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Cameron and this article are right to say we should at least look at the precedents set for the Army. The Army is a completely different world, and for good reason. I'm not saying it was right to execute those lads but all too often the Army is messed around by white-collar bureaucrats on the orders of pie-in-the-sky liberals who don't understand the way we have to work.

The mass pardons make a nonsense of any pardons at all, it was a long time ago and governments might say certain things in the past were undesirable but they are better dealing with the present - is Tony Blair going to apologise for the Highland Clearances, the Norman Conquest, the virtual annexation and ethnic cleansing indeed the very naming of Wales (a variation on a Germanic name given to people considered to be Foreign - Wales and Wallachia (Saxon name for Romania) both mean Land of the Foreigners and Wales thus means the language of the Foreigners and Walls, Wallace and Wallis are all varieties of name meaning Foreign given as names to people not considered to be English\German\Dutch etc...), then of course what about the things that the Beaker Folk did, maybe Homo Sapiens wiped out the Neanderthals? (Will the government apologise for this too?).

It is true that many who had shell shock or simply were dissaproved of by their commanders because they were Working Class were killed perhaps wrongly and that people at barracks in England went AWOL and were not shot because of worries over public opinion but historically people were shot\hanged for desertion of duty (which was defined various ways) but I don't see how these pardons actually change anything now, anyone who thought what happened was wrong will still think so and anyone who thought it was right will still think so.

It will do our image any good to vote against this. We do not shoot our soldiers so it should not produce a precedent for the Army.

And I hope that it is not required to make examples of anybody nowadays.

Abstain if necessary and save the ammo for those who embarrass the Tory Party. Now they should be shot!

anyone who thought what happened was wrong will still think so and anyone who thought it was right will still think so.
And for most people it is merely a detail of history, the only ones of my ancestors who were shot were shot by the other side - one of my Great Grandfather's in the 2nd Boer War and in Ypres he was shot dead on the frontline actually 90 years ago yesterday, another was badly wounded in Armenia fighting the Ottoman Turks - people will say I would have had a different view if an ancestor had instead deserted or had shell shock and been summarily shot, it's impossible to say for sure but I think I would have taken the same line.

Well Cameron was busy rewriting the history of the Tory Party's relations with South Africa the other day, so I would have thought this was just the sort of touchy-feely issue he'd be jumping into feet first.

One of my family was hanged drawn and quartered simply for being a Catholic priest. Can I anticipate an official apology plus very substantial compensation?

A pardon is an exceptional act of extrajudicial grace: blanket pardons for a whole set of people cheapen what a pardon is supposed to be. If an INDIVIDUAL deserves a pardon, let them (or their representatives as here) make the case for it on an individual basis.

90 years ago yesterday
Actually it was 91 years ago yesterday - a snipers bullet I gather, even to most ancestors remaining of those killed one way or another in WWI it is now a matter of history - the people on all sides who were leading the armies and taking the decisions that ran the course of the war are all dead now.

Surely anyway what a pardon says is that someone did something wrong but that someone in authority has decided to say that they are forgiven for their wrong, if there was a wrong policy then rather than apologising or issuing a pardon then the government should just say it was wrong as individuals with no need to waste parliamentary time having votes on it.

It is not for us to judge what went on back then. Wrongs undoubtably happened but to judge that all should not have been shot is imposing todays beliefs on our ancestors and I don`t believe you can do that.
If we say that none who were shot were cowards or wrongdoers do we call into question at the same time those who committed acts of bravery because one or two may have been recognised as brave when they were not.
Giving all pardons is in my opinion a step too far.

Alas pardons do not bring dead people back, and has has been said by others, a pardon is a foregiveness given to a person for their wrong doing. As I understand it, many of these men didn't do anything wrong, either because they just didn't and the charges laid against them were ficticious or they didn't know they had done wrong because of their mental state.

I really question whether there should be any vote or any further parliamentary time given to this matter in relation to the WW1 executions. If the Secretary of State wishes to issue a blanket pardon, for what it is worth, then so be it. It should be a one off and issued on the understanding that it does not set a precedence.

