The Blog of
Nadine Dorries
All's Fair in War and Politics
Posted Wednesday, 27 May 2009 at 15:16

 

 

The local press are picking this up now, I will leave it up to them.

 

Anyone who reads this blog will understand that I have the hugest regard for all serving military personnel, TA, Army, Navy and Air Force and consider myself very lucky indeed to have two bases in my constituency. RAF Henlow, Chicksands and a TA training base.

 

I talk to many soldiers, regular and TA before they leave to serve, and as detailed in my blog, 'A Soldiers Tale', when they arrive home. I know and understand well exactly the danger and the operations they engage in. 

 

However, the one thing I have learnt over the last few weeks is that in the battlefield of politics, one needs to be absolutely honest AND precise. Nothing less will do.

 

 
 

 
 
 
Robert said:
Responded: Wednesday, 27 May 2009
Methinks you knows summat?
 
 
TA TD said:
Responded: Wednesday, 27 May 2009
I assume you are making the distinction between someone who 'fights for their country' in Iraq, and someone who spends time in a safe enclosed area on a bit of training. I went to iraq with the TA in 2004. There is no way I would say I 'fought' in Iraq, because I didn't, nothink like.
 
 
Howarth said:
Responded: Wednesday, 27 May 2009
What regiment is/was he in? Unless he is a member of a "teeth arms" regiment he can't say he "fought" in Iraq with an entirely clean conscience. Many of our men and women never see the outside of their tent/office in one of the big bases or hqs.
 
 
James said:
Responded: Wednesday, 27 May 2009
It takes but a minute on the Internet to find out that he served in the Territorial Army and was based at British Army Headquarters in southern Iraq after volunteering and leaving his accountancy job.Maybe he counted bullets and tanks, I don't know. His blog states he served in Military Intelligence. Not exactly front line.
 
 
Mac said:
Responded: Wednesday, 27 May 2009
As a serving soldier I find it very insulting when junior TA say they 'fought in Iraq'. I fought, hard. Saying you 'fought'when you didnt is one thing. Saying it to win votes when the army loses soldiers and families son's is disgusting. It belittles what the real heros do.
 
 
maire lowe said:
Responded: Wednesday, 27 May 2009
don't get the point being made here. The man serves in the TA and volunteered to to Iraq Whether he killed people spied on the other sides or just did the admin doesn'et seem to matter. Still a soldier in the armed forces surely. No sneering Nadine.
 
 
Matt said:
Responded: Wednesday, 27 May 2009
I think Marie that the point is a Labour candidate is claiming to have 'fought' in Iraq. that would win you a political advantage. If he did fight then fine, good on him. If he didn't and this is in fact a false claim, we need to know.
 
 
James said:
Responded: Wednesday, 27 May 2009
Correction:: I previously stated he served IN Military Intelligence,it should have been he served WITH Military Intelligence.There is probably a difference.Sorry. Do I get first go on the naughty step, Nadine?
 
 
Mike H said:
Responded: Wednesday, 27 May 2009
@James "Sorry. Do I get first go on the naughty step, Nadine?" I've had a look round here and I can't find one James, so I think you're safe. The naughty step is presumably in the same place as the paragraph breaks - wherever that is. ;-)
 
 
Mike H said:
Responded: Wednesday, 27 May 2009
Ooops. Just done a screen refresh and seen the new blog policy. There IS a naughty step. Mea culpa.
 
 
Anne said:
Responded: Wednesday, 27 May 2009
I find it quite insulting that the views expressed here appear to be that only service personnel, TA or Regular, in a war zone who actually used weapons "fought in Iraq". The fighting strength of any service in a war zone consists of everyone support or front line - without either one or other there could be no fight - and all risk life and limb by being there. A little more respect please - there are families out there who have lost loved ones that served in Iraq in a support role.
 
 
John Adams, Bedford. said:
Responded: Wednesday, 27 May 2009
Quite Anne, but what those people don't then do is write a letter, in the local press, attacking an MP, as the Prospective Labour Candidate, in a way which doesn't quite represent the facts and in a way which would be seen as an advantage and win votes. Surely, the correct thing to have done would have been to have written on his letter 'served in Iraq' - follwed by in whatever capacity. The letter was in my Sunday local paper, the BOS. If he was an MP, he would be toast already.
 
 
Mike H said:
Responded: Wednesday, 27 May 2009
I doubt that anyone would discredit the value of those who provide an essential support role to our front-line troops, but there is nevertheless a difference between the statements "I fought in Iraq" and "I served in Iraq".
 
