Will ministry still wriggle?
WELL, that's a turn-up for the book, isn't it?
A Derbyshire coroner has ruled that exposure to atomic bomb tests contributed to the death, from cancer, of a war veteran.
No surprise at all, actually – certainly not to the dwindling number of former servicemen who were exposed to radiation from those South Pacific tests more than 50 years ago.
There are, of course, a rather greater number of descendants of military men no longer with us, who are equally convinced that the cause of their fatal illnesses lay with what happened on Christmas Island and Malden Island.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Wednesday, May 22 2013
They know, the coroner knows and the strong suspicion is that those in the corridors of power are equally well aware of it.
It remains to be seen whether the verdict of Assistant Deputy Coroner for Derbyshire Paul McCandless on the death of Derek Heaps makes the slightest difference to Whitehall's rigid stance on whether to pay compensation to those exposed to the tests.
Probably not. The Ministry of Defence has been utterly shameless in its refusal to do so for many years, turning a blind eye to what would otherwise be the startling coincidence of so many horrible diseases developing among those who witnessed the explosions.
The longer the stonewalling goes on, the better it is for the Government, since numbers of potential claimants are dwindling year by year.
The pathetic justification for not paying out has been that too long a period has elapsed since the incidents took place.
The World Health Organisation has accused the UK Government of "wriggling as hard as it could to avoid paying compensation".
We have paid out to Australians and the Americans have done so to British servicemen who witnessed their tests.
Now, all Ministry of Defence officials can say is that compensation would be paid where there was a legal liability to do so.
Moral liability just does not seem to come into it – to their lasting shame.