Opinion: Armed Forces Day should remind the Coalition Government not to treat those in service with contempt

By Ian Silvera

I was shocked to learn last week that a bar in my hometown of Coventry refused to serve mourning veterans before they celebrated the life of their comrade at the magnificent Coventry Cathedral.

Brown’s Bar turned away the friends and family of Coventry City soldier Michael Thacker before his funeral – because they were wearing their military uniforms.

A huge internet campaign sprang up after the disgraceful incident.

On reflection, though, it seems Brown’s was merely mimicking the Coalition Government’s contempt for our brave boys.

I was fortunate enough to attended Armed Forces day in the middle of Piccadilly Gardens on Saturday afternoon.

It was a great opportunity to raise public awareness of the contribution made to our country by those who serve and have served in Her Majesty’s Armed Forces and an opportunity for people to show their support for the men and women who make up the Armed Forces community.

Hundreds of hard working and patriotic Mancunians enjoyed the festivities and the event was accompanied by gorgeous weather.

It is safe to say that everybody who I spoke to thoroughly appreciated the dedication our service men make.

But there was an underlying sadness to the event – our fearless service men are at risk of redundancies and dreadful defence cuts thanks to the Coalition Government.

Cameron and his cronies first set about destroying the Royal Navy, a force that has been protecting the British Isles since 1707.  

Following the selling of the ever-reliable and trustworthy Harrier jump-jets to the United States, a decision that admiral Sir John ‘Sandy’ Woodward, the commander of the Falklands Task Force, described as ‘crass, beyond belief’, the government tangled itself up into a web of confusion regarding the Harrier’s replacement, F-35 jets.

The Ministry of Defence originally decided to buy F-35Cs, a variant of the fighter that would have to be propelled off our aircraft carriers with a catapult, but then, in another u-turn, decided to buy F-35Bs, the variant that could take off vertically.

The Admirals must have been holding their heads in their hands at the government’s reckless behavior.

After the F-35 debacle the scope of the Coalition’s cuts became clearer. In the firing line were: 80 fleet air arm personal, 19 royal marine officers, 17 captains and five commandos.

We certainly cannot sing ‘Rule, Britannia’ as enthusiastically as before.

Next on the scrap heap are the historic units that are to be axed from our army.

They include the third battalion of the Yorkshire regiment and the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, the fifth battalion of the Royal Regiment of Scotland.

One battalion will be lost from the Royal Welsh, the Mercians and the Royal Fusiliers.

And the other unscrupulous cuts include: 800, troops from the Royal Logistics Corps, 400 Gurkhas, 500 infantry privates, 125 junior Non-Commissioned-Officers from the Royal Signals, 60 lieutenant colonels and eight brigadiers.

Finally, we have the RAF. The arial warfare branch that stopped Hitler invading and most recently destroyed Colonel Gaddafi’s brutal regime. For their service and heroism, the RAF will lose 30 group captains and 15 air commodores.

It makes me wonder:  is Cameron getting away with obliterating our armed forces because apparently he is a Conservative?

The opinions of the author do not necessarily reflect those of Mancunian Matters.

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