Posted on May 1, 2011 by

NDM Debate.

The demand for a National Defence Medal, to bring the recognition/appreciation factor for British Service people into line with that of the Armed Forces of Britain’s allies and Commonwealth partners goes on, despite clear and ominous signs that the Civil Service Cadre within and without the MoD that have for so long obstructed such a medal, based on various spurious and indefensible arguments, have once again utilized their unique and privileged position with regard to their manning of the various Ministries to convince yet another Government that it is neither a necessary or desirable medal. This is done with the same money saving and mean spirited mindset that has seen the confrontations occur with the Gurkhas, the Nuclear Veterans and so on, as well as the removal of such vital ancillary assets as the Military Hospitals that for so long nurtured wounded and traumatised Service personnel.

This Dickensian attitude has also seen the British Legion’s hard won promise that an enquiry into the setting up of a properly constituted ‘Covenant’ betwixt the Government and the Armed Forces, casually dumped into that most useful of Bureaucratic tools, the ‘too hard’ basket. It is all too easy to say that the present aura of savage expenditure cuts makes it essential to stave off any and all demands for spending while carrying on with the paring of Britain’s Military assets as though nobody’s life and wellbeing would ever again be at risk from an enemy. The simple fact however is that a simple, pragmatic and easily workable solution to the vexatious problems of outlay for such a medal and much more besides could be very easily organised.

A look at the patriotic fervour unleashed by the wedding of William and Kate, highlighted for all to see, how eager the public are to take up anything that is connected with a Royal event of real significance. With that thought firmly in mind, it is not too hard to comprehend how eagerly the opening up of the upcoming Diamond Jubilee Medal, by way of purchase, to anyone that has served at least two years in any branch of the Armed Forces, the Police, Fire Service, Ambulance Service or even the Civil Service, would be received. This would create an enormous market for a purchasable version of the Queens DJM and all profit and VAT from it could be utilized to see that the NDM, plus provision of desperately needed medical and after care facilities for wounded and traumatised Veterans could be set up. This would please everybody and cost virtually nothing in the long run.

The Queens ‘gift’ version of the Diamond Jubilee Medal could have either a milled edge, a distinguishing mark, or a different central ribbon colour to distinguish it from the lesser version available for purchase by those who fulfil the criteria for it. This would see a huge demand because the desire to own such a credible memento of the Queens long and glorious reign would, coupled with another huge surge of patriotism, create an enormous potential market for this new type of official medal.

It is time for those that oppose the concept of a Service Medal of any sort to start thinking outside of the box and begin taking on a ‘can do’ attitude, instead of hanging on to preconceived prejudices that have neither value nor true purpose. Everything has to move with the times and it is well past the time that this applied to the Honours and Awards system at the most basic level. With medals providing the wherewithal for a Covenant, National Defence Medal issue and equally to the point, aftercare for those currently being left out in the cold because there is no duty of care being exercised by the Government. A Government which purports, hands on hearts, to appreciate the bravery and loyalty of those that serve it in uniform whilst steadfastly doing absolutely sod all for the urgent needs of these same people.

We need a Covenant and we need aftercare as well as a National Defence Medal to underpin it all. We also need the public conscience aroused to see it all happen, to make the Government of the UK and its Civil Servants permit her gracious Majesty Elizabeth the second, Queen of Great Britain, to emulate what she has been allowed to do as the Queen of Australia and New Zealand in authorising the issue of a National Defence Medal along the lines suggested herein.

Gerry Peck.