PS the first "has" should be "as"

Would be handy for people like me if there was an editing facility after posting. ;)

At a time when our troops are heavily engaged in two hostile theatres and the commanding officer has finally admitted what has been suspected by many in Afghanistan that we are short of troops we get our utterly ludicrous defence secretary making this an issue whilst his subordinate resigns over a leadership problem. I despair of the MOD.What have our armed services ever done to deserve these clowns?
I hope the Conservative party shows its contempt by completely ignoring this debate and that not one Conservative turns up if it is debated in Parliament. Fox should spend his time berating Defence ministers for the incompetent way they have launched the operation in Afghanistan rather than on spurious gestures to long dead soldiers.

Firstly, I don't see why it needs a Commons vote. A blanket pardon in this manner is degrading, it makes it a political issue when it shouldn't be. The Secretary of State should consider each individual case and grant pardons individually, with dignity and honour.

A great many people suffering shell shock were shot. We don't need to debate the rights and wrongs because it was wrong - shooting people with mental problems is always wrong. We now know things about shell shock that they did not know then. In short, new evidence has come to light which proves wrongful conviction. Therefore, it would only be decent to issue pardons as is customary and historically normal for those wrongly convicted but later found innocent.

Pardons are different from the frankly odd historical apologies like the potato famine or Empire since it involves judicial convictions proved wrong by evidence that is now known, but wasn't then. It is not apologising for a particular law or act, it is apologising for an error in the trial.

If a person was imprisonned for bank theft for ten years, then CCTV footage came to light proving him being innocent, he would get a pardon. This is no different. The other historical apologies are different - in this bank theft analogy they would be apologising for arresting bank robbers.

Pardons; apologise for wrongful conviction
Historical Apologies; apologise for the law or act

Tories should vote for the pardons. But lets pardon the WW1 Germans too. What did they get shot for?

The only DECENT thing to do is to vote for the pardon of these executed soldiers.

In WWI unfortunately shell shock and other psychological effects of warfare were not undertood. And these innocent men, who were suffering in many cases from some form of post-traumatic stress syndrome, were executed.

>>I hope the Conservative party shows its contempt by completely ignoring this debate and that not one Conservative turns up if it is debated in Parliament<<

Oh dear! Someone's touchy-feely mask is slipping.

Tory Party = Nasty Party

Pip! Pip!

Oh dear Jack, what a hard-nosed rightwing attitude! Shouldn't you go and join UKIP or the BNP with attitudes like these?!

This one should be an easy win for a compassionate Conservative with a sense of justice.
I do believe that a general pardon is probably the least worst outcome to an episode which shows the Government of this country and the British military establishment in a very poor light. A pardon is not a case of judging the First World War by the standards of our day. Many many Great War courts martial were grossly deficient even by the standards of the judicial system of that era. There were far too many instances of young ill-educated shellshocked soldiers facing capital charges with no legal representation at all. The military judiciary were often in essence prosecutors as well. Yes, there were no doubt guilty men but the authorities have done themselves no favours by throwing a classic Whitehall secrecy blanket around the whole episode making it much harder to sift the individual cases, many of which were grotesque miscarriages of justice. I also don't buy the discipline argument. Remember that the Australians fought very bravely with no death penalty for battlefield offences and the German Army, which fought superbly, executed only 48 men in the entire war and then mainly for mutiny and murder, not desertion and cowardice. The French executed far more men for desertion than we did (mainly in 1914-5) yet their army came close to complete collapse in 1917!!

Having said all that, I agree entirely with Malcolm's first paragraph.

The last Conservative Government used the Parliament Act to enact the War Crimes Bill and bring to justice those guilty of war crimes who had not yet been punished. It is only equitable in my opinion to also support legislation to pardon those who were wrongfully punished, otherwise we are open to charges of inconsistency and double standards.

Well, I am an Australian and none of ours were shot for desertion or cowardice there at that time. But get real you guys, why should anyone fight today for what was obviously your governments and militaries wrong doing. You dont know what is right or what is wrong back then. You do know men suffer in war and break down. So grow up and give all the families of executed deserters and cowards a break and pardon their relatives. Let the burdon of proof today lie with the military and not the people who dont know. Examples were the english way and not always right. That is why Australia did not let you punish its men. It knew you wanted scapegoats for everything. Look at breaker Morant In the boar war. Executed to keep lord Kitcheners war crimes silent.
Give them a pardon now.

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