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If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the Kitchener?

The British Army continues to morph into the Blairmacht, it seems. Its new recruitment posters had me thinking that I had fallen into a coma and woken up a few days after our glorious independence due on 29th March. Here is what I mean: ‘The Army targets ‘snowflake’ millennials‘ (as recruits, not legitimate uses for ammo).

The posters, taken as fair use:

and this:

Now there are two possibilities I see here, not mutually exclusive, the less likely that someone is trolling the MoD and being paid for it, and the other is that someone is being paid for it.

Still, as posters go, I would grant that it is better than this blatant mickey-take.

And in terms of assuring the civil population that the Army is no threat, it doesn’t really beat this, but I do wonder if the thinking behind the current Army it is more similar to what produced this.

And we should remember that for some British Army recruits, the heat is not the problem, but the cold may be:

A soldier from Africa is suing the Ministry of Defence (MoD) for £150,000, claiming they failed to protect him from cold weather conditions.

“Mr Asiamah told the High Court his superiors had neglected to warn him to bring warm kit such as gloves, socks, and boots ahead of the exercise, which he said took place one week after he was forced to spend five hours listening to lectures in cold weather while dressed in civilian clothing in Naseby, Northamptonshire.”

Naseby, the Civil War, what would Prince Rupert or Halifax say?

But, may I remind you, it is the law of England that the categories of negligence are never closed…

His legal team argues officers exposed Mr Asiamah to the uncomfortable conditions despite knowing Africans are more susceptible to cold-related conditions, according to court papers which quote a 2009 military study which found soldiers of African origin were 30 times more likely to suffer cold-related injuries than indigenous Europeans.

AFAIK, the case continues… What would Field Marshal the Earl (Horatio Herbert) Kitchener say were he spinning in his cold, watery grave? That Wing Cdr Ken Gatward DSO DFC* AE was named for him, and lived up to it, might give one pause for thought.

35 comments to If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the Kitchener?

  • Flubber

    “this blatant mickey-take.” is a Promo poster for a video game called Team Fortress. [Soldiers and Demo-men are different classes of playable character]

  • Is this perhaps a Blairmacht alternative to the second amendment? We will not be allowed to arm ourselves to resist our government, should it become tyrannical, but instead the force our government could use against us will be morphed into something we will not need arms to resist – and nor will anyone else.

  • William O. B'Livion

    That’s…

    Wow.

    Pathetic.

  • I’m reminded of that advert for the Army that used to air, showing (from the PoV of a soldier) an African Army man getting increasingly more and more agitated, until the soldier who we ‘are’ in the video removes his sunglasses to make eye contact, and the African calms down. It was meant to show that in the modern forces, you have to respect cultural differences.

    Trouble was, I don’t know a single person who didn’t watch it and think ‘He needs a rifle butt applied to his face at maximum velocity!’.

  • staghounds

    Whoever thought them up earned his pay and then some.

    To start with, when was the last time you heard Army recruiting being discussed and considered in the wider world?

    And “You already have something we need” is a better recruiting message for some people than “We will change you into what we want”.

    They are directly and transparently meant to get people who haven’t thought about the Army to consider it, and they might. They certainly have people talking about that, which is what adverts are supposed to do.

    They even hark back to the Kitchener ones with the typeface similarity.

    I like the adverts a lot.

  • […] It seems the British army has some new recruiting posters: From Samizdata. […]

  • Nullius in Verba

    “Now there are two possibilities I see here, not mutually exclusive, the less likely that someone is trolling the MoD and being paid for it, and the other is that someone is being paid for it.”

    It would appear that the Army has asked the youth of today why they don’t join up, and the answer is that kids don’t think they’re good enough. They’ve been told all their lives they’re shallow, sheltered, and weak, and the Army is only for tough guys, outdoor adventurers, heros. That old sort of advertising was based on the implicit understanding that the training would turn you into such a person, but people don’t seem to be getting that message. They think you have to be that sort of person before you start.

