Who is going to stand for Britains short changed soldiers

Afghanistan: Who is going to stand up and fight for Britain's short-changed soldiers
Nick Clegg is right to break the all-party consensus on the Afghan campaign, says Con Coughlin

Con Coughlin
Published: 8:28PM BST 09 Jul 2009
Comments 2 | Comment on this article
It says a great deal about the parlous state of political leadership in this country that it should fall to Nick Clegg, the Liberal Democrat leader, to articulate the mounting anger and frustration our Armed Forces feel about the Government's disastrous handling of the military campaign in Afghanistan.
Mr Clegg, after all, is the leader of Britain's official anti-war party: despite his claim, in yesterday's Daily Telegraph, to be a Liberal interventionist, his party vociferously opposed the removal of Saddam Hussein, the Iraqi dictator who was responsible for some of the worst crimes against humanity in modern times. So far as Britain's nuclear deterrent is concerned, the Lib Dems occupy the utopian territory that was once the preserve of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.

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Yet the Lib Dems are also Britain's most accomplished political opportunists. In normal circumstances, one might expect criticism of the Government's handling of a major military operation overseas to be dominated by the main political parties. But the failure of both Labour and the Conservatives to address the glaring shortcomings in our Afghan campaign has left the field wide open for Mr Clegg to take centre stage. And, for once, the Lib Dem leader's blatant act of opportunism in breaking with the cross-party consensus on Afghanistan is utterly justified. By highlighting the Government's failure to provide our troops with the equipment and force levels they require to succeed in Afghanistan, Mr Clegg is merely stating the widely held view within the military that this Government is guilty of the most shameful betrayal of the covenant between the nation and the Armed Forces.
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I wonder. If the Liberal Democrats get in to power would Nick Glegg change anything. Somehow I doubt it. All politicians are as bad as each other. All mouth before an election, no action afterwards.
I would suggest that, if someone really wants to help, then they should look to put themselves up as an independant candidate in garrison areas at the next election, standing on a 'helping the forces' election ticket.

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