Disrespectful

By Daniel Margrain

Jeremy Corbyn’s apparent hesitancy to appear at the annual Remembrance Sunday commemorations at the cenotaph in Whitehall seems to be his way of making a stand against the disrespectful way the government treats the military. But ironically he is the one the establishment is accusing of being disrespectful.

The real disrespect would seem to me to be the way the government send our troops into harms way with Land Rovers that don’t have the proper armour to protect them from road-side explosives or sending them into battle with communication devices that don’t work, with guns that jam in the sand, with boots that melt in the heat, and with food that’s so inedible that troops are forced to trade anything they have with the American’s so as to get a decent meal.

I would also suggest that it’s disrespectful for “our boys” having to get food sent over to places like Afghanistan and Iraq by their families or having to buy bits of their own kit because the MOD don’t provide enough of it.

I would suggest that it’s disrespectful to send soldiers to war and then ignore their suffering when they got back from duty injured.

I would say it’s disrespectful for troops to have to go abroad in order to get prosthetic legs because the substandard ones they get on the NHS hurt too much.

I would say it’s disrespectful to insist that the injured pay thousands of pounds of their own money to get their limbs from abroad only to find that when they got back to Britain, the NHS refuse to treat them because they had private medical work undertaken.

Back in 2007, the British Armed Forces Federation, said the Military Covenant which says soldiers should always expect fair treatment for the rights they forgo isn’t being upheld and is “now a dead letter”. And the Royal British Legion, known for its poppy appeal, launched a campaign demanding that the government upholds the covenant and provides the armed forces and their families with proper care in return for asking them to risk their lives in making the ultimate sacrifice for their country.

I would say that was pretty disrespectful too.

A former soldier, Philip Wesley, launched an attack on David Cameron for failing to support war veterans. He said to his MP that Cameron was happy to send soldiers into battle but has given them nothing back. Wesley said “Since leaving the army, it’s been a life of food banks, low paid work, soaring energy bills and expensive housing.”

He spent five years in the army including two tours of Afghanistan but had to leave in 2012 to look after his little daughter. On returning to his home city of Birmingham, he found it was impossible to get a council house to live in. “I was laughed at”, he said. “I waited two years for social housing. In the end the British Legion gave me the money for a deposit so I could rent privately.”

I would say that was disrespectful.

Also, this year the Tories were accused of letting down forces’ veterans who hit hard times and ended up in prison. A Tory-led review into the issue failed to find solutions to prevent people turning to crime on leaving the forces. Labour’s shadow justice minister Dan Jarvis, an ex Para, was ditched as an adviser to the inquiry and said the “report was barely worth the paper it was written on”. He continued, “Our veteran’s have been thoroughly let down.”

The civil liberties group, Liberty, have recorded so many cases of mistreatment of forces personnel that they have an entire campaign dedicated to upholding the rights of the armed forces. Why should that be necessary?

I would say all of that was pretty disrespectful and failed miserably to support our troops.

But it seems that the media are more interested in the fact that Jeremy Corbyn didn’t do the top button up of his shirt up and didn’t sing a dumb song about a woman who has enriched herself through the arms industry.

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