Category Archives: veteran

Why do so many on the left hate the poppy? Isn’t it obvious?



poppy, remembrance, politicsMy blog post of yesterday provided an interesting but sadly inevitable reaction from some of my more vocal left-wing social media followers. 

Yet as I waded through the usual annual vitriol accusing it of being racist, pro-war, etc, etc, it occurred to me that much of their disdain for the poppy stems not from the idea of remembrance or even the fear of causing some outdated imperialistic upset, but because of something much more fundamental.

For the more I read, the more obvious it became that the reason why so many of them seem to have an issue with the poppy is because they regard it as being right-wing. And perish the thought that they could or would show any kind of support for anything which doesn’t sit within the ‘left is right and right is always wrong’ idealism which underpins everything they think.

In many ways, this is why so many of them have been screwed up by the abuse scandal currently rocking, well pretty much everything.

For whilst the socialists have happily ranted at Trump or May for anything they could consider even remotely dodgy (and it didn’t even have to be true) they now face the quandary of having to react to the fact that so many of their own are being exposed as being ‘at it’.

This is especially true of the entertainment industry where they’re now even turning on their own such is the fear of being dragged into some scandal or other. Speaking as an interested observer, I have to say that this almost Stalinesque implosion is highly amusing to watch although I have to say that the hypocrisy we’re seeing from certain quarters is beyond shameful.

However, to return to the more important issue of remembrance, speaking as both a veteran, a patriot and as someone who firmly believes that the poppy is and should always be firmly beyond politics, I would urge those on the left who have an issue with the poppy to think about what it actually represents as opposed to what they think it does.

Because the truth is that the poppy is a symbol of remembrance and that’s all it is. And left or right, we all owe the men and women who’s names are engraved on stones and monuments around the globe the courtesy of affording them a little respect by honouring their sacrifice.

@dougiebrimson

romance, life, love, beer, sexAs some of you may be aware, I’ve been beavering away on the sequel to Billy’s Log for some time now and am currently publishing extracts online in ‘Billy’s Blog’.

Please click here to visit and if you enjoy it, feel free to spread the word!

football, soccer, comedy, cost of football, manchester united, liverpool, derby, watfordJust in case you didn’t already know, all of my books and DVD’s are available from both Amazon and iTunes.

Further information at dougiebrimson.com

poppy, remembrance, right wing, left wing, Britain First, veteran, army, RAF, Navy, Cenotaph, author, screenwriting, ebooks, self publishing, indie film, football

 

Poppy or no poppy? Why I don’t give a sh*t.

veterans, remembrance sunday, cenotaph, military, armed forces, london, poppyIn a little over a week, just as I do ever year, I will be taking part in the Remembrance Day parade in the centre of London.

Usually, as a veteran of the South Atlantic campaign, I would be marching with the Falklands Veterans but this year, I’ll be with a new group made up of people who served with the Harrier Force. I can’t wait.

Inevitably, the build up to the day has seen my Facebook and Twitter feeds fill up with posts about the poppy and how it has become politicised to the extent that some people will not wear it for fear of what they think it represents.

Good for them I say. This is a free country (kind of) and whilst I don’t agree with their thinking, I am happy that they have the choice to wear one or not.

However, what I am not happy about is the fact that so many of these people seem so willing to attack those who hold contrary views and often using the most appalling of claims. In the last hour I’ve seen accusations that the poppy is everything from racist and fascist to a pro-war symbol.

Such talk is beyond disrespectful.

I don’t care if you want to wear a poppy or not, but what I do care about is the fact that by attacking it, you dishonour the memory of the brave men and women whose names are engraved on headstones around the globe.

For the simple truth of the matter is that the ONLY reason you have the choice to wear one or not is because they made the ultimate sacrifice on your behalf.

The very least you could do is to show their memory some respect by not attacking those who wish to honour them by wearing a red flower.

@dougiebrimson


football, comedy, humour, rivals, derby, soccer, premier league, championship, manchester united, chelsea, liverpoolMy numerous books including the football comedy Wings of a Sparrow and the #1 thrillers,The Crew and Top Dog are available from both Amazon and iTunes.  

