A story appeared in the weekend’s on line edition of the Daily Mail reporting an argument over the true nature of a “salute” given to a camera by British soldiers allegedly serving in Helmand province, Afghanistan.
The allegation is that a Nazi salute was given by members of the British army. It is truly disturbing.
Last week we also highlighted other cases of extremism apparent in a small minority of serving soldiers.
The Ministry of Defence is always at pains to play down or explain away the behaviour of a small minority in the military. The British military is stationed in some of the most culturally sensitive and volatile areas of the world, so it is understandable when people raise concerns about the behaviour of that small minority. Such behaviour could very well put at risk the lives of their colleagues and also raises concerns about their behaviour towards the civilian population.
Here at home, the British army has long been the target for far-right extremists. The English Defence League has had an appalling habit of trying to cash- in and capitalise on both the extraordinary courage of service men and women as well as sadly, tragedies that befall them.
The British National Party (BNP) is no exception, either. One of its more active members is Peter Molloy originally from Merseyside, now resident of Spennymoor in County Durham.
Wherever there is an opportunity for Molloy to dress up in military garb and paraphernalia he obliges. Molloy is a member of a political organisation, an extremist organisation, whose members are already banned from serving in a number of sensitive jobs because of it. The prison and police services in particular are sensitive enough to not allow members of the BNP in their employment.
This has not stopped Molloy, however, from volunteering to help with the Army Cadet Force-a sort of military boy scouts, in Spennymoor. This is despite the fact that Molloy belongs to a political party that regularly denies the rights or the bravery of British soldiers solely on the basis of their race of religion.
In particular, Grenada- born Victoria Cross winner Johnson Beharry was derided by the BNP, claiming that he was only awarded the Victoria CRoss (VC) for his immense bravery because he was black. On a number of occasions, the BNP has also attacked (in writing only, obviously) the Ghurkha regiment, one of the most popular regiment’s of the British army. The BNP has called them “mercenaries”.
Last week my colleague picked up another story of the BNP, again, abusing the Ghurkhas. Lynne Mozar who reads the BNP’s own (sick) version of the news for party members in her “The World at 8” internet show, claimed again, that they were little more than “mercenaries”, despite their undying loyalty and bravery for the crown for nearly two hundred years.
Quick to jump to the BNP’s defence was of course, Molly, the self styled officer of the “British Veterans’ Group” a BNP front group for racist ex-soldiers. He denied that Mozar spoke for the BNP, which is a bit like the BBC denying the content of their evening news program represented the BBC.
Molloy not only “educates” young minds in his local Army cadets, he also regularly appears next to self-styled paramilitaries like the Combine ex-Forces (CXF), a drink and drug addled assortment of wannabe paramilitaries and thieves, who once threatened to shoot police officers on a demonstration in London.
The young people in the Army Cadets ay well go on to chose a career in the military. That is their choice. If they choose to do so, in representing our country, they should do so without prejudices that jeopardise not only the safety of people in their care, but also that of their colleagues, wherever they may come from. The evidence suggests, that in the case of the BNP, that is not possible because they have neither respect nor regard for people of colour or people of different religions.
It’s time that people like Molloy were told to leave our kids and our military alone. Young minds in particular, do not need the sort of poison the BNP spews about people of colour.
nb: we have covered the faces of the cadets in the picture.