Our country’s national security is reliant on the commitment, courage and patriotism of the individuals who serve in our Armed Forces. Veterans of the Forces make an unsurpassed contribution to our country. It must be the duty of all political parties to put their interests at the very top of our priorities.
The defence community consists not just of those on the frontline, but also their families whose quiet courage and consistent support is the vital for our Forces overseas. They too deserve a comprehensive policy programme which provides the highest levels of support.
No party has a monopoly of wisdom or experience on defence. For Labour, Service people are a proud part of our history. Jim Callaghan was in the Royal Navy before he was Prime Minister, Denis Healey served in the Army before he served as Chancellor, and today there are many more. We know that there is a wisdom that comes with service that is precious and it must be an important part of our politics, providing insight and experience to shape important decisions.
Defence is an issue unlike many others and transcends party politics. Labour Friends of the Forces will operate on that basis. While sympathetic to the aims and values of the Labour Party, it aims primarily to help the service community to participate in our political system, as is appropriate, and use their experience to build the best possible policy programme, which will serve the frontlines around the world and the defence community at home. The wisdom that comes from service should enrich us, improving not only our policy-making but our representativeness.
Labour Friends of the Forces will demonstrate the value Labour places on the defence community. This work has started with a successful campaign to enshrine the Military Covenant in law and our being the first ever party to offer a reduced membership rate for service personnel and veterans who can join the Labour Party for just £1 for the first year.
Labour Friends of the Forces will demonstrate how the Labour Party can serve those who have served our country. We will aim to help the service community to come together and discuss their priorities, and we will make military communities a priority of our own. We know service people and their families’ unique lifestyles often inhibit political engagement and so will seek to help people overcome the barriers that arise from service life.
Membership of this organisation is free. If you sympathise with Labour values and have a passion for the people at the heart of defence policy come and join us.
The Service community, we know, is central to our belief in a Britain that works to protect our interests, promote our values and advance our ideas in the world. Labour Friends of the Forces will help to support our goal of a 21st Century Armed Forces supported by high levels of care and assistance and an advanced equipment programme.