Please click on the relevant link for more information.

British football must take a stand against FIFA.

poppy, fifa, footballAs you must be aware by now, FIFA, in their infinite wisdom (sic) have decided to punish the FA’s of the four home nations for offences relating to the display of the Poppy on Armistice Day.

Now you don’t need me to go into the grubby details because they are no longer of any importance. What is important however, is what happens next. For it surely goes without saying that England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland must refuse to accept this punishment on the basis that the poppy is not, nor ever has been, a political symbol. 

The various FA’s of course, have a record of ballsing things up and we are already hearing noises about fines being paid, albeit reluctantly, in an effort to avoid any potential sanctions. But in this instance, all those sitting behind their polished desks at Wembley, Hamden Park, Vanguard Way and Donegal Avenue have to understand the depth of feeling involved and accept that this is an issue which is bigger than football. Much bigger in fact.

It is about the integrity of the poppy, the memory of all those who made the ultimate sacrifice and the fact that our tradition of remembrance on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month is enshrined in the British DNA. Not because it’s political as FIFA allege, but because it is honourable and respectful.

As a consequence, those who administer our national game have to do the right thing and make a stand against this ludicrous decision. Anything else would be a dereliction of the duty they owe not just to those who follow the game, but to the history of their respective nations.

@dougiebrimson

sex, lads romance, love, vibrator, george clooney, fart

football, soccer, comedy, cost of football, manchester united, liverpool, derby, watfordJust in case you didn’t already know, all of my books and DVD’s are available from both Amazon and iTunes.

Further information at dougiebrimson.com

screenwriting, author, ebooks, kindle, green street, w

Never mind FIFA, Theresa May’s the wrong ‘un when it comes to Poppygate.

remembrance sunday,poppy,football,fifa,faLike many people, I’ve been somewhat irritated today by the news that FIFA, that most honourable of institutions, has refused permission for the teams to display Poppies on their shirts during the World Cup Qualifier at Wembley on Armistice Day.

Inevitably, a sizeable chunk of the nation went ballistic at this news whilst the British press, another honourable institution, have been almost rabid in their condemnation of football’s governing body. And to be fair, I had my say as well.

However, as the day has gone on I have mellowed somewhat on the subject of Poppygate and to be fair to FIFA, I have actually been able to see their point. After all, we are brought up with the poppy and understand exactly what it represents but not everyone overseas is familiar with it as anyone who has ever spent Nov 11th in either America or Russia (for example) will know only too well. 

Therefore it is not unreasonable to assume that whoever received the request from the FA simply responded as they would to the potential use of any symbol (OK, I’m being generous but let’s be honest, someone screwed up somewhere). It’s also not unreasonable to assume that inevitably, some kind of compromise will be reached and that this most special and poignant of days will be suitably marked. As of course, it must be.

The result of course, is that Poppygate will simply fade into the background and become yet another non-story of the kind which the British press are prone to create these days in a desperate effort to deflect attention away from something else.

But, there was one comment today which really got my goat and as the day has gone on, I have become more and more angry about it. It was made by Theresa May during Prime Ministers Questions today and was this:

poppygate,poppy,FIFA,football

Now I am a big fan of our PM but in this instance she is out of order. Bang out of order in fact. Because to use a phrase from the good book, ‘let those without sin cast the first stone.’

If we didn’t have veterans living on the streets, if we didn’t have veterans committing suicide because their mental health issues aren’t being addressed, if we didn’t have veterans scrabbling around for help from the NHS and if we didn’t have a Marine languishing in prison after being unjustly convicted of murder, then she would have a right to say what she did. But we do, so she doesn’t.

So here’s a message for Ms May from one veteran speaking on behalf of many veterans: If you’re going to tell someone to get their own house in order, especially when it’s made in the context of the military and veteran community, make sure that yours is squeaky clean first. Because I’ve got news for you, you have some serious tidying up to do before the UK is going to pass that particular inspection. 

