Political support for the "right of association" for armed forces personnel has increased in the 8 years since the launch of the British Armed Forces Federation, but remains patchy. We cover in a separate article a new message of support from the Liberal Democrats, and the position of the outgoing coalition government. But only the Scottish National Party (SNP) has made a General Election manifesto commitment to representation for armed forces personnel.
The SNP confirms in the Defence Section of its General Election manifesto, under "Looking After Our Service Personnel", that:
We also support giving Armed Forces representative bodies a statutory footing.
BAFF comment: The inclusion of representation in the SNP manifesto is a logical development of that party's policy, adopted in the run up to the Scotland Referendum, to allow representation in the defence force of an independent Scotland.
We knew that the SNP had closely researched representative arrangements in Denmark and Ireland before arriving at that considered policy, which was duly endorsed at the party's Annual Conference 2013, as we reported at the time: BAFF welcomes another party's decision to support right of representation.
Having already come to the considered view that representation would be appropriate for the personnel of a Scottish Defence Force, it is entirely proper for the SNP, in campaigning in a UK General Election, to support the same principle in a UK context.
BAFF's political neutrality is again emphasised below. BAFF has no hesitation, however, in welcoming this new manifesto pledge from the Scottish National Party.
BAFF and the General Election
BAFF encourages its members, and others in the armed forces community, to register to vote, and then to exercise their own voting choice in any election or referendum. British Armed Forces Federation's political neutrality is not only hard-wired into its Constitution, but also demonstrated by its consistent track record while operating in the public arena and online over more than eight years. BAFF continues to build cross-party support for the principle of service personnel representation, and remains available for consultation by any registered political parties or candidates.