Reserves Day 2016

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson have officially launched 2016’s ‘Reserves Day’ celebrations at a recognition reception, attended by more than 100 Reservists and their employers.

Speaking at the event, Mr Fallon said: ‘We owe our reservists – and their families and employers – a debt of gratitude. In the last fifteen years almost 35,000 have served on operations, making an immense contribution. In a darker and more dangerous world, they give us the cutting edge, the specialist skills and the ability to swiftly adapt to new and emerging threats.’

Mr Fallon is right to recognize the contribution reservists have made on operations but avoids acknowledging their true purpose.

In the last 15 years successive governments have slashed the size of our standing force and starved it of funding. MoD budget cuts have reduced army numbers to their lowest level since the Crimean War of 1854. Employing part-timers on zero hours contracts does not give our defence forces a cutting edge or an enhanced adaptability. As Sports Direct founder Mike Ashley could explain to Mr Fallon, it is simply a way of reducing the wage bill.

SPIN ZHIRA: Old Man in Helmand is the unauthorised, unvarnished and irreverent story of reserve service on the front line of the most dangerous district in Afghanistan where the locals haven’t forgiven the British for the occupation of 1842 or for the Russian Invasion of 1979. Of course, all infidels look the same so you can’t really tell them apart.

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