 
Edward said:
Responded: Wednesday, 27 May 2009
You're hairsplitting (as are your fans on here). Without this support the "real" army would not be able to do their job. When you've volunteered for a spell in the TA you can sneer as much as you like until then I suggest sticking to attacks on policies.
 
 
Labradooledoo said:
Responded: Wednesday, 27 May 2009
@Mike H, quite, one is more likely to win votes than the other. One is the truth and one isn't.
 
 
Quentin said:
Responded: Wednesday, 27 May 2009
In all fairness,perhaps someone should ask this man if he actually FOUGHT in Iraq. I would, only he started his letter in BoS 'I am incandescent with rage' and maybe he hasn't cooled down yet.
 
 
Jon said:
Responded: Wednesday, 27 May 2009
Perhaps "I served as a soldier in Iraq" might have been more appropriate. I read that letter on Sunday and mentally adjusted it to that anyway. However unless you are saying that you are in admiration of the soldiers who go out on patrol but you think those that provide all the necessary support are a bunch of cowards then I wouldn't say it is something to call him out over. FWIW I forget what the letter said but I seem to remember it wasn't a positive message about why he would make a good candidate. I'd prefer to see both you and he tell us why we should vote for you and not why we shouldn't vote for the other guy (or girl).
 
 
Peejay said:
Responded: Wednesday, 27 May 2009
It's probably not the best time for someone with aspirations to be an MP to be a little imprecise in his or her assertions.
 
 
James said:
Responded: Wednesday, 27 May 2009
@Jon. Personally, I will vote for Nadine on her record alone,on which she has asked to be judged,previously. I don't really enjoy politician's attacking one another(liar)on a personal level but if Van Day joins in, the rest will have a field day with his past history. Reeves and Van Day are both jumping on the bandwagon and promising a no expenses if elected deal. Perhaps that will happen before a GE anyway.
 
 
Adam said:
Responded: Wednesday, 27 May 2009
Nadine, you said in your post first that he wrote “I fought for as a soldier in Iraq in 2003”. Later you say he wrote “I fought as a soldier in Iraq”. Which is an accurate record of the man's letter? It makes a difference. One can *fight for* rights and principles in many ways. If he says he *fought as* a soldier, he could be guilty of misrepresentation. But he can *fight for* rights and values in many ways, not all of them combative. You then quote him a third time to say he claims to have “fought in Iraq”. Which is it? It starts to look like a subtle language game to make your point, gradually transforming “I fought for as a soldier in Iraq in 2003”->“I fought as a soldier in Iraq” before leaving your readers with “fought in Iraq”. I hope it isn't as disingenuous as it could appear. Without access to the Beds on Sunday (the online version doesn't appear to carry the letter) it is very difficult to tell.
 
 
Nadine said:
Responded: Wednesday, 27 May 2009
@ Adam - the quote is; 'whch threatens to undermine the very democracy I fought for as a soldier in Iraq'
 
 
Mike H said:
Responded: Wednesday, 27 May 2009
Ohhhh, that quote:- "which threatens to undermine the very democracy I fought for as a soldier in Iraq" is a clever use of words, isn't it. He's saying that he fought for democracy, not that he literally fought as a soldier - or am I being too literal (it happens now and again). By contributing to the effort (by whatever means, in whatever role) in Iraq, he can reasonably claim to have 'fought for democracy' without overtly claiming to have fought in the 'muck and bullets' sense. As I say, I may have got this completely wrong - maybe someone who's up on the analysis of the written word will put me right, but it does strike me as a particularly clever way of describing his involvement.
 
 
Marcus said:
Responded: Wednesday, 27 May 2009
Fair point - let us see the whole sentance/paragraph of the letter quoted. Anyone got a Beds on Sunday from last Sunday, unfortunately I don't.
 
 
Dennis said:
Responded: Wednesday, 27 May 2009
A google search reveals "which threatens to undermine the very democracy I fought for as a soldier in Iraq in 2003" But is this accurate
 
 
David, Flitwick said:
Responded: Wednesday, 27 May 2009
Sorry Mike, I read the letter and had the impression of a guy out there, risking his life along with the likes of my nephew. Not on at all mate. You fight in war or you serve, easy.
 
 
Adam said:
Responded: Wednesday, 27 May 2009
Thanks Nadine. It is a clever use of words. It appears he never claimed to have *fought as* a soldier, but it is an easy interpretation to make, and one that he can, and will, readily disown. I can claim to have fought for democracy on many fronts, but never in the sense of using military force :-) Still, the metaphorical use of "fought" conflated with the role of soldier does seem to be a deliberate sleight of mouth on his part. He clearly has some crude language skills which I suspect will blow up in his face. Metaphorically of course.
 
