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Ben Parkinson, his parents and the minister

Eddie Mair | 17:21 UK time, Tuesday, 28 August 2007

What do YOU think?


  1. At 05:27 PM on 28 Aug 2007, Jon Schurmann wrote:

    Maybe if the Government supported the armed forces by giving them the right supplies and infrastructure in the beginning they would not have to pay out compensation claims in the first place.
    Jon Schurmann.

  2. At 05:33 PM on 28 Aug 2007, kevin Mcnerney wrote:

    Was I one of the thousands screaming at the radio " ask the minister why a scheme might not be retrpspective? The answer would have illuminated the whole issue. Yes can't pre judge the outcome of a review but what would or would not make the new scheme retrospective is impotratnt. I guess the answer is cost,

  3. At 05:34 PM on 28 Aug 2007, mike stephens wrote:

    Having just listened to the piece on Ben and the attitude of our Ministry of Defence and the featured Ministers over compensating this unfortunate young man I am moved for the first time ever to join a blog. This situation is unacceptable. Ben deserves full compensation equivalent to what would have been awarded to a "civilian" who suffered similar injuries. My disgust is only increased by the weasel words "review" and the platitudes offered by our so called leaders. The first politician to say this is unacceptable and will be altered and now - regardless of the costs/implications will do something to regain my respect of the breed.

  4. At 05:37 PM on 28 Aug 2007, jonnie wrote:

    I caught the tale end - Eddie asking if the Mother was happy that he had decided to be a soldier!

    I may ave caught the wrong end of the stick though.

  5. At 05:37 PM on 28 Aug 2007, Jane Thomas wrote:

    What a load of rubbish the minister said. Why can't they/he give a straight reply to a straight question. Of course Ben Parkinson should be properly looked after; his pension from the army is not going to be enough to provide him with the care he needs for the rest of his life. As a member of HM forces, he has done his bit. Now it is time for the Government to reciprocate, after all it's our money in the coffers!!

  6. At 05:39 PM on 28 Aug 2007, David Webb wrote:

    It is disgraceful that Mr Ainsworth and his Secretary of State Brown compensate their civil servants better than their soldiers and that he was allowed to come out with so much evasive nonsense.

    Eddie Mair should have demanded their resignations. We all should.

    best regards - David Webb

  7. At 05:44 PM on 28 Aug 2007, Keith Oliver wrote:

    Am I mistaken in thinking that recently a service woman received a substantially greater sum of compensation from the MOD for a repetitive strain injury from an administrative job?

    There should be no requirement for the family to find money for a court case, natural justice demands that this matter be addressed by the MOD, and dealt with so as to be retrospective.

    Mr Ainsworth may be right in fact, but he represents a position that is indefensible.

  8. At 05:44 PM on 28 Aug 2007, David Trent wrote:

    Re. Ben Parkinson

    What is the point of interviewing politicians night after night when they blatantly refuse to answer the questions put to them (usually repeatedly) ?
    If they accept an invitation to be interviewed on "PM" politicians come to the studio already armed with the statements they wish to make regardless of the questions put to them.
    It is intensely annoying for the listener and must be infuriating for the interviewer - all in all, a pointless excercise.

  9. At 05:45 PM on 28 Aug 2007, Sharon McEachen wrote:

    I have read about this case recently and having just listened to Ben's parents I despair over this government. I actively campaigned for New Labour in 1997 but am absolutely ashamed of this government's actions. This soldier and all those injured deserve the best treatment, medical and financial that is available. It is appalling that Ben Parkinson's parents have to go to the High Court to get the support he needs. This government can move quickly when it suits, hiding behind reviews and consultations is cowardly. Give this boy the financial support he deserves now.

  10. At 05:50 PM on 28 Aug 2007, Jane Byers wrote:

    Oh, how true the vast sums spent to expedite this war, and so very little available for those left with lifelong injuries as a result. So true, also, that Government ministers cannot give a straight answer to a straight question. Please read out the details for Ben Parkinson's fighting fund: Cheques payable to 'Protect our Protectors Fighting Fund', send to PPFF, PO Box 95, Aldershot, Hampshire GU11 9GL. More details on The Daily Mail website.

