News & Views from the Campaign Team
|Posted by National Defence Medal on November 25, 2014 at 3:55 PM||comments (51)|
Dear Mr Tilbrook,
I write to you on behalf of the Cold War, National Service, Korea Post Armistice and the National Defence Medal campaigners and many of their families.
They are aware of the standard letter which you have sent out to many MPs and veterans in response to the issues I have raised on their behalf in respect of the recent medal review. Many are also aware of the failure in the House of Lords recently by the Government to answer a straight forward question about the release into the public domain of the full report of the medal review completed by Sir John Holmes. They are also aware of the actions in the House by one MP who considered he had the power to ‘kill off’ a bill on the institution of the NDM presented under the 10 Minute Rule but let it go through as he considered it was unlikely to get its second reading on the 5 December. As I read all of this I find it difficult to believe that the issue under debate is whether or not our servicemen and women who have kept the Nation and its interests safe and secure since the ending of the Second World War should receive medallic recognition from a grateful Nation.
As you are aware, the Prime Minister has been very clear in his commitment to veterans campaigning for medallic recognition, the medal review would be open and transparent and such matters would be laid to rest once and for all; that was the reason the discredited MoD review findings were over turned by him and Sir John tasked with the independent review under the Cabinet Office and not MoD. Sir John was also clear that issues surrounding deliberations on medallic recognition should be much more transparent.
Sir John’s review got off to a good start, he spoke to all the veteran groups and in the case of the NDM considered it had national significance and should be treated as such. It was therefore a surprise to find that unlike his interim report to the Prime Minister that Sir John’s final report was not released into the public domain and that there was no opportunity for the leaders of the various campaign groups to be able to comment on his findings.
I am sure you are aware that rather than ‘putting to bed’ the various campaigns for medallic recognition, which was the Prime Minister’s wish, the way the review has been handled in its final stages has created even more of a furore among the veteran groups. Despite your assertions in the numerous letters you have sent to MPs across the country and to the various medal group representatives and other concerned veterans, this review has been discredited. It was not open and certainly not transparent, veterans have not seen Sir John’s report, they have seen an ‘options’ paper. It is understood that In the case for the Cold War medal campaign it did not feature in the report and the case for both the National Service medal and the Korea post armistice medal that their case was dismissed without due consideration.
It is also not satisfactory on issues such as the institution of the NDM, considered to be of national significance, for the Honours and Decorations Committee to claim they, ‘carefully considered the matter but decided that a strong enough case could not be made at this time for a National Defence Medal’ and then not explain what the weaknesses of the case was and to conclude that, ‘there are no plans for further work on this issue but it might be usefully considered in the future.’ Another concern around your reassurance in the letters circulated is that the full consideration of the merits of the case went beyond narrow financial considerations, a fact that does not seem to be supported in a letter on 20 November by the Leader of the Opposition Ed Milliband who indicated the Government did not intend to introduce a National Defence Medal due to likely cost implications.
Overall, veterans consider that yet again their submissions for medallic recognition have been dealt with in a shambolic fashion and without due respect. The Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister gave reassurances, on behalf of the Government, that this time the review would be open and transparent and despite your assertions this has not been the case.
On behalf of the numerous veteran campaign groups, I have written to the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister and requested a meeting to discuss the content of your letters and what has again been shown to be a discredited review process. I have also copied this letter to the Leader of the Opposition and to the Leader of UKIP whose election policy it is to implement a National Defence Medal, it is also that of the Liberal Democrat party. A copy of the letter has gone to a number of MPs who received your letter and who considered unlike the Honours and Decorations Committee that the case for the National Defence Medal was compelling. In addition a copy of this letter will appear on the National Defence Medal website with the generic letter that you in your capacity as the Head of the Committee have been circulating about my efforts to achieve greater transparency.
The bottom line in all of this is not to alienate you or your committee or the Government but to make the point, on behalf of hundreds of thousands of veterans and their families across the country, that even if the case for medallic recognition is not strong enough, surely in the democracy that we live in, they have the right to see clearly how and why such decisions have been arrived at especially after such a strong reassurance from the Prime Minister.
|Posted by National Defence Medal on November 25, 2014 at 3:40 PM||comments (7)|
For those who have not seen it, below is an example of the new standard letter from the Cabinet Office. There are a couple of versions but all more or less say the same thing, and of course they completely miss the point.
The campaign will be sending an Official response directly to Mr Tilbrook, and we will share the content in due course.
We want to thank those of you who have also written to your MP, when they receive this reply, you must urge them not to be brushed off. It does not answer the questions posed, we and they should not settle for that.
|Posted by National Defence Medal on November 11, 2014 at 10:15 AM||comments (96)|
An excellent case was put forward and a very weak defence by Bob Stewart.
