IslingtonTribune

The independent London newspaper

‘Alarm’ over soldiers’ behaviour to Jeremy Corbyn

Labour members call on army chief to investigate video of troops firing at a poster of Jeremy Corbyn

19 April, 2019 — By Calum Fraser

Joseph Croft, vice chair of the branch; Ruth Clarke, secretary; Jenny Kassman and Ann Devine

LABOUR Party members in Islington have called on the army to investigate “senior officers” and a “disconcerting” culture that allowed soldiers to allegedly use a picture of Jeremy Corbyn for target practice.

In a letter sent to Sir Nick Carter, chief of defence staff, 21 Labour Party members in Finsbury Park ward detailed how “upset and alarmed” they were when they saw a video that shows soldiers apparently shooting bullets at a large poster of the Islington North MP’s face.

The letter says: “We are concerned about what this video reveals in respect to the existing culture and mind-set within parts of the armed forces. In our view, to use an image of our MP as a target in their shooting practice was indicative of a lack of respect for the life of a person.”

The group criticise the idea that the alleged shooting practice was filmed and “un­ashamedly circulated” on social media. They worry that the army may be adopting a political stance, when it is meant to be neutral.

The letter calls on army chiefs to investigate senior officers and the culture which “allowed these soldiers to feel there was nothing untoward” about their actions.

One signatory, Ann Devine, told the Tribune: “I come from a family in the forces. In no way are we bashing the army. What we’re saying is that the culture in the army is one of the most important things. It’s the unwritten rules and understandings that hold them together in a fire fight. We do not want the conduct of a few idiots to poison that culture.”

Jenny Kassman, who helped pen the letter, told the Tribune: “The most shocking thing is that this incident reveals a lack of respect for humanity and the value of being a human being. We wanted to show our support for our MP who is liked and respected by so many people in this constituency.”

The Ministry of Defence could not confirm whether Sir Nick Carter had received the letter or whether he would reply to it.

A spokesman for the army said: “The army is, and always will be, a non-political organisation.”

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