Saturday, 18 August 2012

A short site update

Well the sun is beating down (somewhere!), and the vast majority of the population are enjoying their well deserved summer leave. Humphrey is working on, taking his leave later in the year in order to go mountain climbing in an obscure part of the world, and taking a vow of spending two weeks without saying ‘that seems a politically very brave decision Minister’…

In the interim, he wanted to provide a short update about the blog as a whole, to give an idea of what lies ahead. Having discovered the site statistics section on the control panel, it gives all manner of useful information about what articles are read, and where readers interests lie. At present many of the most widely read articles are on naval matters, backed up by information on wider governmental issues.

The site was established in order to try and provide a source of ‘rebuttal’ and explain in context why the MOD does things, and why what is being criticised in the media often makes more sense when the full picture is explained. In the last few months these stories have dropped off, seemingly the media is either in line with the national mood of gratitude to MOD for saving the Olympic Games from near disaster, or the media have easier targets in their sights. Humphrey will continue to publish short articles as and when news breaks, but right now, it feels very quiet on this front.

Another aim of this site was to try and put across the views of the oft neglected civil service, who feel as if they are seen as the villain of the piece. It would be easy to put out regular posts about this, and trying to summarise what it feels like to be in  this much maligned organisation. That said, the author can’t help but feel that you can over flog a dead horse. There is a limit to the number of times you can say ‘things aren’t as good as they seem for the MOD' before people lose interest. While it seems certain the MOD CS will be in the media spotlight again soon, particularly if some of the rumours emanating from Whitehall pubs are true, until this point, it is likely that the author will do less ‘generalist’ articles on the MOD CS, and focus in on specific issues as they are raised in the media.

The main area where there is interest is in both articles looking at the UK role in the world, and also what is going on with the Royal Navy and other Navies. Where Humphrey feels he can add value to debating an issue, then there will continue to be analytical articles focusing on this sort of subject. But, this is not a fantasy fleets discussion blog! While Humphrey greatly enjoys reading some of the comments on the articles he posts, he tends not to comment on ‘fantasy fleet’ discussions, as he doesn’t want his speculation to be confused with that of ‘informed comment’, which is then taken out of context. So, by all means continue the debates, and where possible the author will try to comment or add his views. But, please don’t be offended if there is not always a response.

Moving forward, the plan is to continue to produce one-two articles per week, depending on real world commitments and what is going on in the Defence sphere. This blog is written at home, in the authors spare time, so sometimes updates will be less frequent as real life intrudes.

In terms of what is coming up, Humphrey has a few articles in mind that he’d like to write as slightly deeper think pieces, and also continue with the wider work of looking at events as they become news. These pieces have no definitive ‘due date’, but will be written as time, and events permit. They include:

‘Reasons to be Positive’ – Parts Four – the Maritime Reserve, Five – the lessons of the last decade and Six – the Fleet Air Arm. ‘

                ‘Is there a future for Surface – Surface Guide Missiles in Naval Warfare’?

                ‘Olympics Lessons identified – what can the MOD / RN learn from OP OLYMPICS’?

                ‘Is there such a thing as an Officer Class, and does it matter’?

                ‘The Importance of Africa to Defence’ (part of a wider Think Defence piece)

If there is something readers would like to see written about, then please don’t hesitate to contact me via the email address.

Many thanks for all the participation and comments – this blog is a labour of love, and it is wonderful to know that people enjoy reading it.


  1. Don't thank us.........thank you.
    I hope your stats show an increase in readers.
    Your view point has been of considerable interest as the MoD has figured very highly in the media since the invasion of Iraq. This activity has been accompanied by an incessant and misleading spin; one way and then the other.
    My reaction to your late intervention was that, whatever the spin, at least it was based on the well informed facts. In fact I thought you sailed very close to the windward side of the OSA on occasion.
    You are now, of course a legitimate target for the political and socialist blogs whose abuse can be vile, so whilst I wish you a very happy and well deserved holiday, please be aware that this might be the time someone releases very bad news particularly as they now know you aren't down the pub!


  2. Thank you for writing Sir Humphrey. You encourage thought rather than reaction which is good (though occasionally inconvenient).

  3. Oh blimey Humphrey, please do spill on the reasons why you expect MOD CS to be in the spotlight again soon, as per your Whitehall pub RUMINT. Some of us are on the end of a rather longish wire and find it hard, having just about survived - so far - the job cuts, the pay freeze, the pension theft and the quite probably unlawful withholding this year of the employer-imposed performance-related element of pay (I'm not seeing this happening in the OGDs I work with, so how come MOD thinks it can get away with it is beyond me, and I'm not stupid), to imagine just how much worse things could actually get.

  4. Am really enjoying this blog, one of my daily must reads. My article suggestion would be something about OPVs and 'Global Corvettes'; cost effective force multipliers, a slippery slope to downgrading the Navy to coast guard status, or completely irrelevant to the modern scene.

  5. Enjoy reading all your articles even if I do find that there are lots of maritime centric ones :) I would be hugely interested in your take on Army 2020, the influx of TA and the 2 tier fighting force.

  6. I also greatly enjoy the blog, as it provides insights from a UK perspective. However, it seems to me there has already been a large number of navy articles, and I am not sure increased emphasis is the way to go. Personally, I enjoy most the "insider baseball" (or would you call it insider cricket?) articles on your civil service (so much different than the US version) and structural/budget issues. Whether to buy two more T-whatever warships are of less interest.

  7. MIDIOT - is it needed and what does it achieve?

  8. Thoughts on new threads:

    As TD has yet to publish his thoughts; where do you see CH II development going?

    Alternatively: What will replace the Tonka in the next decade and - possibly - could HMG fund an indigenous programme?

    And finally....

    Can someone come up with a serious defence structure for a future Scottish Dad's Army...? ;)