  11. At 05:54 PM on 28 Aug 2007, Jim Forbes wrote:

    What else do you expect from an administration which sends our soldiers to war inadquately equipped, not enough ammunition, families posting out boots to there husbands, not enough flak jackets, new laser weapons issued without training and resulting in the death of a tank commander.
    I am ashamed of my country and of the members of parliament which expect others to fight their wars for them and in return do not give the respect and consideration for those injured in duty.
    There is no price high enough

  12. At 05:56 PM on 28 Aug 2007, J Hind wrote:

    I have just " cooled slightly down" after listening to the `so called Armed Forces` minister. As a trade unionist of long standing would he accept the treatment of Ben from an employer ?

    Interesting that Twigg - his colleague- was outside of politics a long term civil servant before entering parliament

    What an absolute disgrace from a government who have aquandered so much tax payers moneys on themselves and who are directly responsible for the casualties both in Afghanistan and Iraq

  13. At 05:57 PM on 28 Aug 2007, Angela wrote:

    I have patients who have been awarded much more than this paltry sum for single injuries recieved in road traffic accidents, and they are able to walk around, look after themselves and go back to work or university!! So what if he will get his pension for life - that will not provide for the housing, care and mobility aids that he will require for the next 40 years or more. Who will look after him when his parents are no longer able to do so?

  14. At 06:01 PM on 28 Aug 2007, Mike Hutchinson wrote:

    I was very depressed listening to the hapless Armed Forces minister trying to explain away government policy regarding compensation for our injured forces. It just seemed to encapsulate how useless and evasive our political masters are. Surely the injuries Ben received doing his duty on the behest of Tony Bliar should receive a compasionate approach.

  15. At 06:08 PM on 28 Aug 2007, Peter Davis wrote:

    Mr. Bown did not seem to have much difficulty with retrospection when it came to taxes so I see no reason why his underlings should have a problem with retrospection in the case of severely injured Service
    men and women; always assuming that an improvement to the current scheme is not sat on by the Treasury. The general treatment of Service personnel in this country is a disgrace and, unfortunately, always has been . Kipling had it right. It is time the country as a whole acted towards the Services in the American fashion - where they are appreciated. I was in the Navy
    for many years, mainly flying. I got away with it but I always had the worry that if something unfortunate happened it would be goodbye-you are on your own now.

  16. At 06:09 PM on 28 Aug 2007, Fearless Fred wrote:

    I have to add my agreement with the previous comments people have made here regarding minisers and their responses (or lack thereof) to basic, simple questions.I used to laugh at Yes Minister and Yes Prime Minister, but now I see it was just a training video for future generations of politicians. I do think this is one time that Eddie should've done a "summary" question to the minister along the lines of "So you are refusing to say that the amount of the award to Ben Parkinson was sufficient or not. Is that correct?" Sometimes we need to ask our politicians to give us answers to the questions we have asked, not the questions they think that we should be asking. This is one time where the Paxman vs Howard attitude seems to be more appropriate...

  17. At 06:10 PM on 28 Aug 2007, William Forbes wrote:

    Surely, there is a story here for an intelligent journalist?

    How many times did the Minister make the point, or try to make the point, that more soldiers now survive severe injury than used to survive? Four times? And this is important, he was implying, because it means that with more injured soldiers surviving, the Government will have to spend much more money (on top of the hundreds of thousands given to civil service typists who hurt their wrists).

    Now think about it. Soldiers have been complaining that the resources needed to get the wounded back to the field hospitals inside the target time of one hour are not there. The Government won't buy them. The average time is now 2 hours and 40 minutes, which means that wounded soldiers are dying who, if they lived, would cost the Government a lot of money. When they die because they don't get to the field hospital in time, the Government saves money. Dead men don't cost so much.

    Think about it.

    Any intelligent journalists out there?

  18. At 06:16 PM on 28 Aug 2007, William Forbes wrote:


    Surely, there is a story here for an intelligent journalist?

    How many times did the Minister make the point, or try to make the point, that more soldiers now survive severe injury than used to survive? Four times? And this is important, he was implying, because it means that with more injured soldiers surviving, the Government will have to spend much more money (on top of the hundreds of thousands given to civil service typists who hurt their wrists).