@dougiebrimson

sex, lads romance, love, vibrator, george clooney, fart

football, soccer, comedy, cost of football, manchester united, liverpool, derby, watfordJust in case you didn’t already know, all of my books and DVD’s are available from both Amazon and iTunes.

Further information at dougiebrimson.com

screenwriting, author, ebooks, kindle, green street, writing

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Why I support ‘Free Marine A’.

marine, army, Afghanistan, Iraq, This morning, suited and booted, I will be joining the ranks of the masses commuting into London.

This in itself, is hardly a big deal. After all, there are millions of people who do the same thing every single day but for me, it’s a very rare occasion. Normally, I avoid the rush hour like the proverbial plague.

Today however, isn’t a normal day. It’s actually a very special day. For at 11.30, a large group of military veterans led by a sizeable contingent of former Royal Marines, will gather in Parliament Square in a silent show of support for Sergeant Al Blackman who is currently serving a life sentence for the murder of a Taliban insurgent. And I will be one of them.

Don’t get me wrong, Sgt Blackman served in a very different military from the one I did. His career as a member of one of the worlds elite military fighting units involved front line combat in Northern Ireland, Iraq and Afghanistan amongst other places. Mine, as a ground engineer in the Royal Air Force, generally involved avoiding work where possible and trying to squeeze as much money as possible from the RAF Motorsports Association.

However, we have one thing in common: we wore a British military uniform and whilst the colour of our beret’s was, and is, vastly different, it gives us a common bond. Which is why, like all the veterans in attendance tomorrow as well as the many thousands who cannot make it, I will be doing my utmost to show my disgust at the fact that a brave man languishes in prison simply because he was hung out to dry by the very people who were, and are, supposed to protect him.

So if you’re in London todayand you see anyone wearing anything which marks them out as ex-military, you know where they’re either going or have been.

I know they would appreciate your support.

If you would like to know more about the background to the case of Marine A, please read this article by the author Frederick Forsyth.  

@dougiebrimson


football, comedy, humour, rivals, derby, soccer, premier league, championship, manchester united, chelsea, liverpoolMy numerous books including the football comedy Wings of a Sparrow and the #1 thrillers,The Crew and Top Dog are available from both Amazon and iTunes.  

Please click on the relevant link for more information.

Why tax is key to the case for Brexit.

As the inevitable mud slinging and bullshit battle gathers pace ahead of the European referendum on June 23rd, there is one issue I have found increasingly irritating.

My growing annoyance was given further momentum in the wake of the budget and the subsequent, and wholly justified, furore about the Tories plans to mess about with the Personal Independence Payment.

It is, quite simply, the issue of taxation. Not the fact that numerous corporations are somehow allowed to avoid paying it nor the fact that we as individuals have no choice but to pay it, but the way that we, as the public, perceive it. For the reality is that when it comes to the subject of tax, the majority of us are idiots because we fail to grasp, and keep a very firm grip on, one simple fact.

When the press and the government talk about taxpayers, they are talking about us. You and me. Therefore when they talk about taxpayers money, what they are actually talking about is YOUR money, OUR money, MY money.

So the next time you read about the £20,000.000,000 we hand to the EU every year, take a second to think about how much of that is actually yours. Picked from your pocket via income tax, VAT or any of the myriad ways the government have developed to remove your hard earned from your pocket. Then think about where that money could, and should, be better spent.

If you are anything like me, the list will be long and it will be local because I don’t want my taxes propping up the Greek economy or wasted on bizarre projects like ‘Donkeypedia’ (Google it!) I want them spent where they will make a difference to me and the people I care about. That’s why I will be voting to leave on June 23rd. Well, that and security, sovereignty, etc, etc.

However, if you are still in any doubt as to where your own vote might go, if there is a more graphic illustration of the need to leave than the current situation regarding the 5% VAT paid on sanitary products, I can’t think what it is.

The fact that our government has only been allowed to even talk about scrapping this ridiculous tax after a long and protracted spell of grovelling at the feet of the European Parliament is a shame on this once proud nation.

