Opinion: Veterans ‘stuffed’ again

The UK Military Covenant Commission report identified injustices in a lack of past medallic recognition for those who had served in the British Armed Forces. This led to the Conservative Party policy in their 2010 General Election manifesto and the Coalition “Programme for Government” commitment to undertake a comprehensive Medal Review. But the Ministry of Defence has stuffed our veterans.

The Ministry of Defence failed to publicly notify when the medal review started; what its terms of reference were and when it would report; failed to consult with veterans, and produced unsubstantiated findings based on false arguments. In a matter of weeks MoD completed a paper based exercise covering 65 years of injustice and inconsistency of medallic recognition of millions of veterans.

Veteran organisations representing the Cold War, National Service, Korea Post Armistice, Nuclear Testing and the UK National Defence Medal campaigns have all condemned the MoD’s murky Medal Review.

Credit to the Prime Minister who refused to endorse the discredited review report and returned it to MoD for consultation with veterans, but consultation has not taken place. Credit to the Deputy Prime Minister who refused to endorse the report and called for a reconstituted review with an independent Chair and wide consultation with veterans, but his call was dismissed. Disgrace to the MoD whose whole flawed process is still shrouded in secrecy despite the Coalition Government’s transparency agenda. What a shambolic mess.

We should all ask the questions: why would MoD carry out a secretive Medal Review and disregard the Government’s transparency agenda? Why would MoD disregard David Cameron’s directive that they should consult with veterans? Why would MoD disregard Nick Clegg’s call for an independent review? Why would MoD not wish to recommend to Her Majesty she honour our veterans through the award of the National Defence Medal? Even those who do not support medallic recognition agree our veterans deserve a fair hearing in a review that is transparent and impartial.

It is time for the Government to draw ‘a line in the sand’ through an independent transparent review, which consults with veterans.

Sign the petition today at http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/2311 – give two minutes of your time for those who were prepared to give their life for you.


Colonel Terry Scriven (retired) is Chairman, Liberal Democrats Friends of the Armed Forces 

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This entry was posted in Op-eds.


  • Many thanks to Terry Scriven for highlighting the shocking behaviour of the MoD. There are many ex-servicemen and women who, after many years service of their country, leave with no medallic recognition. Their counterparts in Australia and New Zealand are recognised with national defence medals approved by Her Majesty the Queen.

    Even during peacetime, there are deaths through training for war. The work has always been dangerous, but the current Defence Minister for Veterans, Andrew Robathan is adamant that there is not enough ‘risk and rigour’ to merit a medal for ‘service alone’. I doubt the families of service personnel killed in the UK and abroad by the PIRA, nuclear test veterans and post-armistice Korean veterans would agree! Shame on him.

    The Golden Jubilee Medal (and soon, the Diamond Jubilee Medal) was awarded to all those with five years service. This was for simply being in service and ‘risk and rigour’ was not quoted as being an underpinning issue. Many thousands of veterans, who, in some cases, with decades of service, have no medals to wear simply because they weren’t in uniform during a Jubilee.

    It’s time to rectify the situation as soon as possible and to properly recognise our Armed Forces, past and present.

  • I am pleased to sign this Petition.

    The way in which many members of our Armed Forces have been treated has been appalling. Too often they have been made redundant on their return from action or made redundant because of the total incompetence of the MoD to manage their budget. When they do leave the Forces following redundancy they have not been able to access any form of housing until they could settle – they were told “Find your own accommodation”. The so-called “help” given prior to being made redundant in the form of “job re-training” was laughable an, in many case, derisory as they were not worth anything at the end of the training.

    My own son was in the Forces for 13 tears and unceremoniously made redundant then offered his old job back as a civilian for less money than he would have received had he stayed in!

    The MoD should be ashamed of itself – our men and women sign up to defend Queen and Country – they should all be awarded medal after five years service, especially those who have seen action in foreign wars. My son was part of the support staff during the First Gulf War (the original one) in 1991/92 – that was the thanks he got at the end of 13 years service – out with no job to go to.

    MoD – step up to the plate and do the right thing!

  • Sorry, typos *and in many cases* *13 years*

  • John Feltham 27th Sep '11 - 7:57am

    Terry Scriven asks – “We should all ask the questions: why would MoD carry out a secretive Medal Review and disregard the Government’s transparency agenda?”

    The answer is because it is not the MPs and Lords who run the country. They have long lost the fight against the Civil Servants of the country. It is they who actually run the country, it is they who make all the decisions.

    One has to ask, where are the National Newspapers on this subject?

    “The Daily Telegraph”, “The Guardian” and “The Times” ?

    Why aren’t they behind the Veterans? Is it because they are fed tidbits by the Civil Service and are frightened of being cut out of the food chain?

    One can only wonder.

    Terry goes on to state, “It is time for the Government to draw ‘a line in the sand’ through an independent transparent review, which consults with veterans.”

    See above, for the reasons why it will not happen.

    I congratulate Terry Scriven for bringing this subject out into the public’s view. At least someone is trying hard to achieve a fair result for the Vets of our country. The Civil Servants aren’t interested at all.

    We will see more obfuscation, more spin and more silly lies which can be seen through by anyone anyone with a semblance of brains. More’s the pity.

    John Feltham
    North Queensland

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