03 Mar 05 - Courier - Prime Minister to face BW

Prime Minister to face Black Watch soldiers

The Black Watch were on the march
through Aberfeldy yesterday as part of
their show of appreciation to the
Tayside and Fife area.

PRIME MINISTER Tony Blair will come face to face with the soldiers he sent into Iraq’s infamous Triangle of Death and who now face the loss of their cherished regimental status, The Courier can exclusively reveal.

By coincidence The Black Watch will parade in Dundee tomorrow at the same time as Mr Blair gives his keynote address to the Scottish Labour Party conference in the city.

As he galvanises the party faithful in the Caird Hall for the expected May general election, Dundee Lord Provost John Letford will be outside in City Square taking the salute as The Black Watch march past.

There had been speculation that the Prime Minister would not be meeting the men whose bravery and courage he has praised in the House of Commons on many occasions.

But The Courier understands that Mr Blair will have a private meeting with representatives of the regiment.

It was announced in December that Scotland’s six single-battalion infantry regiments would be restructured to form the five-battalion Royal Regiment of Scotland. Although The Black Watch will survive as one of the five battalions, there are fears that the loss of regimental status will inevitably lead to watering down of its historic links with Tayside and Fife.

The move has provoked fury.

This week the outgoing regimental secretary of The Black Watch, Colonel Stephen Lindsay, said, “This is a most uncalled for and unnecessary proposal, which I hope may yet be reversed, though I fear this would only take place if there is a change of government .”

Last night Jeff Duncan, campaign manager of Save the Scottish Regiments, dismissed the meeting as a “cheap publicity stunt.”

“If Tony Blair doesn’t have the courage to publicly welcome The Black Watch to Dundee then that is further proof of the underhandedness and duplicitousness of this Prime Minister,” he said.

“This will no doubt be a well choreographed publicity stunt arranged to make him look as though he is concerned for The Black Watch.

“If he was truly concerned for the future of The Black Watch he would not have decided to disband them by way of amalgamation.

“Blair needs to remember that when they march down Reform Street on Friday, it could be the last time we see them march as a regiment. The real supporters of The Black Watch will see this for what is it—a cheap publicity stunt .”

Dundee East MSP Shona Robison said, “While the people of Dundee are giving a warm welcome to The Black Watch, I suspect that Tony Blair will be a getting a frosty reception.

“I challenge him to go out and have the guts to face Black Watch soldiers and their families in Dundee on Friday and tell them why their historic regiment is no longer going to continue.”

An army spokesman said, “The Black Watch are parading for the benefit of the people in the local recruiting area who supported them on their recent tour of Iraq and to say thank you for their support.”

Tomorrow the Save the Scottish Regiments campaign will formally pledge their support for the SNP candidates in Dundee East and Dundee West in the general election.
I will be there with my placcard! :D :D
If Tony Blair doesn’t have the courage to publicly welcome The Black Watch to Dundee then that is further proof of the underhandedness and duplicitousness of this Prime Minister
The man is a snot gobbling, scum sucking piece of shite (apart from that he's alright!).

He should make a major point of publicly greeting people who he sent to one of the worst spots in Iraq. :evil:

Like we need further proof regarding his character.

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