BAFF in the News (2013-2016)
22 - BAFF spokesman Adrian Weale was interviewed on BBC Radio Scotland about the Awards for Valour (Protection) Bill, which is the subject of a report released today by the House of Commons Defence Committee, and is due to be debated in Parliament on Friday 25 Nov. Adrian spoke about the real harm created by fraudulent wearing of medals.
18 - The former BAFF Chairman was interviewed on 'Good Morning Scotland' to discuss, with ex-soldier Wayne Sharrocks who had joined on his 17th birthday and was later wounded in Afghanistan, a report issued today by the health activist charity MedAct entitled 'The Recruitment of Children by the UK Armed Forces'. The Director of Medact had given an earlier interview. Our former Chairman was critical of the report but as the time available was curtailed by an extended item about UKIP, we have asked him to provide a short commentary reflecting BAFF policy on the recruitment of 17 and 18 year olds.
08 - British Armed Forces Federation former Chairman Douglas Young discussed with Martha Spurrier, Director of Liberty, the announcement at the Conservative party conference that the UK would suspend parts of the European Convention of Human Rights before deploying troops on future operations. The discussion took place on BBC Radio Scotland's Good Morning Scotland programme, with presenter Laura Maciver.
04 - BAFF was quoted in a Daily Record story about new rules on alcohol consumption in the Army: Army chiefs launch booze blitz to crack down on drinking in barracks after shocking squaddies' naked initiation video:
"Individuals recruited to the Armed Forces are often from peer groups which are acknowledged to be at higher risk of alcohol abuse, such as young single males. Stressful experiences can also be a factor for serving personnel and for veterans. The Army is right to be concerned about the effect of alcohol abuse amongst its soldiers, especially if it reduces operational capability, or puts soldiers or others at risk. Sensible measures to tackle the problem are to be welcomed. It must be remembered, however, that soldiers are entitled to private lives too, and for single personnel, the barracks is their home."
04 - The BAFF chairman was interviewed on BBC Radio Wales' Good Morning Wales programme following the conclusion of the coroner's inquest into the death of Private Cheryl James at Deepcut Barracks in November 1995.
28 - The BAFF Chairman was interviewed on BBC Scotland's Newsdrive programme about the 10th anniversary of the Royal Regiment of Scotland.
The Regiment received the Freedom of the Highlands in October. Members of the Regiment have been commemorating the anniversary in locations from Orkney to Galloway, and the Regiment exercises the Freedom of the City of Edinburgh with a Royal Mile parade on 22 April. Also in Edinburgh, a new exhibition marking its first decade of operations will be opened in the Scottish National War Museum at the Castle, and a thanksgiving service will be held at the Canongate Kirk.
19 - The BAFF Chairman Douglas Young was interviewed by BBC Scotland's Newsdrive presenter Mhairi Stewart about a story, first reported in The Times, that Royal Navy Police were investigating allegations that young Royal Marines had been subjected to some kind of initiation ceremony at Faslane, HM Naval Base Clyde. While questioning speculative aspects of the story and expressing doubt on the description of the alleged victims as "recruits", Young supported the action reportedly being taken by the Service authorities.
15 - Brendan O'Hara MP (SNP Westminster Group Leader - Defence) said in the Second Reading of the Armed Forces Bill that his Party would be supporting the Bill and would like to introduce provision for placing the British Armed Forces Federation on a statutory footing. Other members replied.
16 - The BAFF Chairman, Douglas Young, took part in a Radio 5Live discussion about the failure of the new Labour Party leader, Jeremy Corbyn, to sing the National Anthem during the Battle of Britain Memorial Service. Young refused to jump on the Outrage Bus as it was clear that no disrespect to anyone was intended, but as the leader of a great party Mr Corbyn needed to think through how to deal with such situations in future. Labour sources later indicated that he would be singing the National Anthem at public events in future.
