Tuesday, 28 July 2009

MoD seek yet more ways to reduce payouts to the maimed

by johnofgwent

As regular readers may have seen, on the 17th of July the BBC reported that the Ministry of Defence was spending some of its budget on covert surveillance of men and women who have claimed compensation for having come back from this government's illegal wars still breathing but with bits of them left lying in the corner of a foreign field - or, as in this case, foreign desert.

I made my feelings on the matter pretty plain here.

In brief, I count myself fortunate that I have lived over fifty years and not once had to deal with the thought that some member of a foreign power's regular army or some enthusiast in a rag-tag rabble is sitting "out there" somewhere intent on taking my head off or similar. But I worked in the defence industry for long enough to know a few realities.

It is hopelessly optimistic to expect that our troops will be sent out fully equipped and fully prepared to do what their political masters ask of them. War is not a "nine to five occupation" and just where do you think the "better business" guru's mantra that "no plan ever survives contact with the enemy" came from ?

No, I am well versed enough in the art of war as fought by the British to know that it is our armed forces' ability to be ingenious in making the most in the deployment of what we have which has marked our great successes in the past.

Of course this is nothing new. For as long as I can remember there have been statements by those in uniform that they need more in order to do their job, and campaigns by those out of uniform - or those who were never in it - campaigns by individuals and organisations acting on behalf of servicemen and women, or their families, each making a claim for particular support upon the heartstrings and the wallets of those who did not have to face what they were sent to deal with.

But either I am being particularly observant, or particularly imaginative, or there is something different about these days. For looking back over the governments Blair and now Brown have presided over, they appear to indulge in a particular parsimony, a more intense meanness of spirit in their dealings with the men and women maimed by their orders, and the families of those killed ton their whim.

Which is why this morning I am once again in a state of mind that does my blood pressure no good at all. For I have found that once again the penny pinchers at the ministry have decided to "go public" with their latest plans to win the hearts and minds of the public for their parsimonious ways.

Front and Centre In Pride of Place on the BBC News Website this morning is the revelation that the bean counters and penny pinchers at the Ministry are out and about again actively seeking to reduce funds paid out to those maimed on their political master's whim.

This time the demand is made that where a medical condition brought on through active service is followed by additional complications or a subsequent deterioration the amount paid should be based on the condition immediately after the incident and that subsequent problems, regardless of how they are caused, should play no part in determining the award.

The lengths to which Alistair Darling will go, the depths to which he will sink in order to find money to feather his retirement nest with his banking buddies, truly this never ceases to simultaneously amaze, and enrage me