We have heard much about the covenant this week after the Government was dragged kicking and screaming into announcing that it would be enshrined in law, whatever that means.
A cynic might say that because the country is run by trendy PR men with no clue whatsoever about the real world, the new military covenant law will be more spin than substance, more hot air than tangible benefits and a load of watered down platitudes that mean precisely the square root of four fifths of nothing but surely it is a step in the right direction?
I would urge readers to have a read of these documents and make their own minds up.
The simple thing is there shouldn’t really be the need for a law but this would seem to be a collection of wishy washy vague sentiment, things that every UK citizen would rightfully expect, a handful of things that cost very little or have already been implemented by the MoD or other organisations.
Plenty of icing but not much cake.
It will need extensive legal challenge and defence to define the boundaries and this is only going to be coming out of one budget, the MoD’s
It also smacks of giving with one hand and taking with the other so whilst the report talks of bus passes for the injured and extra money for schools with the children of service personnel this government has presided over a 2 year pay freeze, a rolling programme of redundancies for the next few years, changes in terms and conditions of service, reductions in pensions and many other measures that will put the value of a bus pass and discount card somewhat into the shade.
The MoD already runs a discount scheme., the Forces Pupil Premium was announced last year, all disabled people get bus passes regardless of the source of their injuries and the prioritisation of service personnel and veterans will always be subject to other priorities. Are we to believe that service veterans will be prioritised for medical treatment outside of normal clinical procedures or that a veteran will jump the housing queue when there are homeless families in an area, is this what we really want anyway?
This is the core problem, sound bites and platitude will very soon run into the brick wall of reality.
The last government was the master at making multiple announcements of the same thing and calling it a new package; seems this one has quickly mastered the art form as well.
A few simple questions that need answering when the usual spivs and spinners in the government talk about honouring the military covenant and our brave forces,
- Which measures have already been announced or implemented?
- How much per year will the NEW measures cost?
- Where will the money for these measures come from, existing budgets or new provision?