Anthony Miklinski Tory Candidate for North East Fife – Military Service
Tony’s parents were Polish born upholsterer, Anatol and Williamina Miklinski.
They married in 1947 in Yorkshire and had a daughter Elizabeth before moving to Dundee where Anthony was born in 1951.
Educated in Dundee, Tony’s vocation was teaching and he joined the Training and Education Branch of the Royal Navy in 1977.
He passed the Royal Marines Commando Course and served with 42 Commando R.M. in the Falklands War.
He left the Royal Marines after 7 years and took up teaching, training and administrative roles ending his military career as the Defence Director of Training and Education in the M.O.D.
He was awarded the C.B.E. in 2006.
In a service career spanning 30 years he, Like most military personnel established temporary residence in a number of locations throughout the world.
He finally put down roots, around 2 years ago near his home-town of Dundee, when he purchased a lovely old Grade 2 listed farmhouse (value between £500-£600K) near Ceres, where he lives with his wife and adult autistic son Sandy.
Tony is actively engaged with Autism Improvement Groups.
Required Reading (http://harrisfps.co.uk/tony-miklinski.html)
The Hustings Cupar
2017 Scottish Council Election: results Fife: Ward 20 Cupar: Elected to serve as a councillor: Tony Miklinski, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party.
Tony Miklinski: Elected to serve as a councillor thinks so little of the honour bestowed upon him by the voters abandons the post after one month seeking fame and glory at Westminster.
But he covers his options, saving the lower class job just in case he fails at the higher level. Cynical abuse of the electorate.
2017 General Election: Tory party candidate for North East Fife. Now a pensioner, 66 year old Tony has thrown his lot in with Ruth Davidson and her ultra right wing unionist party which surprised me given his family background and bad treatment of his son at the hands of the Tory contracted hatchet people employed by A.T.O.S.
11 April 2005: Princess Royal Barracks, Deepcut, Surrey – The Nightmare From Hell – Commodore Tony Miklinski RN, Director of Training and Education at the Ministry of Defence Says The Army Will Stamp Out Its Brutalising Culture
Private Sean Benton, Private Cheryl James, Private Geoff Gray and Private James Collinson were found shot dead at the training centre between 1995 and 2002.
All were found dead while on guard duty and the Army quickly pointed to suicide, while inquests delivered open verdicts.
Private Cheryl James
When Private Cheryl James was preparing to move from Leconfield to Deepcut Barracks for the next stage of her Army training, an instructor gave her and her friends ominous advice:
That the young woman, just turned 18, should get through the training and out of the Surrey base as quickly as possible.
But a few short weeks later Cheryl James committed suicide and the coroner ruled that her officers had ‘failed in duty of care.’
For six weeks, the inquest into how Private James came to be found shot dead on guard duty heard claims of why the Surrey base merited such a warning.
Woking Coroner’s Court heard the barracks in the mid-1990s described as a chaotic, demoralised, highly sexualised place, where teenage trainees were largely unsupervised.
Heavy drinking, sex and drugs were rife and some of the non-commissioned officers (N.C.O.s) supposed to be in charge routinely propositioned young female recruits, who they saw as a “sexual challenge”.
The inquest heard at times there was just one corporal in charge of up to 300 trainees.
There were no women N.C.O.s for the female recruits to go to.
Anyone being bullied had no one to turn to and there was no effective system for complaints against staff.
As N.C.O.s tried to keep control, they resorted to handing down heavy punishments, including solitary guard duty.
WO Sarah Ditchfield, who did her training with Private James, told the inquest there was heavy drinking and drug taking.
She said: “We were 17-year-old kids who had money in our pockets, there was nothing else for us.
“There wasn’t enough N.C.O.s to control the amount of recruits they had at the time.
Recruits were running about and didn’t know what we were doing from one minute to the next. “We would tend to ourselves, there was no accountability.”
Sex was so rampant among the teenage soldiers that the clean-up of one wooded area on the site found more than 600 condoms.
Sexual advances from N.C.O.s were common, another trainee at the time recalled. Marina Fawcett said staff “had a power trip and they got a buzz off it.