    Now think about it. Soldiers have been complaining that the resources needed to get the wounded back to the field hospitals inside the target time of one hour are not there. The Government won't buy them. The average time is now 2 hours and 40 minutes, which means that wounded soldiers are dying who, if they lived, would cost the Government a lot of money. When they die because they don't get to the field hospital in time, the Government saves money. Dead soldiers don't cost so much.

    Think about it.

    Any intelligent journalists out there?

  19. At 06:17 PM on 28 Aug 2007, Janey Schmitt wrote:

    How much personal accident insurance had Ben Parkison taken out, that would have been paid if he had suffered those injuries in an accident? Of course it wouldn't cover war injuries, which is why he should receive compensation instead. But it would indicate how much he himself would have arranged to receive if he had had the opportunity, and therefore how much the injuries are really worth to him - the only person who is truly in a position to judge. There is no justification for anyone else putting a lower value (or indeed a higher value) on them.

  20. At 06:22 PM on 28 Aug 2007, Ted Nevill wrote:

    It helps if the BBC & PM accurately report what is going on and not distort debate by selective reporting. If I understand it it correctly the headlined figure of £152,000 is an initial payment (did I hear the minister say to help set up his home?) and not total compensation. He will receive a pension for the rest of his life which according to the MOD per the BBC's own web site will exceed £1,000,000 tax free. This roughly equates to £20,000 a year - enough? Possibly not. Any medical support he requires will be free through the NHS and maybe other support will be available. He did volunteer, he survived while many have not, and he is being better treated than veterans of previous wars. The MOD have a responsibility to balance the interests of both the taxpayer and the injured serviceman and it is too easy to say they should pay out more. Is any payment 'fair' compensation for the horrific injuries that Ben Parkinson has received?

  21. At 06:26 PM on 28 Aug 2007, Markham wrote:

    What sort of response did you expect Mr Ainsworth to give? He's a middle ranking Minister who will have little real say in the outcome. That will be decided by the Treasury and the PM and probably endorsed at Cabinet level. All he could do was give a "holding" answer by explaining what the current position is and what was being done to review the situation. Both of which he did effectively.

    We may not have liked his answer but at least he was prepared to come on the PM programme and attempt to put forward the government case. How often did we complain in the Blair years when Mair and his colleagues intoned "no Minister was available....."? Remember, whatever Ainsworth's personal views he is covered by Cabinet responsibility

  22. At 06:44 PM on 28 Aug 2007, irene edwards wrote:

    The government is a disgrace. It wastes money on all sorts of ridiculous schemes, such as paying young people to stay on at school. I agree with almost all of the comments on this blog. The soldiers should not have been sent to iraq or Afghanistan in the first place. However when they are injured as a result of these wars, the compensation should reflect the severity of the injuries. How does this award compare with those given as a result of the hurt feelings of celebrities? Good luck to Bens parents in their quest for justice for their son

  23. At 06:45 PM on 28 Aug 2007, Ian Baldwin wrote:

    If Mr Ainsworth is an example of the evasive democracy that British Troops are fighting to establish in Iraq it would indicate that nothing has changed since 1914-18 :- Troops are Lions led by Donkeys.

  24. At 06:47 PM on 28 Aug 2007, William Hobbs wrote:

    Ben's situation is very sad, unnecessary and outrageous.

    What I find odd is the fact that it was only a couple of years ago that this country stopped paying our so called War Debts to the Americans, our so called ally, to cover their material support for the first and second world wars.

    Also, the USA decided to bomb the Serbians during the Kosavan war and then presented NATO with a $6 billion plus bill for the cost of their chosen bombing campaign.

    Why is the British taxpayer having to fund again failed ill advised USA expeditions in Afghanistan and Iraq, not only with money but with the blood of our heroic soldiers?

    If we took the same mercenary approach as the USA applied in the 20th century and charged for the full cost of our support for their interventions then there would be sufficient funds to pay for the long term care, short term compensation, improved housing and all other needs of our brave warriors who now seem to have been sidelined for weak political expediency.

    One more point - if the USA was made to pay our costs then this would release billions of pounds of taxpayers money to fund improvements within the UK and allow the British taxpayer to benefit fully from the so called capital investment programmes that this Government is purported to be managing!

