Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Civil Servants Now Receive War Medals

Angry when I read this last week? You bet I was. Although it's a Daily Mail article it is accurate.

The Operational Service Medal (picture) is usually given to military personnel to honour service in British campaigns. It was introduced in 2000 and replaced the General Service Medal.

Civil servants who volunteer to work in Afghanistan complained they should be issue with it too and they now have a their own award ceremony. The civil servants are composed of welfare and administration officers, scientists and mechanics. Some of these civil servants have seen their 'good performance' payments double, including rewards for saving money.

One civil servant who recently returned from Afghanistan said: 'We are not on the front line facing the Taliban, but could be blown to pieces at any time. I shall wear my medal with pride inside and outside the office.'

Haud me back! What are the MoD thinking of by issuing a War medal to civilians? Surely they understand the pride military personnel have in receiving any recognition of their bravery. Issuing this medal to civilians is offensive as LibDem MP Willie Rennie says. "We need a complete review of arrangements so that risk and courage is taken into account when medals are being awarded."

I wonder how our troops feel about civil servants, many paid far more than themselves and in receipt of 'performance' bonuses, being classed as brave. All they will be given as a reward is another £2,400 in overseas allowance when they return home.

Perhaps the answer to that is here. Well done lads, you've shown our spineless PM you certainly still have backbones even though some of you have lost a limb or three.

My favourite QC voices his view in 'A Soldier Gets No Bonus'. A must read.

Editor's note: I don't have a clue why the font changed in the middle here and I can't correct it. The trials of Blogger.


Beastfromhull said...

My astonishment isn't so much with the Government (tho' it should be) but more with the people who seem to think that this is acceptable behaviour

CherryPie said...

I won't comment on whether or not it is right for the civilians to recieve a medal. But most of the civilians that serve in theatre earn far less than their military equivalents.

All Seeing Eye said...

I read this article with slightly mixed feelings. When I was at the (as was) Royal Naval Hospital Haslar it was our permanent location, but medics were deployed to conflict areas as and when required - civilians alongside every branch of the Forces. The speciality of my Department was, not to put too fine a point on it, central to the rumoured weapons facing us in Op Telic.

There and elsewhere the test-tube polishers were standing next to the surgeons as the casualties came in. Chances of going home in a civilian-shaped bodybag? Certainly higher than crossing a road back in Blighty. But also significantly higher than the requirements for a serviceman to get an Op Herrick OSM without clasp - doing supply duties in Oman and Qatar qualify for example.

The original Mail article is slanted to give the impression that all civvies are miles from the front line and just ticking paperwork and moving boxes. This is almost universally true but not entirely these days. I'd agree with the sentiment "yeah, but show me their casualty list then" but that's too blase because a civilian medic (a civil servant in Mail-speak) or similar will creep on to that list of dead every now and then.

Medals for those brackets of people? Yes. A ceremony to pin them on? If you like that sort of thing. But civilian medals. Military medals for military types only. We're not the same and we shouldn't pretend that we are. A shooting war isn't like Alice in Wonderland..."Everyone shall have prizes!"

Apologies for the length of the post.

Anonymous said...

Amazing. No, ... do you know Subrosa, I don't hae a word for it.

Maybe we should get the troops back and let the civil servants do the whole thing out there.

Look, I'm not criticising what these guys do. It may be hard work and it could be dangerous. Bombs go off in the compounds, and nothing out there is really as safe as it is in London inside the Ministy of War. But medals are or should be for bravery, not for being in the country at the time.

I feel that it kinda belittles the medals that the guys get for REAL bravery.

I just blogged on the amazing Phil Woolas comparing his managers in the Borders Agency to the troops on the front line.

All of them seem to be quite mad.

BTW, I just thought you'd been a smarty pants changing your font half way through....seems I was wrong :¬(

subrosa said...

That's the calibre of our civil servants these days Beast. Me, me, me. They're not longer servants of course, they prefer to be known as the pen-powerful.

For the government to agree with this is just making such a mockery of the many millions who have put their lives on the line for us over the years.

I'm still spitting tacks.

subrosa said...

I would disagree with you Cherry, strongly disagree.

Do give me some examples, I'd be delighted to eat my words.

Anonymous said...

Since I posted I've seen ASE's post, and I bow to it.

Anonymous said...


Can I refer you to this post:

subrosa said...

The point is Tris, civil servants are there voluntarily. That's the big difference. They are not duty bound to go there and they receive large bonuses for doing so.

If they want a medal to keep in a drawer then let the government make one for them but don't use a Military medal.

subrosa said...

Absolutely agree ASE. Civilians are under no orders to go to theatres of war, they have not taken the 'queen's shilling'.

As I said to Tris, let them have a medal if that's what will make them happy and a drinks and winks do at taxpayers expense but Military medals should not be issued to civilians.

Yes some are in the firing line but as far as I'm aware none handle weapons and are guarded by the military at all times. Personally if I wanted to go into that type of situation, for any reason, I'd be reasonably content to have my life protected by any members of the British army. They're the ones who take the flak.

No apologies necessary. :)

subrosa said...

Sorry Tris, I didn't realise you'd posted on this too. I've had this sitting for a few days as a draft and was too angry to publish it.

CherryPie said...

Well I work for the Civil Service so I know that service men of equal grade earn more (only right and proper for what they do in the field). It is one of the reasons why we had a problem with service men doing a desk job (back home) that a civilian could do. It was a waste of money and skills...

I never believe what I read in the papers it always full of spin and manipulation of the facts.

Anonymous said...


I didn't pos on this, but the thread is similar. It's about the Brave managers in the Borders Agency of Phool Wilas, no i mean Phil Woolas. He'll be wanting medals struck for them soon.

Once upon a time people did their jobs and they got paid.

People got medals for bravery.

subrosa said...

I've noticed Tris. Conan was overdoing it a bit with the junior (my age) remark lol.

Anonymous said...

Actually that wasn't the one I meant SR. I referred Cherry to that one because I though she was mistaken about the money.

Today's post is about Phil Woolas saying stupid things about his agency managers doing dangerous work, when all they do is sit in an office and (mis)manage.

All Seeing Eye said...

Thanks for the link tris, looks like I've got an extra interesting blog to cast an eye over now :-)

subrosa said...

He's good is young Tris ASE. Took us ages to persuade him to blog though!

Anonymous said...

LOL 'Young' Tris... you need glasses woman! But you and AMW did have to work hard to get me blogging, I'll grant you that..

ASE. I'd be delighted if you would cast an eye over my feeble attempts... I'm just an apprentice as yet though so don't go expecting too much, huh?

Leg-iron said...

Any honest civilian posted to a heavily-guarded office would be horrified to be offered a medal equivalent to a front line soldier.

But then, honest civilians wouldn't work for this government.

BTW, don't tell me Blogger is difficult. I'm attempting to move here from LiveJournal!

subrosa said...

LI, blogger certainly isn't difficult, even I can use it as you can see.

It's just there are some people in this world who can't handle the simplest technology or so they want me to believe!

Go for it.

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