They were corporals or sergeants and we were recruits and they thought they could take advantage.” Witnesses said Private James had confided she had repeatedly had to rebuff advances from sergeants.
The Army’s head of personnel, accepted at the inquest there was a “highly sexualised atmosphere” at the barracks at the time and an “abuse and misuse” of power.
He conceded it could be a “morally chaotic environment” for a teenage woman, and that the pressure could be “intolerable”.
The Old Army Con Trick – An Internal Review
The Adult Learning Inspectorate (ALI) was tasked by the Ministry of Defence to conduct an independent inspection of army training establishments and methodology.
The inspection was in response to a recommendation by Surrey police in their report into the deaths of four young soldiers at Deepcut barracks between 1995 and 2002.
Anyone expecting an equivocal response from (ALI), with perhaps some technical recommendations about how training might be improved, was disappointed.
Not only did the report maul the army’s training methods, it lambasted its entire culture.
Poor management, organisation and control of initial training and care practices were leading to bullying, harassment, self-harm, injury and high dropout rates, it concluded.
Attempts to tackle problems were made ineffective by a “disconnection” between strategy and practice. It didn’t stop there.
The report found that recruits lived in barracks that were little better than slums, and that the army’s understanding of issues of equality and diversity was out of step with society.
Even the most elementary safety precautions were lacking.
Inspectors found a “laxity in safely storing weapons and accounting for ammunition”, which, according to the report “poses an unnecessary risk to the safety of recruits”.
Simply improving training techniques will not, it seems, be sufficient to remedy this.
A complete cultural overhaul is required.
Perhaps surprisingly, the army agreed.
“The (ALI) report tells it like it is,” said Commodore Tony Miklinski R.N., director of training and education at the Ministry of Defence.
“We were not surprised that it found harassment and bullying, just that we have still not managed to do better and change behaviour.”
Miklinski went on: ” the army is determined to stamp out its brutalising culture.
It has set up bullying helplines and it is slowly changing what is deemed acceptable.”
Joanna Bourke, professor of history at Birkbeck College London, a keen student of the military’s attempts to modernise its attitudes, is sceptical.
She said: “In the past, levels of abuse in the army have been equalled only by levels of denial.
They have admitted to this problem before and nothing happened. I’m not at all convinced that it will happen this time.”
Over 20 years after the events at Deepcut nothing has changed and the parents who suffered loss of their children are still seeking answers to why they supposedly committed suicide.
30 September 2009: Tony Miklinski – Director of Training Solutions – Excited About £150 million Contract awarded to his company SELEX Systems Integration
SELEX Sistemi Integrati S.p.A. was an aerospace, defence and security-related electronics manufacturing company headquartered in Rome, Italy and a wholly owned subsidiary of the multinational multi billion pound company Finmeccanica.
The company designed and developed systems for homeland security; systems and radar sensors for air defence, battlefield management, naval warfare, coastal and maritime surveillance; air traffic control; and turn-key airport solutions.
SELEX Systems Integration Director of Training Solutions, Tony Miklinski, (who joined the company in October 2007 after retiring from the Royal Navy as the M.O.D.’s Director Training and Education, responsible for Defence policy) said: “We are excited to have been awarded this contract, which clearly builds upon our heritage and expertise as a defence training supplier over the past 20 years.
FIST is a critical project to the future of the UK Armed Forces, and SELEX Systems Integration looks forward to working closely with Thales and the MOD to deliver this essential capability upgrade for years to come.”
07 May 2012: Italian Firm, SELEX Sold Syria Secure Radios – The Company worked around US and EU sanctions and Built a Secure “Emergency” Network in Syria
As the US and Europe levelled increasingly severe sanctions on Syria, Western tech companies were still working eagerly with the Assad regime and Syrian government-owned entities.
Italian networking and systems integration vendor SELEX (a subsidiary of Finmeccanica) worked around the ever-tightening political noose of trade sanctions to bring a joint project in Syria to completion.
The project? A secure software-defined radio network for the Syrian government based on the company’s trunked radio network hardware (a grid of ground stations connected by a fibre-optic network)
The contract, officially issued by the Syrian Wireless Organization, was signed by Imad Abdul-Ghani Sabbouni (Syria’s Minister of Communications).
