There was a sad inevitability about the news that military personnel are being advised not to wear uniform off base for fear of abuse or attack. There are several reasons for this, a situation which is abhorrent to most reasonable people.
Firstly our government has frequently sent our forces into areas where most people in the UK believe we should not be. The government has used the armed forces to try and garner popular support. Even as the news about RAF Wittering broke Gordon Brown was talking about getting military personnel to wear uniforms off base to try and increase support for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Thanks to the contempt in which most of us hold the political class, and the corrosive influence of political correctness, respect for our institutions is disappearing and, sadly, that includes our armed forces in some quarters. If the governing class will not listen, and people feel powerless, then the populace will direct their contempt, wrongly in my opinion, at that which they can see and reach. In the case of Afghanistan and Iraq that means the armed forces.
Finally, when you have a sizeable proportion of the population that does not accept our liberal democratic system, values, beliefs and culture, then you have an inbuilt enemy that holds that which we admire and respect in contempt. Internal conflict then becomes inevitable.
No matter how much we disagree with the government's war obsession, our service personnel deserve respect and much better treatment from the public and, more importantly, from this government.