David Blackburn

A gross betrayal of British servicemen

A gross betrayal of British servicemen
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Nothing could be lower, more pathetic and cowardly than this. The Defence Secretary and his team of jobsworths are appearing before the Court of Appeal, pleading that ‘secondary complications’ arising from wounds troops received on service should not be compensated by the MoD. The High Court judged this inventive argument “absurd” when the government first made it, but that hasn’t deterred Ainsworth from getting the important job of penny pinching done.

As David Hughes notes, what message does this send our over-stretched, ill-equipped forces? Not only is there not enough cash for helicopters but the nation’s so broke it can’t afford to compensate wounded heroes adequately. Yet of course, the public coffers can stretch to two expensive court battles.

But the real villainy lies in the collective silence of ministers on this issue - not one minister defended the case this morning, Labour MP Eric Joyce was left to defend the indefensible on the Today programme. Finally, this lunchtime Veterans’ minister Kevan Jones described the appeal as an attempt to ‘clarify the rules and how the system operates’. If anything proves that Labour’s political instincts are moribund it is this. The military is rumoured to have called Ainsworth ‘Bollocks Bob’ when he was appointed. I wonder what they’ll call him now?