On Sunday night two establishment media outlets tried to use a veteran-endorsed satirical art project to attack Momentum and Labour.
The credit belongs to the artist who conceived and created it and, spiritually, to the hundreds of veterans who endorsed it. This work was conceived in response to years of dishonest army recruitment material and we continue to endorse it.
The establishment response has shown two things.
Firstly, it has highlighted the important and popular work done by Darren Cullen and VFP to educate people about the brutal reality of modern warfare and the possible negative outcomes of military service . For this we are grateful.
Secondly it has brought into the open the amateur journalism of sections of the press and the willingness of the elite to exploit soldiers and veterans for political capital.
We might linger over the appalling journalism involved in this pathetic hit piece. In their jingoistic ardour for clicks, the reporters clearly did not even bother to check into the background of the project.
That this project was backed by hundreds of veterans – many of whom bear the wounds of active service in wars from D-Day to Libya – was as difficult to discover as typing words into a search engine and pressing enter.
We might also note that Johnny Mercer and Dan Jarvis, both former military officers turned politicians, both self-appointed “veteran’s champions”, used the Murdoch-owned Sun newspaper as a platform to attack the project and, by extension, attack the veterans involved in it.
This is the same newspaper group whose senior editorial staff acquired the personal details of dead soldiers, apparently by paying MoD officials.
The same Sun newspaper which slurred the working people of Liverpool over the Hillsborough disaster – a city from which many soldiers are recruited and to which many veterans return after service.
The same Sun newspaper which cheered on the misconceived, illegitimate and ultimately failed wars which saw thousands of UK troops killed, mutilated and mentally injured.
Johnny Mercer and Dan Jarvis, if you attack the efforts of former service personnel in the Sun, or even speak to the Sun, you are no champions of soldiers or veterans.
The British establishment, the Sun, the ‘hero’ charities, Jarvis, Mercer and their like, have for too long been trading off the backs of ordinary veterans and soldiers to push their pro war agenda. Those days are drawing to a close.
Veterans For Peace UK