There was a time when many MPs from across the political spectrum had first hand experience of the military. There was a degree of corporate knowledge and understanding of the military ethos.
No longer. Someone will correct me if I am wrong but until recently the only MPs to have served in our armed forces were Wayne Mapp and Heather Roy (aka Private Benjamin given her penchant for jumping into uniform given the slightest opportunity ... I digress).
In an attempt to redress this Minister Mapp has instituted a programme that allows MPs to spend a week with each of three services. One of the first to sign up to this was Amy Adams, MP for Selwyn. She has just completed a week with the Navy and said it was a valuable and enriching experience.
No-one would ever pretend that those who avail themselves of the opportunity offered are going to become instant experts on things military. But they will meet our soldiers, sailors and airmen at the coalface and gain an inkling of their professionalism as well as hearing at first hand the issues that concern them.
A step in the right direction long overdue. Well done Wayne Mapp.