 
Anonymous said:
Responded: Wednesday, 27 May 2009
why not let people voice their anger on your blog,the british public are not happy,surley this will affect you,were angry..
 
 
Janice said:
Responded: Wednesday, 27 May 2009
I have considered your blog and comments thereafter and it would seem that with an interpretation of sel ective words from the original letter from a potential opponent, that word manipulation is the order of the day where politics is concerned. As your blog title states "Alls fair in war and politics" - so very sad. It is little wonder that parliament and its members are under scrutiny. Heaven forfend that facts should get in the way of spin.
 
 
Brian E said:
Responded: Wednesday, 27 May 2009
Its very difficult to define "fighting". I have a young friend in the Army who might be described as having fought in both Iraq and Afghanistan. He services their helicopters. He tells his mum that its a nice safe job, but I gather it is far from that when they have to go out to either recover or destroy a downed helicopter where their is a high chance that it is booby trapped or that someone nasty is waiting for them.
 
 
Gemama said:
Responded: Thursday, 28 May 2009
Nadine, I think that his use of words was very clever as by using the word "fought" he managed to evoke the image of one who served on the front line whilst being able to deny such intention if ever questioned. Following Adam's clarification of the actual quote I think you too may be guilty of word play in this particular criticism though.
 
 
Carl Cross said:
Responded: Thursday, 28 May 2009
The guy uses the phrase "I fought for" in the context of him being "a soldier in Iraq" - the inference is clear enough. He served in Iraq (with many others in many roles) and well done to him for that. But he didn't fight. It's a pretty critical difference when you're all but claiming a hero's mantle.
 
 
David said:
Responded: Thursday, 28 May 2009
@Carl Cross, I agree. I have no respect for someone who uses his 'service' in Iraq to claim he 'fought' in Iraq in order to win votes. That's a pretty slimy thing to do.
 
 
BOF2BS said:
Responded: Thursday, 28 May 2009
I find one has to be terribly careful and precise with the use of our language at times. A recent, now notorious, example was the sublime difference between “studying at Berkeley” and “to Berkeley to study” with reference to a certain (now ex) bloggers use in a CV of a qualification obtained whilst he was living in this city in the US of A. Currently an internet search leads one fairly quickly to the following additional, arguably clarifying, words in this instance -“….. accountancy job…..” “…. Territorial Army….” “….. based in the British Army headquarters… “ “…..difficult and dangerous conditions……” partially mitigated by “…… volunteered…..”.!
 
 
Adam said:
Responded: Thursday, 28 May 2009
@Gemama I'm applying a test of plausibility to my conclusions so far. The author of the original letter has published it on his blog. The line which contains the "fought for" is interesting, because anyone with any real history in politics can claim to have fought *for* democracy in any number of ways, yet he specifically chose to use service in Iraq as his example of how he fought *for* democracy. I personally think that this is a weak claim anyway, but that aside, his choice of arena increases the plausability that he wishes to give the impression that he fought as a soldier, while allowing him to weasel out of it if challenged. I note on his blog that he has one response, and I quote "I think everyone who has fought in Iraq is a real hero. It must have been very frightening for you to engage the enemy knowing that you could be shot or wounded at any moment." He hasn't chosen to disabuse the author of that quote in nearly 24 hours, which further enhances the plausibility of intended deception. With hindsight, I think Nadine is guilty of passionate anger and little more (and I speak as someone who finds himself constitutional incapable of voting Tory, so this is not a knee jerk defence). She appears to blog much as she speaks, which can give rise to misunderstanding, but the gradual morphing of the phrase *fought for* to *fought as* and *fought in* could easily be an impassioned, if ill-judged, rhetorical technique to emphasise the effect that the original author's use of language created. This is made all the more plausible by the speed with which she produced the original quote when asked. Do a search on that quote to find the author's blog. So, all in all, I currently judge the original author of intended deception, and Nadine of a passionate response with the likelihood of allowing her feelings to run away with her posting style. And that's just a fancy way of saying that, in balance, I agree with David, Carl and all.
 
