After decades of campaigning from the former combatants in fisheries dispute with Iceland, the government has finally recognised the existence of Cod War Syndrome, and will pay compensation to those suffering from the condition.
For years neither the Ministry of Defence nor the Department of Fisheries and Food were willing to accept responsibility for the sense of apathy, depression and the vague fishy smell that surrounded those British trawlermen who had been involved in the 1970s fishing crisis. But medical opinion continued to harden about the symptoms having a direct connection to involvement in the brief stand-off over fishing quotas.
‘We are the forgotten warriors,’ said former fisherman Mike McLeish from Grimsby. ‘Sure the Battle of Britain pilots are all heroes, and the Falklands veterans have their medals and memorials. But when it comes to the Cod War, people imply it wasn’t so important or dangerous. It’s almost as if it they are saying it wasn’t a proper war.’
‘That’s exactly what we are saying’ said Defence minister Des Browne. ‘And we are only recognizing Cod War Syndrome to shut up this one nutter from Grimsby who has been badgering us for years. He’s a complete loser and he apparently blames it all on the trauma of a 1970s fishing crisis, so we thought we’d go along with it in the hope that he might just go away.’
Mr McLeish said he was not satisfied with his compensation payment of £25 and would be taking his case to the European Court of Human Rights. ‘I am also seeking an official apology on behalf of all the fish,’ he added. ‘They too have no memorial.’