  25. At 06:59 PM on 28 Aug 2007, angela KM wrote:

    I have patients who have recieved much greater sums in compensation for single injuries. They have been able to go back to work and university without any extra assistance. this poor lad will require help for the rest of his life - special adaptations to his house, wheelchairs etc. So what if he will get a pension - that wont pay for someone to assist him in whatever he wants to do. Perhaps the government should think about this before they spend billions sending our lads into battle zones that were not our fight to start with.

  26. At 07:20 PM on 28 Aug 2007, Rodney Lambert wrote:

    Why am I not surpised that all the comments so far express varying degrees of disgust for the Armed Forces Minister and nothing but support for Ben and his family. As an ex soldier I am only too familiar with the concept of a tariff for injuries received whilst on duty - which may seem reasonable in principle and would be if it applied to all injuries sustained by all workers (and others) throughout the nation. The problem is that it doesn't. Industrial injuries, criminal injuries and accidental injuries are all treated differently, with compensation for the armed forces firmly at the bottom of the pile. I am only too willing to contribute to the legal fund to challenge this travesty - does anyone have the details? It is time that this government accepted that the "covenent" between country and sevice personnel is a two way street.

  27. At 07:28 PM on 28 Aug 2007, nikki noodle wrote:

    "The severity of Ben's injuries means that we need to be able to move to an adapted house to help him live as normal a life as possible."
    Ben's Mum

    ref BBC news website

    Ben needs as much help as the medical facilities can provide - and at home there may well need to be adaptions, or he may even need to move to another more suitable house.

    But I for one, feel uneasy about demands for the family to move into another house on tax payers money as compensation for injury. There are many victims of road traffic accidents who also require adaptions to houses because of their injuries, not to mention the children born with severe disabilities.

    The MOD is not ideally placed to assess the housing needs of injured war veterans, but there is an entire Social Services department which deals with adapted houses each and every day.

    I think that *that* is where the real story lies.

    Mr Paterson may only get a handout and pension from the MOD; hopefully he will be entitled to an enormous amount of assistance from our social services.

    This is not as 'compensation' but because of 'need'.

  28. At 07:28 PM on 28 Aug 2007, Neil Barker wrote:

    Funny how six million pounds of public money can be found to fund a vacuous, vain, pointless, self-indulgent farewell tour for Tony Blair, but a few hundred thousand cannot be found to properly compensate such a severly injured soldier.

  29. At 07:31 PM on 28 Aug 2007, James wrote:

    An amazingly brave person and parents, who need our financial and political help. i will send a cheque to the fighting fund, and write to my MP (Conservative) and prospective Labour candidate, requesting not only retrospective and higher awards but also reality - we are doing no good in Afghanisatn or Iraq, come out now, let them sort out their differences for themselves.

  30. At 07:33 PM on 28 Aug 2007, Rodney Lambert wrote:

    Further to my earlier post - I now have the address of the fund as posted by another blogger above. I will be sending my donation and urge everyone else who was incenced by this report to do the same.

  31. At 07:45 PM on 28 Aug 2007, Chris Sh wrote:

    Did I really hear the Minister seeming to claim that there was no compensation package prior to 2005? Funny that, I seem to recall that plenty of guys got (miserly) compensation for injuries sustained in Northern Ireland. Must be my hearing, I'm sure a Labour Minister wouldn't spin (lie) about that sort of thing.

    As for the main point - are the levels high enough, they've always been low - twas ever thus. Even if they increased it now, they would wait for the hullaballoo to die down and probably change the regulations to ensure not as must was paid out - it is the way of these politicians.

  32. At 08:05 PM on 28 Aug 2007, A Gregory wrote:

    I have never felt motivated or angry enough to comment so this is a first, but I am so incensed by the Government's attitude about servicemen's compensation for injuries sustained in the field of battle. Please, please Mr Browne (or Mr Twigg or Mr Ainsworth) can you tell me how a typist in the RAF gets nearly £500k for a little pain in the thumb (repetitive strain injury) when Ben Parkinson is awarded just £152k. Everytime I listen to Rt Hon Des Browne being interviewed recently he has started the conversation with extending his sympathies to bereaved service families - quite rightly so, but its about time he showed his commitment to those who are fighting for this country, words are fine but lets see some action. Perhaps Mr Browne might also like to explain why his department have instructed the Armed Forces not to make any public statement without their approval. The Government's and MOD's attitude is an utter disgrace!

