Letters to the Editor

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Valour medals – Proposed Bill is already flawed

Sir, – I refer to the Advertiser last week (March 2) this reporting on Midlothian North MSP Colin Beattie’s recent speech in the Scottish Parliament with regard to the “Awards for Valour (Protection Bill)” currently reaching its final reading in the UK Parliament.

As a so-called Veteran; I believe this bill to “be like using a sledgehammer to crack a nut”. It is already an offence under the Fraud Act of 2006 for someone to wear a medal they are not entitled to, but only if it is for financial gain. This offence carries a sentence of up to 10 years’ imprisonment.

This Bill seeks to tackle those who are not covered by this provision and this Bill seeks to make it an offence even if not for financial gain. The term “Walter Mitty” is often used to describe individuals who pose as military veterans (and wearing medals) that they have not earned themselves. I would suggest that most of these individuals do it as a result of some personality or mental health disorder; and as such need help and support – not prosecution, fines and prison sentences.

The Bill itself I believe is flawed anyway; in as much as it refers to “a medal, insignia, clasp, ribbon or bar or equivalent authorised by the Monarch or Defence Council awarded to a member of the United Kingdom‘s armed forces in connection with an act or acts of valour”.

So this Bill will not protect other medals etc. awarded by the Monarch or the Government i.e. Long Service and Good Conduct. In addition; what about Royal Honours, other services (fire, police etc)? – Yours, etc.,

Bob Bertram

Main Street

Pathhead

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