 
Democrat said:
Responded: Thursday, 28 May 2009
A couple of question are going begging here. No matter how much you support the military, it fights where and when the government of the day tells it to. It does not 'fight for democracy'. Had our democratic Parliament been a little more robust, it is conceivable that Tony Blair's personal promise of support for the US-led war might have foundered in debate in the Commons. Had that happened, democracy would have been on the anti-war side. The letter-writer was indeed being very clever in his use of words. He led you into a trap. Better to tackle it by fighting for democracy as an MP and demanding a general election (or even instigating a bye-election)immediately. With MPs in the state they are in, what possible use is Parliament in scrutinising the actions of the Government? Are we to have this endure for another year? As for chummy the TA accountant, he is only the prospective Labour candidate because he supports Brown's Government (and obviously Blair's or he wouldn't have volunteered). As a soldier, his personal views are of no account - his job is to obey orders. All you have to do to flatten him is to point out that using his so-called personal views ('incandescent with rage''fought for democracy' etc)to promote himself hardly raises him above the level of a blog poster, and that he will follow the Labour whip as slavishly as he obeyed orders in Iraq. It wasn't democracy that sent him there, it was New Labour.
 
 
Democrat said:
Responded: Thursday, 28 May 2009
Just read his blog. This guy's studied Neuro Linguistic Programming, surely. Straight into the "fought for democracy" in order to wave a red rag in front of you. But what comes next? A promise to continue to work as an accountant if elected, dressed up as a promise not to charge the taxpayer. You are a full time MP, it's your job. He will be part-time. And you can bet that that is New Labour's strategy now - sel ect candidates who already have a 'job' and promise to keep it in order to save us money. Most of those jobs will be with charities, quangos, unions, newspapers (Heffer also promised to keep his job), and broadcasters (Esther will milk the BBC instead of the fees office). Also, does he live in your constituency? And even if so, is it normal to say "I therefore thought it reasonable, on behalf of my constituent to refer the matter to the Parliamentary Commissioner"? MY constituent?
 
 
Adam said:
Responded: Thursday, 28 May 2009
@ Democrat... I wasn't going to develop the democracy argument, but Bravo... and as for the NLP reference, his persuasion skills are very much of the crudest kind. But they do appear to be formalised, so my guess is that he has studied them. Just not really understood them. On another topic, anyone recommend a good forum for discussing politics across a broad spectrum of ideologies with respect for difference?
 
 
Democrat said:
Responded: Thursday, 28 May 2009
Adam - we spoke, so to speak, yesterday. I think you've also noticed something about the people drawn here - that we're not all partisan and need a good forum. When I was living in Holland, I found the original Expatica to be incredibly good. But it got overrun by Americans (actually in America, not expats) who banged on about Islamofascism because of the way the Dutch media had hyped the murder of Theo Van Gogh. Real expats, however, saw through it to a large extent and continued to criticise Dutch politics from a more libertarian, non-racist, perspective. Tempers got frayed, and intemperate language was often used until - despite my desperate opposition (I, too, "fought for democracy" abroad, eh!)- they brought in strict moderation. The forum is now crap. So it goes.
 
 
Democrat said:
Responded: Thursday, 28 May 2009
Nadine - FYI according to the Culture Media & Sport Committee Fifth Report (HC24 7th April 2009) into BBC commercial operations, the BBC Trust - that's the body whose sole job is to oversee the BBC - has 62 people working for it and a budget of 11 million pounds. My calculator tells me that is 177,419 on average per person. The Trust doesn't govern the country. It doesn't even make programmes. It's sole job is to supposedly manage this one giant organisation. It used to be called the BBC Board of Governors - coincidentally a body which responded exactly the same way to Freedom of Information requests by Heather Brooke as the Government did over MPs allowances. And what did Heather want to know from the BBC Governors? She wanted the minutes of the meeting at which Gavyn Davies and Greg Dyke resigned after the Hutton Report. The BBC eventually stopped stalling and published them, as well as the minutes of the subsequent meeting. You can download them both from here http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/6253585.stm Dyke found himself in quite a pickle. But he was canny enough to negotiate a payoff of over half a million pounds on the spot. And what about this from last November? http://www.newsoftheworld.co.uk/news/article58998.ece Notice Esther being all shocked about this too. None of these people has any responsibility for anything except themselves. How do they imagine an MP like yourself could have done anything to prevent the Government and Commons officials from blocking the release of unredacted ACA claims?
 
 
Adam said:
Responded: Friday, 29 May 2009
FWIW, I still note that Mr Reeves has not chosen to disabuse the author of the comment on his blog who wrote "I think everyone who has fought in Iraq is a real hero. It must have been very frightening for you to engage the enemy knowing that you could be shot or wounded at any moment." nearly 48 hours later. I could post a comment there, but the child in me just wants to watch and see :-)
 
 
 
Contact Nadine
Nadine Dorries MP
House of Commons
London SW1A 0AA
via e-mail at: nadine.dorries.mp@parliament.uk
or Telephone on 020 7219 5928

 
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