Nimrod Crash Report Hammers Government, RAF and Contractors

Nimrod MRA4
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Announced in December 2007, the independent review into the crash of Nimrod XV230 in Afghanistan in 2006 by Charles Haddon-Cave QC reported today. The outcome contains some of the harshest criticism of government and civilian contractor mis-management ever heard. Jeremy Paxman challenged a contrite Defence Secretary, Bob Ainsworth, on tonight’s BBC Newsnight. Ainsworth – to his credit – recognised that the report contained “… justifiable criticisms…of the MoD [Ministry of Defence]”, and said that he was “dreadfully sorry for the loss of life…”.

Haddon-Cave specifically pointed to the breakdown of the covenant between Britain and its armed forces as a result of the “organisational trauma” generated by Labour Party policy. His criticism contains yet more strident echoes of earlier attacks on defence procurement ‘policy’ which have indirectly led to loss of life in Afghanistan (through inadequate or non-existent equipment). This is a terrible example of how this government cannot implement policy in a coherent manner. The loss of 14 lives is a tragic outcome of incompetence for which, at the very least, a resignation or two might be expected.

If this were a company (and 2 companies are involved in the maintenance of the Nimrod – BAE Systems and Kinetiq) then Corporate Manslaughter prosecutions might surely be considered. However unlikely – given an Administration that is so totally separated from moral realities – it seems reasonable that such negligence is punished severely. Another dreadful example of the real results of incompetent implementation of arrogantly short-sighted and criminally inefficient government policies. If Cameron and the Tories – as Her Majesty’s Official Opposition – fail to tackle the government on these criticisms, they too are indictable in my mind.

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