Rebecca Harris Calls For Armed Forces Parcels

IN AN ATTEMPT TO GAIN SOME PUBLICITY for their prospective parliamentary candidate, the local Conservative party issued this press release on 3rd September:-

Rebecca Harris, Conservative Party candidate for Castle Point, has joined fellow party members to launch a campaign to fill shoe boxes with gifts for our troops in Afghanistan.

Rebecca said: ‘I’ve spoken to lots of people who want to make an effort to show that they support and care about our forces in Helmand and elsewhere.’

Local Conservative, Adeline Lanegan, agreed: ‘We have already gathered a large amount of paperback books, toiletries and other items which we are aware the troops want. Putting some time aside to do this is the least we could do given the difficult conditions our forces have been going through.’

Parcels organiser Mark Howard added ‘The key thing is that we will be using an MOD approved charity to transport the boxes. It is vital that we don’t cause extra trouble for the forces out there, or interfere with the regular delivery of family letters or cards.’

If you have any items you could donate to our troops, please contact Adeline Lanegan on 01268 792992.

For further information on the items we could send, please look at the relevant page on our web-site:

Rebecca Harris launches project with local ConservativesThe release has been smouldering on my desk for four days now, while I decided how to treat it. At first I was inclined to ignore it; because it did not contain any real news; but, on second thoughts, it provides a valuable insight into how inept the local Conservative party is at promoting its prospective parliamentary candidate. Moreover, it shows just how out-of-touch it has become with events in the real world.

The quaint idea of going to work for eight-hours and then returning for a period of relaxation with a good book and an uninterrupted night’s rest is not one that any squaddie would recognise. Neither would splashing on the aftershave and rolling the deodorant under one’s armpits in the morning be conducive to a soldier’s health. (It can be smelled half-a-mile away, by the enemy, in arid conditions).

A good assortment of new, paper-back books, it might be argued, would be welcomed by field hospital units; but we are talking ‘field’ here. Injured soldiers do not remain long in field hospitals — they are medically evacuated from harm’s way and only find time to read when they are recovering (which is often in the UK).

No front-line soldier is going to make room for a paper-back in his kit, when that precious space can be used for spare ammunition or morphine.

The last thing our boys want is for civilians to start rummaging around their attics and bathrooms to send them their cast-offs and hand-me-downs.

They are worth far more than that.

If you want to help, then direct your cash towards the Royal British Legion, and use your political voice to ensure our troops obtain all the equipment they need.

Bandwagon Bob is king of ill-considered political grand-standing. We do not need it from our prospective Conservative parliamentary candidate as well…

8 Responses

  1. ‘We have already gathered a large amount of paperback books, toiletries and other items which we are aware the troops want.”

    If that were the case then the military would have been pleased to use their own supply lines.

    Harris should hang her head in shame for treating our servicemen like they were just more refugees.

    Whoever thought this one up should be taken outside, put up against the wall and shot.

  2. I hope you and your reader’s comments will not deter members of the public from supporting an initiative like this one.

    I know many soldiers who have served in Afghanistan, including Company Commanders as well as more junior ranks. I was very surprised at your observation, and angry too. I wonder what evidence you have on which to base your opinions. Certainly, you seem to have no idea of modern soldiering, or the actual reality of what our troops are experiencing in Helmand.

    My acquaintances tell me these packages are very well-received, and the men and women get benefit from them when at camp between patrol and other duties.

    Perhaps most importantly, our troops know, during this most dangerous and terrifying mission, that people back home are thinking of them and are making an effort to make their lives a bit more comfortable while they are in theatre, and are generally good for morale.

  3. Then for all our benefits email this article to your serving aquaintances and have them comment – or do I detect a party response?

    This has to be.

    Were you the idiot that devised this “charity gift aid” idea?

    “When you can;t win the argument change the question.”

    HELLO! the topic is political grandstanding and the stupidity of requesting western toiletries that can give a front line soldier’s position away

  4. No, I’m not responsible for this idea, but like many people I am interested in supporting anything which helps our troops.

    There are a number of charity campaigns running at the moment which ask the public to donate items or money to make up gift boxes for troops overseas – eg. or Their websites show the type of items which the military themselves have asked for. Often, it’s the families of service men and women who have identified what the soldiers want.

    The only point I really wanted to make about Ted’s article and your comments was that our soldiers really appreciate these items; if there was a security issue, their commanders would put a stop to the initiative.

    The tragic reality is our soldiers and Marines are being killed by IED attacks against armoured vehicles. The point about western toiletries is irrelevant to the nature of this engagement.You may have your own views about this. I’d prefer to listen to people who’ve been there.

    People I know who’ve served really valued DVDs and CDs. They’re stuck in a camp a lot of the time without all the comforts we take for granted.Above all, they appreciated the messages of support which came with these packages.

  5. Toileteries irrelevent? Then I suspect that your aquaintancies are based in Cyprus and not on station in Afghanistan.

    If that is where the parcels are destined for Ok but Harris is keen to mention Helmand and you are still off topic and avoiding the grandstanding point.

    As you yourself point out there is already two websites that people can use to donate needed items and cash, although personally I will continue to donate to the Legion. So what makes Harris think she can do a better job? And what is the charity the conservatives are using to transport the parcels or will this be at their party’s expense? Not through one of those websites is it?

    Harris wants no more than to be seen as a forces friend and wrap herself in the Union flag in response to the English Democrat thread here last month.

    She would have been better advised to start addressing local political issues and has now paid the price for not doing so

    Im sure Ted could be persuaded to put those two links you provide in this sites link section though…………

    • You have been talking at cross purposes, Cynical. Like me you have taken the reference to Helmand and Afghanistan to mean those front-line soldiers, covered in TV news reports, whom are engaging the enemy and contesting territory held by the Taliban.

      Confused is talking about supporting arms that are based some way back from the front lines – and the ‘elsewhere’ contained in the press release.

      Headquarters and ‘elsewhere’ personnel may use toothpaste and aftershave – those employed deep in enemy territory certainly do not.

      Now that we have that clarified, those two links are actually interesting. Not least because Canvey Island is the home of the SOS charity’s South East Essex representative, Brenda, who would be the best local contact for anyone wishing to send useful items to the troops. They have been doing this type of thing for the past six years.

      Brenda’s contact email is: Brenda at

      The other link that Confused provides is for christmas parcels for the forces in general – made possible by cash donations to uk4u.

      (And I have never known the subject of toothpaste to give rise to such a heated debate). :-)

  6. To be honest, I’m not really interested in what you say is your topic, or what a parliamentary candidate is or isn’t doing on Canvey Island. I am only interested in making sure people aren’t put off ideas like this because of wrong-headed opinions about what troops want out in Afghanistan. I would take your point about western toiletries
    seriously if the military did.
    Troops in Helmand want books, DVDs/CDs and, yes, toiletries. Anyway, I support the Royal British Legion as well, but I don’t regard it as an either or.

  7. We’ll take that as a no comment then shall we?

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