Tag Archives: Iraq

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


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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…

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.