In another heartening example of democratic feedback, Brit armed forces are forming a union to protect them against political abuse by Blair’s government. The pols say the union will be bad for discipline, but they undermined that discipline by hanging Brit soldiers out to dry.
Defence chiefs fear that the creation of an independent military “trade union”, being launched tomorrow, will lead to soldiers voting on whether or not they should go to war.
The creation of the British Armed Forces Federation (Baff) follows claims that many of Britain’s 250,000 troops no longer believe that their best interests are represented by “an increasingly politicised chain of command”.
The clamour for an independent federation comparable to that of the police has gained momentum after allegations that troops accused of war crimes in Iraq were “hung out to dry” by defence chiefs, even though virtually all of the accused were subsequently found to be innocent.
In a controversial move, Baff intends to set up a legal “hotline” which will advise service personnel under investigation not to co-operate with military police until they have full legal representation. Many soldiers questioned over incidents in Iraq, ranging from road traffic accidents to allegations of murder, have complained that they were interviewed by military police without being informed that they could have a service or civilian lawyer present to advise them.
The suffering of Trooper Williams and his fellow victims of political persecution has not been in vain.