Ex-marine’s struggle - ‘The council should give all the help it can’

AT Redford Barracks, in the shadow of the Pentland Hills, there stands a poignant memorial to 14 soldiers who lost their lives in Afghanistan.

By The Newsroom
Friday, 4th May 2012, 1:00 pm

It honours members of the 3rd Battalion The Rifles who were killed serving their country in one of the bloodiest tours of duty suffered by British troops in recent years.

Three Rifles, as they are known, may be based in the Capital just now, but their recruits come mainly from Yorkshire and the North of England.

That has not stopped the city from expressing its admiration and gratitude to these brave men who risk their lives on the frontline.

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Besides the permanent memorial at Redford, Edinburgh has bestowed its highest honour, the Freedom of the City, on the battalion, and the public have lined the city centre streets to welcome them home.

Contrast that with the treatment received by Royal Marine Michael Glen following his eight years of service, including two tours of duty in Afghanistan.

He wants to return to his home town of Prestonpans to be near his three children.

But instead of receiving the support he expected, he has been told he won’t get a council house.

If he was a criminal leaving prison he would be considered a priority, but not on the basis of his service in Afghanistan. That cannot be right.

East Lothian Council does give priority to some former soldiers, but only those who are discharged and not those who choose to leave, often after many years of service.

We are slowly getting better in Scotland at recognising the sacrifices of our Armed Forces, but much more needs to be done.

And it is often the practical help like housing support that is the most important.

The council should not be quibbling over the reasons why a Royal Marine has left the services, it should be doing all it can to ease his path back into civilian life.

No place like home

like salt and sauce, Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson, trams and chaos, some things in life just seem to go together.

So it’s surprising that the Proclaimers have never played a gig at the home of their beloved Hibs.

What a great event it would be for the whole city if that were to happen.

Charlie and Craig’s rendition of Sunshine on Leith would certainly be far more tuneful than the one normally belted out at Easter Road by the diehard Hibbies.

The only problem might be, would it be a step too far for music-loving Jambos to go to a Proclaimers concert at the home of their deadly rivals?