There was an interesting article in the Western Mail on Friday 1st February.
Labour MP Madeleine Moon is calling for an independent ombudsman to investigate the constant allegations of bullying and harassment in the armed forces. She explained to colleagues at Westminster that if a soldier was considered good at their job then they were likely to be highly protected in the event of accusations of harassment.
The outcome to those complaining seems to be routinely that they are ostracised, seen as socially incompatible with forces culture and often accused of lacking a sense of humour.
Ms Moon also added that complaining was not always an option as it usually had to go through the chain of command and doing so could have serious consequences for their future career.
I completely agree that something needs to be done, but the bullying element is not solely a military problem. Her ideas are great, but Ms Moon is trying to implement the kind of support that employees at work used to have before Vince Cable and the Tories took over. She’s talking about Tribunals, access to justice and the equivalent of ACAS for the forces. A hard task when the tide has turned on employees’ rights in general.
I also think there should be a distinction in Ms Moon’s reforms between workplace bullying and sexual assault committed in the forces. Sexual assault should be dealt with by the criminal courts.
I do hope Madeleine Moon gets somewhere with her reform requests at Westminster, but with the Tories at the helm, she might have to go in with a tin hat, urban camouflage and some SAS style determination.