Sunday 20 June 2010


In an article written for the Sunday Telegraph our Prime Minister has laid out the duty that every citizen, or rather subject, has to support the troops in Afghanistan.

He says that it is the whole nation’s “social responsibility” to put troops at the “front and centre of our national life”. He goes on to say that with Britain at war in Afghanistan, the public has to give full and unequivocal support to troops and their families.

In an attempt to invoke a wartime spirit of another time... and another war... he states that there is huge respect for the Forces and that he wants it expressed more loudly and more proudly.

Mr Cameron says: “Silent gratitude isn’t much use to anyone — so next Saturday (Armed Forces Day) I hope we see an explosion of red, white and blue all over the country. Supporting our Armed Forces isn’t just a government responsibility, it’s a social responsibility.”

Now anyone who reads this blog on a regular basis knows that I have the deepest respect for the armed forces. The bravery of the lads out in Afghanistan is literally awesome and I’m humbled by it. Every time I hear of another death, I weep inside for the waste of a young life, be it Canadian, American, English, Scottish, Afghan... A life is a life and a waste is a waste.

However, Mr Cameron, understand this:

Firstly, most of us don’t need to be told what our social responsibility is. We know, thank you.

We are not children and we resent being nannied and told what to feel, think and do by someone who’s been in the job 10 minutes and prior to that was an ineffectual opposition leader who couldn’t better the worst prime minister in living memory.

No Mr Cameron, I’ll not take lessons in social responsibility from someone who spent his years at Oxford in the Bullingdon getting wrecked and wrecking restaurants, just because he could, because had a rich daddy who would pay up.

So don’t tell me how to behave.

Secondly, respect for anything is only respect when it is heartfelt and meant. Not when it is ordered by the prime minister, or by anyone else. You really haven’t learned much for all your expensive education, have you?

The war Britain is fighting is unwinnable. Afghanistan will never be conquered. Statistics out today show that the situation is getting worse daily. We’re in this war because America wanted us in it. And we’ll come out of it when Mr Obama, or his successor, tells us to. If you had any real feelings for the troops you’d arrange their withdrawal within the next 2-3 months.

As an opposition, with the country behind you, you could have argued to take the troops out. You could have fought tooth and nail for more money, for a decent Secretary of State, for better conditions and more compensation for the returning injured troops. All of that should have been at the centre of your agenda, and you should never have stopped until you defeated what passed for a government in the last few years.

But you didn’t do any of that and when you got to Downing Street you put wide boy Lame Liam bloody Fox in charge. What a joke.

And now you’re telling us to get out the red white and blue next Saturday on Armed Forces Day?

You should be ashamed.


  1. putting Foxy in charge was taking the mickyJune 20, 2010 12:39 am

    Good post. And 13th Century Fox must have been away playing polo or something whenever Afghanisatn was discussed in Parliament or in the Shadow cabinet as he seems to know the square root of zero about the country.

  2. Thanks Foxy.

    It's badly written and disjointed because I was so angry at this man behaving like he's some sort of father of the nation, wise in the ways of the world from his years of experience.

    He's a 40 something PR man turned politician from a privileged background.

    When I need lessons from him in how to behave it will be a sad day.

    As for Fox.... I should remember that my mum reads this... so I'll say no more.

  3. Wow! No passion lacking there, tris. I generally agree with your points for what it's worth, especially the ones about our ridiculous and painful role in Afghanistan, (and despite one or two reservations about the way you frame them). And Cameron clearly gets up your nose in a special way.

    Having said that, I have to tell you, my God, the sheer passionate force of your argument is damn compelling in itself. Speaks to integrity and conviction, that.

    Well written, sir. Hats off.

  4. Thanks Denverthen.

    I do feel strongly. You can’t tell people that they MUST support the troops. You can explain to them what the troops are doing, and you can try to convince them that it is for the good of the country (instead of for the good of the Cabinet, because that way they don't piss the president off and they get to keep their permanent seat on the Security Council and continue the myth that somehow Britain is a big player). Then they make up their minds about whether they want to support them and how they wish to support them. And frankly I’m not particularly interested in a load of red white and blue.

    He's a wet behind the ears chap who has only ever visited the troops a couple of times. He's never been in the forces; he's never fought. If the government wants to lecture me on what my attitude and responsibilities to the military are, then perhaps they could find someone in their midst who’s actually done some fighting. Paddy Ashdown maybe. But certainly not Cameron.

    I dunno. Some people get a job and they think they know everything in the first month.

    Thanks for your kind words. They are doubly appreciated as you write so compellingly yourself.

  5. Hasn’t Mr Fox informed us all that we will be staying in Afghanistan until the job is done. And that despite Obama saying the US will be scaling back and leaving within I think a year (I may have that wrong). But if true does he really expect us to believe that we will be staying when the US has left? We don’t seem to be getting on top of the part of the war we are fighting now, despite the best efforts of our troops stretched as they are with inadequate resources. And then we are having a defence review and cuts, cuts, cuts. Maybe when the government itself starts properly supporting our boys then they can turn around and expect the nation to do so as well. Mr Fox himself does not seem to have been a considered appointment maybe they could start there.

  6. Absolutely tris, absolutely. When they start tellin us how tae feel an' behave, then ye ken they've forgotten that it's us that elect them. We dinnae need tae be telt oor social responsibilities, an' if we dae, then it's no gaunnae work if it comes fae that jumped-up wee posh boy.

