Tuesday, 24 May 2011
This Coalition Government Is The Best Yet At PR
Out of sight out of mind is the Prime Minister's policy for Afghanistan where yesterday a soldier from 1st Battalion the Rifles was killed in an IED explosion.
I doubt if the soldier was comforted in his last days by Liam Fox's announcement that the Military Covenant is to be 'enshrined in law'. For the past week I've read and re-read this (16 pages) and this (80pages) document, only to arrive at the conclusion that it's all a PR exercise to brainwash the public.
There are a few long overdue clauses such as the reduction on council tax for those on overseas deployments, but does Liam Fox seriously think that by giving English local councils £200 for every Service child on their roll, (the Service pupil premium), the children's education will be improved?
Service life today differs greatly from the 60s, 70s and 80s. Back then when a member of the services was posted the families had to move with them. Personnel had to live in barracks if they were single and live on camp if married. They were not permitted to live in private accommodation unless they had authority from the MoD and therefore many were discouraged from purchasing their own homes. That situation has now changed, thankfully, and many families have put down roots in areas and therefore the Service member now goes unaccompanied on postings while the remainder of the family stay based in the home they purchased.
Yet my complaints about the Military Covenant should not dwarf the fact that another member of our military has been killed in Afghanistan, where the government is corrupt and using aid money provided by DFID - perhaps the most incompetent and unaccountable government department in Westminster - to enhance the bank accounts of those who need it least.
The number of British military killed in this war now totals 366. Thousands more suffer injuries and a percentage of those will do so for the rest of their lives. The families and friends of all these people should not be forgotten. Often it's harder to be witness to physical suffering than to be the receiver.