  33. At 08:15 PM on 28 Aug 2007, Charlie wrote:

    "Those who don't learn from history are doomed to repeat it" - or something like that.

    As far as I'm aware, no "Western Govts" in "modern times" (or in any other times for that matter) have "adequately" compensated those incapacitated by war injuries or indeed, those bereaved by war.

    Also, as far as I'm aware, the UK legal system does not readily recognise or accept, "retroactive" changes in law.

    So, my guess is this soldier and all others like him so far, are doomed to receive the compensation packages and disability pensions laid down by existing legislation or, receive nothing at all...

    Which is why, in reallity, we experienced Governmental "Stonewalling" this evening.

    Having said that, MAYBE, the European Court of Human Rights will take a different view. But, it'll be a long and hard fight... And a very costly one.

    Cannon Fodder remains Cannon Fodder and that's the way, it seems to me, the UK and US Govts. treat their Armed Forces personnel.

    It's only thanks to the media we heard of this young fellows plight. Similarly in the US over recent months...

    Perhaps, ideally, service personnel should be awarded compensation for injuries sustained in the course of duty by the UK Civil Courts acting as if the UK Govt was the defendant...

    But then, millions of pounds for each claimant would likely be involved...

    Can't have that! Can't have the true, actuarial cost of war exposed. That really might restrict the Govts. ability to EVER start a war, except in the direst of circumstances.

    It might restrict the Govts. ability to spend £6.6 Billion (so far) on an un-warranted war when the NHS seemingly can't, amongst many other things, provide £2.50 a-day for drugs for Alzheimers patients, that many Alzheimers carers say alleviate symptoms. Bugger NICE. There's nothing NICE about any of it!

    My guess is the Govts next move, in it's attempt to restrict service personnel compensation payments, will be to remove the superb medical and surgical services available to our service personnel.

    If the seriously injured don't survive...

    You think I'm a cynic..?!

  34. At 09:08 PM on 28 Aug 2007, Stephen Paterson wrote:

    No wonder the public can't stand Politicians. The answer to Eddie's question "Is it enough"was obvious to one and all.Mr Ainsworth knows the answer to the question but didn't have the bottle or the honesty to tell us.Obviously more concerned about his career than Ben Parkinson's future. Pathetic

  35. At 09:16 PM on 28 Aug 2007, Fiona wrote:

    I do feel very sorry for the soldier concerned and the compensation amount offered. But there are many people in similar situations, who have had no compensation and didn't chose to join the army and take the consequences. Please don't get me wrong I think he deserves more. But this kind of thing happens day in and day out and people have to live with the consequences.

    My husband and I had a very serious car accident in California, the other guys fault. My husband was in a coma for 3 months, had a very serious brain injury, which meant he had to learn everything from scratch and I mean everything, swallow, talk, even understand, he's not 100% and never will be. The guy who crashed into us was underinsured, so tough! Life is extremely hard for us financially.

    I do think that the soldier deserves more, but he does have the support mechanism of the services. I do sympathise, but please remember this happens to people like my husband, and we have no support mechanism. No hope, no one to take to the high court.

    Life happens it's tough but there is it.

  36. At 09:33 PM on 28 Aug 2007, Rod wrote:

    The Veterans Agency, headed by Mr Twigg, is an absolute disgrace.

    War Pensions are a pittance and priority treatment, for War Pensioners, is non existent in the NHS.

    It's about time Mr Twigg and his Agency recognised their short comings.

    I hope Ben Parkinson and his family succeed in their campaign, not only for Ben but for the rest of the nations War Pensioners.

  37. At 10:01 PM on 28 Aug 2007, Peter wrote:

    Disgraceful attitiude from the government
    Where can we sign up to help ?

