Enforce the Armed Forces Act!
When you take a job, your employer has a legal responsibility to make sure that your place of work is safe. If there are dangers, your employer is responsible for providing you with training and any protective equipment you may need to reduce the risks to an acceptable level. Sometimes though, the nature of the work is such that it can never really be completely safe. Think of the police, the fire brigade and, of course, the Armed Forces. Not only do we expect these people to risk their lives for us, our own lives depend on them doing just that.
Injuries, even deaths, are then sadly inevitable. When the worst happens, they and we naturally expect their employer to look after them. It’s called a duty of care, and in the case of the Armed Forces, after many years of neglect, this duty of care was enshrined in the Armed Forces Covenant and in 2011 finally encapsulated in the Armed Forces Act. At long last, it meant that military personnel were promised the care they deserved if they were injured during their service.
Fine words, honourable promises but, as they say, words are cheap and so too are politicians’ promises and the lives of those who put their lives on the line to protect ours. Leaving aside the mutilated bodies, missing limbs, hideously mutilated faces, of 2.56 million service veterans, between 4% and 6% suffer from PTSD, that’s something like 140,000 people struggling with mental issues – which sometimes surface decades after their service is just a memory – hidden scars that make normal almost impossible. 3,000 of these need urgent care. It is a national scandal that this duty of care, this covenant, this promise has been broken time and time again, and continues to be broken to this very day despite all the fine words and the posturing politicians capitalizing on the publicity of how they were going to make sure that our “heroes” got what they deserved.
The result? 4% of those starting custodial prison sentences each year are ex-service personnel. Suicides amongst serving and retired service personnel are reaching disturbing levels – in 2012 more died from suicides than were killed on active service – and 3% of the homeless sleeping on our streets are ex-service personnel, that’s more than 7,000 ex-service personnel living rough, people who are already suffering because of their service.
In 2016, 6,500 priority homes were found for immigrants. In 2017, we are told that up to 1,000 islamic extremists who left this country to commit the most vile atrocities in the name of their religion are to be offered free homes in the hope that they will not go on the rampage and slaughter us here as well.
That’s not a scandal, that’s a disgrace. Is it any wonder that recruiting for the Armed Forces has plummeted by 31%? – so far that even with the vicious cuts in manpower made by successive governments, the Armed Forces will be struggling to carry out their normal tasks. But it’s not just a disgrace, it’s also a monumental mistake. Ask yourself this: who is there when your town is flooded? Who comes and rescues you when disaster strikes? Who patrols your streets, guards your venues and keeps you safe from terrorist attack? The police and the Armed Forces. What goes around, comes around, so don’t go crying that you aren’t safe anymore, that terrorists have made your life miserable … think of the homeless veterans that you turned your backs on, they were your protection.
The English Defence League began, in part, as a reaction to the disrespect and abuse given out by Muslims during a regimental coming home parade in Luton in 2009. The Armed Forces Covenant satisfied the objectives of all who wish to see our service personnel treated with respect and justice. We have often written in support of the Covenant and the full implementation of the Armed Forces Act. We will continue to do so.
We salute our security and military personnel.