UKIP Veterans Spokesman, Mike Hookem MEP, slammed an interview given by Jim Davidson on Sky News this morning saying some of the ‘comic’s’ comments were “damn right offensive to many veterans.”
“To say that there is an ‘entitlement culture’ developing within the veteran community is offensive and plainly wrong.
“I have visited charities across the country and have seen no evidence of these claims. If fact, the opposite is often the case where veterans are too proud to ask for the help and care they need!
“And in many cases, it is currently falling to veterans struggling with their own issues, to help others worse off than themselves, often at their own cost.
“I don’t see Mr Davidson walking the streets helping homeless vets; or serving tea in some of the small charities that dot the country helping guys with mental and physical scars of their service. If he did, then maybe he would realise that the issues he is so dismissive of, are in fact very real problems that cost lives!
“Many of the veterans I speak to who are struggling - sometimes to the point of being sectioned - can’t get a PTSD diagnosis for years.
“I have seen people crawling the walls, wanting to kill themselves because they are struggling to access any form of help and care.
“In many cases, it has been down to the small, often self-funded charities, that some veterans have not taken their own lives.
“To be so dismissive of that is appalling.
“And while I respect the incredible work of organisations such as the Royal British Legion and Combat Stress; time and again I am told by veterans of the long delays they face in accessing treatment or even getting an assessment.
“In many cases, if it were not for the many small charities such as the Veterans Association UK and the Bolton Armed Forces Centre being on hand, the outcome would be tragic.
“While I agree that more must be done to help military charities to work together, at the end of the day, it is the responsibility of the Government to look after veterans, not that of charities!
“The Government are the ones who sent these people to war, and they are the ones that need to pick up the pieces after. Bunging a few quid to organisations like Combat stress or the Royal British Legion does not absolve the Government of their responsibilities.
“That is why we need a government funded Veterans Affairs department that will oversee all advice and care for former members of the armed forces moving forward.
Homeless Veteran Campaigner, David Woods, who has helped to house over 70 veterans also blasted Mr Davidson saying, “I am absolutely appalled by the statement from Jim Davidson. He seems to think that some of our Veterans are wearing PTSD as a badge of honour.”
“It is hard enough getting Veterans to stand up and admit they have a problem without statements like this.”
“I speak to veterans on a weekly basis who phone me up in the deepest pits of despair and I am trying to prevent them from killing themselves.
“As a Military Covenant Advisor who has housed over 70 veterans over the last two years I am appalled that Jim Davidson is stating that the Veterans Fraternity are going to start relying on charities and are just going to sit back and wait for charities to help them.
“This is not the mind set of our veterans who are proud of what they have done for their country and the stubbornness and pride that our veterans have is what creates the obstacles when there is help out there from so many different charities.”
“I know of many charities that work together very well for the sake of the veterans. I also have experience of signposting veterans that have been taken off the streets onto other charities that provide the help they may need.”
“There wouldn't be the need for so many charities if the Government actually provided the help that is needed with our veterans in this country.
“Whilst there may be some charities that don’t carry out what they say they do, this is very small compared to the charities and the volunteers that do so much.”
“We need more people who volunteer their time and effort to help our Veterans and not charities that pay their CEO's huge salaries. Money donated needs to go to the veterans not to pay people a wage. That is not charity in my eyes!”
Jim Davidson interviewed on Sky News