Cameron has dealt Arctic heroes a savage blow

COMMENT: The return of good weather shouldn’t bring dread

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Betrayal. It is a strong word and one which we do not use lightly. But today it is surely the best description of a cruel, crushing blow dealt to the still-flickering hopes of old men.

Advanced in years they may be, but their memories remain seared with the terrible sights, sounds and smells of hellish conflict.

Each is a hero, a warrior long since home from the battle, an inspiration to those who have since taken up the torch of military valour.

Their reward? In the hearts of millions, untold gratefulness for their incredible bravery. But, from the nation itself, nothing.

The shocking snub to the men of the Arctic Convoys in refusing to grant them a specific medal was dealt decades ago in an era when this country was braced in a Cold War stand-off with the USSR.

We should, of course, always be willing to right a wrong.

But successive governments have shown the same coldness to the heroes of the Arctic Convoys that No10 once felt for the Russian friends who became foes.

The Cold War is long over, but the frozen hearts remain entrenched in Whitehall.

Now the Sir Humphreys have persuaded our vacillating Prime Minister to renege on the promise that he effectively gave in Parliament.

The man who said the Arctic heroes had a just cause now says they haven’t. And so another Prime Minister has failed miserably to overrule the stubbornness of pen-pushers.

Today we help the few remaining veterans to relaunch the fight for justice with renewed vigour. With the help of people across the nation, we hope we can force this matter on to the floor of the Commons.

The fight will continue. So many men have already died unrewarded for their heroism in the frozen seas of the Arctic Ocean.

It is likely that more will make their final journey before victory can finally be claimed.

But they will go to their graves with honour.

In our view, the same cannot be said for those who have stood in the way of righting a terrible wrong inflicted on heroes.