The 2nd reading was originally scheduled for the 5th Decemeber 2014, however the date has been changed to the 27th February 2015. Plenty of time to get your MP there and to support. It is time for action.
|Posted by National Defence Medal on November 10, 2014 at 11:45 AM||comments (13)|
Please distribute to Local and National media, a simple cogent message:
|Posted by National Defence Medal on November 10, 2014 at 3:55 AM||comments (7)|
Stephen Gilbert said:
“Of course we need to recognise those people who do see active service but simply putting on a uniform and giving yourself to the country should be also something that is recognised."
“It is very mean-spirited of the Government only to address some of the claims of those veterans who have seen conflict and completely ignores those hundreds of thousands of people who chose to serve their country at a time when there may not have been conflict."
“Their choice to serve is no less impressive and worthy than those people who did see conflict.”
|Posted by National Defence Medal on October 30, 2014 at 10:35 AM||comments (37)|
Parliamentary Upcoming business
Tuesday, 11 November 2014
Commons: Main Chamber
Ten Minute Rule Motion
National Defence Medal – Presented by Stephen Gilbert MP
In the House of Commons, Bills introduced under the ten-minute rule are one of the ways in which backbench MPs (private Members) can introduce legislation. However, the process is used more as a means of making a point on the need to change the law on a particular subject as there is little parliamentary time available. They mainly provide the opportunity for MPs to test Parliament's opinion on a particular subject.
The ten minute rule allows a brief introductory speech of no more than ten minutes and one of the same length opposing the motion to be made in the House of Commons after question time on Tuesdays and Wednesdays when the House is likely to be full. Not all Ten Minute Rule Bills are printed.
More information on the 10 minute rule motion can be found at:
|Posted by National Defence Medal on October 29, 2014 at 7:15 PM||comments (17)|
An Enduring Covenant Between
The People of the United Kingdom Her Majesty's Government
All those who serve or have served in the Armed Forces of the Crown And their Families
The first duty of Government is the defence of the realm. Our Armed Forces fulfil that responsibility on behalf of the Government sacrificing some civilian freedoms, facing danger and, sometimes, suffering serious injury or death as a result of their duty. Families also play a vital role in supporting the operational effectiveness of our Armed Forces. In return, the whole nation has a moral obligation to the members of the Naval Service, the Army and the Royal Air Force, together with their families. They deserve our respect and support, and fair treatment.
Those who serve in the Armed Forces, whether Regular or Reserve, those who have served in the past and their families, should face no disadvantage compared to other citizens in the provision of public and commercial services. Special consideration is appropriate in some cases, especially for those who have given most such as the injured and the bereaved.
This obligation involves the whole of society: it includes voluntary and charitable bodies, private organisations, and the actions of individuals in supporting the Armed Forces. Recognising those who have performed military duty unites the country and demonstrates the value of their contribution. This has no greater expression than in upholding this Covenant.
|Posted by National Defence Medal on October 27, 2014 at 11:25 AM||comments (3)|
Greg Mulholland MP (Leeds North West) is looking for Veterans in his constituency to help him bring the issue of the failings of the medal review to the attention of parliament.
Parliamentary rules mean he must act on the behalf of a constituent, so it is important we find a supporter in the area to kick things off, if you know a willing candidate then please contact them and us.
|Posted by National Defence Medal on October 17, 2014 at 3:35 AM||comments (24)|
We feel that enough evidence has been gathered to officially call for the Government to honour its original commitment and by opening up this two year review and its findings to public scrutiny, if it is found wanting, to call for appropriate remedial action.
It is important this review does not become discredited like the earlier MoD two week shambles and that it finally provides our veterans with the political and public consensus as to whether or not, those who have served should be recognised by the award of a National Defence Medal.
Why would the Nation, and the Government, not wish to recognise our veterans who have kept the UK and its interests safe and secure since the ending of the Second World War, or at the very least honour them with a fair hearing?
We must give them the oppotunity to step in once again now that the evidence worringly points to yet another mishandling of too many aspects of the review.
|Posted by National Defence Medal on October 10, 2014 at 10:05 AM||comments (16)|
Our Campaign team have been contacted by several others who are equally unhappy at the conduct and conclusions of the recent medal review. So far we have heard from:
- National Service
- Post Armistice Korea
- ACSM Criteria
- Wound Medal
- Cold War
- Cyprus GSM (Reduction to 30days)
You can read one of the letters from DR M G Halligan, BA(Hons) MA(Ed) PhD MCMI FIET by following the link here: http://ndm-pr.webs.com/letters.htm
The rebuttals are from those who actually gave written and/or verbal submissions to the review team. How will they respond?