While driving through the rain on Tuesday from North Wales (visiting family and bossy big sister) to Lincolnshire (visiting family and bossy little sister) I listened to an interview with Labour blogger, Ipswich Councillor and 2 Rifle soldier, Alasdair Ross.
Alasdair was being interviewed on Radio 4 PM programme about his experiences during a recent tour in Afghanistan as an Army warrant officer. Alasdair gave a thoughtful and confident interview.
It started about 17 minutes into the programme and lasted for 8 (you can hear it in full here for next 5 days). He had served in the Army for 24 years when he retired, became a teacher and was elected as a Labour Councillor for Ipswich. He then voluntarily rejoined 2 Rifles as a reservist for his final tour which was spent in Helmand province in Afghanistan. 2 Rifles lost 13 soldiers during the tour including 5 killed in one day. The Battle group he was attached to lost 24 out of 1100 soldiers.
Alastair phrased the bravery of the local Afghans who despite the threats from the Taliban turned out to vote during the recent election there. He pointed out as a Labour Politician he knows that if it rains in the UK the vote will go down while in Helmand voters had to face rocket attacks! He also finished by stating that it is important that people like him who have been there now take part in the PR battle ahead about the war. What the Army wants is not sympathy - it wants backing.