13 - BAFF Chairman Douglas Young was interviewed on BBC Radio Scotland about a survey on harassment in the Army, in discussion with Prof Sir Cary Cooper.
13 - The recurrent "British Army has more horses than tanks" story reappeared in various media. ForcesTV quoted the BAFF Chairman: "The figures don't necessarily mean we have got too many horses, it's more likely the figures mean we don't have enough tanks."
18 - Douglas Young was interviewed on BBC Radio Sheffield's Breakfast Show about National Service and the related subject of young people in trouble. Young did not think that conscription would be helpful to today's professional armed forces; compulsorily enlisting people in trouble would be undesirable for several reasons; but he had seen for himself how service in the armed forces had been the making of people; the forces were notable for offering social mobility. Young also spoke about the work of youth organisations in their communities, particularly the cadet forces which in his opinion had never been more impressive. Young people, including those from chaotic or difficult backgrounds, flourish in an environment with boundaries.
17 - The BAFF Chairman was interviewed on Radio 5Live about Prince Harry's remarks about the benefits of military service.
10 - BAFF Chairman Douglas Young was quoted in a Sun on Sunday report that seven servicemen a month are being booted out of the military for taking steroids. See our new article: Anabolic steroids: "Don't risk your career over these banned substances".
12 - BAFF Chairman D Young took part in a BBC Radio Wales discussion ahead of a House of Commons debate on Defence Spending.
08 - Douglas Young took part in a Radio 5 Live discussion about the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCS).
17 - BAFF's Douglas Young was quoted in a Daily Record story about the availability of a stimulant linked by some to the deaths of three soldiers: "The Army's policy on this is perfectly clear, whether people agree with it or not. The normal use of products such as cold remedies containing ephedrine is not banned but soldiers must in their own interests declare such use when giving samples for compulsory drugs testing. Anyone using bulk ephedrine or similar substances for supposed fitness purposes is at best playing Russian roulette with their career."
01 - BAFF Chairman Douglas Young was quoted in a Daily Record story about bodybuilding and the use of musclebuilding supplements - some of them illegal - by some soldiers. He said: "The cult of bodybuilding – or Op Massive – is quite widespread in the Army for various reasons, one reason being that soldiers want to make the best of themselves. Banned steroids and stimulants don't make anyone a better soldier. They make them more prone to injury or even death under heavy physical stress and can lead to mental issues like increased anger and anxiety levels." For more on this see archived article: Zero tolerance to banned sports supplements.
20 - BAFF's campaign for recognition of the right of association for UK armed forces personnel featured in English-language broadcasts by French channel RFI, see below.
19 - British Armed Forces Federation (BAFF) was mentioned in an English-language online report by French broadcaster RFI: French military to be allowed to form professional associations, not unions. See also BAFF article.
29 - The BAFF Chairman was interviewed on BBC Radio Scotland about claims by medical experts that the State is failing to abide by its pledge to give injured British soldiers priority for medical treatment in the years after their service.
29 - BAFF was quoted in a news story Boobytrap bomb blasts have left stricken soldiers with injuries to their private parts, Daily Record investigation reveals. BAFF told the Record's Stephen Stewart "For many deployed troops, there has always been an apprehension of this type of horrific injury. What is new has been the high incidence of IED-type attacks in current operations and, due to the speed and excellence of medical care, the high survival rate of the very seriously injured. From no groin protection at all a few years ago, the equipment available to male and female personnel is now quite impressive and the UK led its development. This is a type of injury that is not generally encountered in the NHS and in many cases will require a lifetime of specialised medical and psychological support."
06 - BAFF Chairman, Douglas Young, was interviewed on the BBC's Good Morning Wales programme about delays by Veterans UK in processing claims by serving personnel, veterans and bereaved dependants under the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCS). See AFCS delays allegedly "down to compensation culture" and Armed Forces Compensation Scheme latest: Dodgy figures and a whispering campaign.
