When they are Geordie volunteers in the Tyneside Scottish Terriorial Army Artillery Battery! The Tyneside Scottish Association were kind enough to invite me to one of their monthly meetings today. The Tyneside Scottish is a unique battery unit with a fascinating history. At the meeting were veterans of all generations from the Second World War to the current campaign in Afghanistan.
The Territorial Army is a great asset to our armed forces. It only consumes 1.3% of the defence budget but about a quarter of the army's troops. Not a bad deal. People were understandably dismayed at the cuts that Browns government had proposed to TA training, that were quickly removed.
There was enthusiasm for the Lib Dems campaign for a fair wage for troops and I heard about how TA troops often had to wait before getting out into combat situations before they could get their hands on equipment that they would usually have had one at their training base to practice on. All in all the people were great, very patriotic and very kind. They even gave me a Tyneside Scottish Tie Clip to say thank you for coming!