David Blackburn

No Bob, the public don’t trust your commitment.

No Bob, the public don't trust your commitment.
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Public disgust with the MoD’s mean-spirited and grossly ill-judged compensation appeal has forced ‘Battlin’ Bob’ to bring forward the review of the scheme. The Telegraph has details:

Mr Ainsworth said public debate had demonstrated that the scheme was not fully equipped to deal with "anomalies, legal complexities and wider issues" relating to compensating wounded troops.

"The purpose of the current appeal process was to ensure that our Armed Forces Compensation Scheme remains fair and compensates most those more seriously injured. As Defence Secretary I cannot allow the situation to continue that leaves the public in any doubt over my or the Government's commitment to our servicemen and women."

But that is precisely the problem: the public does doubt that commitment. This latest scandal, last month’s helicopter shortage debate and the ongoing supply shortages - added to the fact that there have been four Defence Secretaries in four years, one of whom was part-time – has created the impression that, despite being at war for nearly a decade, Defence has been a marginal concern for this government. The public’s outrage is tangible, the judiciary’s contempt voluble and they have forced the government into a humiliating u-turn on this review.

To my mind, Shadow Defence minister Andrew Murrison is spot on: "It now looks like the Government's decisions are made thanks to legal action rather than a genuine desire to do the best for our troops. It's a pity that everything has to be dragged out of this Government, and that they have to be forced to make these decisions to look after our brave service personnel."