I read a lovely quote in the paper - in a not-so-lovely article about flood victims. 30,000 acres of country are submerged; many claim that this is, ultimately, a man made problem since the Environment Agency stopped dredging the rivers and even flogged off the machinery 20 years ago.
Here's what one of the residents said:
"I'd have greater faith in the Environment Agency
if there was a brigadier in charge of it."
The man refers to Brigadier Alex Birtwistle and the Army intervention during the 2001 outbreak of foot and mouth disease. At the time, local farmers held protest meetings, calling the Ministry of Agriculture incompetent. (The brigadier had postponed his retirement for the army intervention.)
Soldiers worked continuously "collating intelligence, giving slaughtermen weapons training, and working out how to shower down vets fast enough to keep the diagnoses ticking over". Most had served in Bosnia, Sierra Leone or the Gulf. Now they became known in the farming community for their clipped vowels and organisational skills.
And I don't think I need to mention the 2012 Olympic Games. Many of the soldiers who supported the games had just returned from deployment and should have gone on leave. For many of them, accommodation was improvised - in comparison, Camp Bastion offered a life of luxury and here they were in the middle of London. And, yet, they saved the games and made them an unforgettable experience.
How much more evidence does this country need? There are now thousands of military personnel being made redundant - they are highly skilled, they know how to adjust and to adapt and to get a job done.
So I have finally started a little project to help promote the idea - ultimately, to promote (ex-) military personnel and their skills.
Please go to my next blog - "Let's talk about transition" - maybe you would like to contribute as well?
Daily Mail 29/01/2014 p. 6