Sabbouni was individually named in EU sanctions in February 2012 for being involved in the censorship and monitoring of Syrian citizens’ Internet access.
The company had to work around US bans on technology shipments to Syria, since many of the connectors for the fibre-optic gear Syria ordered from SELEX were manufactured in the US.
One invoice for the project totalled over 66 million euros. Nice money but tainted.
23 April 2013: A.T.O.S. benefits tests: Retired Royal Navy commodore warns his autistic son faces more agony over benefits shake-up
Tony Milkinski says his 27-year-old autistic son son Sandy has already been hit hard because of a lack of understanding about his condition and now he fears things will get worse when disability living allowance (DLA) is replaced by personal independence payments.
Experts fear people with autism will be particularly badly hit by the new system, which will require claimants to undergo assessments by consultants A.T.O.S. more frequently.
The interviews and tests are particularly stressful for people with autism.
Tony fears that the condition will also cause his son to give misleading answers.
He said: “It’s very frustrating. In a face-to-face DLA interview, Sandy will give answers he thinks you want to hear.
Where the people who are meant to help Sandy have limited understanding of autism, this can cause profound misunderstandings.
He finds communication incredibly difficult and will keep saying ‘yes’ because it seems to him the best way to keep a conversation brief and simple and draw it quickly to a close.
But this can lead to Sandy agreeing to suggestions such as holding down a full-time job in a busy office, even though it’s something he can’t conceive of and couldn’t cope with.”
Sandy, who lives with Tony and mum Norma was first called for an A.T.O.S. test in 2009 to assess whether he was entitled to DLA.
He was originally told he was not eligible for support despite the assessor admitting she had limited knowledge of autism.
The decision was overturned after a tribunal, but Sandy has had further interviews and now faces the prospect of enduring the same stressful process regularly.
“A.T.O.S. and the Government don’t appear to accept autism is a permanent disability and the condition does not change,” said Tony,.
He added: “We have now been informed by the Job-centre that Sandy will likely be called for a personal independence payment interview this autumn.
We are deeply concerned that the whole stressful process, involving medical practitioners with little or no understanding of autism, will start again.
How much public money is to be spent pursuing an individual with autism whose disability doesn’t change and who is doing his best to get a job?
I believe people with autism may be treated as a soft target because the condition can make you very vulnerable.
Many people with autism have little or no support and can’t present an accurate picture of the severe challenges they face every day.
Reforms to the benefits system need to be made.
But they should be robust and intelligent.
Identify those who are genuinely deserving, especially those whose disabilities are difficult to understand, and focus effort on helping people who are in society’s margins.
To do this demands a level of experience and competence that A.T.O.S. practitioners have hitherto lacked.”
Tony said: “Sandy struggles with communication, understanding the world around him and situations that involve unpredictability and flexible thinking.
He lives with us and is supported by us.
But Sandy will always need substantial support.”
Tony added that his son is desperate to get work experience and find a job but has struggled to hold down employment.
“He’s definitely happier when he’s working,” he said. “But anything that involves interaction with people, Sandy finds very difficult.
He spent some time in a role with Royal Mail, filing post.
A job involving a logical approach and limited social interaction suits him very well. But unfortunately there’s a limited amount of these types of jobs available, and even though the local Post Office like Sandy, they have no ability to recruit him.”
National Autistic Society Scotland National Director Dr Robert Moffat said Tony’s story echoed their fears about the A.T.O.S. tests.
He added: “We have serious concerns about the face-to-face assessments people with autism will have to undergo in order to claim personal independence payment.”
The introduction of PIP started in April 2013 and is due to be completed across the UK by December 2017.
The Record has revealed A.T.O.S are in line for a £40million bonus windfall for carrying out the P.I.P. tests on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions.
Last night, a spokeswoman for the DWP defended the tests.
She said: “Disability living allowance is an outdated benefit introduced over 20 years ago and needs reform to better reflect today’s understanding of disability, particularly for people with mental health conditions and learning disabilities.
The personal independence payment will include a new face-to-face assessment and regular reviews – something missing in the current system.
