Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Don't Weep, Rage!

Pictured above is Frank Cook, Labour MP for Stockton North. He was awarded a medal by Air Chief Marshal Sir Jock Stirrup, the current Chief of the Defence Staff.

What for you ask. As a reward for 10 years or more membership of the Armed Forces Parliamentary Scheme (AFPS), a body which allows politicians to spend around 22 days a year with the military.

The scheme is run by Sir Neil Thorne, a former Tory MO, with part-funding from the defence industry. Sir Neil, a former colonel in the TA, started the scheme in 1988 to give MPs a clearer idea of what life is like for service personnel. He defended the medal award: "What I am trying to get them to do is support the men and women in the Armed Forces," he said.

'Get MPs to support the armed forces'? Shouldn't every MP support the military without question?

The MPs enter this organisation at the rank of Major. They can then earn promotion to Colonel and above, provided they put in enough 'training' days.

It takes a young Sandhurst trained soldier a minimum of 12 years to reach the rank of Major. Many of today's officers possess first class honours degrees and PhDs, but to reach the rank of Colonel, which would give them a similar salary to an MP, it would take around 20 years service.

The MPs' medal ceremony has previously taken place in the Speaker's state dining room at the House of Commons and is attended by senior military officers.

A number of ex-service personnel and their families have criticised the medals scheme, including Rose Gentle, Bob Clay, 78, who served 22 years in the Guards Independent Parachute Company and Robert Hannaford, 76, who served in the Army Intelligence Corps during the 50s.

I thought I was beyond being shocked at the behaviour of our MPs but no, along comes another revelation. For 22 days a year these MPs play at soldiers. They even have a specially designed badge - decorated with a portcullis - on their uniform.

Not only do the taxpayers subsidise their food, drink, accommodation and travel, we now pay for them to learn to do their job.

I have a suggestion. It should be compulsory for all prospective parliamentary candidates that they spend 22 days with the military before each election. No medals, basic uniform and no special treatment.

Disband this bunch of men who wish to play out their boyhood fantasies. We should not be paying for any of this and with the defence industry funding part of their 'training' I have serious doubts about their ability to have an objective view of military matters.

Senior military officers should also distance themselves from this group forthwith.

My thanks to Fitaloon


Tory Totty Online said...

I actually thought I was unshockable Sb. And yet every day something new is uncovered which make me sick to my stomach.
This is repugnant. The likes of troughing Frank Cooper should be made to serve for a period of time in order to get a proper idea of what it's really like to be on the front line.
Maybe then, him and his cronies, would think twice about sending our troops into battle ill-equipped.

muddypaws said...

To add a touch of realism to their training perhaps they could do a few weeks on the front line. Perhaps, say, holding the torch for the bomb disposal officer who has to make safe an improvised road-side explosive device? Just a thought.

subrosa said...

You say it so much better than me TT. I was incensed when I read about this.

Ceremonies to get medals and partly funded by the defence industry?

I doubt if any on the front line would appreciate having any one of them around. They would be a liability.

subrosa said...

Muddypaws many would agree with you and I would too if only they wouldn't be a liability to those working there.

For one thing I very much doubt if they meet the fitness required.

Crinkly & Ragged Arsed Philosophers said...

Rosa - you don't have to be fit to activate an IED.

Has anyone checked whether their membership of this Dad's Army is pensionable?

Dramfineday said...

Peeling spuds, washing out the latrines, and giving the guys breakfast in bed for 22 days would be a useful contribution

subrosa said...

Oh no, they'll expect to be treated like senior officers Dram although many senior officers in the military get stuck in with their men these days.

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