I know that service personnel and their families often get a raw deal - there have been scandals about our troops being ill equipped on duty, badly cared for if they are injured and poorly housed at home.
Now I discovered in today's Sunday Herald that the MOD includes travelling time from places like Iraq and Afghanistan in the calculation of soldiers' leave. So, exhausted troops, who may have faced all sorts of ordeals and traumas in the field, have their time at home, when they can relax with their families, and recharge their batteries, cut short.
No wonder soldiers and their families feel undervalued!
What worries me is that there are bound to be cuts in defence spending in the current financial climate. Will this Government sacrifice basic amenities at home and abroad for troops in order to waste £20 billion renewing Trident? Nick Clegg tried to pin the Prime Minister down on this at PMQs last week.
The Government will sign the first contracts for the replacement of Trident over the Summer. The economic climate was very different when Parliament made the decision to replace the system. That should surely be revisited.
It strikes me as bizarre that the MOD is splashing out on a new nuclear weapons system which, as well as being completely immoral, is strategically unnecessary, when the troops that we have on the ground are denied time with their families and not provided with the basics they need to do their jobs. Those are not the priorities I'd choose. In my experience you get the best out of people when you treat them properly. It's a lesson the MOD would do well to learn.