« Twenty-five ways to restore public trust in politics | Main | Cameron gets tough with Islamic extremists, apologists for terror and the idea of 'state multiculturalism' »


We treat our ex servicemen appallingly, especially those in the TA who are increasingly used for front line service.

An couple of ideas from the US;

Servicemen automatically get a grant to study a degree after a certain time in service

EX Servicemen are automatically placed at the front of the queue for civil service jobs

We would benefit from a more motivated and professional civil service as well as rewarding the servicemen for their service.

Where does this "Military Covenant" thing come from? Whilst I applaud the sentiment, I'd never actually heard the term used until about 6 months ago.

An excellent initiative.

The party needs to be very careful that it doesn`t start sounding like the political wing of the arm forces.
We need to talk about a covenant between government and the people that will give people decent health care, safer streets and better education, not sound like we want to spend yet more money on fighting wars most people in this country think we shouldn`t be involved in.
Also I am in favour of treating servicemen well but lets not forget the many other public servants like nurses who are also treated badly and are forced to work long hours or take second jobs to make a living!

That we treat our servicemen badly is self evident but sadly that has been the case for a very long time. I've recently finished reading a book about the Charge of the Light Brigade.Sadly a number of survivors later died in extreme poverty.
Of course I welcome David Cameron's words,Liam Fox made many similar points at the conference in Blackpool and I think aConservative government will turn these aspirations into reality.
But the covenant should not only exist between the government and the services it should exist between the people and the services.
That means nobody should object when wounded servicemen are taken from the bottom of the queue for treatment and placed at the top, when people are proud to see off duty soldiers in uniform rather than pouring scorn on them and our troops should always ALWAYS be given the right equipment to do the job they've been given.

Jack Stone - I'm honestly speechless.

A covenant is a solemn pact between two parties.

What do we demand of our armed services in exchange for what we offer? It looks to me like we're only talking about one half of the covenant here.

More spin and political double talk.''Any

changes must come from within the existing

defence budget''.So even less to be spent on

equipment.It sounds exactly like Gordon



That they are prepared to pay the ultimate sacrifice in the service of our country.

Is that enough for you?

I applaud vitrually any intiative which supports, funds and boosts our armed forces but I do draw the line at Cameron's remark above:

'But let’s also be honest. The Military Covenant has not just been broken by the Government. It’s been broken by society too – by all of us. How many of us can say that we’ve kept our side of the bargain?'

That is an outrageous, cheap slur - Cameron should be a man and withdraw it.

And where does 'Military Covenant' come from as Richard Weatherill asks.

I hope this review will investigate the way in which the armed forces are funded - who controls the purse strings. Gerneral Sir Mike Jackson made the point clearly that the armed forces do not - the civil service does.

@Steve Green:

No. It's clearly a part of it, but it's ludicrous to suggest that simply because they're prepared to die for the country that we should tolerate any and all things they could and would do without question.

What about: No more forced disappearances, hostage-taking and torture in British custody. No more chiefs of staff cooking up fake evidence for wars with Alistair Campbell. No more mysterious suicides and coverups in British army training camps.

Things like that. A covenant binds both parties, or it is worthless.

Those-who-lead in our culture have spent years trashing shooting sports, portraying anyone interested in firearms as a weirdo and potential psychopath. It's no wonder that the armed forces suffer as a side effect. And let's be honest, the Conservative front bench has done, and continues to do, absolutely nothing about it.

You can't have it both ways, people. Either you have a culture where gun ownership and shooting sports are regarded as acceptable and every honest citizen's right, or you have one where we're all serfs. There is no middle way. And you cannot have a high quality, respected, volunteer army recruited from or supported by serfs.


This covenant is not with the Army, Navy or Air Force. It is with the individual servicemen and women.

"simply because they're prepared to die for the country " - Martin Coxall

-it's not much to ask of them really, is it?

"Where does this "Military Covenant" thing come from? Whilst I applaud the sentiment, I'd never actually heard the term used until about 6 months ago."