    The idea of the campaign comes in two parts – first, the sort of recruits they want include the weak and the flawed, and second that the training can exploit such characteristics and turn those character flaws into strengths. Don’t be put off by the fact you don’t fit the image of a trained soldier – you can still be transformed into one who does.

    The problem is that the posters only present the first half of the argument, and omit the second. There are other bits to the campaign that present both halves, but you have to see the whole picture to understand. It’s a bit of an advertising oopsie.

    “I’m reminded of that advert for the Army that used to air, showing (from the PoV of a soldier) an African Army man getting increasingly more and more agitated, until the soldier who we ‘are’ in the video removes his sunglasses to make eye contact, and the African calms down. It was meant to show that in the modern forces, you have to respect cultural differences.”

    It was meant to show that you’re supposed to be intelligent and capable of thinking outside the ‘smash your way through all obstacles by utmost violence’ box to achieve the mission in the most effective way.

    “Trouble was, I don’t know a single person who didn’t watch it and think ‘He needs a rifle butt applied to his face at maximum velocity!’.”

    You was meant to. They set the problem up in such a way that viewers will initially jump to the wrong solution, often based on the stereotypes about the army, and then reveal that there’s a smarter way. Your job as a soldier is not to leap in spraying bullets and grenades in every direction as you slaughter the enemy – it’s to achieve the mission by the quickest, cleanest, safest, cheapest means available. If the best option means you do need to spray bullets, then you should certainly have the skills to do so. But it’s not the only option. There’s also diplomacy, bribery, trickery, psychology, and simply being friendly and helpful. You *exploit* your knowledge of cultural differences to get what you want (or rather, what your country wants), rather than escalate the situation and screw up relations with the locals by acting like a particularly stupid and thuggish authoritarian occupier. The Army doesn’t just want tough guys, but also smart guys.

    It’s not that you *have* to respect cultural differences. It’s that you can be a better, more effective soldier by knowing about them and using that knowledge to achieve your ends.

    The difficulty with advertising the military is that the general public firmly believe the ideas about the military they get from Hollywood, and so misunderstand completely when the military try to explain that it’s not quite like that. Of course, it’s not like how it appears in the adverts, either. But then, what is?

    “And we should remember that for some British Army recruits, the heat is not the problem, but the cold may be:”

    I think the issue here is that as a military force you’re supposed to injure the enemy, not your own troops!

    A commander has to think of troops as tools for doing the job. You don’t break your own tools unless you really have to. They’re very expensive and in limited supply. Sure, you want the toughest, most robust tools you can get, and if there are ways of training them how to better survive cold weather with inadequate equipment, then that’s a legitimate thing to do on an exercise. And giving them the confidence to carry on when in a SNAFU situation, likewise. But otherwise you are supposed to know exactly how robust they actually are, and try to keep them in good condition. Remember, they’re volunteers, not conscripts.

    The army needs guns that will still fire reliably after being dragged through a swamp or a sandstorm and not regularly cleaned and serviced, but any soldier who treated their gun like crap and then said “It’s supposed to be tough enough to survive all that!” will not win any prizes for ‘Best Soldier’. It’s the same principle.

    Views differ, of course. As do armies.

  • Mr Ed

    NiV

    I think the issue here is that as a military force you’re supposed to injure the enemy, not your own troops!

    I understand that in the Swedish Army it was (and may still be) a court-martial offence to get frostbite, because you have failed to follow procedures to prevent it. As for the doctrine that you are not supposed to injure your own troops, that would sound very odd to a Red Army officer, or a Chekist running a blocking detachment. Your troops are the means to an end, and if they can’t cope with Naseby, England, what use are they in Norway or the Falklands? Your job is to put your troops in harm’s way, and Naseby in the 21st Century is much safer that it was in the 17th, I know the place, it is not hard to keep warm there.

    Flubber, thank you, I have almost no idea about modern gaming, and that at least shows that there is humour in the industry.

    My enduring impression of the British Army, reinforced at school, has been that it is something that you join if you can’t do anything else, i.e. you are the scraping of the barrel, albeit with some determination, fitness and stoicism.

