Tuesday, 18 February 2014

David Cameron and divisiveness



In February 2014 David Cameron outright refused to recognise the sacrifices made by some 10,000 British military personnel that were exposed to intense levels of radiation during the 1950s and 1960s.

These men were ordered to do things like watch nuclear detonations at close range, fly aircraft through mushroom clouds, handle radioactive materials and explore blast zones, all with no protective gear.

Many hundreds have died of cancer and other radiation related illnesses but this isn't even the most horrifying legacy. Due to the genetic damage these men sustained, the families of many of these men have been affected by birth defects, meaning that the legacy of suffering is continuing down the generations.

Many other countries have begun to recognise the suffering inflicted on their military personnel due to radiation exposure, but the United Kingdom steadfastly refuses to offer recompense to our nuclear veterans.

A pressure group of victims and their families called Fallout has been calling for some recognition for the nuclear veterans and their families, but their concerns have been stonewalled by the government.

The Fallout campaign group have asked for the creation of a £25 million benevolent fund to help descendents that are born with genetic illnesses, a campaign medal for nuclear test veterans and a "thank you" from the Prime Minister.

The government have refused to engage with the group, and David Cameron has refused to even publicly thank the surviving veterans, perhaps out of fear that the the slightest hint of recognition would be the first step on the path to awarding these men compensation, which would hardly be unprecidented given that the United States government have been compensating their nuclear test veterans.

David Cameron's excuse for refusing to acknowledge the nuclear test victims is teeth grindingly bad, even by his appalling standards. Here's what he said:

"It would be divisive to offer nuclear test veterans this level of recognition for being involved in this project, when those who have undertaken other specialist duties would not be receiving the same."
This is the same kind of feeble justification that was used to deny campaign medals to the survivors of the Arctic Convoys until the establishment finally caved in and awarded the Arctic Star to the few remaining survivors in 2013.
  

British nuclear test veterans: Snubbed by David Cameron.
What is even worse than the recycling of an argument that has already been lost is the claim of "divisiveness" from a Tory leader whose party is currently trying to rename the August Bank Holiday "Margaret Thatcher Day".

How on earth could the awarding of a campaign medal to those surviving nuclear veterans that have been fortunate enough to avoid contracting cancer for all these years, be classified as "divisive" by a man that has made no complaint about the divisiveness of his own parties attempts to name a bank holiday after a famously divisive woman, who is hated by millions for her toxic political and economic legacies?

In my view, the benevolent fund should be established to help the descendents that are born with genetic conditions. It would take a hard-hearted git to begrudge something like 45p in tax per person going towards the innocent victims of the British nuclear tests.

I also believe that a nuclear test veterans medal would not be divisive, in fact "those who have undertaken other specialist duties" could always appeal for their service to be recognised too.

The worst thing of all is the refusal to even thank these men for their service. The benevolent fund would cost money, the production of a few medals would cost a tiny amount of money, the production of more medals for veterans of other "specialist duties" might cost a tiny amount more, but a public acknowledgement of these men would cost nothing.

The refusal to even thank these men, and David Cameron's ludicrous "divisiveness" narrative are yet more demonstrations of the absolute contempt the Tories and the establishment classes have for the disposable "lower orders".


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