update on a regular basis, than several poor ones on a frequent basis.

 When leave, weekends and spare time permits, then more frequent articles will be posted – it really depends on how busy the author is, and what is going on in the world of Defence. Right now, in the lull before the PR12 storm, the headlines have been relatively quiet, and there has been little to catch his eyes that he feels qualified to comment on. Who knows what could change over the next few weeks.

And Finally...
It has been a personal challenge to write this blog, and the author has been very appreciative of the warm comments he’s received by email, Facebook or in person. Thank you for taking the time to read this site, and please continue to offer feedback and comments – they are hugely appreciated.

 One last thing – as an author, Humphrey is slightly worried that two hits on this blog came from people searching for "Folkland Porn" and "gifts that have to do with bagpipes"...


  1. Its a brilliant blog Humphrey, and one the few I read. Keep up the good work!

  2. As a simple soul, I find that I can better understand the world,after reading your blog - Please do not stop writing.

  3. elizzar here - really appreciating your simple, straightforward statement of aims, and your clear and generally level-headed reasonings, whether i agree with them or not. sorry using 'anonymous' but i generally post any comments via online moniker / email combination, which i couldn't see here? my only disappointment is the continued lack of folkland porn, after all it's why i came here first ... ahem!

  4. Excellent blog which allows me to appear far more educated and informed than I actually am when arguing about defence matters. Keep up the good work.