Help for Heroes – Institutionalised Heroes?

by Johnny McNeill – unpublished author of ‘Gaslighting Gilligan‘ (© 2017 – free download – released via Berlin on 25th June 2017).

I still want to believe that Help for Heroes are a genuinely grass-roots organic venture to help ex-Servicemen and Servicewomen, however much of the circumstantial evidence and lead-in timing points toward something more sinister, as it epitomises the hypnotic-lionising heroism that might appeal to young white working-class males, austerity esteem starved channeled by ‘patriotic-poverty’ to ‘willingly’ feed themselves as volunteers soldiers into the infantry; into the war machine…

It is the perfect, archetypal model of celebrity prestige-presented pride in veterans, which chimes with the population – predominantly the white-working-class, and specifically males; that will quite feasibly take them off to self-destruction.

Its relationship has in the past been described as too cosy with the MoD, even alleged to have provided funding for MoD building infrastructure refurbishments. It seems as if the MoD was so close, they have been able to count on in advance, funding for veterans causes.

Help for Heroes seemed to come out of nowhere in 2007 and has very much from the outset sat in a league of its own. It’s the US military-power equivalent of the British Forces charity world. Yet it just happened to capture the imagination of the general public – and I include myself in that – like no other had before it.

Perhaps this is where all the previous Forces Charities ‘failed’ – by not selling their soul to a corporate-financial model and by maintaining their humble, reflective approach to the memory of the war dead and by certainly keeping a respectable distance from the glorification of war.

Whereas Help for Heroes in the very early days had immediate access to a host of who’s who of the British political and military establishment, and with a host of prestigious celebrities, to lead the way as the fledgling charity market-tapped into and targeted emotionalised patriotism by catalogue product numbers, via age range and gender demographics and of via course sports – especially football and rugby (which the MoD has always conventionally recruitment-targeted).

Perhaps they were preyed on by the Westminster/Whitehall skulking-sexist beasts who lurk the corridors of their Machiavellian maze; who murkily funded the very same lawyers to prosecute soldiers who served in Iraq – all in the name of leftie-liberal political correctness.

Regardless, what it’s allowed itself to become; it’s a corporatized-charity beast steeped in patriotic-propaganda purpose that has not only become a thinly-veiled recruitment tool itself, it has also played no small part in seamlessly enabling an era in which the Poppy has become accepted as a ‘legitimate’ Army recruitment tool and ushered in a new era of yellow-branded ‘military-TV-sport’ emotionalised-empowerment; The Invictus Games.

But like the manufactured human misery, the belief systems; community, country, flag, military and Monarchy compel us to hand over the most innate ‘belief system’ of all; our children – to become soldiers – to become cannon-fodder.

The increased concentrations of media-manipulated and manufactured ideological-lionisation, sacralisation-idealisation of the military – especially since the Westminster Bridge Attack – with Emergency Services and other yellow-references housed in verbal media-saturation of “ran towards the danger” ; a cyclically reinforced news-narrative which has featured in just about every attack since – as if a pre-directed live-fire exercise soap-script to begin Basic Training for the masses…

All of which appears to have been pre-emptively and of course subliminally inserted into other forms of ’emotional-empowerment’ – especially ‘community’ TV entertainment, sport, largely in second and third choice football and rugby strips, as well as advertising and film that will psychologically and physiologically appeal to the heroic-fantasy boys…

But then if they lose a limb or two, or three and/or they lose their minds in battle and are invalided out, or even at the end of their career struggle to adjust back to ‘civilian’ life not understanding that ‘civilian’ life, ‘civil’ life may well have already been denied to them in childhood, increasingly raised broken homes without male role models, they struggle and are left to charity.

Without the camaraderie-cloak of the uniform, overnight they can become as invisible as a male victim/survivor of domestic abuse; and deliberately so, upon which both of whom can end up meeting each other invisibly on the homeless streets or in the institutionalised prisons from where many too, will also begin their journey into the military, and where they might actually even meet each other’s sons and brothers – as willing ‘volunteers’ of course…

Like most things that are too good to be true, the success of Help for Heroes certainly seems suspect but three things do seem certain; they’re helping to ‘create’ heroes and in doing so are helping to create more broken men and as such, they’re not helping anyone…

…except the successive Governments that send them to their oil-wars for so-called ‘freedom and democracy’ then absolve themselves of responsibility by palming them off to – well… you get the drift…

Gaslighting Gilligan – by Johnny McNeill, a contemporary, dystopian ‘fiction’ about the intrinsic, interconnectedness of personal & political domestic abuse, is free to download from here. It is copyright © but is free to share as a public service.

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