Helicopters in Afghanistan

Listening carefully to the row over helicopters – the provision of which (if adequate) would stop our troops having to be transported in USA reject land vehicles over mines and bombs that blow up and kill our young soldiers – I remembered Harriet Harman’s words last PMQs:

Ms Harman: The right hon. Gentleman is absolutely right to say that we must do everything possible to ensure the greatest protection for our troops in the field, and there is no complacency about that. We have increased the number of armoured vehicles that have been procured for and made available to our troops, but we are not going to be complacent and there must be more. We have increased the number of helicopters by 60 per cent. over the past two years, but we recognise that we should do more. We want to do more not only for their personal protection but in recognition of the importance of their mission in Afghanistan, not only to that country but to the region and to the security of this country.

As you can see – Harriet claims increased helicopter numbers by 60% – but she is being disingenuous – because the sorts of helicopters she is talking about cannot transport troops – they are attack helicopters. It is the Chinooks that we need to carry our troops safely.

I do not understand how a minister of the state like Harriet can think that such an answer is acceptable. She knows perfectly well that she is avoiding a proper answer which would have been: ‘we have increased our attack helicopters by 60%, but the honourable member is right, we have not provided any more of the type of helicopters that can transport troops – or we have provided x more troop carrying helicopters.’

Bad karma Harriet!