Richard, the sentinments of the military covenant dates back a lot further than many might imagine, though considering the military history of our country it should not.
Check out this summary at Wikipedia.
Hope it helps.

Delighted at the steps that David Cameron has taken in recognising the problem by setting up this military covenant commission. But I will wait to see if all the talking will produce the desperately needed improvements to restore the damage done to the covenant in recent years.

Thanks for the link, ChrisD. As you say, the sentiment goes back a very long way, but the Wiki article suggests that the specific term "covenant" to describe this relationship was (as I suspected) a Blairite creation in 2007. It's also interesting that the extended quote at the start of the Wiki entry is written explicity from a Land perspective and almost seems to imply that no similar covenant exists with members of the Royal Navy or the Royal Air Force.

This relationship is perhaps something that has previously been so much part of the fabric of British life that there was no need to designate it with an explicit term. On the other hand, Kipling's Tommy Atkins might suggest that an ambivalent stance towards members of the armed forces is nothing new in this country!

I've been waiting for Cameron to launch something along the lines of this with baited breath.

Personally speaking, this announcement pushes all right buttons.

Our armed forces are treated appallingly by a government that doesn't understand them, and quite simply never will.

You see, the shadow cabinet to read Conservative Home -http://conservativehome.blogs.com/platform/2007/12/neil-wilson-hon.html#more

I've just visited the web site, where the first promise arising out of the 'Covenant' is described thus:

"They [the Armed Forces] will receive the best training and the best equipment that money can buy and enough of it."

However, the last of the Terms of Reference for the Commission (on its Home Page) is that:

"4. Any recommendations made by the Commission must be paid for within existing and planned defence budgets."

Am I alone in wondering whether this might prove a difficult circle to square? Will the Commission have the authority to recommend which military commitments the UK should reduce (or withdraw from) if these twin aims are to be met?


If you go back to the link and scroll down to the bottom you will find three references. Click on the first.

I totally agree with your sentiments.



Thanks Steve. The reference appears to be an extract from ADP5, originating in the year 2000. It would be interesting to know whether the RN and/or the RAF have any similar reference to the "Military Covenant" in their doctrinal publications (or indeed whether any Joint publication makes reference to it).

BTW, I entirely agree with your earlier comment about the covenant being with individual servicemen/women.

Ok, I'm beginning to lose patience with this.
Are we Conservatives no longer a tax cutting, smaller government party. This week we have promised billions more on defence, prison places, nhs, bobbies on the beat. At the same time we are cutting inheritance tax/stamp duty.
When money is tight (i.e massive public borrowing/possible recession) are we really ready to splash out billions of public money as if it's was going out of fashion!!
The policy is simple.. cut billions off the nhs (too many beaurocrats). No need for more prison places (we gaol more than anyone else in Europe - tag them all!) Remove the immigrants/stop all welfare payments to them (they will soon leave), no need for extra polic then!!
Introduce a flat tax... reduce the top rate to 20p. cut corporation tax.
Simple really...stop trying to be wishy washy liberals and be Conservative!

I completely agree with many of the above comments which is why I posted a petition on the Downing Street website. It calls on the Government to make the Military Covenant law and ensure a minimum level of spending on our Armed Forces.

To view the petition please follow the link below...



I thought I hadn't heard the expression Military Covenant before Blair.

On checking, it has existed in written form and probably in spoken form only since 2000 - and then only for the army.

Frederick Forsyth on David Cameron

From http://timesonline.typepad.com/politics/2008/03/david-camerons.html

May 2005: At the moment we are all being told, right across the spectrum, that Tory leadership hopeful David Cameron is "impressive". As a harmless seeker after enlightenment, could someone help me here? Apart from going to Eton (money) and Oxford (privilege) and being allocated a rocksolid constituency (patronage) without the chore of actually having to fight a hard one; and apart from writing speeches for four consecutive losers; what has Master Cameron actually done?

March 2006: I am coming to the view young David Cameron is after all not as bright as the media sycophants have been telling us.