Do I really need to say any more?

@dougiebrimson

football, comedy, humour, rivals, derby, soccer, premier league, championship, manchester united, chelsea, liverpoolMy numerous books including the football comedy Wings of a Sparrow and the #1 thrillers, The Crew and Top Dog are available from both Amazon and iTunes.  

Please click on the relevant link for more information.

Brexit, LeaveEU, veteran, politics, Tory, Great Britain

Brexit? It’s a no brainer.

brext, europe, britain, politics, referendumThe other day, I employed the power of Facebook to ask for a single sensible reason why we should remain as members of the EU.

Amongst the deluge of responses providing me with reasons to the contrary, I received only a single pro-Europe voice which made the claim that were we to vote to leave, the banking industry would flee our little island in droves and as a consequence, the banking industry would suffer.

Well with the utmost respect to those at the coal face of the industry, in terms of eliciting sympathy, bankers rate fairly highly on the ‘fuck off’ scale and indeed, the majority of people who responded to me would seemingly be delighted to see them getting a taste of the medicine they’ve spent years creating. (Go and see The Big Short. Honestly… go see it!)

This reaction didn’t exactly come as a surprise. I’ve never made any secret of the fact that I’m English first, British second and European never and for decades I’ve watched helplessly as my country slipped ever deeper into the cesspool that is the EU. As a consequence, the opportunity to leave genuinely excites me, and for two particular reasons.

Firstly, I think it’s fairly obvious to anyone who lives in the real world, as opposed to an ivory tower or the wilds of Cumbria, that our housing and public services are at breaking point. And despite the liberal-left screaming that this is all due to a lack of investment by the Tory government (whilst conveniently forgetting the 15 years we endured under Blair and Co) the stark reality is that we are in this situation because our population has risen by around 10% since 2000. We might not be full, but it certainly feels and looks that way in parts of the country. It is therefore imperative that we gain proper control of our borders which is something we simply do not have at the moment and nor will we have whilst a member of this mess.

Secondly, membership of the EU costs us £55,000,000 per day. Think about that for a second. Yes, we get chunks back in subsidies but official figures still put the cost to us, the British tax payer, at between £33,000,000 and £20,000,000  per day. Do I really need to say any more on why that is utter madness?

Inevitably, having finally woken up to the fact that the majority of the population want out, the ‘stay’ campaign have begun a policy of scaremongering (‘jungles’ in Kent’… seriously?) whilst even that well known lover of all things British, the joyous Ms Merkel, has begun pleading with us to remain. Of course she has, she’s suddenly realised that fairly soon she’s going to be looking into a daily black hole where our £33,000,000 should have been as well as having to deal with a refugee crisis which could not have been handled any more appallingly if she’d tried.

Well those are her problems, not ours. And whilst I’m not daft enough to accept that it won’t be a bed of roses from day one, I fail to see how in the long term, the UK can fail to prosper away from an organisation which is absolutely nothing like the one we originally signed up for back in 1973. We might even start putting the Great back into Great Britain.

It’s a no brainer for me, Brexit all the way. The sooner the bloody better.

PS: I must reluctantly make reference to this, if only because it’s one of the sticks being used to beat the ‘Leave’ lobby. If you’re reason for voting to remain in the EU has anything to do with UKIP, I would urge you to think again. Don’t vote to stay because you don’t like Nigel Farage, vote to leave because it’s the right thing for the country, and ultimately, for you.

Speaking of Facebook, and apologies for repeating myself, but as some people are aware, I am one of a number of people involved in a legal dispute with Jonathan Sothcott, the producer of Top Dog.

I won’t go into details here as it’s now a matter for HMRC and the police who have already interviewed him in connection with our allegations. However, both Top Dog Films Ltd and We Still Kill The Old Way Ltd, have recently been wound up on account of unpaid invoices and as a consequence, the investigator for the Official Receiver has contacted me and requested that anyone remaining unpaid for work on Top Dog, We Still Kill or for that matter, any film made by one of Jonathan Sothcott’s companies, contact him direct as a matter of urgency.

