Pressing the Civvy Button

by Maria on June 21, 2012

“My finger is on the ‘civvy button’. Should I hit ‘send’?” a friend’s husband called and asked the other day. He’s recently back from his second tour in Afghanistan in eighteen months. His new job is hundreds of miles from his wife and a child who can’t risk moving to start yet again at the bottom of the special needs waiting list.

“There’s no give and take for army families. It’s just take, take, take.” The words of another friend whose husband has done two tours back to back and is considering a third so he’ll be ineligible for forced redundancy for another year.

Stoic silence. From the woman whose husband has been made redundant three months before he would have been eligible for his hard-earned half-pension.

Last week’s round of UK armed forces redundancies has come and gone from the headlines, but the impact on the people whose lives are affected is only beginning. Families yearning for the safe return home of their soldiers calculate the odds of being in next January’s round of redundancies, and the one after that, and after that. Should they continue on an inhuman rate of redeployment or take their chances with finding themselves suddenly unemployed in a part of the country where they have no prospects, family or friends outside the armed forces? Bear in mind many partners – let’s be honest and call them wives – have had their careers hobbled or finished by the constant moves. More so than in the general population, there is often no second bread-winner in an armed forces family.

Yet while ‘difficult decisions’ and ‘tough choices’ have been made to throw another 4,000 service men and women into a broken job market, £1 billion pounds was easily found for the first stage of the Trident nuclear deterrent replacement programme, a controversial initiative with no mandate from Parliament.
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The Awl has an interesting piece about papercraft in prison. Obviously that’s the sort of thing boingboing would link to. Next week: prisoner-modded ‘steampunk’ shanks, stylized prison-breaks as YouTube responses to OK Go videos, and associated ‘yardsourced’ projects (Clinkstarter), with all the (brass) trimmings: ‘Help me fulfill my dream of building a giant dirigible in solitary confinement!’ ‘Help me turn my cell toilet into a working trebuchet!’ On a more serious note, the article neglects one of the most notorious episodes in prison papercraft history, from Action Comics #267: [click to continue…]