Gordon Brown’s u-turn over TA funding exposes much more about the dishonesty and ineptitude of the Labour government than they realise.
Firstly it shows that the government have given little thought to the funding of front line troops. Most of us in the TA believed that we were paid from a dedicated budget at the MOD, it turned out that we were paid from the spare change generated by the regular army’s under recruitment.
Now that the regulars are at full recruited strength the MOD have run out of money for us. It wouldn’t have taken Mystic Meg to work out that recruitment and retention would increase in this recession, just like it has in all the previous ones.
Secondly it shows how little this government understands or respects the reserve forces. The TA has supplied thousands of front line troops in both Iraq and Afghanistan over the last few years. They have fought and in some cases died along side their regular counterparts and this is how they are repaid for their commitment and loyalty. As Liam Fox so rightly said being in the TA is a habit, force them to break the habit and you break the TA, despite having asked so much of the TA Labour haven’t taken the time to learn that must fundamental of facts.
Many people know little about the TA and I doubt we would be a doorstep issue at election time, but the sustained pressure that David Cameron and Liam Fox deployed prevented the government pushing forward with a plan that could have destroyed the TA as we know it. I know that I’m not alone in thanking them for championing the cause of people who Churchill described as “twice the citizen”.