The Government Spin is Unspun
On this page page we unspin the spin put out by Government departments in an endeavour to justify their shameful and mean-minded decision to deny only British veterans the right to wear the Pingat Jasa Malaysia - and we challenge them to prove that we are wrong.
We demonstrate how the PJM has been reduced to its trinket status through a carefully contrived form of words that emerged in a confused and confusing Ministerial Statement.
All we ask is that readers consider this sumnmary with an open mind.
And when you've read this summary, please read the page on which We Rebut Their Myths.
The Ministerial Statement of the 31 st January 2006 states that the recommendation, which the Queen has approved, stipulates that “Permission to wear the PJM will not, however, formally be given”.
The Statement endeavours to justify this recommendation by reference to two “long-established” rules. We submit that the recommendation withholding such permission was based on two long-standing myths, upon an incomplete set of facts, is inappropriate and, rather than reflecting a “long-established” regime, the recommendation in the Statement conflicts in material ways with the typical pattern of British medallic policy over the last one hundred years.
It is clear from the lengths to which the Ministerial Statement goes to explain the recommendation that the Government was aware of the deficiencies in its case.
The following summary demonstrates that the Ministerial Statement is faulted and misleading - hand a corkscrew to these chaps in Whitehall, and they'd find a form of words to make it look like a six inch nail.
We'll post our full Rebuttal of that Ministerial Statement on this web site soon.
British veterans are denied the right to wear the PJM for two basic reasons. The first is that a medal is not presented if personnel already have one. Tosh! we say. Read this:
The Double-Medal Rule is myth
The majority of those eligible for the PJM do not have a British medal.
No NGSM’s (clasp “ Malaya”) were awarded to RN ships companies from 1954 to 1960 (see Admiralty Fleet Order 2460 1960). The PJM recommendation denies these men any medal for their service.
The only “long-standing” feature of this rule is that it has been broken time and time again over the last century. We shall offer numerous examples of authorised and approved (for wear) double-medals.
Indeed, one medal introduced by the MoD in 1994 can only be awarded if the applicant already has a medal for the same service. That medal is still being awarded.
The second, and only other, basic excuse that the British government offers to deny British veterans the right to wear the PJM is that the PJM service was more than five years ago. "Que?" So how soon do you award a Commemorative medal? Read this:
The 5-Year Rule is another myth:
It is not a “long-established” rule in the context of the 650 years of the Honours System - in fact it is not 'established' at all.
This myth is written in folklore.
A time-barred limitation was ‘encouraged’ by civil servants after the end of WW2 specifically to cover the anticipated influx of requests for operational medals not Foreign awards following the end the war.
Typically it is not raised as an objection when there is a political will to accept a medal.
It has been misunderstood even by those who endeavour to apply it.
A 5-year limitation is inappropriate to a “Commemorative Medal” which would normally only be awarded after a period of time has elapsed from the time of the service.
'They' tried to legitimise it in the Suez Canal Zone medal recommendation but that was a British Operational medal, not a Foreign award.
Eligibility for a medal introduced by the MoD in 1994 specifically provides for service carried out up to 37 years ago. That medal is still being awarded.
The fact of the matter is that the two-pronged attack on the PJM is a well-known device to prevent a medal being worn. But then, the rules being so "long-established", you'd expect them to be etched in granite. We don't thnk so!
Exceptions to the Two ‘Rules’ Abound:
- This assertion is misleading - the implication is that there has been a coherent and consistent application of rules, all approved by the Sovereign, and that great lengths have been gone to in order to enable the PJM to be accepted. In reality the only great lengths that have been gone to were those designed specifically to prevent an unrestricted recommendation for the PJM.
‘Spin’ on Words:
“… may receive the PJM … in addition to the British General Service Medal” - these words are knowingly misleading and are designed to produce an impression that is untrue in reality. In fact, the majority of those eligible for the PJM do not have a British medal.
“Permission to wear the PJM will not, however, formally be given” - we shall demonstrate that these words have been concocted to disguise the true nature of the recommendation. We shall quote official variations on this theme that illustrate that the words in the Statement have no formal meaning. The words were calculated to fudge the issue. It succeeded - even the MoD and the Foreign Office do not understand them.
The Malaysian High Commission and the relevant British Government agencies will work together to determine eligible applicants.” - these words hide the fact that Government agencies intended from outset to disregard key aspects of the Malaysian request in order to suit their own agendas. In particular, we shall record that the British have refused to verify applicants’ service records - a refusal that impinges on the integrity of the PJM.
“Veterans’ organisations and Service and Regimental Associations will also be involved” - these words are intended to disguise the fact that the British Government, without explaining their intentions to the Malaysians or to the Associations, intended to insist that if any Association volunteered to help the Government such an offer would result in the Association not only doing all the MoD’s work but also having to fund all their costs. This will result in our veterans, through their subscriptions, having to pay those costs … even including postage.
The PJM has been judged inappropriately:
The recommendation makes no mention of the key reasons why the PJM was offered by Malaysia.