April 2006: The killer instinct is not missing in all the Tories, just the public school chickadees of the Notting Hill set and, it would appear, the veggie-gardening leader.

August 2006: I know Master Dave has a degree in PPE, but could someone give him an arithmetic primer, a pad and a stub of pencil?

August 2006: I see the sensitive little Pollyannas at Tory Headshed have been berating Norman Tebbit. The old Chingford Strangler simply wrote an article to point out that if Call-Me-Dave went on treating the party voting bedrock with thinly-veiled disdain, they might decide to walk away at the next election. This is about as controversial as saying the sun has a tendency to rise in the east.

March 2007: Woollycardigan Dave proposes measures to cripple our airlines and flay alive harmless folk who like to fly abroad to the sun for their family hols. Even as he spoke, reports were coming in of efforts to deprive of their jobs anyone who attempted to query the new religion of "save the planet through self-crucifixion.

May 2007: I'm afraid that I blame Eton. Now, it is a brilliant place if you want to be an overeducated twit (Oliver Letwin and Boris Johnson, attenSHUN). But do they teach maths? I ask because young David seems to have a pretty sketchy grasp of basic arithmetic.

June 2007: Cameron is not in power and may never be if he cannot get a grip on what the people of this country actually want rather than what the Notting Hill set around him advise."

TFA Tory
Let's hope Freddie talks more sense on this.

No idea what the point of your post is TFA Tory.Perhaps as Forsyth has not posted any derogatory cmments in the last 9 months he's realised how wrong he was. His comments seem lightweight and rather stupid.We all make mistakes I suppose.

"Any recommendations the Commission makes "must be paid for within existing and planned defence budgets", however"

This is the killer line that shows that this commission is nothing to do with the covenant and actually about how the Tory Party won't actually increase spending to the level required.

"Any recommendations the Commission makes "must be paid for within existing and planned defence budgets", however"

This is the killer line that shows that this commission is nothing to do with the covenant and actually about how the Tory Party won't actually increase spending to the level required.

Defence expenditure has increased well above the rate of inflation under this government.

By 2010/11 the Budget will be some 11% higher in real terms than in 1997, and represents the longest period of sustained growth since the 1980s. We've been digging into the contigency reserve, too, to cover costs of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

We spend a disproproportionate amount of money on defence. It's funny how you want to cut the NHS and spend more money on killing people and locking them up.


Our marines should be more like American ones.

Well done passing leftie, do you work for Des Browne or Gordon Brown?

Actually in real terms, the amount of spendig as a % of DEFENCE inflation hasn't kept up at all.

What is defence inflation? This is the cost of raw materials required for the product of ships, tanks, aircraft and munitions. This has been running at about 7-8% for the last ten years.

Also, you have to take into account that defence is a constantly changing industry which equipment procurement has to keep pace with. In short buying a class of equipment and then not updating it essentially renders it obsolete in a very short space of time.

Medical Tourism - Best value Immediate Private Surgery at
World class USA accredited Indian hospital.
Ask for a free no obligation second opinion from our top doctors
visit http://www.wockhardthospitals.net

Joint Replacement Surgery Hip, Knee, Shoulder,
at top Us Accredited Indian Hospital. World class service and
at one tenth the cost of USA Private hospitals
Ask for a free second opinion
visit http://www.wockhardthospitals.net/general/joints_replace.asp

Low Cost Hip Replacement, Birmingham Hip Resurfacing at top USA Accredited Indian Hospital by world's leading resurfacing surgeon Ask for a free second opinion
visit http://www.wockhardthospitals.net/hip-resurfacing.asp

Minimal Invasive Spine surgery, Disk Replacement at
top USA Accredited Indian Hospital. World class service and
at one tenth the cost of US Private hospitals
Ask for a free second opinion
visit http://www.wockhardthospitals.net/general/minimal_jumppg.asp

The comments to this entry are closed.



ConHome on Twitter

    follow me on Twitter

    Conservative blogs

    Today's public spending saving

    New on other blogs

    • Receive our daily email
      Enter your details below:

    • Tracker 2
    • Extreme Tracker