12 - The BAFF Chairman was on BBC Radio Scotland's John Beattie programme to discuss the news that the veterans mental health charity Combat Stress had received 358 new Afghanistan veteran referrals in 2013, a 57% rise on the previous year. Young suggested that amongst other factors affecting this important issue, the increase was not all bad news in reflecting increased awareness and education amongst those serving.
10 - BAFF Chairman Douglas Young was interviewed on the Good Morning Wales programme about the leak of photographs apparently showing one or two British servicemen posing with the body of an insurgent following the Taliban attack on Camp Bastion, Afghanistan in Sep 2012.
Young also appeared in a package for BBC Scotland's 6 PM News, in which he disagreed with claims by Amnesty International and a human rights lawyer that the incident amounted to a war crime, whatever else might be said about it.
17 - BAFF's Adrian Weale was quoted in a newspaper report that over a three-year period more than 600 troops in Scotland's infantry super-regiment had failed rigorous fitness tests. Weale suggested that operational tempo was one likely factor: "You don't get to do much physical training on operations and then you have a big downtime afterwards where you fill up with beer and junk food."
08 - BAFF's Douglas Young was quoted in a story by the Daily Record's Stephen Stewart revealing that more than 200 soldiers had left the Royal Regiment of Scotland between April 2012, despite a recruiting drive costing millions. While mentioning a number of reasons for the fall including restructuring which reduced the regiment's 5th Battalion to company strength, Young stressed the importance of retention, looking after our soldiers and making their post-Afghan service worthwhile. Scotland's regiment shows record fall in numbers as Government defence cutbacks bite.
03 - BAFF Executive Council member Adrian Weale told BBC Radio Wales he thought an independent ombudsman was a good idea as armed forces personnel had to complain through their chain of command - and that may be via the person they accused of bullying them. British Armed Forces Federation is a leading advocate of the raising of the powers of the Service Complaints Commissioner to those of a full independent armed forces ombudsman. Armed Services bullying action call by MP Madeleine Moon.
14 - BAFF's Adrian Weale was quoted in support of a Fijian soldier who had fought for Britain in Afghanistan but said the Army had failed to tell him about the need to apply for leave to remain in the UK after leaving the service, and had been detained by Home Office officials pending deportation. Telegraph: Afghan veteran faces deportation. The veteran was granted leave to remain two days later.
10 - BAFF spokesman Adrian Weale warned that "Afghanistan should not become a forgotten conflict... it is important we remember that people are still sacrificing themselves and taking risks on our behalf." Telegraph: Do not overlook troops still in Afganistan, warn military figures
08 - BAFF's Adrian Weale gave interviews on BBC Radio Scotland and BBC Radio Wales in response to the latest intervention by Child Soldiers International against recruitment opportunities for teenagers.
18 - BAFF chairman D Young was interviewed on BBC Radio Scotland about the 'Fog of Law' paper issued by the Policy Exchange think tank. Young welcomed a debate on the important issues raised but was incredulous about some claims and recommendations in the paper. A fuller response will follow on this website.
18 - Also on 18 Oct, BAFF welcomed the decision of the SNP party conference that the personnel of any independent Scottish Defence Force should have the official right of representation, as part of a package of improved conditions for service personnel. SNP press release. BAFF remains neutral and impartial on the independence referendum decision.
13 - BAFF was quoted in the Scottish edition of The Sunday Times:
Douglas Young, chairman of the British Armed Forces Federation, a staff association not officially recognised by the MOD, said the right of representation as part of an enhanced personnel package would make a lot of sense for the SDF.
"A representative federation would need to be in place early to help with the many personnel issues which would have to be addressed," said Young. "Scotland wouldn't need to slavishly copy any overseas model but the SNP is right to look at Denmark as an example of a small country with robust, effective armed forces within NATO, supported by sensible representative arrangements."
Both official sides of the referendum debate are fully aware that BAFF, while encouraging eligible voters in the armed forces community to make sure they are registered and then make their own choice in the Scottish independence referendum on 18 Sep 2014, is impartial on the referendum decision itself. This considered stance was reaffirmed at the recent BAFF AGM.
