Monday, April 05, 2010

Do they ever bloody listen?

The Sun today has a story regarding L/Cpl Beharry VC and Gordon Brown. No prizes for guessing who I am cheering for: the man who has driven this country into the ground or the man who drove back into enemy fire to save the lives of his friends?

But this isn't just an attack on the PM over his actions to one person. I think that Johnson is a bigger person than that. But that appears to have escaped the notice of the Prime Minister and his spin doctors, who react to the story by saying:

The Prime Minister has the utmost respect and admiration for Lance Corporal Johnson Beharry, who has shown great courage.

"Mr Brown has written a personal letter to Johnson Beharry this evening to reassure him of his personal admiration and the great respect in which he is held by the whole country."

Fair enough. I would bloody well hope he had 'respect' for a man like that. He's personally not fit to bull his boots. But shall we have a quick look at what Johnson's objection was actually to?
[emphasis mine] It began at a reception in Downing Street in November 2008. I was in a line with other servicemen and he didn't look any of us in the eye when he shook our hands.

He was totally disinterested in us. It made me really angry but I just tried to forget it and moved on.

Then I saw him again in Westminster Abbey during the Remembrance Day service last November.

I was one of two soldiers laying the wreath to the Unknown Soldier.

Afterwards we all stood to attention during the two minute silence.

I picked a point to stare at so I could remain completely still and it happened to be him. Throughout the silence, he kept on fidgeting and moving. He couldn't even stand still for two minutes.

It's about the Prime Minister's reaction to the Armed Forces. It's about the fact that they went to war without the required equipment for a reason which hadn't been proven and was not allowed to be proven by UN weapons inspectors. It's about the statement to Chilcot saying that defence spending had risen every year in real terms when he himself knew that was not true because he was in charge of the Treasury.

It's a man who has no respect for the MoD, who, according to rumour, shunts colleagues he doesn't like there and who is seen by many in the military to use troops for his own popularity.

And when that statement is made perfectly clear he still can't answer the question properly.

Does Johnson Beharry VC care what a man like Brown thinks about him personally when he knows he has the respect and admiration of so many? I don't know, I'll ask him. Does he care what the Prime Minister thinks of the Armed Forces? Evidently. And I think we can see what Gordon does see them as.

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