No, we veterans are not 'Far Right'

Last Saturday, I was with the veterans helping yesterday at the Bomber Command memorial in the company of Commonwealth veterans. We saw and deterred Antifa spotters and some noisy BLM supporters, who lost interest when they saw we were in earnest.

Bomber Command memorial has been the subject of vandalism by the radical left several times. Because of the distorted narrative about Dresden - a Nazi city and a key transport and logistics hub to the Eastern Front - the extreme left regard such an iconic and long overdue monument as an affront to their own detestation of real courage and patriotism.

We were not “the far right” despite the broadcasting media and senior police trying to smear us as such.

We were in touch with other veterans groups in London and were dismayed that some of the Police treated our colleagues as far right thugs, having well and truly bought into Sadiq Khan's malign and incendiary narrative.

Here is a balanced account of what happened in Whitehall.

I want to give some clarity to events in London because the main stream media won’t tell you the truth. So a call went out for veterans to attend the cenotaph to protect it this weekend from attack by Antifa and BLM. One group of veterans met up at the cenotaph whilst another met at Horseguards and then marched to the cenotaph. There was a group of probably fifty or sixty of us, many wearing masks and trying to social distance as best we could.

Shortly after members of the Football Lads Alliance came to join us but soon after police pushed them back behind some barriers, leaving the veterans alone and isolated at the cenotaph. All was peaceful. Then after an hour or two the police came over because one of the bosses, possibly Cressida the useless, wanted the veterans to leave and go to Parliament square. We refused and were then told we could be arrested under section 14 of the POA.

We stood our ground and repeated attempts were made for us to leave threatening arrest. Finally we could see police were bringing more and more riot officers into Whitehall and therefore in order to remain peaceful and take the higher moral standpoint we agreed to leave as long as we could be allowed to go to the guards memorial. 

We marched off in two groups. One group marched off past Churchill’s war rooms and short time later the other group did the same. As we left we thanked the police for there treatment towards us and they actually thanked and clapped us too.

We remained at the guards memorial a short time and then decided to move to Churchill’s statue to help protect that as we had seen a number of Antifa members threatening it, and so we marched into Parliament Square to the sound of the FLA singing Rule Britannia and God Save the Queen at us.

Most of the time in Parliament Square it was peaceful, but every now and then a little flare up occurred between protesters. Finally, we veterans decided that we would leave the area so not to get involved in violence as by this point it had filtered into the crowd that aAntifa and BLM were kicking off in Trafalgar Square. We gathered at Birdcage Walk and before we were let out a group of the FLA came towards us and the police riot line, where we saw some bottles thrown.

Immediately the veterans intervened and formed a line across the road between the police and FLA. It was obvious the football fans wanted to get through the line to get to Trafalgar Square. The violence stopped immediately and the FLA backed off.

At this point the veterans left Parliament Square, returned to the guards memorial and from there dispersed.

Not one veteran was arrested or caused any trouble whatsoever. Throughout they remained professional and although things with the police were too and fro at one point with threatening arrests both side remained calm and negotiated a solution.

It was a pleasure to stand with all the guys today.

It is hard to avoid seeing the disparity between policing on Saturday and the mayhem the week before when the Cenotaph was desecrated and young Troopers abused for cleaning up the Haig Memorial.

Veterans' faith in the government has been seriously frayed in recent years, not least with the Soldier F prosecution, the hounding of NI veterans and the Shiner kangaroo court. 

War Memorials are their temples, their cathedrals of remembrance. They must be defended, and if the police neglect this duty, then the military community will step in.

Simon McIlwaine, Former Conservative Parliamentary Candidate, former Charity CEO and Officer in a Veterans' Volunteer Corps