His details are: Andrew Beckett, Official Receivers Office, The Insolvency Service (London), 2nd Floor, Abbey Orchard Street, London, SW1P 2HT .

Tel: 0207 637 6337 email: andrew.beckett@insolvency.gsi.gov.uk

@dougiebrimson

football, comedy, humour, rivals, derby, soccer, premier league, championship, manchester united, chelsea, liverpoolMy numerous books including the football comedy Wings of a Sparrow and the #1 thrillers, The Crew and Top Dog are available from both Amazon and iTunes.  

Please click on the relevant link for more information.

Georgina, refugee, brexit, politics, author, screenwriter, racism, racist, hooligans, blogger, UKIP, Farage, Sothcott

These vindictive and cowardly attacks on our Armed Forces must be stopped.

veteran1It may or may not have escaped your attention that our Armed Forces are currently under attack. Not from ISIS (or whatever they’re calling themselves these days) but from a new enemy.

Ambulance chasers, traitors, filth, cowards, call them what you will (and trust me, whatever term you want to use, I agree with you) this enemy within is profiting, if not driving, a witch hunt against over 250 serviceman and veterans on the basis of often spurious historical allegations made against them  during operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and Northern Ireland.

That this is being allowed to continue is wrong on so many levels but the fact that the bulk of it is being funded by the tax payer, that’s you and me, beggars belief. What other country on this planet would send it’s men and women off to war and then undermine them in such a heartless and gutless manner once they return home? Isn’t it bad enough that so many are leaving the forces without proper medical care, work or even homes?

However, whilst all of this heaps further shame on an already shamed Ministry of Defence and the resident of 10 Downing Street, there is a silver lining. For in the face of this injustice, the veteran community are being unified like never before.

Army, Navy or RAF, you come after one, you come after us all and the vast majority of us have quite simply had enough of being targeted whilst the terrorists and guilty politicians walk free. And make no mistake, that same sentiment is increasingly being felt by those still in uniform.

We have already seen peaceful protests in London in support of Marine A and in Birmingham in support of L/Cpl J and more are planned for the coming months but in addition, the following advice is urgently being circulated to all those who have or who may or may not be contacted by any organisation carrying out an investigation of this kind:

1) Ignore any letters. They have NO relevance in law.

2) Do not under any circumstances attend any place or office if requested. If they want you, let them arrest you and a whole new ball game opens up.

3) If arrested say nothing request a lawyer. Number, rank, name is sufficient. 

4) Whoever arrests you has 24 hours to charge or release you.

5). A tactic may be to bail you ‘pending further enquiries’ if this happens make an immediate complaint against arresting officer. This is a ‘historic enquiry’ so what further enquiries are necessary?

6). Make a Freedom of Information demand to the MOD for the identity of the complainant and, more importantly, if the complainant is or was a paid intelligence source. This will really mess them up because if there is even a sniff of something untoward, they will have to drop it for fear of negative publicity.

Please help by circulating this information (or this blog) to any serviceman or veteran you might know because one way or another, we have to put a stop to it. 

After all, if a nation puts its military on the back foot it won’t be too long before it doesn’t have a military left. And in these uncertain times, we as a nation are going to need them more than ever.

If you would like to see more information about the kind of thing going on, please visit one of the following:

Army chief backs Iraq troops

I’d rebuilt my life… 

Just leave me be…

Why this photo haunts my writing life. 

Harrier, author, writing, football, filmOn Dec 31st 1975, a week short of my 17th birthday, I left the confines of my happy, if chaotic, family home and headed off for an adventure. Or to put it another way, I headed off to begin my basic training in the Royal Air Force.

I have written about my time in the military many times and no doubt, will do so again as I become more and more involved in all things veteran. However, the more I think back to those days, the more I have one very specific regret; I never kept a diary. As a consequence, I’ve forgotten far more than I can remember.