The PJM has been judged as if it were a British medal, not as an award from a Commonwealth country acknowledging Commonwealth veterans’ achievements while on Commonwealth service.
The PJM was not offered to the UK in isolation, it was offered to Commonwealth countries and should be considered in that context and not myopically, seen only from an out-dated British perspective.
With hindsight and in the context of the facts in this rebuttal, the Statement:
Is seen, even in Government Departments, as being “less than explanatory” and “not helpful”.
It was an inappropriate compromise that simply has not worked - and never will.
Deprives the majority of those eligible, including many National Servicemen, from any medallic acknowledgement, British or otherwise, of their service in Malaysia.
Discriminates amongst Commonwealth nations.
Discriminates between British citizens - i.e. between those who have, subsequent to PJM service, acquired Dual Nationality and those who have not.
British Servicemen do not wear Foreign Decorations!
That's what the civil servants tell the world. But it simply isn't true.
Here is an email to an MP who had been told this lie by civil servants - it tell the truth:
----- Forwarded by Barry Fleming/BAFleming on 22/12/2006 14:33 -----
Barry Fleming, Fight4thePJM
Date: 22/12/2006 14:33
Subject: Pingat Jasa Malaysia (PJM) - EDMs (356 and 375 of 2006/7)
Dear Mr Tredinnick,
I see that your stance on the EDMs and the PJM has attracted considerable interest which is very healthy for our campaign fighting for the right to wear the medal.
Many messages to you will reflect the understandable frustration that British veterans are feeling because of the obfuscation of the civil servants who are involved - the sort of myths that are involved when they brief MPs and the media to the effect that it is not normal for British Servicemen to be allowed to wear Foreign Decorations.
I respect your views, of course, but I think they are based on a misunderstanding. I would like to suggest that you contact again whoever told you that British Servicemen do not normally wear medals issued by Foreign countries. In fact it is common practice. Before going out to finish my Christmas shopping (been busy with this campaign!) I have quickly drawn up this list of fairly recent medals all of which are from Foreign Countries and all of which have been formally accepted for Unrestricted Wear - and could be seen on a British uniform:
Indian Independence Medal
Ceylon Armed Forces Inauguration Medal
Malawi Independence Medal
Guyanan Independence Medal (Worn by HRH FM Duke of Kent
Fiji Independence Medal
Papua New Guinea Independence Medal
Solomon Islands Independence Medal
Gilbert Islands Independence Medal
Ellis Islands Independence Medal
St Christopher Nevis & Anguilla Independence Medal
Service Medal of the Order of St John of Jerusalem
Belize Defence Force 15th Anniversary Medal
Interfet Medal (Australia) (International Force East Timor)
Nigeria Independence Medal
Kenya Campaign Medal (North Eastern Kenya)
Malay Active Service Medal
Royal Brunei Armed Forces Silver Jubilee Medal
Pingat Laila Tugas Brunei GSM
Unitas Medal - BMATT South Africa
Malta GC 50th Anniversary of the War Medal
Brunei Silver Jubilee Medal
Iraq Active Service Medal
Iraq Floods Medal
Iran Coronation Medal
Vietnam Service Medal
Oman GSM (Dhofar)
As Sumood Medal - Oman
Peace Medal - Operational Emblem Oman
Peace Medal (Oman)
Accession Medal (Oman)
10th Anniversary Day Medal (Oman)
Russian 40th Anniversary of the War 1985
Order of the Special Royal Emblem (Oman)
Glorious 15th National Day Medal (Oman)
Glorious 20th National Day Medal (Oman)
Glorious 25th National Day Medal (Oman)
Glorious 30th National Day Medal (Oman)
Kuwait Military Service Medal (5 years long service, awarded to loan personnel)
Glorious 35th National Day Medal (Oman)
May I just add that the Conservative Party Defence Team and the Conservative Party ex-Foreign Secretary (Rt Hon Sir Malcolm Rifkind) all support our case, as do so many other MPs from all political parties. The PJM has been accepted by the Queen for wear by all Commonwealth countries who fought to protect the newly independent country - but not the British. That can't be right - and I'm delighted to report that the Conservatives are going to sort out the mess that is the current Foreign Decorations Rules.
I very much hope that you will review your stance on our case. It really is a just one. We need your support. The problem is obtaining the facts for you from those civil servants who brief busy MPs.
With kind regards and best wishes for Christmas and the New Year (the 50th Anniversary of Malaysian Independence ... a celebration, of freedom and security, that would not have happened but for PJMers.
- - - - - - - - - - -
T: 01488 668 100
Fighting for the Right to Wear the PJM at
"Pingat Kami - Hak Kami"[/quote]
It is our contention that the PJM should have been either rejected under the Foreign Decorations rules or recommended for ‘unrestricted’ wear status. Government Departments have told us that they now agree with that contention. The application and interpretation of the recommendation, the so-called “compromise”, have achieved only negative and divisive results.
The recommendation has not produced a medal, it has produced a trinket from which all dignity has been stripped.
Your turn now!
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