I was truly shocked to see in the advertisement the liberal-oriented Independent newspaper on 7 October that the Royal British Legion Young Professionals Branch has taken sponsorship by the US giant military contractor Lockheed Martin for its “Poppy Rocks Ball” on 24 October.
The Young Professionals Branch and its activities are aimed at 18 to 40 year olds but membership is open to everyone, the RBL web site stresses.
The Poppy Rocks Ball is described thus:
On the 24 October, The Royal British Legion Young Professionals Branch is holding The Poppy Rocks Ball at the prestigious Honourable Artillery Company in the City of London. The Poppy Rocks Ball is a dinner, dance and auction for 320 people to raise funds and awareness of the charity.
The Poppy Rocks Ball starts with a drinks reception at 7pm and carriages at 1.30am. Dress code is ‘Black Tie with a Poppy’. Mess dress and service uniform is also encouraged.
The British Legion does commendable work looking after the welfare of our brave service people and medical auxiliaries who suffer physical and mental trauma serving the nation.
Indeed, for many years they were the only body prepared to assist those veterans suffering from hugely disabling from Gulf War Syndome, while ministers equivocated or denied its existence.( Gulf War: a legacy of suspicion, May 2007, http://www.britishlegion.org.uk/media/2278/gulf_war.pdf)
In my view it is totally inappropriate to accept sponsorship from a foreign company whose activities in Britain include being one of three contractors running the atomic warhead production factory at Aldermaston (“Decision delayed on running of troubled atomic weapons sites,” Independent, 21 September”
If ever used - as the prime minister has just this week pledged he would be prepared to do - it would result in the instant death of hundreds of thousands, and slow deaths of millions from radiation sickness and starvation.
Just what are the British Legion thinking?