Take the photo at the top of this blog. Yes, that fresh faced lad on the left is me, standing alongside a gentleman (and I use that term loosely) named Pete Cutler. It was taken in approximately 1980/81 and the fact that we were on deployment with the Harrier Force and flying out of a forest somewhere in Germany are about the only details I can remember with any degree of accuracy.

On the face of it, that would be enough. It is after all, a relatively simple picture. However, that single photograph serves as a portal into a unique world that very few people ever got to experience. I’m not talking about being at the sharp end of the West’s response to the threat posed by the Soviet Union or the fact that we were working with what was possibly the greatest military aircraft of all time. I’m taking about what went on when the flying stopped and we were free to relax. And when I say relax, I mean get up to mischief.  

Indeed, it’s safe to say that were I ever to write my autobiography, life out in the field with 4 Squadron RAF (and Mister Cutler for that matter) provided that young fresh faced lad on the left with enough anecdotes to fill more than a chapter or two.

Blagging a flight in the rear seat of a T2 Harrier, living in an abandoned Nazi Hospital, swearing at Fergie (the Princess, not the manager), waking up in a lake (literally), encounters with the SAS, getting shot at and even late night visits to live sex shows are amongst numerous tales I have rattling around my head from those days but sadly, thanks to the obligatory intake of vast amounts of duty-free alcohol coupled with the passing of far too many years, the details of most are at best sketchy and at worst, vague. Yet had I kept even a simple diary, all of this history and more would be at my fingertips ready to be transcribed.

The fact that I didn’t is one of my greatest regrets and not just as a writer or even as a veteran, but as someone who has lived and enjoyed their life. Then again, if I were able to put it all on paper, it’s fairly safe to say that it would be quite a read!

So please, whoever you are and whatever you do, keep a diary, even a basic one. And urge your kids to do the same. You never know when it might come in handy.

@dougiebrimson

football, comedy, humour, rivals, derby, soccer, premier league, championship, manchester united, chelsea, liverpoolMy numerous books including the football comedy Wings of a Sparrow and the #1 thrillers,The Crew and Top Dog are available from both Amazon and iTunes.  

Please click on the relevant link for more information.

 

The picture that shames a nation.

shame1A photograph appeared this week which shamed this nation.

No, it’s not the one you are thinking about, horrific though that was, it’s another one.

This one.

soldier1
I know something of the background to this and I’m glad to say that thanks largely to the veteran community on social media but primarily to some of the excellent charities who support homeless veterans,  the guy and his family are now receiving the help he needed. But that’s not the point, the point is that he ended up in this desperate situation in the first place.

That he did so is a source of shame to us all.

A nation is defined in many ways but to me, a key reflection of a country is the way it looks after those who have served to defend and protect it. One only has to look toward the US to see the reverence with which it treats its military veterans to see that and the same can be said of many countries across the world. So why is it not the same here?

For sure, things are much better than they were 20 years ago when telling someone you were an ex-serviceman was akin to an admission of leprosy, but even now, veterans are frequently regarded as second class citizens. That’s especially true when it comes to the issue of social housing which goes some to explaining why there are in the region of 4500 veterans currently living on the streets of Britain.

Yes, that’s right. Four thousand five hundred.

That isn’t right, it isn’t fair and it’s actually contrary to the Armed Forces Covenant which states that local authorities in England give additional priority to members of the armed forces community with urgent housing needs. Well if being homeless isn’t urgent, I don’t know what is yet all too often, and for all kinds of reasons, elected officials are allowed to duck their duty of care and instead, abdicate their responsibility toward veterans to charity.

But at a time when this country is once again on the verge of asking our men and women in uniform to place their lives in danger to protect our way of life, should we, and especially our elected officials, not be doing better for their comrades? Of course we should. Not just for their sakes, but for the sake of all those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Be it on The Somme, Normandy, Burma, Korea, Northern Ireland, The Falklands, Kuwait, Kosovo, Iraq, Afghanistan or any one of a thousand conflicts in which the British military have been involved.

One homeless veteran is one too many. It always will be.

If you would like to know more, please visit Homes4HomelessVeterans or Soldiers Off The Streets.