  38. At 10:50 PM on 28 Aug 2007, Ruth Chamberlain wrote:

    Regarding your feature on supermarkets - the analysis was very simplistic and did not take a number of things into account - for example, assumptions were made that supermarkets are cheaper. I have stopped shopping in supermarkets for the last 2 years, and buy all my fruit and vegetables from the local market , which is (substantially) cheaper and has more locally sourced items. Whilst some other groceries are generally more expensive from local shops, I save money overall because I am not subject to the overall onslaught of various advertising and offers of things I don't particularly need, as I used to be in the supermarket. Please PM - do no perpetuate the myth that supermarkets are always cheaper, and give local shops/markets a chance.

  39. At 12:42 AM on 29 Aug 2007, Pete wrote:

    Re Ben Parkinson

    Mr Ainsworth was an unwise minister when making his point about soldiers' improved survival rates - which sounded like a de facto lament that dead soldiers are cheaper and more convenient than live ones, and who cost less in those good old days when all Tommy had to do was to die.

    The Ministry of Defence is a truly awful employer, and therefore in the final analysis unpatriotic, uncivilised, and deeply un-British. I was first warned about them during my own RAF service nearly 50 years ago, and nothing much seems to have improved since then... or with their dreadful Veterans' Agency.

    The problem is not this or that minister, whose temporary prominence is mere chaff, but the ingrained civil service culture which sees wounded Servicemen and ex-Servicemen as their enemy combatants, whose claims on the nation are to be resisted by fair means or foul, and as cheaply as possible.

    Read Kipling on the subject.

  40. At 09:05 AM on 29 Aug 2007, Simon Worrall wrote:

    Seems like this Government learned nothing from the Paxman/Howard interview before they came to power.

    Never, ever send a minister or other flunky to be questioned by live media when he's got nothing positive to say and may even end up looking a fool.

    This is a system akin to the Special Educational Needs debacle, as reported on PM this year. In that story it was obvious that the purseholder responsible for paying for education was the same organisation responsible for assessing needs. So they could deny the need to save themselves money.

    So it is with this 'compensation' system. The MoD has the money and also makes the assessment, a clear and obvious conflict of interests. One might argue that the assessments are made by a separate arm of the MoD, but the fact is they have an inflexible and unrealistic formula to work with and have no remit to make exemplary awards.

    So the answer is obvious; make the assessment of needs entirely independent of the paymasters. Let them decide on the basis of the full evidentiary picture what compensation is required and let the MoD accept it immediately and without reservation.

    Gross National Product (and domestic debt) now exceed £1.3 trillion. Tax revenues and Govt expenditures are measured in the hundreds of billions. John Prescotts reward for a lifetime of service to the unions, and for holding the Labour Party behind Blair will be a seven-figure sum and a massive pension.

    This man and others like him, appallingly wounded in combat, give up the rest of their lives in service to their country. Whether he believed in the correctness of the war is irrelevant, he went and did what was asked of him. He has suffered grieviously as a result and will never have the life he might have had.

    You have to note that when he was asked by Eddie directly whether it was all about the money he clumsily avoided the question by repeating a previous answer, thus giving the impression that money was, indeed, the only consideration.

    Compensate him now. Do it in full and do it immediately. The alternative is to look miserly and penny-pinching, as the minister did last night on the programe.


  41. At 10:55 AM on 29 Aug 2007, Saryu Patel wrote:

    Thank you for covering in so much detail Ben's story and the one about the Headley Court objections. I often wonder when we hear how many of our troops have died in Iraq and Afghanistan, how many have been left with life-changing injuries. We need to hear more of their stories so that we understand the price they are paying for this Governments wars.

    I was shocked to think of how young some of these amputees are and the effects their ongoing injuries ar having on their young families, not to mention the callousness of the Surrey residents. And now this paltry award for such bravery. Who would join the armed forces?

    How often do Government ministers take the time to visit them in hospital and at Headly Court. I believe Tony Blair never visited.

    Why do they not release the figures of how many seroiusly injured there are?

    Please continue to probe these stories when they hit the headlines, but also couldn't you run a feature on these forgotten victims?

  42. At 10:58 AM on 29 Aug 2007, David McNickle wrote:

    All I can say is, and I'm an American living in GB for 23 years, next time vote for the Liberal Democrats. Not that enough of you will.

