David Blackburn

The plot against Sir Richard Dannatt

The plot against Sir Richard Dannatt
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Aside from the irony that ministers think they can nail General Dannatt over his Civil List expenses, I can’t see how the government can benefit from smearing Sir Richard, assuming they placed the FOI request. (Although to be honest, I can't see why anyone other than these defence ministers would seek to damage Dannatt.)

Friends of General Dannatt say that he will “do his duty and carry out his responsibilities to the Army and the country whether he is in uniform or not”. And I imagine the man who won the Military Cross fighting the IRA will take this smear campaign in his stride and write an especially savage book on defence under New Labour.

Dannatt is a soldier’s soldier. A quick glance at the Army Rumour Service’s website should be enough to convince ministers that they should stop playing Iago to Dannatt’s Othello, because the public will side with the honest General and his concern for his troops.

There is a growing sense that defence ministers are more interested in protecting their reputations than they are in providing the best possible support for British troops. That assessment is unfair, but it is fuelled by the inability of Battlin’ Bob, who told his ministers to stop briefing against defence chiefs last month, to stop these smears.

UPDATE: Guido has revealed that the Brownite defence minister Kevan Jones is responsible for the smear, but he doesn't identify his source. Will keep you posted.