Friday, March 07, 2008

"a cross-section of the community"


RAF personnel have been banned from wearing their uniforms in public after suffering abuse in the streets. The order was given to servicemen and women at an air base in Cambridgeshire on the advice of RAF police.

The base commander at RAF Wittering, near Peterborough, took the decision after reviewing incidents of abuse over a seven-month period. Sqd Ldr Tony Walsh, a spokesman at the base, said a number of personnel who lived in the city and its outskirts had suffered abuse when wearing their uniforms off-duty.

The abuse had come from a "cross-section" of the community, he added, and was believed to be linked to the RAF's operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Call me an old cynic, but I do wonder about that "cross-section" bit. On the other hand, Peterborough saw five nights of rioting in 2004, more trouble at its Anand Mela that year, was number seven in the top ten local authorities for the number of births, and at least one (Mohammed Choudhary) Labour councillor has been convicted of vote-rigging. Maybe "cross-section" is le mot juste.

UPDATE - this morning Victoria Derbyshire on Five Live opened her show by stating that Peterborough MP Stewart Jackson had claimed a small number of "young Muslim men" were responsible. Alas the first few minutes of her show are not available on the BBC website - by accident or design, it starts a few minutes in. I can't find any corroboration of this anywhere else.

BBC Reporter Stephen Chittenden reported from Peterborough that no-one seems to know exactly what the abuse consisted of, where it happened, who was involved or how many times. Wittering RAF are referring journalists to the MOD. It appears that all we DO know is that they've been asked not to wear uniforms.


Anonymous said...

This has figured on Radio4 news all day (long item at 1pm). BBC editors have tortured themselves to avoid reference to the "M" word; could have happened in Ambridge y'know, just about anywhere.

Round up the Archers then, no thought crime here.

Thud said...

The 1 pm radio 4 article was a classic both parties tied themselves in knots trying not to know who!

Anonymous said...

Not RAF but maybe some info will get through on the army rumors site:

JuliaM said...

"this morning Victoria Derbyshire on Five Live opened her show by stating that Peterborough MP Stewart Jackson had claimed a small number of "young Muslim men" were responsible."

Well, if he didn't say that I'd expect him to publicly rebuke the woman, surely...?

niconoclast said...

Victoria allowed a caller Mohammud to rant for ages about British troops being murderers and to constantly interrupt a caller who was defending the troops against the calumny.

I will be complaianing to the BBC about this outrage. Mumamud needs a one way ticket back to his countrn of origin for the evil ingrate that he is.If you invited someone into your home and he proceeded to smear your furniture and walls with his excrement wouldn't you have grounds to eject him?

JuliaM said...

None of the papers have picked up Derbyshire's claim. Even the 'Guardian' only has this:

"Another local Conservative MP, Stewart Jackson, said the ban was "a sledgehammer to crack a nut" and should be rescinded. "My understanding is that it's a small number of incidents of verbal abuse. I think it should be rescinded and I've written to the defence secretary asking him to consider that.""

It seems the lady is talking out of another orifice than the one she's paid for....

Anonymous said...

It harks back to the Dunkirk days when the RAF people had to go around in groups (on the ground) as the army (British) felt rather hostile to them. They had to wear their uniforms all the time then.

Anonymous said...

It's quite ironic that the men and women who are ready to stand and fight in Afghanistan and Iraq, are subjected to abuse from the men and women who ran away from those places.


Anonymous said...

Monty - they do run away from Iraq and Afghanistan but sometimes return for a holiday or wedding while a war is on, as you do, and then are quite unjustly captured and sent to camp x-ray.