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Careful conduct

Careful conduct

Indians ordinarily take it as a matter of privilege to revel rather ostensibly in their official endowments. But our colonial masters of yesteryears set a formidable example few days back. Joy rides in official conveyance by most of those who are entitled is only common and even enviable, but such matters are not excused in the British system. This message was sent out loud and clear when Commodore Nick Cooke-Priest was sacked from the £3bn HMS Queen Elizabeth after an 'innocent mistake': he was dismissed after a Top Brass investigation found him guilty of an 'error of judgement' - for using his official car at weekends. It is also argued that the treatment meted to him is an 'over-reaction'. The 50-year-old is said to have been 'gutted' at the decision after discovering he had breached the rules. Former military commanders have spoken in defence and criticised the Royal Navy's decision to sack the Captain of the UK's most famous aircraft carrier. An efficient and competent professional, the 50-year-old was fired, after driving the ship's Ford Galaxy 'as if it was his own'. This is while insiders claimed that he was never warned that the car was for official duties only. Admiral Alan West, former First Sea Lord and security adviser to Gordon Brown, said: 'Nick Cooke-Priest is a very good officer and highly competent and nice officer and I would be surprised he has done anything dishonest but I don't know the details so I cannot comment further.' A retired commanding officer of a Royal Navy aircraft carrier said that without knowing the terms of the lease of the vehicle to Commodore Cooke-Priest, he felt the decision to remove him from his position was an over-reaction to a minor error. He said: 'On the face of it seems quite harsh but it would depend on the terms on which it was leased. A number of people in government use cars for all sorts of purposes. Political correctness is believed to be a purpose behind this strict step. Commodore Nick Cooke-Priest, a married father-of-three, had been the captain of the £3 billion HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier, also known as 'Big Lizzie', since October 2018. Prior to that, he was working with the Ministry of Defence in the Corporate Strategy Group, before joining the Standing Joint Force Headquarters as the assistant chief of staff of operations, during which the HQ achieved Full Operational Capability. He had tweeted last October, "It's an immense honour to have taken command of HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH and week one has been fabulous! Much brilliant trials work done, many new challenges ahead. Thrilled to be leading the QE team as we re-generate our sovereign Carrier Strike capability." Retd Lt Gen H S Panag concluded this episode with this tweet: "If these yardsticks were applied in India, we would have no Commanders left! Royal Navy sack 'exceptional and popular' captain because he 'drove official car on weekends'.

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