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I cannot tell whether you mean Thatcherite in a good way or bad way. Surely it can only be good?

I have to say, it's a very effective message, and a worthy one too. Credit to CWF for making this an issue.

Defence spending as a proportion of GDP has fallen from 5.4% in 1984 to 2.4% today.

I hope this will be raised at conference. It is something which Brown deserves to be attacked hard on, and of which any Prime Minister with a conscience should be deeply ashamed.

On a day when I read that the government plans to reduce the navy fleet to a token force which will not even have enough patrol boats to protect our own coast line, it is clear that our soldiers, sailors and airmen are being treated with a contempt which is simply staggering by a Labour Government which has overcommitted and underfunded them to an obscene degree.

The following from today's Times is about a charity which is trying to provide injured servicemen with desperately needed help, which is not being provided by this Labour Government (particularly now that almost all of our military hospitals have been closed to save money):

“I have heard cases of ex-servicemen who have been put in NHS group therapy sessions,” said Busuttil. “When they have tried to talk about their experiences in Afghanistan or Iraq, they have been told, ‘You can’t talk about those things. You’ll traumatise the other patients’.”

Cash raised by Help for Heroes may well be directed to PTSD-related causes in future.

Money, though, will not cure everything. A frequent complaint against the services is that they are capable of gross insensitivity. Lianne Seymour - whose husband Ian, an operator mechanic with 3 Commando brigade, was killed in a helicopter crash on the first day of the Iraq war - knows this better than most.

Lianne, an accountant, was 27 when she became a widow with a three-year-old child. Her first experiences with the MoD after her husband’s crash would set a pattern that has continued to this day. “I received a letter from the army which said that because my husband had died 10 days before pay day, he had been overpaid in error for 10 days’ work,” she said.

“They said I would have to repay that money. I was shocked but I didn’t initially do anything about it. But I told a friend who got in touch with her MP - the matter was raised in parliament and the demand was very quickly retracted.”

Since then, Lianne’s clashes with the authorities have continued. She was told to leave her accommodation within six months; she discovered after her husband’s funeral that part of his remains had been retained by the MoD; inquiries by the American and British authorities into the crash have taken four years and until they are finished no inquest can begin.

“I’ve seen three secretaries of state for defence now,” she said. “They have all told me to write a letter to someone else.

“I will always remember when Ian passed out from his training. A senior officer gave this fine speech about how we were all in this big family and how everyone is brothers in arms. And I think we all believed it . . . But that’s just not the case. So many people are abandoned.”

The first move to make in dealing with the 'overstretched military' problem is to recall our troops from Iraq and Afganistan.

Thy're not wanted there and they should never have been there in the first place.

The more groups we have campaigning for the armed forces the better! I am completly disappointed by Labour re the military, from canceling events to not being able to order equipment. Their mistakes have cost lives, its one of the few fields where lives are taken through ministers ineptitude. I hope Liam sees this and supports the initiative.

I realised shortly after reading this that the elephant in the room, the subject nobody talks about any more, is still the invasion of Iraq.

On the eve of the last election there was a televised Q&A where Howard and Blair took questions from a studio audience. I remember being shocked and stunned when, in answer to the question, "knowing all that you know now, would you still invade Iraq?", Michael Howard replied yes. I almost didn't vote the following day - I am sure many other Conservaative voters didn't.

I was similarly saddened just a few weeks ago when I heard Hague and Cameron, on seperate occasions, answer the same question the same way.

Like it or not, and although it seems convenient to pretend it didn't happen, the invasion of Iraq on the grounds that they had WMD which could be deployed in 45 minutes was wrong. We know now that there were, in fact, no WMD, and therefore we should also know that the invasion was without justification. The correct answer to the question, "Would we still support the invasion of Iraq knowing all that we now know" must be a resounding NO.

To say otherwise sends a message about the party's sense of morality and integrity which is unacceptable and unsustainable.

Many people in this country remain deeply shocked at the Iraq invasion, but have no mainstream party to vote for to show their disgust as long as we continue to display this peculiar reluctance to hold our heads high, stand up straight and say that we realise we were misled, and had we been told the real truth about the intelligence, we would never have supported the war.

It is, in my view, still not too late to fully appreciate the horror of what we did in 2003, and show that we understand, because of the truth which has now come to light, that it was wrong.

The only conclusion I can draw about the reluctance to do this is that we are terrified that Labour will call us "opportunist". We should not let a fear of name calling prevent us from doing what is morally right.

Any other reasons we may have for continuing to say that we would have supported the declaration of war on Iraq knowing that they had no WMD and did not threaten our country, are too dark and unacceptable to contemplate given that we have reduced that country from order and relative peace to a horrific state of lawlessness, terror and chaos, with millions of refugees and over a million dead.

Be brave. Tell conference that we were misled. Tell the country that we know now that the attack on Iraq was morally wrong.

Have the courage to give the electorate a mainstream party to vote for which shares their disgust with the invasion of Iraq.

This the right line of attack against the government.

They decided to take on international terrorism, which I agree with. But they tried to do it on a shoestring and have abused their relationship with the armed forces.

Blair and Brown have been culpable in the loss of a hundreds of service personnel and the injuries of thousands.

Soldiers are killed and injured in wars, they are all well aware of that. But to be put into conflicts of this nature without the full support of your government is completely unacceptable.

Great posts from patriot! Neo-conservatism is neither new nor conservative. It is imperialistic Liberalism dominated by ex-Trotskyites and former Democrats.

The IEA has published a damning critique of the Republicans' big government policies. Pat Buchanan's criticism of Bush's open border immigration policy, a key neo-conservative initiative, has been proved right.

The problem is that most of the Republican Presidential candidates offer more of the same, especially Guiliani, Romney, Thompson and McCain. Only Ron Paul offers a return to free markets, low taxes and non-imperialist foreign policy. This site's Editor continues to ignore his candidacy. Why?

And again - from today's Guardian - the tip of the iceberg...

""The government is facing fresh claims that it is not looking after horrifically injured troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, after the wife of an injured soldier told The Observer that she had been 'insulted' by an offer of compensation.
Sarah Edwards, married to 25-year-old Lance Corporal Martin Edwards, who suffered brain damage from a roadside bomb in Iraq last year, said she had decided to speak out because the offer of £114,000 was unfair. The sum is less than a quarter of the maximum £500,000 payable under the scheme for civilians injured in crimes or accidents.

With her husband likely to need full-time medical care, she said she feared being unable to provide for him and their infant son. 'Martin and others are ready to sacrifice everything out there, but are forgotten when something terrible like this happens. We feel we are being brushed under the carpet,' she said.""

The Daily Mail recently showed a super-armoured speed camera. One of its readers regretted that the same money wasn't being spent on protecting our troops.

Presumably as they don't bring in tax revenue.

This might go down well with The Paper That Supports Our Boys?

New Labour wallowed in all the goo about human rights and corporate manslaughter and it is time to hold Gordon to account.

As a serving member of the forces i am quite heartened by the support on this site. However, both LF and DC have failed to drive home this line of attack consistently.

It is question of what the government wish us to achieve. The world policemen aren't the US as they would have us believe, it is Britain and the British Armed forces. After all who is actually achieving success in Iraq and Afghanistan?

The armed forces are an instrument of British Foreign Policy, but we are also an easy target when there is a public sector deficit to plug.

A clear statement needs to be made by the tories as to how they will improve the situation. At the moment LF appears only to he highlighting certain shortcomings.

The tories have an opportunity to capitalise here, but look like they are going to miss the opportunity.

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