"As for those who say no-one cares about what pay Soldier A is getting, come off it - if I could identify an operation in which the SBS (for example) was involved, then check the pay of Royal Marines and find out who's getting all the various combat allowances, I could identify say 100 Royal Marines, their families, and then we'll see how efficient the Special Forces are when their friends and family are getting bumped off at home."
So, lets get this straight... We're spending a quarter of a billion quid in order to protect the names of some (but not all) military people from vaguely defined person or persons unknown for personal, rather than collective vengeance? At a time when military units are in real danger in real daily fire-fights and need more effective kit urgently? I repeat: are the MOD quite mad? Its like having a million pound lock on a ten pound bike. I blame too many bad movies and books where the villains hunt down a specific individual.
I note that you can't provide a reality based example of this kind of operation. On planet Earth if the bad people don't like a group - if we're going to have to use an example we'll use Royal Marines or even a group of British special forces (Such as the SBS) - they'll simply park a car bomb at the MacDonalds nearest the unit base on a Saturday morning and maybe whack the dads, but certainly hit the wife and kids. Or pick a pub near the barracks and blow it shreds,. Or they'll wait at the station to see if a few physically fit lads, walking together, and with short haircuts turn up then spray them with automatic weapons fire on the flat, cover less, platform. Or they'll wait for something like a reunion or march or band event and bomb it. These methods all worked for the IRA, anyway. Hunting individuals is what people do with war criminals, and it usually goes through the courts. Actually that might be the most effective use for this system, as it'll prove who was where on the day - its not worth the money.
So what do we lose for the costs of dealing with this fairy-land threat? In 2000 Britain spend around £222 million on all its armoured fighting vehicles and only £90million on guided weapons (Heyman, 2002:17-18). We're talking £250m on a pay system. This is a massive sum of money and, as I've already noted, enough to form an entire infantry battalion.
Alternatively if we're going to insist on treating every special forces person as a potential hostage to future enemy operations, like a cabinet minister, then we could simply pay them a lot better basic salary and give no penny-pinching operational bonuses to give away their identity; an SAS trooper gets around £25k a year - paying the entire SAS an additional £25k a year each on top of their basic would cost around (assume 2 full regiments, at full strength - which the SAS aren' - 1200 troops) £30 million a year... Tahdaaah, we've already saved enough to buy a whole swarm of cruise missiles, or a big chunk of an infantry battalion. See? A far more reality based method of handling the issue that seemingly motivates this particular fiasco.
I submit that this cash is simply wasted and that there are far better things to spend the money on, rather than sub-James Bond plots, I would suggest that its clear that British troops clearly need body armour (in fact better kit in general), a decent weapon or three, some proper air support, and probably some creature comforts; that's reality based spending, a massively expensive pay system isn't.
"So cop on."
Whatever that means. I assume its an insult. Nice, but lets face it, irrelevant.