Bob Resorts To Americanisms In His Press Release – So He Can Claim To Be An Armed Forces ‘Veteran’

IT APPEARS THAT, as far as Bob Spink (our local MP) is concerned: there is no looming general election – just as there is apparently no issue over his fraudulent office expense claims. Readers of his press release, issued yesterday, are led to believe that Bob will still be ‘representing’ constituents in June, when the next Castle Point Armed Forces Parade is due to be held on the island.

Wrapping himself in the Union Flag, as most politicians are want-to-do at election  time, Bob proclaims:-

MP Bob Spink is, for the fourth year in succession, holding an Armed Forces Day for Castle Point to honour its veterans and serving forces.

Last year over 5,000 people took part and the event which [sic] was made a great success by the efforts of Canvey Town Councillors who supported Bob. Castle Point received wide national coverage as one of the best in the country and was mentioned by the Prime Minister at Prime Ministers Questions where he joined Independent MP Bob in congratulating all involved.

Bob, himself a Forces Veteran, says:

“We must never forget the sacrifice given by our veterans and those serving now. They are simply the Bravest and the Best.

I have bid for and now been formally granted £2000 by the MOD to support this year’s event.

I am particularly grateful to Canvey Island Town Council and the Royal British Legion for their wonderful support in organising and running the event.

Our next Armed Forces Day will be on Saturday 26th June and the Chelsea Pensioners, Gurkhas [sic], Royal Anglian Regiment and all cadet and youth organisations will I hope be attending to make it another wonderful day. I hope you will accept my personal invitation to attend.”

Now, the word ‘veteran’ can only be used two ways in the English language. The first is to describe a person or thing that has given long service in some capacity; but the second, in the context that Bob uses it here, is: an Armed Forces member who has seen considerable active service.

Bob is carefully using the word here in its US usage: a person who has served in the armed forces.

There can be no doubt that he actually donned a uniform; just as there can be no doubt that he undertook basic training. But Bob was never in harm’s way. He was, (according to his CV) invalided-out whilst receiving basic training at RAF Cosford and Uxbridge. So even the abysmally lax definition of the word’s US usage somewhat overstates his claim – since training does not constitute service.

Armed Forces veterans are easy to distinguish. At the very least they have been presented with, and are entitled to wear, a campaign ribbon. It is the force’s way of recognising the mental and, sometimes, physical scars that they will be forced to carry with them for the rest of their lives. And the military have long reserved the term ‘veteran’ for only those armed forces personnel whom have actually participated in combat. New recruits, and most civilians, hold veterans in high esteem and provide them with the respect they deserve – particularly those whom were forced to receive their meagre reward posthumously.

There is something particularly despicable about someone passing themself off as a veteran and claiming a share of our Heroes’ Glory. Moreover, it is sickening to think that such a pretender should lead an armed forces’ parade or present themself for press photographs in front of such honourable men and women.

If you are around this year, Bob, do us all a favour: learn how to spell ‘Ghurkhas;’ confine your ‘marching’ to the rear of the procession; and, when the inevitable group photographs are taken: make sure you are at the back…