Labour are not known for good ideas. The latest bad idea to come from their ranks is a proposed amendment to the Defence Reform Bill, which will, in a nut shell, make insulting service personnel a hate crime. Jim Murphy, the shadow defence secretary, claims that soldiers “continue to face discrimination”. Therefore, Labour feels that the Armed Forces ought to be in the same category as the disabled, gay, transgendered and ethnic minority crime victims.
Now, what you may or may not think about treating the most violent arm of the state with “the dignity they deserve” ought to be squarely within your conscience. However, I believe that even staunch pro-military types can see the ridiculousness of singling out yet another “group” as being victimised. I’ve been verbally abused by animal right’s activists - should people who undertake animal research be a special “victim” group?
A poll of troops found that 5 % experienced violence and threats of violence, and that 20 % experience verbal abuse while in uniform. I wonder what proportion of innocents in war zones experience violence from the “men in uniform”. With the draft now history, being in the military is a career choice, and one with which others feel a moral duty to disagree with. I do not condone violence or abuse, but I can understand why it would occur.
This proposal is just another chip at our already-crumbling civil liberties. This is hardly surprising, coming from the party that gave us the Equality Act and a plethora of hate speech laws. Labour - and socialists in general - have no problem suppressing speech they disagree with.