If we can spend £5m a day on people who ditch their passports in the Channel, then we can spend the same housing veterans says Patrick Christys

Is it any wonder we have a recruitment crisis in the military?

Published

I was absolutely staggered that GB News was the only news outlet to cover the Anzac Day memorial live.

In fact, I’m actually disgusted about that – but, sadly, I’m not surprised.

Anzac Day commemorates the lives lost by our Australian and New Zealand brothers and sisters who laid down their lives to help win the First World War.

8,709 Australians and 2,721 Kiwis gave the ultimate sacrifice at Gallipoli – lest we forget.

But of course, the majority of our media thinks this is less important than whether or not Angela Rayner flashed her legs at Boris Johnson at the dispatch box.

But this is symptomatic of how we treat our veterans in this country. Can you imagine losing your legs in Baghdad, developing catastrophic PTSD, being unable to work again…and then you find out that someone who came to this country illegally in a dinghy has got free accommodation in a hotel while you’re left to rot on the streets? In fact, it’s not free is it? The British taxpayer is funding it.

Our veterans are supposed to get priority housing and mental health care, as enshrined by the military covenant, and yet many of our war heroes line the streets.

I don’t think it’s unreasonable to suggest that a veteran would have more chance getting a roof over their heads and three square meals a day if they came home from a warzone, got a bus to Calais and arrived back in the UK in a dinghy.

The historic prosecutions of our veterans is an absolute scandal as well. Take the case of Dennis Hutchings. He was 80 years old and was standing trial for the alleged murder of John Pat Cunningham in 1974. He’d been cleared of it twice already, yet he was dragged back to Northern Ireland where he died alone in a hospital bed having been denied the dignity of returning home to take his final breaths.

We send people into the most dangerous situations imaginable. We train people to run towards the gunfire and the inferno in the name of Queen and country and then when they make split second decisions in the heat of battle, sometimes they’ll get a knock on the door 40 years later and hauled before a kangaroo court where, all of a sudden, they’re accused of being murderers. Meanwhile we give IRA terrorists letters of immunity so they can get away scot free despite the fact they let off a bomb in a busy pub. There’s quite literally no justice there.

Is it any wonder we have a recruitment crisis in the military? We hang our veterans out to dry.

But the shameful way we treat our veterans runs deeper than that – it is symptomatic of the tendency in this country to see patriotism as a dirty thing. We can’t praise Britain without also mentioning some stuff we’ve done wrong in the past. Why? Why is that relevant?

The usual worthy types, who by the way I’m convinced wouldn’t even fight for this country if another war kicked off, say if you’re patriotic or proud to be British then you’re just some kind of flag waving little nationalist. Well, hang on a minute, all of Europe would only have one flag, the Nazi flag, if it wasn’t for us.

People are always like ‘oh, don’t bring up the war.’ To that I say, which one? Because if we hadn’t have stepped in on either occasion then Europe wouldn’t exist.

The idea that we could be spoken down to by the leader of Luxembourg, a postage stamp of a nation that makes Yorkshire look like a continent, is laughable.

What short memories our European friends appear to have.

I find it hilarious that the very people who tell us that national pride is a bad thing are the ones with a Ukrainian flag in their front window, or as a bumper sticker in their cars.

Refugees welcome, they all say. Ok, why not house a veteran instead? Where are the Veterans Welcome signs? People seem to think it makes them a good person if they invite someone from Syria into their spare room, the reality is that on the way to pick that person up from the airport and drive them back to their house they’ve probably passed a homeless man who has fought for this country and is now suffering as a result.

It doesn’t make any sense to me.

The fact is, the BBC would rather cover a meaningless story about unconscious bias than cover the memorial to the war dead. I thought the first B stood for British, apparently not.

It’s about time we looked after our veterans. I won’t stop going on about this – if we can spend £5m-per-day on hotels for people who ditch their passports in the channel, then surely we can spend the same housing people who have actually fought for this country.