  7. Excellent post, Tris,

    Will flooding the country in red, white and blue give the troops the equipment necessary to do the job and to adequately protect themselves in extremely dangerous circumstances.

    Would it be regarded as a clear demonstration of supporting our military or would it be seen and portrayed as supporting this, and previous, government's actions in prolonging this totally avoidable and fruitless campaign.

  8. Yes Munguin: I seem to recall Mr Fox pontificating about when he would take the troops out of Afghanistan and I laughed.

    Mr Obama makes these decisions and we follow them. And, if the Americans take their troops out then the rest of NATO will surely follow. The alternative is unimaginable.

    Respect for the armed forces would, as you suggest, be better served by Cameron swacking the muppet SoS and replacing him with one who knew something about the military.

  9. Yep Sophia. That's it. They seem to forget within days, maybe hours, of being elected that that is what they are ELECTED.

    They have a job to do. Run the country, sort out the finances, deal with the problems of state.

    Telling us how we feel, or should feel is for our betters and elders; our families, our friends, and most of all our consciences. It's got damn all to do with the government.

  10. Since nobody in Scotland voted for these clowns everyone in Scotland should wave the Saltire on Saturday as a sign that it is time Scottish troops came home.

    As someone said in the Herald letters, up until 1707 Scotland fought England, since then Scotland has fought just about everyone else on behalf of the English.

  11. Thank you Brownlie. That’s appreciated.

    I agree completely with your prognosis there. What Mr Cameron wants to display to the world is a nation covered in red white and blue, united under this government. It's the kind of insecurity that you might expect from a man who, by all usual standards should have been in with a massive majority, but instead finds himself having to share power with another party.

    There are two groups of people it is good politics for a party to be seen to rail against: dole scroungers and foreigners, and two it is good politics to be seen to support: the military/police and pensioners. How predictable is Mr Cameron?

    I will not join in this jamboree. Not because I don't support the boys... and I use the word advisedly because some of these kids are only 18 or 19 when they are killed in the service of the government (whatever that is).

    I do support THEM. They are brave and courageous and they do things that would have most people shaking in terror and running for cover. Some of them are outstanding human beings. The way they act to save their comrades is beyond any description I can manage.

    But if he thinks for one minute I'm going to drape myself in his colours to show my support for them, and in consequence the people who sent them out there, or who retain them out there, then he can think on. In any case, my colours only have blue and white in them.

    It’s early days to be hiding behind the military David, and doubling the tiny allowance these lads get for being on the front line shows no kind of support at all. It is a small matter, but if you multiplied it by 10 it might be worth having, given the allowances for MoD support staff in Afghanistan, or indeed the lazy greedy MPs that send them there. (Remember the junior minister who took a car and a driver to France only 2 weeks ago!)

  12. Brilliant Dubbieside, and a superb comment from the Herald correspondent. I've got a saltire. All I need is a banner saying "Bring them home".

  13. Tris,

    While I agree that people like you, me etc do not need to be told to respect our boys in uniform; the sad fact is that many do. Thus Cameron has my total support in his campaign to demand that everyone respects our soldiers. The day a soldier is turned away from a pub because he is in uniform is disgusting.

    That said, Cameron does need to realise that true respect for our soldiers involves ont cutting their budgets by 20%!

  14. Dean

    Typical tory. No one demands respect, you can only command respect, and that is something that Cameron will never get.

    Get all the troops out now, if Cameron wants to fight Americas wars he should ask every soldier if he wants to go to Afghanistan. Then he might command respect.

  15. Dean you cannot force people to respect other people. You can force them, in some cases to SHOW respect, but respect is something that is earned, and the respecter either feels it or they don't. It's a bit like religion. You can be forced to be a member of a church, but no one can force you to believe.

    Mr Cameron, rich and important though he may be, cannot MAKE us respect people, whomsoever they be.

    Soldiers being turned away from pubs is a sad sight, but then, we have to remember that soldiers are young (usually) men, incredibly strong, and able to cause some bother when they get drunk. They also attract girls, sometimes other boys' girls.... Brave they may be, but ask the natives of Arbroath and Carnoustie in my area, where there are bases, what they think of soldiers on a Saturday night, and it will be far from the deep respect that lads in Afghanistan have earned.

  16. Dubbieside. You said it before I did, and much more eloquently, I have to say.

    Perhaps we should have a referendum on whether or not we should be in or out of Afghanistan...after all he wants to take the country along with him doesn't he?

  17. The call to, "support our troops", is always done to make it difficult to question the war.

    If you're questioning the war then you are deemed to be against the troops.

    Cameron has done this in the hope that no-one questions the war.

  18. Aye Doug, well he's on a hiding to nothing.

    Cameron just doesn't understand... any more than Brown, who tried the same rubbish at the beginning of his premiership.

    He too wanted everyone out on the streets to make it look as if they were supporting his government. 'We're all behind the troops, and therefore the government.'

    Get stuffed Dave. On Tuesday your government will do what I suppose it has to do to pay back the idiotic amounts of money that were poured into the betting shops that were otherwise known as banks. The bankers get off scot free (because otherwise they will relocate to New York or Delhi or the Middle East), and the little people who don't have that option will pay.

    So trying to get us wrapped up in the union flag will not work. By this time next week whatever little bit of a honeymoon you had will be well and truly over.