UKIP Launches “Save our services”

A report by Edward Spalton

CIB is, of course, a non-party organisation but, as I had received an invitation to their press conference I thought I should attend. I wanted to meet Henry Bolton, their new leader, on this first public event since he took office. It is seventeen years since I left UKIP to campaign on a cross-party basis but I met some old friends and was pleased that several people, whom I had not met before, told me they appreciated CIB, mentioning recent articles on the website.

The event was well-attended, briskly and cheerfully organised. The first speaker was Mike Hookem MEP, who included a video presentation of his work amongst veterans who had fallen on hard times and were not receiving the help either from government or local authorities which the Military Covenant says they “should” receive – but do not. Service charities were doing their best to fill the gaps but it was not enough.

He called for a Minister and a department, like the American Veterans’ Administration, to be in charge of welfare for former service personnel and to help them back into civilian life. It was no good telling local authorities what they “should” do, it needed to be “must”. He also called for ex service personnel with good records to be given favourable consideration for employment in the police and other public services where their skills and discipline would be an advantage to the community.

Henry Bolton took the podium and ranged further and wider, mentioning the sharp cuts which had been made not only to the armed forces but to the police, reducing our defences against internal terrorism and criminality as well as external hostility, at the very time when they were all increasing. The government had not signed up on Monday 13th November to integration of British forces with the increasingly unified EU military command under the PESCO agreement, which would suck resources away from NATO. It had signed up to much else and EU absorption still remained a threat.

Whilst British armed forces should be capable of joint operations with our neighbours, they must always retain the ability of independent action – or we were not a sovereign country. Tied in with the developing EU army and trapped in sourcing our military supplies under EU tendering rules, we would not only be unable to act independently in the field but forbidden to maintain the necessary British industrial base for supplying our forces. EU arms suppliers, under political direction, could in effect, choke off any significant operations by British forces of which the EU did not approve – by simply withholding supplies or, for instance, the use of aircraft on which we had an expectation to rely.

I was able to ask Henry Bolton one short question. Did he think that Political Correctness in local authorities, particularly left wing authorities, was pushing the welfare of ex-servicemen and women to the end of the queue? He replied that authorities of all political colours were negligent in this matter.

From what had been said by government, it appeared that the needs of returning Jihadists for housing, “re-education” and employment would take precedence over the welfare of our own ex-service people. This was monstrous. Those known to have been in arms for Jihadism should be charged with adhering to our country’s foes – what used to be called treason, rather than handled with kid gloves for the sake of “community relations”.

I think we will be hearing more of Henry Bolton and many people will like what he has to say.

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  1. Adam HileyReply

    UKIP has always had the best Defence policies but so do the blossoming British Unionist Party what needs to be exposed is the Tories callous attitude towards the Military whilst wasting millions on Foreign Aid to despotic regimes such as China and Zimbabwe in which they have no mandate to do in the unlikely event of a Corbyn Premiership (god help us) imagine Diane Abbot Emily Thornberry Keir Starmer John McDonnell in charge Britain would be the Venezuela of the West the 3 main parties must go now

  2. Gordon WebsterReply

    Excellent article Edward. Perhaps as a SSAFA Caseworker, and Branch Deputy Secretary, I can fill people in on some of what is happening for our veterans.
    Firstly there is how we get the money to help Veterans in need. Every Service Man and Woman signs up to give one days pay (Per month or per year I am not sure) to their Regiment Charity, RN Charity if they are Navy, or Air Force if that is their service. SSAFA applies, as Almoners, to these funds for financial assistance for the Veteran in need. The problem for many Military Charities came when Cameron decided to make some 30,000 Service Personnel redundant – and with them went their One Days Pay.
    SSAFA estimates that since Cameron’s axe job, there are around 11,000 Service Men, and Women homeless. Although there are Veterans Homes and Residences (two in Scotland) the spaces available will never scratch the surface of the need.
    You can imagine the anger on the ground, when alleged Security experts “demand,” homes and jobs for returning IS Fighters. Some believe that Cameron recruited those Jihadists, when Parliament refused him permission to put British Boots on Syrian Ground. That alleged experts attitude does nothing to allay that doubt about Cameron’s involvement, or the anger at the treatment of our Veterans.

  3. Edward SpaltoReply

    Than you for the kind comment Gordon. You reminded me of an incident where SSAFA was involved over fifty years ago now. I was a pupil with a firm of corn merchants in Oxfordshire and had been given the job of chasing up a bad debt. A smallholder had got into difficulties. He was an ex serviceman and not trying to run away from his responsibilities. SSAFA took a hand and made arrangements to help him and the debt was paid off by instalments . Many years later, I mentioned this to my wife who had been a probation officer in Glasgow. She had nothing but praise for the practical way SSAFA helped ex servicemen who had got into difficulties

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