Politicians' battalion fury
LIVID: Gordon Banks MP
GORDON Banks MP is outraged by the deep defence cuts to the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders.
On Thursday (5 July) the Secretary of State for Defence, Rt Hon. Philip Hammond MP, announced the source of the 20,000 military personnel to be made redundant as part of the government cuts to the armed forces.
The Scottish battalion which currently stands 465 strong will be reduced to 120 personnel and will carry out ceremonial duties outside Edinburgh Castle and other historic sites.
Gordon said, "The government has consigned hundreds of years of history to the dustbin today by slashing the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders to mere ceremonial duties and to 'company' status.
"I do not feel this is a fitting transfer of duties for the Argyll's who have fought in the first and second World Wars, the Korean War, Northern Ireland, Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as many other conflicts.
"Many of my constituents will be dismayed by this announcement due to the long-standing links between Clackmannanshire and the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders. Many of the current members are recruited from our area and these cuts will have a devastating impact."
MSP Keith Brown is also angered by the outcome.
He said, "There will be many people across Clackmannanshire who have a connection to someone who has served in the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders - fathers, brothers, uncles, sons or other family members - and over the years Clackmannanshire has forged and maintained strong links with the Argyll's, who still retain their home headquarters in nearby Stirling Castle."
In recognition of these bonds the Freedom of Clackmannanshire was given to the battalion in 2006.
Keith voiced his pro-independence by adding, "The great irony of this is that in an Independent Scotland there would be a need for such regiments, operating at much greater strength and as a key part of a conventional defence strategy.
"With their continuing commitment to nuclear weapons, the Westminster parties have made it clear that they prioritise Trident over troops and this is at least in part the reason for further army cuts of this nature.
"The Westminster anti-independence parties' attack on independence is often focused on defence issues but in reality the destruction to almost nothing of the armed services in Scotland is happening because these decisions are still being made by their parties at Westminster.
"Our community must unite to fight against allowing this battalion falling victim to the cruel Tory axe."
A petition against the cuts can be signed at Keith Brown's office on Drysdale Street in Alloa.
This article appeared in Alloa & Hillfoots Advertiser 11 Jul 12
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