  43. At 01:32 PM on 29 Aug 2007, UptheTrossachs wrote:

    William Forbes (19) - I noted the point made by the minister that more soldiers are surviving more severe injuries. But I'm not sure I buy your conspiracy theory - however, I am not close enough to the detail of battlefield recovery of injured solidiers to be able to comment.
    What does frustrate me, is the apparent time-lag in the government understanding the connection between more soldiers surviving and the need for a review of the compensation scheme. Surely it wouldn't take anyone long to work out the numbers - X severely injured soldiers multiplied by Y amount of compensation (call it 500k) = Z expenditure. So why the reluctance to just get on with it - are we really talking about huge numbers of injured personnel?

  44. At 02:32 PM on 29 Aug 2007, Piper wrote:

    Mike Hutchinson @ 15

    Love the "spin" on ex-PM Blair's name. Most appropriate.

    Never seen it before

    Where can I have been..?

  45. At 07:09 PM on 29 Aug 2007, mike draper wrote:

    what are the odds that gordon brown will jump on the bandwagon and promise a review of ben parkinsons case,about as likely as seeing brown or any cabinet minister at brize norton or lyneham to see the coffins come home. the only excuse this bunch of hypocrites have not yet used is to blame the whole bloody iraj and afganistan fiascos on margaret thatcher.
    I really hope ben and all the other casualties get what they deserve.
    and that one day soon gordon brown and his cronies who are just as responsible as tony blair for the waste of young lives will get what they deserve.

  46. At 08:03 PM on 29 Aug 2007, hugh wrote:

    In 1993 i was serving in the British army and i was injured .
    I sufferd a serious brain injury and my head was crushed also serious problems with my back.
    After many years of surgury and rehab (in Headly court),i was medicaly discharged from the Army in 2002.
    It took me 9 years to claim the right compensation from the mod,and the payment that has been offerd to Ben is discraceful .
    I was payed out nearly 3 times the amount he has been offerd.
    The pension side is roughly £450 a month but for him too live it isnt enough for his needs ,i should know .
    The mod have tryed to sweeten the family up by offering this sum of money,they will pay more as the support of the nation,s people to get on the governments back and highlite how badly they treat injured servicemen/women.
    Ben you have my 100% support and if there is anything i can do please let me know?

  47. At 09:44 AM on 30 Aug 2007, Tim Lawrence wrote:

    Let's not rush to hit the ministers, whilst they must bear the responsibility of this situation it is the senior, job-for-life, civil servants who put this compensation scheme together. Let's push to have these overpaid, faceless, bureacrats put in the spotlight. These are the people who make decisions but take no responsibility, how about we ask them to justify their pay. I left the Army after a 22 year career, I also left the country. I am treated better as an Ex UK serviceman here in Australia than I would be in UK. What a disgraceful state.

  48. At 11:27 AM on 30 Aug 2007, Simon Worrall wrote:

    It's our system of Government. Despite 'Yes, Minister' the Government proposes policy and decides on a course to follow. All the Civil Service does is figure out a way to implement that policy.

    The Labour Government constructed this scheme only two years ago and signed off on it. They knew then what survival rates were like in these current wars, they knew the costs of living a half-life for decades as a crippled ex-serviceman were likely to be. This isn't a policy from 30 years ago which is past its sell-by date. This is a new scheme. And it has been unfit for its purpose since inception.

    If you're ex-military of long-standing (as I am, well ex-naval) then you'll understand very well that the guy in charge distributes the praise to his men when there is any about, but carries the can personally when the brickbats are being doled out and doesn't blame the troops. So it is with Government. The minister should be personally responsible for the fitness of the policy. If it's broke or simply lousy, he's responsible.

    In history, even recent history, this meant resignation. Sadly this doesn't happen any more. Instead the politico passes the buck to the Civils and blames them instead.


  49. At 01:08 PM on 30 Aug 2007, steve wrote:

    Maybe if the production team had spent a bit of time researching and understanding the different vehicles being used and how they increase the chance of survival. Then it might have been a useful inteview.



  50. At 09:22 PM on 30 Aug 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Steve (50),

    These vehicles, or some of them, are being manufactured by a British company in USA and probably very profitably, but the Americans are loath to let the Brits own something so essential to "National Security"....So much for the 'special relationship', a one-way street.


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