  • lowlylowlycook

    If you want to see some real video game propaganda posters then look into the game Eve Online. They player run corporations in that game wage war against each other on all fronts.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “I understand that in the Swedish Army it was (and may still be) a court-martial offence to get frostbite, because you have failed to follow procedures to prevent it.”

    Which assumes the procedures would prevent it. But if someone issues inadequate procedures, or insufficient equipment to comply with them, who should get court martialled for that?

    “As for the doctrine that you are not supposed to injure your own troops, that would sound very odd to a Red Army officer, or a Chekist running a blocking detachment.”

    Probably. And you can probably guess from that what I think of the competence of Red Army officers…

    “Your troops are the means to an end, and if they can’t cope with Naseby, England, what use are they in Norway or the Falklands?”

    They *can* cope with Naseby. They can cope with Antarctica, or dunked in freezing cold water for hours, or survive outer space too. *If* you issue them with the appropriate equipment, or tell them they need to bring it. The problem is they either weren’t properly briefed on conditions or weren’t issued the right kit, not that they’re not tough enough for the Army.

    “Your job is to put your troops in harm’s way”

    No! Your job is to *win*!

    There are circumstances where it is worth expending troops to achieve a more valuable end, but you don’t do that unless the end justifies the cost. Sure, if they were sending them behind enemy lines to blow up the dam and prevent the invasion, and didn’t have the right kit for the job, then the injury or death of some of your own troops might be worth that. But you don’t risk expending a £90,000 taxpayer-funded asset just to have him listen to a 5-hour training lecture! Especially when the cost could have been avoided with a bit of prior thought/planning.

    “My enduring impression of the British Army, reinforced at school, has been that it is something that you join if you can’t do anything else, i.e. you are the scraping of the barrel, albeit with some determination, fitness and stoicism.”

    And of course the common impression of Army leadership is based on tropes like Lord Rust in Terry Pratchett’s books, or Lord Melchett in Blackadder… Maybe they’re trying to change that, and improve the quality of their intake a bit?

  • Paul Marks

    The actual adverts for military recruitment produced by “Capita” (basically the ultimate “Crony Capitalist” P.C. “business” that lives off taxpayer contracts) were WORSE (vastly WORSE) than anything in this post.

    As so often, reality is much worse than fiction.

    I can not bring myself to “follow the links” – I watched the “Capita” military recruitment ads when they first came out, I do not wish to watch them again.

    A total collapse of the West – a total surrender to Frankfurt School of Marxism doctrines (“victim groups” and all) that is what “Capita” produced – and under a “Conservative” government.

  • Mr Ed

    NiV:

    I understand that in the Swedish Army it was (and may still be) a court-martial offence to get frostbite, because you have failed to follow procedures to prevent it.”

    Which assumes the procedures would prevent it. But if someone issues inadequate procedures, or insufficient equipment to comply with them, who should get court martialled for that?

    Do you really think it is worth us discussing your speculation on the Swedish Army’s cold weather policies? If you do, that is worthy of discussion, but not otherwise.

    Sage: the final link, to Ken Gatward, (named for Kitchener, and he was born in late August 1914) is worth following, not just for his ‘tache, capturing the RAF look.

  • staghounds

    What N.I.V. said.

    Despite a stereotype heavy with last stands and slaughtered human wave attacks, the British army and navy didn’t paint and keep a quarter of the earth red by pure violent triumph- or even mainly.

    The adverts seek focus, self-belief, compassion, confidence, spirit, and drive.

    Along with guile, those qualities sound a lot more like Clive, Marlborough, Wellington, Roberts, and Amherst than big, tough, strong, and mean do.

    I didn’t put Kitchener on that list because he was also big, tough, strong, and mean. But mainly the other things.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “Do you really think it is worth us discussing your speculation on the Swedish Army’s cold weather policies?”

    No. I would have thought it was obviously so. But just in case it’s not, here’s an example of the same sort of thing in the Norwegian army. Who does the article say they propose to discipline? The soldiers with frostbite, or the ones who sent them out under-equipped?