This will ensure the billions we spend on the benefit gives more targeted support to those who need it most.” (Daily Record)
Sandy Miklinski, a 27-year-old with autism, and his experience of assessments for D.L.A. and for work capability does not make for easy reading.
The people who assessed him admitted to having little understanding of autism and what it entails, but he has been put into work situations that are clearly not suitable for individuals with autism.
Welfare reform might be necessary, but what is also necessary is an understanding of the conditions with which people present, so that people can be treated as humanely as possible.
Autism is a difficult disability to recognise, because it does not present through physical symptoms, but it is crucial that people understand it before they consider putting a person into a workplace that might prove stressful and counterproductive for them.
Quite how Tony Miklinski finds it possible to be an active member of the political party (and candidate for Westminster) responsible for the angst suffered by his son and family defeats me.
The Hustings Cupar
7 February 2017: Listen to voice of people – The Courier & Advertiser
Sir, – When a government holds a referendum it is saying “we will let you, the voters, decide this issue”.
The question is asked, the answer is given and the government then implements that answer, no matter how unpalatable that may be.
That is the promise implicit in the referendum process.
Theresa May has the integrity and class to keep that promise.
Nicola Sturgeon doesn’t share those attributes and she hasn’t “earned the right to ask Scots for a second chance” either.
Tony Miklinski. Whitehill Farm, Cupar.
The Hustings Cupar
7 February 2017: Scare tactics start again – The Courier & Advertiser
Sir, – It was disappointing to see Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson, resort to such scaremongering comments in her speech at the David Hume Institute last week.
To describe the movement for Scottish independence as a “fratricidal conflict” demeans her status as leader of a major political party which is currently the opposition in the Scottish Parliament.
The dictionary definition of fratricidal conflict is the killing of one’s brother or sister and Ms Davidson’s language, comparing legitimate political debate with such an act, is clearly inflammatory and beneath her.
To exacerbate this further by saying that should a referendum be called, this would put Scotland “at this year’s point of global instability” is also scarcely credible, especially given the Donald Trump’s presidency.
This is rather reminiscent of the scaremongering in the last independence referendum campaign.
One can only hope that should there be another independence referendum, such tawdry scaremongering can be put aside, however, given these comments the prospect of this happening does not look promising.
Alex Orr. 77 Leamington Terrace, Edinburgh.
North East Fife
18 March 2017: Play hard ball with SNP – The Courier & Advertiser
Sir, – We don’t want or deserve another independence referendum but if we are forced down that route, then the Conservative leadership must not repeat former prime minister David Cameron’s mistake of complacently granting the SNP control over the referendum timing, question and above all, electorate.
Timing has to be post Brexit; no argument over that one.
The question must allow the unionists to campaign for a yes vote; the SNP had their turn in 2014 and the electorate must include Scottish military serving outside Scotland and anyone of Scottish birth living in the UK.
After all, it is their Scotland too, and their union.
Appeasing First Minister Nicola Sturgeon does not work and any risk that these decisions will drive voters into the hands of the SNP is a risk we’ll have to take.
So, Mrs May and Ms Davidson, don’t let us down.
It is time to play hard ball and make it a level playing field this time.
Tony Miklinski. Whitehill Farm, Cupar.
21 March 2017: Small countries can have strong economies – The Courier & Advertiser
Sir, – It is often said by opponents of Scottish independence that Scotland is too small to stand alone as an independent country.
Well, recent evidence suggests otherwise.
In its Inclusive Growth and Development Report 2017, The World Economic Forum, the very prestigious Swiss-based foundation commonly known as Davos, ranked the world’s advanced and developing economies.
They were measured for how well they functioned and for the financial well-being of their national populations, based on “robust growth and employment, high median living standards, strong environmental stewardship and low public debt”.
Norway, with the same population as Scotland came top, followed by Luxembourg, Switzerland, Iceland and Denmark, all small, independent nations.
On average, the top ranking countries have a population of just under four million people.
The UK, with a population of 64 million, was ranked 21st.
Scotland, with a population of just over five million people, would seem to be very well placed to be a successful independent country.
Les Mackay, 5 Carmichael Gardens, Dundee.