01 - A BAFF spokesman took part in the 'Good Morning Scotland' programme to discuss concerns about alleged half-time behaviour at the recent Rangers FC Armed Forces Day event at Ibrox Stadium.
03 Jul - BAFF's Adrian Weale was interviewed on Radio 5Live ahead of the Future Reserves (FR20) announcement in the House of Commons.
20 Jun - The BAFF Chairman was quoted in a BBC News online article following the Chief Secretary of the Treasury's comment that "In a department where there are more horses than tanks, there is room for efficiency savings."
18 Jun - BAFF spokesman Adrian Weale was quoted in the Daily Telegraph Defence Correspondent's coverage of the tranche 3 army redundancy notifications - Army cuts: 'Poor morale and uncertainty' lead soldiers to leave.
23 - BAFF's Adrian Weale was interviewed on the BBC World Service following the killing of a man believed to be a serving soldier in yesterday's incident outside Woolwich Barracks, London.
23 - The BAFF Chairman, Douglas Young, gave three BBC radio interviews following the release of a new paper by Child Soldiers International and ForcesWatch: 'One Step Forward'.
One of these interviews, on BBC Radio Scotland, also featured Richard Clarke, Director of Child Soldiers International. BAFF strongly supports the campaign against the use of actual "child soldiers" in conflict anywhere in the world. BAFF made representations to the Armed Forces Bill Committee in 2011 about the importance of UK armed forces in future obtaining the informed consent as adults, to continue their service under adult obligations, of those who originally joined under 18. BAFF disagrees, however, with current campaigns against the acceptance of under-18s for apprenticeship training not involving under-age deployment on combat operations.
15 - BAFF was quoted in the Daily Telegraph lead story about the Armed Forces Pay Review Body (AFPRB) recommendations for 2012-13 and the Government's decision not to renew the appointment of the AFPRB Chairman: David Cameron sacks adviser in row over Armed Forces pay. Douglas Young, the chairman of the British Armed Forces Federation, said the decision to remove Prof Smith from his post seemed "vindictive". "If Prof Smith's appointment is not being renewed when he is happy to go on serving in the post, it does raise questions about the independence of the AFPRB and is a cause for deep concern."
05 - A BAFF representative contributed to the BBC's Good Morning Scotland programme in advance of today's Defence Basing Review announcement. Following the Secretary of State's announcement in the House of Commons, the full Regular Army basing plan is now available here: Ministry of Defence link (PDF document).
26 - BAFF Chairman Douglas Young was quoted in a story by the Guardian's Nick Hopkins: Military staff fear redundancy if they complain about bullying, says report.
26 - A report by the House of Commons Defence Committee supported the call by BAFF, and by the present Commissioner, for the Service Complaints Commissioner's role to be upgraded to that of a military ombudsman. The Committee also quoted from BAFF's written evidence to the inquiry that a fear of the consequences of making a complaint, particularly during the current redundancy programmes, deterred individuals from making a complaint.
14 - A BAFF spokesman was interviewed on BBC Radio Scotland's Good Morning Scotland programme ahead of tomorrow's launch of the 'TA Live' publicity campaign. Issues discussed included the crucial importance of employers to the success of 'Future Reserves 2020'. BAFF's membership includes both reservists and regulars.
31 - BAFF's call for the Service Complaints Commissioner to have full powers of a military ombudsman was mentioned by Gemma Doyle MP (Shadow Defence Minister for Defence Personnel, Welfare and Veterans) in Westminster Hall debate on the military justice system: "I think that all parties agree that the Service Complaints Commissioner is doing an excellent job, but she and the British Armed Forces Federation have called for the creation of an ombudsman, and we agree with that proposal." Read. View.
09 - Letter from BAFF Chairman published in The Times under the heading of 'Service complaints'.