Recently, all officers, soldiers and instructors of our nation’s reserve military force, were told that their pay and much of their funding was to stop. The grand institution of Britain’s Territorial Army was to be effectively shut down on its 100 year anniversary.
No apologies were made but excuses were muttered by the Prime Minister and defence secretary, about the need for cutbacks. But why? Why did Gordon Brown pose with members of the Territorial Army for photos during the centenary celebrations earlier this year, and then cut all their pay? Why did Brown attempt to pass through such cutbacks without proper public debate, or warning? Why did the former Chancellor blatantly lie to David Cameron during PMQ’s about the situation facing soon-to-be deployed members of the Territorial Army? Because Gordon Brown is a coward, who will attempt to gain any kind of political credit without thought for the consequences. As the Telegraph writes:
“As a result of the cuts there are a number of training areas that the TA can no longer carry out which some believe could prove dangerous when they deploy on operations. For example soldiers can no longer fire live rounds on the ranges. A TA officer who has fought in Iraq said: “A soldier volunteering for Afghanistan might fire his weapon live for the first time since his basic training five years before just before he deploys.
“The mobilisation package cannot turn a civilian into a soldier or someone who can hardly shoot into a marksman and yet many TA soldiers find themselves in combat roles. An untrained TA solider would be unable to protect himself and those around him.”
Soldiers have also been banned from training in gas chambers for chemical warfare training which means they will not even be able to test if their respirators work.
And they cannot drive their tanks more than nine miles a month for training due to the cost of running the vehicles.
Mark Lancaster, a Tory MP and member of the TA, said: “This is an astonishingly short-sighted measure by the Government that will do nothing but harm to the Territorial Army.”
Now Cameron has said: “It’s crazy that a government which was willing to waste £12bn on a pointless VAT cut won’t spend £20m on making sure that the Territorial Army is kept ready and prepared.”
He said the Prime Minister sent him a letter insisting that reservists will still get their standard pre-deployment training. “But,” Cameron said, “that’s like telling professional football players to rely on pre-match warm-up sessions before going onto the football pitch. The only difference is that we’re talking about volunteer soldiers here – and their football pitch is Afghanistan.
The Prime Minister has ripped the soul out of the Territorial Army, and left a broken body! But even without pay, without proper transport, or funding, our Territorial Army men and women have risen to this new challenge. Stories from around the country, show that these fighting citizens have remained so loyal and steadfast in the face of a Labour’s economic slashing that they remain to train, paying their own way in order to not let their comrades down.
In fact, this show of defiance seems to have shocked Brown. The Prime Minister is now whispering about a U-Turn. The strength of opposition to this dire attack has been so strong and the support from civilians so powerful that Brown has been advised to backtrack as far as he can. Last night, sources suggested ministers at the MoD were preparing to offer significant concession on the issue amid fears that Downing Street was heading towards another public relations disaster, and a Commons motion denouncing the cuts has been signed by nearly 50 MP’s against the government.
Let us all hope and pray that this new Government attempt to save their skin… works, and that the men and women of the British Territorial Army, finally get the funding and support that they deserve.