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Friday, 2 September 2011

Thank you! We're proud of you. You're fired!!

Well, I don't suppose that those were the exact words in the redundancy notices issued to almost 2,000 members of the U.K's armed forces today - with many more to come.  However, it doesn't seem to be too far from the reality of the message!

As I listened to this information being given out on the early-evening news bulletin, I couldn't help but think of the scenes in the town of Wooton Bassett that will be, I suspect, engraved on the memories of many of us for the rest of our lives.  I thought of the hundreds of young men and women whose dead bodies had been repatriated in recent years.  I thought of the profligacy of a government department that appears to have wasted millions, and millions, of taxpayer pounds, resulting in the financial 'black hole' which has led to these redundancies.  I thought of the hundreds of thousands of pounds that were fiddled by members of the last parliament, and wondered how many redundancies that money might have saved.  I thought of so-called 'celebrities, and the obscene salaries paid out to so many of them - Jonathan Ross (no relation!) even informing us, today, that the £6 million from the BBC was less than he was worth, and that he (so magnanimously!) had turned down even higher salary offers. 

I thought of the football transfer window that closed last night, and of the equally obscene amounts paid to premier league footballers, together with the associated transfer fees.  And I wondered how many soldiers, and sailors, and aircrew could have been retained if those non-producers were to be content with a living wage.  I thought, too, of bankers who appear, still, to be demanding (and receiving) bonuses that are greater than many of us earn in a full working life.

Of course, it's the "little people" who will suffer.  I would be more than a little surprised to discover that a number of Generals, and Admirals, and Air Chief Marshals had received their redundancy notices today! 

The problem, it seems to me, is not one of lack of resources, but of their distribution.  One senior Air Force officer gave an assurance that counselling would be available to those who were being transferred from military, to civilian, life.  Perhaps a longer-term view of the situation, and a super-tax on the inflated salaries of those who produce nothing but entertainment, and on the gross bonuses paid out to not only senior bankers, but also to many of the 'captains of industry', would have encouraged the Coalition Government to deal differently with our armed forces - and done away with any need for such counselling!

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