UK National Defence Medal
Towards the end of April, Nick Griffin, MEP received an interesting letter regarding the UK National Defence Medal (NDM), a medal that could be made available to all ranks of the British Armed Forces.
I am writing to you, regarding the contentious subject of a National Defence Medal (NDM) that would be made available, retrospectively, to all ranks of the British Armed Forces.
I am sure that you know of the NDM campaign that has been running for some time and that you are also likely aware, that several veteran organizations and many thousands of individuals are currently seeking a medal in recognition of particular periods of military service, all are throwing their wholehearted support behind the NDM concept.
Please forgive me for stating the obvious, but MoD, HD Committee and the current Government, now have an ideal opportunity to seize the initiative and settle a number of medal issues in one fell swoop. Quite simply, the issuance of a NDM would be a golden opportunity to sweep the board clean with one medal that would cover all claims since 1945.
Any 'feet draggers' could be covered by the authorization of 'clasps' pertinent to the NDM. Quite simply, the NDM is one for all!
I have studied ad nauseam the claims made about protocols that supposedly make the granting of such a medal 'impossible' and have seen for myself just how many times the 'impossible' has been achieved when it suited the purposes of the powers that be. I won't go into the details in this letter, but I can assure you that there are enough examples and precedents to make an absolute nonsense of any claims made that 'This is simply not done', because it actually has been done and quite often too! To be frank, the claims made about no precedents and so forth are arrant and palpable rubbish that do not stand up to close scrutiny.
I fully understand the constraints that 'costing' impose upon those poor souls who have to try and make sense of budgetary constraints passed down to them by those who have little or no conception of 'doing without' themselves when it is something they desire. However there are models that could deliver the medal at zero cost to the taxpayer.
You must also be aware that the British panoply of medals is rapidly becoming the only collection left amongst Commonwealth and NATO nations that does not include some form of Defence Medal that is broadly available to all ranks and all branches of their Armed Forces. As far as we are concerned, this is an unacceptable anomaly and it is simply not tolerable that a similar form of appreciation is unavailable to British Forces personnel and veterans.
The token 'Veterans Badge' is a convenient idea borrowed from the Canadians which is quite acceptable as a symbol that can be worn with any civilian attire at any time so that veterans are recognisable in their daily routines. It is manifestly NOT adequate for parades and many veterans refuse to wear it on such occasions. As you know, the wearing of a properly constituted medal is an emotional issue for many service people and their dependants because it is by far the best means of honouring those still alive, or those who have passed on that have also served. In addition, a NDM which could be worn with pride at memorial services and parades, would act as a unifying and readily visible symbol that would identify and differentiate to the wider public ALL those that 'stood to' for Queen and Country, and be a significant and symbolic step to fixing the broken military covenant.
The NDM, if instituted, would truly constitute a proper and fitting reward for unwavering and loyal service to the Crown. A medal as a reward for selfless service that often involves the uprooting of family and home, as and when required, seems so little to ask for really. So it begs the question of why the opposition to the idea is so deep rooted amongst those whom we are beginning to see as the faceless and abominable 'NO' men of the HD Committee and certain individuals at the MoD whose raison d'être seems to be to reply to letters concerning medal issues addressed to Ministers and senior officers in a constantly negative fashion?
One only has to look at the thousands of veterans now defiantly attending memorial services and parades wearing 'Bling' medals to see how widespread the demand for true recognition really is amongst former service men and women. It is an utter disgrace that the need for medal recognition has to be catered to in this fashion. It only enriches those that peddle 'Bling' and in some cases, the organisations that benefit from a percentage of the sale proceeds allocated to them, without really satisfying the legitimate aspirations of those wearing the stuff.
You must be aware of how truly worthy veterans, as well as the men and women currently serving, really are to be honoured by a NDM. You should be able to understand the emotive need for a medal that promotes unity and appreciation amongst all ranks and all branches of the services.
There is sense and emotion acting as a driving force behind so many of us petitioning yourself and others to take up the gauntlet and see that the concept of the NDM is given a proper hearing, with representation from involved groups, so that a workable solution can be found that will enhance the as yet undimmed pride of veterans, reward those still serving and allow ALL who have served and are serving, to show a tangible sign that they 'stood up to be counted' when the needs arose.
We need leadership from our leaders in this struggle to get that which should already be ours, as has already been quietly accomplished by so many of our Commonwealth and NATO allies. None of us recall any quibbling or denial by the various Governments concerned when their versions of the NDM were mooted, save only that the Commonwealth countries had to opt out of the Imperial awards system because of the remorseless intransigence of the HD Committee. In a sense, those individuals that go for 'Bling' are doing the self same thing, in ignoring what they see as patent and patronising nonsense.
Good people and true have been left out in the cold for far too long, and it is not mine and others intention to leave them there. I am confident that you also empathise with the justice of what the NDM campaign is endeavouring to achieve and will therefore join with us and use such influence as you doubtless have, in order to encourage a less 'hostile' attitude to the idea of a NDM from those to whom you report, as well as others in parliament.
May I, on behalf of the many thousands who now back the campaign for an NDM, suggest that you take the time to look at the website set up to fight for NDM justice. You may then digest the emotion and rationale of Cyprus Veterans, Cold War Veterans, National Service Veterans, General Service Veterans, Post-Armistice Korea Veterans and many others for which an NDM (one medal for all) would resolve so many issues?
Thank you for the time and trouble you have taken to read this letter.
This is from a gentleman, who is Ex 5th Airborne Bgd.
Nick’s Outreach Officer responded on Nick’s behalf with the following letter:
Thank you for your email regarding the campaign for a National Defence Medal. Nick agrees that the brave men and women of our armed forces should be given public recognition for the service they have given their country. As the many veterans who support the National Defence Medal campaign point out, in a time when respect for our nation is diminishing, those who have taken pride in serving it should be given the opportunity to display that commitment.
As a British National Party MEP, Nick Griffin appreciates the importance of symbolism for recognition and remembrance. That is why, for example, he led a non-party political 'Protect the Poppy' demonstration outside the Royal Albert Hall last Remembrance Day. The demonstration served to ensure there was no repeat of the disgraceful poppy-burning incident that had insulted the memory of our fallen the previous year.
It is the moral responsibility of the British Government to ensure that our servicemen are cared for during and after their military service. Unfortunately, while the Coalition Government is willing to commit our troops to wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that are not our concern, it shows far less enthusiasm for recognising military endeavour and ensuring that the forces have all the materials required to enable them to fight effectively.
Please be assured that Mr Griffin will continue to pressure the Government to fulfil its duty to veteran and serving members of the armed forces.