Monday, 16 June 2008

Bravery Beyond Belief

Watching tonight's evening news I could not help but be struck by the professionalism and integrity of army personnel, even as they returned the bodies of comrades killed in battle to British soil.

Today has been a day to ponder the sacrifice of our armed services as they discharge their duties in order to protect Queen and country - regardless of the legitimacy and risk of the orders they are required to discharge.

As five bodies of soldiers from 2nd Battalion, the Parachute Regiment, were returned to RAF Lyneham in coffins draped in the Union Flag, I was struck that rather than attending the short ceremony to honour our war dead conducted by our service personnel Gordon Brown was announcing the deployment of an additional 230 British troops to Afghanistan at a press conference before the worlds media.

That our Prime Minister decided to make this announcement in front of President George W. Bush instead of making the initial announcement of this deployment to the House of Commons says much about his desire to be seen to be a big player on the world stage. It also shows his contempt for parliament and flies in the face of his pledge on entering No.10 that he is a man who wants to see an end to spin over substance.

Our armed services deserve to be treated with the utmost respect and in the finest traditions of British way of life. This requires our government to formally notify all troop deployments to the sovereign parliament of the country they serve with such pride first. The British people know that our brave service men and women conduct their duties to protect our shared values of democracy, the rule of law and mutual respect - and we should demand our countries Prime Minister shows them the respect they are due for putting their lives on the line to protect others.

So in summary, today was a day of mixed emotions. Pride in our armed services, and in their conduct as they returned fallen heroes to British soil, and anger at the lack of respect shown to them by our government. If you ever need to describe what is best about Britain look no further than our armed services to provide examples of dignity, pride and selfless service. They are brave beyond belief and for that we can all be proud to be British!

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