    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/norway/11362381/Norwegian-soldiers-sent-on-naked-jog-catch-frostbite.html

    I’m not sure the humour in the last line of the article is in entirely good taste, though…

  • bobby b

    “It would appear that the Army has asked the youth of today why they don’t join up, and the answer is that kids don’t think they’re good enough.”

    Oh, yeah, that’s certainly what’s at the heart of the military’s recruiting problems these days. Millions of woke, SJW-educated kids wishing they were valuable enough to join some forward-thinking military organization and do their part for nationalism and hegemony . . .

    And of course we all know that the effective militaries of history were built on recruitment for individual compassion, confident independence, and an Asperger-based focus on tiny television-phones.

    More likely, the current crop of leaders – the new woke military leaders more obsessed with safe places for the transgendered in the barracks and proper social-justice theory – decided they were tired of being surrounded by unwoke Neanderthals who care only for competence and dedication, and proven and tested battle tactics.

    Once the woke politicians took enough power, they began populating the upper military ranks with people like themselves. Now those people are beginning to populate the ranks the same way. It all reminds me of a tweet from David Burge (a/k/a iowahawk):

    1. Identify a respected institution.
    2. kill it.
    3. gut it.
    4. wear its carcass as a skin suit, while demanding respect.

    (Do you think that all of those woke, forward-thinking lefty politicians are entirely comfortable knowing their military organizations – their ultimate source of power over their own societies – are almost entirely populated with people from the unwoke, patriarchal-based segments of society that they are determined to quell? Wouldn’t an Antifa-based military be more comfortable for them?

    If you have thousands of protesters rioting in a port attempting to stop mass immigration, which group of soldiers would you want to send in to oppose them? Once we achieve their goal of global government, militaries will be useful only when turned inward – they’re building their ranks for that eventuality.)

  • Nullius in Verba

    “Oh, yeah, that’s certainly what’s at the heart of the military’s recruiting problems these days. Millions of woke, SJW-educated kids wishing they were valuable enough to join some forward-thinking military organization and do their part for nationalism and hegemony . . .”

    So do you think the proper function of the military ought to be “nationalism and hegemony”?

    “And of course we all know that the effective militaries of history were built on recruitment for individual compassion, confident independence, and an Asperger-based focus on tiny television-phones.”

    Certainly if you want your army to keep up with modern technology, yes…

    “More likely, the current crop of leaders – the new woke military leaders more obsessed with safe places for the transgendered in the barracks and proper social-justice theory – decided they were tired of being surrounded by unwoke Neanderthals who care only for competence and dedication, and proven and tested battle tactics.”

    Well, I’d certainly agree that “competence and dedication, and proven and tested battle tactics” are a lot more important than the contents of a soldier’s underwear! The obsessive hang-up with enforcing particular sexual mores on others is not particularly useful to military operations. The only thing that matters is whether they can do their job, not their gender or sex. Yes?

    And of course, soldiers should only be fighting/harming/being nast to the enemy, not each other.

    On the issue of the transgendered, there’s a difference between libertarians and conservatives. Libertarians would say that “That the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others. […] Over himself, over his own body and mind, the individual is sovereign.” Conservatives don’t necessarily.

    ‘Transphobia’ just a different variety of political correctness, enforcing a different set of opinions and choices on others.

    “If you have thousands of protesters rioting in a port attempting to stop mass immigration, which group of soldiers would you want to send in to oppose them?”

    Competent, effective, and law-abiding ones.

    Why would protestors be rioting to stop mass immigration, when the proper way of doing so is to vote in a government that will? There’s nothing stopping them from doing so. The implication is that they’re a minority trying to enforce their will on the majority. They’re trying to impose a tyranny by force. Even if it’s to enforce policies you like/agree with, by trying to justify such methods you thereby justify the other side using the same methods. It doesn’t become right just because it’s us doing it. The military are sworn to protect the rule of law subject to the elected government, not to pick and choose which laws to protect from the mob – for precisely the reasons you allude to.

    If you want to get mass immigration stopped, get everyone to vote UKIP into government at the next election. It’s very simple!

    Although of course they say that everything in war is very simple, but the simplest thing is difficult to do.

