I actually got a bit of a lump in the old throat at this, because it's so true!
"If a bloke went into his local back home," said the officer who wants to go to Afghanistan, "and the landlord said to him 'you've been in Iraq - have this one on the house,' it would mean the world to him."
What I can tell you, from an average civvie's point of view, is that the British public I speak to on a daily basis are 100% behind the British Armed Forces. I know that the majority of decent citiizens are proud of our Armed Forces and understand that they owe a huge debt of gratitude to them.
What we despise are not the brave men and women serving, but the pernicious, sycophantic and self serving politicians who made a case for war based on a lie, and who continue to fail to provide the forces with the necessary equipment (it's ironic how the politically correct health and safety police lose their 'autistic' obsession with 'risk management' when it comes to HM forces).
Regarding political correctness, it has sadly become non-politically correct to be patriotic as well as openly show signs of support for HM forces. This is part of a more general malaise afflicting the majority of the public. For so long we have been told what we can't say and do, and have been told that patriotism is tantamount to xenophobia. It feels as if we don't know what we can say and what we can't. Ultimately,and sadly, the New Labour facists have made it a faux pas to celebrate our military, full-stop.
The fact is that people are seething with the current state of affairs. People are angry about feeling like second-class citizens in their own country. This, compounded with deep concern for our forces personnel, and incompetent and reckless foreign policy, makes it difficult to appear enthusiatic about about our troops' presence in the Persian Gulf.
Make no mistake, those people who are proud to call themselves British, or Welsh or English or Scottish, are deeply proud of, and support, the British Armed Forces.