Thursday, March 15, 2007

Parliamentary Question of the Day

Mark Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much his Department spent on (a) television sets and (b) Sony Playstations for the use of service personnel in each of the last three financial years for which figures are available.
Derek Twigg [holding answer 18 January 2007]: Information on the total number of televisions and Playstations purchased across Defence over the last three financial years is not held centrally and could be collated only at disproportionate cost. However, figures for expenditure on televisions and Playstations for personnel deployed on operations in Iraq and Afghanistan for the calendar years 2005, 2006 and 2007 to date are available. These are as follows:
2005 Televisions 56,039
Playstations 8,357
2006 Televisions 135,937
Playstations 25,571

My gob is well and truly smacked.

17 comments:

Cato, author of www.toryheaven.com said...

Iain, our boys (and girls) are cooped up like chickens in many of these warzones, unable to leave their bases except when on patrol, when they are likely to face snipers on every rooftop and the threat of landmines round every corner. If a TV sets and Playstations help keep them sane, and let's them know that we value their willingness to serve Queen and country in an unpopular war, I for one don't begrudge them that.

David said...

I agree with cato above, but surely they don't need one each, and a new one every year!!

no longer anonymous said...

I'd rather see the money spent on a pay rise.

Bearing in mind how badly the services get treated this doesn't really irk me as much as it would if the tvs and Playstations were going to smoking cessation officers.

Byeck said...

This appears to work out at three TV sets and a Playstation for each squaddie/squaddess. Has anyone asked if they would prefer body-armour?

towcestarian said...

Knowing the way the MoD work, the only games that will have been bought for the Playstations will be ones made for very little children and teenage girls. Still I can't think that many of the squaddies in Afghanistan will be too keen to play "Stealth Force - The War on Terror" after a hard day at the office.

Ted said...

The figures are £ as they are expenditure so 100 or so playstations and 500 plus TVs supplied to how many bases in Afghanistan? Doesn't seem overly extravagant to me and I'd think the use made isn't particularly careful so replacements necessary.

Tone made me do it - he's a bad influence said...

Are these figures £'s or actual numbers of sets/boxes?

nadders said...

And knowing the fuckwits in MOD procurement they were bought at Comet at full retail price too

2br02b said...

To change the subject for a moment:

It seems you're slipping, Uain:

Your site is NOT banned in China.

Guido's IS.

See for yourself at:

http://www.greatfirewallofchina.org/

tbfkatic said...

My brother has done two tours of Iraq and visited Afghanistan on occasion. I can confirm that he is a total couch potato....


Get them to tune into 18 Doughty Street on all those TV's huh?!

Chris Paul said...

Do you not do hat tips any more?

In this case Recess Monkey or Dizzy or some such? Off another blog anyway.

The fact anyone could find it does not mean you can avoid crediting someone else ... IMO

Roger Thornhill said...

Frankly 150k (i.e. 500-1000 units) seems unremarkable.

The point should be about if they get a fair price and that the units are not walking (unless they can be effectively bartered for "hearts and minds").

"I'm the ooooonly flat pan-nel in tha vill-edge!"

Iain Dale said...

Chris, I was emailed this by a reader. I don't read Recess Monekiye every day. I was also not aware it is on Dizzy. Don't look for a conspiracy where there is none. You wouldn't want to be compared to Tim Ireland, would you?

Indigo said...

Iain, I believe that, if you are subject to extreme danger and horrors every day, playing computer games when off-duty is an effective way of dumping stress. Better than getting paralytically drunk, especially if you are a soldier and might be called to action stations at any moment.

It even works for civilians. Someone I know was responsible for the entire computer network at a small research institute that is part of the University of London. Robbers broke in one night and stole half the servers (didn't take the remainder because they hadn't brought a big enough van). The next day, a Sunday, having "stabilised" the situation by running back-ups and making police statements, this young man went home and played computer games for 8 hours non-stop, and I am certain that that was for him a highly efficient way of "integrating" shock and fright.

SFIE said...

I suspect the reason whythey couldn't answer how many were bought for the dept as a whole is because they prefer X-Box 360's so they can play networked games!!!

jailhouselawyer said...

Given that prisoners have to pay for their own TVs and play stations, I feel that this is an unnecessary waste of tax payers money!

Dr Random said...

Couldn't they have commandeered them from the Iraqis? They had a large bill for playstations too, although I think they planned on doing something else with them...

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2000/12/19/iraq_buys_4000_playstation_2s/