  • bobby b

    “So do you think the proper function of the military ought to be “nationalism and hegemony”?”

    No. But I think you already knew that.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “No. But I think you already knew that.”

    🙂 I thought it likely. Just as I’m sure you knew I wasn’t saying that the problem at the heart of military recruitment was millions of woke, SJW-educated kids wishing they were valuable enough to join some forward-thinking military organization.

    It’s easy to get tangled up in the rhetoric.

  • Runcie Balspune

    Oh they _want_ selfie addicts now?

  • bobby b

    Nullius in Verba
    January 4, 2019 at 8:49 pm

    ” . . . I wasn’t saying that the problem at the heart of military recruitment was millions of woke, SJW-educated kids wishing they were valuable enough to join some forward-thinking military organization.”

    I’m not seeing much space between that and how you opened your original comment:

    Nullius in Verba
    January 4, 2019 at 1:57 pm

    “It would appear that the Army has asked the youth of today why they don’t join up, and the answer is that kids don’t think they’re good enough.”

  • Nullius in Verba

    “I’m not seeing much space between that and how you opened your original comment:”

    I didn’t say there were millions. I didn’t say they were woke. I didn’t say they were SJW-educated. I didn’t say they were “wishing” to join.

    All the SJW nonsense has got nothing to do with it. There’s a stereotyped image of the sort of person that joins the Army, and lots of kids don’t feel like they fit it. They’re not “wishing” they could join – they’re simply not considering it as an option. And the adventurous ‘tough guy’ stereotype has nothing at all to do with wokeness. You can consider yourself to be not especially tough without giving a damn about minorities or speech codes or any of the rest of that crap.

    I suspect you’re only thinking of SJWs because they used the word “snow flake” on one of the posters, which in this neck of the woods is considered code for a SJW, but which elsewhere is applied more generally to the millennial generation as a whole. Like most insults it’s used in an exaggerated fashion and not necessarily to be taken literally. The epithet today has the same sort of connotations that “sissy” did back in the ‘good old days’ – it just means not ‘macho’ or conforming to the macho culture, not inclined to stoically accept being bullied and abused without complaint.

    However, “selfie addicts” and “phone zombies” clearly have nothing whatsoever to do with social justice. The other posters in the series include “Class Clowns” and “Binge Gamers” and bearing in mind the history of Gamergate, the latter is hardly associated positively with the SJW cause!

    No, they’re not trying to recruit SJWs. They’re just trying to appeal to more ‘ordinary’ millennial kids, to consider it as an option open to them.

  • Paul Marks

    Yes Mr Ed – it was worth clicking on that link. I am a bit down in the dumps at the moment – been up all day and you-know-where rang a few minutes ago about some “Party Night” which they had not bothered to tell me about (the customers are eating staff – or the other way round, the communication was somewhat confused, I will look in the morning and see what it was all about). Reading about that man flying down the main street of Paris and then shooting up the SS, boasted my morale now (as well as that of the French during the 2nd World War).

    Pedants will point out that the SS and the Gestapo were different organisations – and we will reply that the article does not say that they were not different organisations.

    I suppose I could take my Gladius (I am not allowed to own a firearm here – only criminals and the state are allowed to have firearms) and see what is going on in the park – but I suspect I would only make things worse at this point.

    If only they had told me in advance that there was an event going to be held.

  • Runcie Balspune

    Just because it is worth repeating …

    Spotting a group of fifteen enemy fighters preparing an ambush, Corporal Wooldridge led one of his fire teams across open ground to flank the enemy, killing or wounding at least eight and forcing the rest to scatter. As he held security alone to cover his fire team’s withdrawal, he heard voices from behind an adjacent wall. Boldly rushing around the corner, he came face-to-face with two enemy fighters at close range, killing both of them with his M-249 Squad Automatic Weapon. As he crouched back behind the wall to reload, he saw the barrel of an enemy machine gun appear from around the wall. Without hesitation, he dropped his empty weapon and seized the machine gun barrel. He overwhelmed the enemy fighter in hand-to-hand combat, killing him with several blows to the head with the enemy’s own machine gun.

