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On the back benches, you can have your say but no power to do anything.
– Bob Ainsworth
You have to make the compromise: resign, stay out of the government, and you can say what you like… but no one has to do anything about it.
Defence must be more adaptable, able to respond quickly to the changes in the security environment and the character of conflict.
If I had another life, that’s what I’d be – a regimental sergeant major or a similar rank. That’s where the spirit of the armed forces is.
Failure in Afghanistan would have profound consequences for our national security. It would undermine the NATO alliance structure that has been the bedrock of Britain’s defence for the last 60 years… I will not allow this to happen on my watch.
The war in Afghanistan is too important to be reduced to a political football. We are fighting there to protect our national security. We are confronting the Taliban-led insurgency to prevent terrorists returning to that country.
It’s true that people were told facial hair was not appreciated by the British public, but I just decided to keep the moustache.
As the Chief of the Defence Staff says, you don’t defend on the goal line. Defending the interests of the U.K. means tackling threats early and at source, and that means intervening overseas.
We need a leader able to project his or her personality and present our policies in today’s media environment. All this is true – but we also need a leader capable of building a team, inspiring loyalty from colleagues, and one genuinely open to ideas.
I never expected to be Defence Secretary. It’s a great privilege.
It’s hard to find good teamwork in practice, and I have never thought that we, as a party, were any better at working as a team than the Tories, despite our core values.
I come from a pretty tough background and I learned a long time ago not to be bothered.
We cannot allow Afghanistan to become again a haven for terrorists who inspire, plan and provide support for attacks like those of 11 September 2001, of 7 July 2005 in London, and more.
I have strengths, and I have weaknesses. I don’t pretend to be able to write a great thesis or doctorate – I have no pretensions in that direction.
Despite the increasingly presidential style of political leadership in our country, teamwork is essential.
Stalin’s policies pushed the world into the Cold War. Putin has the potential to be equally as dangerous.
I have always had a keen interest in defence and military history and read more on this subject than anything else.
I got a tooth bust by somebody who decided they didn’t like me and I thought the moustache hid a scar on my lip. It’s true that people were told facial hair was not appreciated by the British public, but I just decided to keep the moustache.
We in the West walked away from Afghanistan at the end of the Cold War and left it as a country devastated socially and armed to the teeth. If we do that again, there will be consequences.
My heroes are the non-commissioned officers. If I had another life that’s what I’d be – a regimental sergeant major or a similar rank. That’s where the spirit of the armed forces is.
We have tended in politics in this country to concentrate on the domestic, on the here and now – the ‘what’s in it for me’.
I am extremely honoured to be the Defence Secretary, and I would not do the job if I did not think that I could make a useful contribution in the role.
The reasoning for our civil-military plan is that lasting success will be when the Afghan government, security forces and people can resist the insurgents and terrorists themselves.
I was Minister for the Armed Forces in the Ministry of Defence for two years prior to being appointed Defence Secretary.
If you stand at an election and put a manifesto in front of people saying you’re going to improve health care, you have to stick by that.
I’ll tell you what I do have: I have a good feel for ordinary people, for politics, and those are my strengths. I understand, I hope instinctively, where many of our Armed Forces come from.