Thursday, June 18, 2009

Royal Gurkha Rifles

Gurkhas from Nepal have provided soldiers for the UK for many years. They are almost universally respected for their courage and they truly are assets to Great Britain. They have been decorated with some even winning the Victoria Cross. Their loyalty to the Crown and their bravery have made them feared by the bravest of foes.

There is a regiment of Gurkhas garrisoned in Folkestone. In all the years I have lived in Folkestone, I have read of a lot of local criminal reports and antisocial behaviour, but never any involving Gurkhas.

It has been disgraceful that their pension rights have been a lot less than that of other British soldiers. Also, although we allow all sorts of scum to settle here, these valiant men who put their lives on the line wherever they are sent, have not been allowed to settle here. After serving for 15 to 18 years, they have put down roots here. Who wouldn't? There was one disgusting story of a Gurkha who had won the Victoria Cross being refused entry into the UK for medical treatment on the grounds that he did not have enough connections with the UK.

Look at THIS story and see if you can read it without your stomach churning. Headline:
Gurkhas may have risked their lives for Britain, but that doesn't entitle to them to live here,' say Home Office lawyers

See the Guardian story HERE
Headline: Gurkha veterans' toughest battle - for the right to live in Britain

Forming up in Clifton Gardens

Marching along the Leas

A planted Tribute with their Regimental insignia

Comrades in Wheelchairs paraded too

This man lost a leg, and was being interviewed for TV

Today's photos are not very good for the best of reasons. I couldn't get close enough because there was a huge crowd - easily more than a thousand - lining the route, clapping and cheering and waving flags. This, on a normal working Thursday morning! And didn't they deserve every bit of it, and more.

Some influential people - notably Peter Carroll, whose politics I don't agree with but admire his great fight on this issue - and the actress Joanna Lumley - have campaigned long and hard for equal rights for the Gurkhas. Joanna's father served with them and always spoke very well of them, so she was prepared to fight for them. They had thousands of supporters from ordinary people who felt that if people were prepared to die for England, they ought to be allowed to live here if they chose to do so. I can't understand how the government could be so out of tune with the beliefs and sense of fair play of thousands of voters of all sorts of political persuasions. A fight like this should not have taken so much effort over so long a period.

BBC News Story HERE

Long overdue though it may be, I'm so glad that they are now officially


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