    Citation

    I understand they left out the bit where he got out his phone, watched a few cat videos, took a selfie and sent it to the battered enemy’s family saying he was extremely sorry.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “I understand they left out the bit where he got out his phone, watched a few cat videos, took a selfie and sent it to the battered enemy’s family saying he was extremely sorry.”

    They certainly left out the bit describing what he was like *before* he joined the military!

    People read stories like that, and think to themselves “I’m not like that. I wouldn’t choose to charge fifteen enemy fighters with machine guns.” and never even consider themselves as Army material. What the heroic stories usually leave out is that heroes start out as ordinary people, too. Corporal Wooldridge may well have started basic training as the sort of kid who takes selfies with his cat.

    Furthermore, they often still *are* ordinary people. I don’t think even trained soldiers would choose to get into that sort of firefight. Possibly they turned a corner, saw the ambush, thought “Oh shit! We’re gonna die!”, but desperately followed their training as giving them the best chance of surviving. They kept going despite the fear and won through, but were likely terrified the whole time. The citation reads like an action movie script – and you can just imagine John Wayne or Steven Seagall doing it cool as a cucumber, with confident competence and no fear. The reality of heroism is not always like that. I don’t know if that was the case for Corporal Wooldridge, but it may have been.

    True courage is being scared nearly out of your wits by the danger but doing it anyway, because it needs to be done. Not being scared of serious danger isn’t courage, it’s reckless stupidity. And if you’re so much better than the enemy that you can do it without danger to yourself, it’s not really courage. Citations are only really deserved by those in the first category. They’re given because they’re exceptional behaviour in exceptional circumstances, not typical.

    This is the misconception the adverts are trying to fight – that military heroes are necessarily fearless heroes from birth, and that ‘ordinary’ people like them can’t be heroes.

  • Nullius in Verba (January 6, 2019 at 12:47 pm), the fact that heroes are ordinary people is discussed by Frodo and Sam on the path to Cirith Ungol. If Tolkien had not known it anyway, he would have learnt it from his WWI experiences – which he shared with a high proportion of his male age cohort – but it was hardly an unknown part of western civ in his day.

    I suspect your analysis of the ads motives is too kind to the crony Capita-ists, but as I have not seen their focus group notes or presentations, that is just my opinion. But if it is indeed the case that modern youth does not know that heroes are usually ordinary people who step up to the plate (sometimes slowly) then that would be yet another part of our culture that has been taken from them, so it might be worth addressing causes.

  • Nullius in Verba

    Yes. Tolkien’s Sam made the same point – and clearly Tolkien knew about this tendency to see heroism as not for ordinary people, and to feel the need to explain that it wasn’t always so. At the start, Samwise wouldn’t have thought of himself as the sort to set out on a quest to invade Mordor, dodging armies of orcs and monster spiders and Nazgul along the way, and overthrow Sauron along with all his fortresses and armies. Neither, I think, did Frodo. What sort of recruitment poster do you think would have got them to sign up for a mission like that? Or to get Bilbo to sign up for a mission of thievery from a firebreathing dragon?

    ‘Yes, that’s so,’ said Sam. `And we shouldn’t be here at all, if we’d known more about it before we started. But I suppose it’s often that way. The brave things in the old tales and songs, Mr. Frodo: adventures, as I used to call them. I used to think that they were things the wonderful folk of the stories went out and looked for, because they wanted them, because they were exciting and life was a bit dull, a kind of a sport, as you might say. But that’s not the way of it with the tales that really mattered, or the ones that stay in the mind. Folk seem to have been just landed in them, usually – their paths were laid that way, as you put it. But I expect they had lots of chances, like us, of turning back, only they didn’t. And if they had, we shouldn’t know, because they’d have been forgotten. We hear about those as just went on – and not all to a good end, mind you; at least not to what folk inside a story and not outside it call a good end. You know, coming home, and finding things all right, though not quite the same – like old Mr Bilbo. But those aren’t always the best tales to hear, though they may be the best tales to get landed in! I wonder what sort of a tale we’ve fallen into?’

