Friday, 11 December 2009

In Defence of Christine Grahame

Yesterday the SNP MSP Christine Grahame criticised the army for recruiting in deprived areas of Scotland. She also stated that Scots army recruits stood a one in nine chance of being badly wounded or coming home in a body bag.

The MoD is strongly denying her statistics. I disagree with them as much as I disagree with Ms Grahame's source. The MoD's numbers are over a period of 4 years don't include personnel who have been injured. They are wrong because many battalions have had more than one tour of duty in Afghanistan therefore of the MoD's numbers, 68,000 in 4 years, many will be the same personnel so therefore the individual risk is higher.

Despite the mounting death toll in Afghanistan and the increase in public hostility towards the war there, 1,000 Scots men and women joined the army between April and December this year. Support for our troops is strong in Scotland and I'm sure it is the same throughout the UK. Ms Grahame also mentioned the rise in numbers was possibly due to Scots having no other career choice open to them.

Her comments were allegedly in direct contrast to those of her party. Bruce Crawford, the Minister for Parliamentary Business, had earlier welcomed the rise in recruitment.

Labour called on Alex Salmond to condemn Ms Graham's comments saying that they were an insult to Britain's armed forces.

Really? How dare labour say the comments of a female MSP are insulting to the forces when they are the party which has been, in my opinion, criminally responsible for not providing our troops with the best equipment and have deployed our soldiers in two unjustified wars.

I know where Ms Grahame is coming from - she's a woman and possibly a mother. She's aware wars are not won with arms but with talk. Although her statistics may be askew, she has been courageous enough to speak out on this issue knowing she would be pilloried by male politicians. The SNP must be commended for permitting freedom of speech on these vital issues - the sign of a healthy political party.

In the past 10 years, through the Iraq war and now Afghanistan, labour women MSPs and MPs have deafened me with their silence. But then they voted for these unjustified wars didn't they?


Clarinda said...

Percentages hardly matter when it's your child, relative or friend who has died or suffered in any form during war.

The deaths and injuries within all contributing armed forces must now number in the 10s of 1000s from the first Iraq war until the present date. Add to this the staggering number of suicides throughout these ranks of soldiers - I read that this is far beyond the expected rate within
a similar civilian population - and the carnage is horrendous on 'our side'.

I have no words to describe or accurately calculate what must be in the 100s of 1000s, the losses of the 'other sides' and their beleagured civilian populations.

"Where have all the flowers gone?" - indeed.

Anonymous said...

I think that, whether it is politically correct to say this or not, the forces do recruit from poorer areas, especially in times of economic hardship.

I used to organise "jobs fairs" in the less prosperous parts of the town and the recruiting office always came along and had a stand. Other employers did too of course, but the forces were always there and always drew a big crowd, because they were always recruiting.

The soldiers admitted that they did well in these areas and that the harder the times the better the recruiting. Of course that is the truth for all employers.

In fairness apart from turning up at events like my fairs, the recruitment is never particularly aggressive.

It's a different story in America where the military is known as the employer of last resort in some areas and they aggressively recruit in the poorer areas, stopping people on their way to the supermarket or hanging on the street corners and asking them why are not at work, and then pressuring the unemployed to come along for a "meeting".

I have to say the guys on the recruitment team that I met were great guys, although I was concerned that all their glossy brochures and the initial chats that I overheard concentrated on the fun, sport, good food and learning a trade.... and never mentioned the less glamerous side of soldiering.

Like, I suppose, every other employer.

CrazyDaisy said...


Labour does not speak on my behalf - the f@ckin nerve. I'm not offended by her comments - we discussed this yesterday and acknowledged the fact that we often don't realise how much danger we are in - but we did sign protect your/our right to democracy - although ZaNuLiebore have ensured that is no longer the case.

And as for recruiting from poorer areas, yes this is the case but not always the norm and sometimes the Army recruits on the Magistrates Court steps - I kid you not...however, in tough economic times our Lords and masters sook in the more educated of those on offer to swell our ranks.

What I dislike is being used as cannon fodder to prop up a corrupt government in Afghanistan and a more corrupt regime in Westminster! And I agree with the comments above - the sheeple of the UK are often spared the horrors of those civilians who have been injured, maimed, killed due to our actions in the name of Democracy.

I bleed for those on the Battlefield and the Innocents who are caught yet again by the British thinking they still have an Empire.

Saor Alba

Crazy Daisy

Tarantella said...

The thing is that she got her figures so badly wrong. If 1 in 9 soldiers were injured or killed we would be looking at 1,000 every six months.

She took the total killed and injured and divided it not by the total deployment, but by the number in Afghanistan just now.

It is a shockingly bad use of statistics. I can believe it is a cock-up, but someone should be checking this stuff.

Strathturret said...

The MOD of course seem to be very reluctant to talk about the injured (seriously). Many say its 5 x the dead, due to excellent medical treatment and fast evacuation.

Reminds me of a story told by a Capt who lost two limbs in WW2. He awoke in a hospital to be told by the medic,
' the good news is you're alive. I've had to remove an arm and a leg old boy!'

Anonymous said...

All the political parties play that game: it really is nauseating. No slur or smear, absolutely none, is so contemptible, so despicable, or so hypocritical that it will not pass the lips of some politico, and Labour do, indeed, seem to be particularly prone to that kind of dirty trick.

subrosa said...

Clarinda, what more can I say. The experience of many military will be with them for all their lives, whether it be physical and/or mental. No numbers will be given for many of them.

In fact too many will be too proud to ever even voice their feelings.

subrosa said...

Aye indeed Clarinda. where have all the flowers gone.

Thankfully we still have those who will volunteer for the military. Unfortunately their political masters sit back and say 'fools' because they know fine well that they don't have the courage.

subrosa said...

May I respond later Tris, I've a very important date with my stomach.

Anonymous said...

Best to keep that date SR... we don't want your tummy rumbling!!!

Dark Lochnagar said...

I didn't like Christine when she was in defense. She was much better when she got pushed further up in an attacking role sitting just off the striker.

subrosa said...

Well said CD. Cauld this morning.

subrosa said...

You're right Tarantella, her bad analysis just wiped out the effect of her speech. It surprised me she didn't question it beforehand.

subrosa said...

I doubt if we'll ever know the true numbers of injured Strathturret but your assumption is perhaps not that far off.

subrosa said...

I admire her for bringing the subject up Edgar, but then I would wouldn't I? :)

As Tarantella said though her statement lost much of its effect with her figures being so badly wrong.

subrosa said...

Would that be left wing DL?

Dark Lochnagar said...

Rosie, probably. I believe she's a left footer, so she would be better crossing from that side.

subrosa said...

Dl, I'm no' bothered if she's a left hander, it was a good topic but she messed up with the figures. Cannae believe she didn't think them a bit strange can you?

Anonymous said...

Och, yon Grahame lassie isnae right in the heid. A mair useless article ah hinnae seen in monny a year. The quine stauns for a'hing thit's repulsive and orry aboot the left wing o the snp. She's got a big gub that somebody needs tae tell her tae shut. Mebbes she shid be payin' mair attention tae her ain constituency? Mebbes she should be replying tae the quinie fa wrote her echt times and got nae reply?

She's an affy waste o' skin an aw.

subrosa said...

I take it you're no a fan then Frances.

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