The British Armed Forces currently face many challenges, most of which are self-made by our own Government after decades of defence cuts and because of a failure to stand up for our servicemen and women and look after the interests of our veterans.
Nothing symbolises the clear disconnect between the politicians/Government and those who defend our country more than the ongoing fiasco over British veterans who served in Northern Ireland decades ago facing continued harassment from UK authorities, with some being arrested, charged and facing trial for alleged crimes they committed when serving our country.
To treat a soldier serving in Northern Ireland during the troubles, or indeed soldiers in Iraq or Afghanistan, like an ordinary civilian subject to standard civilian law is to grossly misunderstand the situation on the ground that those serving faced and it shows contempt for all who served in such a hostile environment.
How does the British Government expect to boost retention and recruitment when it is treating those who serve or have served so badly? Who would want to put their lives on the line fighting for our country if in their retirement they get a knock on the door and face months and even years of persecution by the government of the country they defended?
What is happening to British veterans from Northern Ireland is a disgrace that shames our nation, and it is causing not just needless suffering for those veterans and their families, but also all who have ever served our country in a conflict zone. It is Northern Ireland veterans today, In 20 years’ time will veterans of Afghanistan and Iraq be facing similar continued unjust investigations and harassment?
Those who serve in our armed forces are fiercely loyal to our country, but they are also the only employees of the state who do not have the right to speak out in the way nurses, police, teachers, doctors and civil servants can, all with their own lobby groups, federations and unions defending their rights.
For that reason, it is vital that the British people speak up for our armed forces and veterans, because if we don’t, who will? Its time the British public gave a little back to our veterans by taking time to campaign for and pressure politicians into changing the law to introduce a statute of limitation for servicemen and women in conflict, to prevent veterans of conflicts decades ago facing potential criminal investigation. Immunity should now be granted to all who served in Northern Ireland, Afghanistan and Iraq who have not already been convicted previously, so that all our veterans and their families can get on with their lives without fear of a knock at the door by the authorities of a country they defended.
It is time to put our veterans first and stop pandering to the enemies of our country.
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