Our political leaders will always find the time to parade in front of the media at the Cenotaph on Remembrance Day, just as you can be sure to find your own MP standing at the local war memorial as the clock strikes eleven.
However, when it comes to debating and formulating veterans policy it’s a different story. On the first day of what is Armed Forces week, parliament debated the ending of historical prosecutions of armed forces veterans. None of the party leaders felt the need to attend and only one Labour MP wasn’t doing something else. All the Lib Dem and SNP MPs were washing their hair or otherwise engaged. While more than 50 Conservative MPs showed up, including Mark Lancaster the Minister for the Armed Forces, his boss Gavin Williamson the Secretary of State for Defence was not among them as you might have expected.
And if you thought this was just a one-off you’d be wrong. In March 2016, MPs were asked to debate “the complete vacuum of provision” of care for service veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.
On that occasion only 12 Conservative Ministers bothered to turn up.
Of course, later the same year all the usual suspects were on parade at the Cenotaph, just as they will be again this year.
Words and deeds are not aligned.