Hurrah to the Act which has come to the aid of 'our boys' out on the battlefield, protecting them from harm and making sure that they're sent out with the right kit. Surely that's something worth celebrating?
Ah, but when the Act in question is the despised [Littlejohn] Yuman Rites [/Littlejohn] Act, then that causes a problem for our friends in the tabloids. Sure, they support our troops, but they can't be seen to be supportive of an Act they have constantly vilified down the months - can they?
Well, I can't find the story at all in the Sun, although to be fair to them they were supportive of the action when it was first victorious in court. The Sun, after all, always puts 'our boys' first. So I imagine this causes fewer problems for them than their friends in Fleet Street.
The Express doesn't know which way to go. It has an interview with a soldier's mother praising the verdict, but in their story about the court ruling, they make it clear it's a 'controversial' decision and frame the decision as a loss for the Government and the MoD rather than a victory for ordinary soldiers.
With the Mail, it's rather more clear cut where their sympathies lie - this is the HRA, for God's sake, and they must be against it! And they're also against compensation claims (even for soldiers killed because they didn't have the right kit). So they're fiercely opposed to the decision:
It could open the floodgates for lawsuits by the families of troops killed or injured abroad because they were sent into conflict without the right equipment.
And military experts warned that it could lead officers to avoid taking action during battle because of the risk of being sued.
It could OPEN THE FLOODGATES for people to legitimately sue the Government when their relatives are sent into battle with the wrong kit. Yeah, bastards. Classical Mail quote here:
Major General Julian Thompson, a former Royal Marines officer and Falklands war commander, said: 'Taken to its ridiculous logical conclusion, you could find officers telling troops not to take up a position because someone might get killed, and instead sitting tight and doing nothing.
Taken to its ridiculous conclusion, the Mail would rather slag off a piece of legislation it doesn't like at the expense of justice for brave soldiers killed doing their duty while hopelessly equipped. I don't know how well that sits with a patriotic newspaper, but there you go.
This commenter on the website is, of course, roundly voted down by fellow Mail readers:
It's just as well that the servicemen had the Human Rights Act to rely on, isn't it? If the people who want to abolish it had had their way, this case wouldn't even have got to court.
- Lizzy, Aberystwyth, 18/5/2009 13:25
Which is a shame, really, because that's a very good point.