"Civilians have no idea": Former paratrooper responds to Diane Abbott's tweet

5 February 2020, 18:48

"Just because we're trained to take things at a higher level...doesn't mean we don't feel it," said this former paratrooper in response to Diane Abbott's tweet suggesting former army officer David Leakey couldn't be bullied.

The shadow home secretary Diane Abbott has since deleted a tweet rubbishing a former Black Rod's claims that John Bercow was bullying in the workplace, citing the serviceman's military credentials as a reason for this to be "unlikely."

The Tweet read: "Allegations come from former parliamentary official David Leakey. He had been a Lieutenant General who served in Germany, Northern Ireland and Bosnia. But claims he was bullied (i.e. intimidated and coerced) by John Bercow. Unlikely."

Former paratrooper James responded to the presumption that military people are too tough to be intimidated and shared that he'd been signed off work for stress.

He told Tom said he'd been bombed so can "deal with stress" but outside of military life, he currently has a boss who's been harassing him.

Diane Abbott's deleted tweet
Diane Abbott's deleted tweet. Picture: Twitter

"I now don't sleep, I sleep for two hours a night," said James, "I'd love to say I'd quit but it's not in me to quit. That's the difference between military people. They're taught to go the extra level."

Tom posited that people could presume that due to his background and training he can suck this up and deal with office bullying.

"Just because we're trained to take things at a higher level than a normal civilian, doesn't mean we don't feel it," said James, and pointed out that repercussions of the stress from the military presents itself in different ways, such as alcoholism or being unable to get a civilian job.

"The reality is most civilians have no concept of military life."