Respect defence

What a difference a day makes. On Armed Forces Day our troops were marching through the high streets of our cities and towns through cheering crowds, with politicians and generals heaping praise on them for the work they do for our country.

Five days later Philip Hammond, the Defence Secretary, stood up in parliament and set about disbanding many battalions and corps units, which will cause many redundancies. Some 20,000 troops will be shown the door, making our armed forces the smallest they have been since the Boer War.

These actions display a two-faced attitude: praising them one day and without embarrassment taking up a knife and cutting them to shreds the next.

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The Defence Secretary concluded that these cuts were necessary because of the black hole left in the defence budget by the Labour Party.

It’s a sad shame that the defence of our country has to be cut in such a big way because of money; once you switch something off it takes a long time to bring it back. It is also sad that these thousands of men are going to be turfed out, with their careers ended through no fault of their own.

Serving soldiers are not permitted to complain and demonstrate, which is why defence is an easy pick for politicians looking for some spare cash.

But veterans are allowed to, and when Labour cut and amalgamated regiments at the last defence review they marched through cities and towns and handed a huge petition in at Downing Street.

This did no good but they then decided to campaign to get Labour out of power and get the Tories elected. This happened.

Now the shoe is on the other foot. The Tories are in power, they have done the dirty on the armed forces and the veterans will now turn against them to make sure that they are not elected at the next election.

R Ritchie

Bloom Court

Livingston