    In the days of conscription it was probably more widely known, but clearly not universally, since we can all identify with Sam’s belief in “the wonderful folk of the stories”. Personally, I think it’s a sign of improvement that people today don’t need to know; that they can live fat, comfortable, and oblivious lives in the peaceful Shire, while others guard their borders. The guards would not have it otherwise.

    And yet less thanks have we than you. Travellers scowl at us, and countrymen give us scornful names. ‘Strider’ I am to one fat man who lives within a day’s march of foes that would freeze his heart or lay his little town in ruin, if he were not guarded ceaselessly. Yet we would not have it otherwise. If simple folk are free from care and fear, simple they will be, and we must be kept secret to keep them so.

  • Mr Ed

    they can live fat, comfortable, and oblivious lives in the peaceful Shire, while others guard their borders.

    It is certainly not the role of the Armed Forces to guard our borders. Indeed in some cases quite the opposite, they go to fetch back those who turn out to be murderers.

    It’s not good the Armed Forces playing ‘Carry on up the Khyber’, it is not for our safety, I have no idea what they have been bent on doing there apart from providing welfare by force, except that back in 2001 the main spin seemed to be imposing women’s rights, but in any case they were (i) not seeking victory, but perhaps good pr and (ii) are unable to prevent those who would do us harm from do doing, and indeed at times positively assisting our enemies.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “It is certainly not the role of the Armed Forces to guard our borders. Indeed in some cases quite the opposite, they go to fetch back those who turn out to be murderers.”

    We need to recruit more prescient prophets to the Army, you mean? ‘Minority Report’ style?

    One of the things they guard is the liberal Western principle that people are presumed innocent until proven guilty, and that people are not to be punished for crimes they *might* commit, only for ones they actually *have* committed. Fair trials, Blackstone’s formulation, Freedom of Belief, and so on.

    Unfortunately, those are principles that not even all native-born liberal white Westerners believe in. If you want to expel from our society everyone who doesn’t see the need to abide by the principles of liberty, *whatever* their race, religion, or nationality, then I’m sympathetic with that idea. British/Christian/Western-born authoritarians are surely just as bad as Libyan ones. I’m against anyone using any other partially correlated characterics as a proxy for it, though. That’s a bad precedent to set.

  • Mr Ed

    “It is certainly not the role of the Armed Forces to guard our borders. Indeed in some cases quite the opposite, they go to fetch back those who turn out to be murderers.”

    We need to recruit more prescient prophets to the Army, you mean? ‘Minority Report’ style?

    NiV

    Extrapolation rather than deduction on your part there, and a wild one so far off the mark, I suspect that you might make a good ‘climatologist’ should you turn your hand to it. It is simply a fact that the role of the Armed Forces is not to control our frontiers, simply because the law has not given them that function. Should a sufficiently large non-UK Army turn up within our borders, they might actually do what we ultimately pay them to be available for, but for now, the Armed Forces may chase our enemies around distant mountains and deserts, whilst other elements of the State fund our enemies, or merely those who are not particularly friendly to us.

    There comes a time, such when the Armed Forces are used to ferry murderers to the UK, one might ask what and who exactly they purport to be defending, hence my term ‘Blairmacht’.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “Extrapolation rather than deduction on your part there, and a wild one so far off the mark, I suspect that you might make a good ‘climatologist’ should you turn your hand to it.”

    Heh! You’ve not seen me doing climate science?

    “It is simply a fact that the role of the Armed Forces is not to control our frontiers, simply because the law has not given them that function.”

    You seemed to be suggesting that they *ought* to be defending our borders by presciently detecting and keeping out future murderers. My apologies if that’s not what you meant, but if so I’ve no idea what your example of “they go to fetch back those who turn out to be murderers” was meant to demonstrate.

  • you might make a good ‘climatologist’ should you turn your hand to it.

    Just for the record, Nullius’ most recent comment on AGW was of a sceptical, un-extrapolating character. (As I said above) I suspect that in this thread Nullius is too kind to the Capita ad-writers, but from that comment I suspect typical AGW believers would see an unkind prejudiced denier. 🙂

  • Rob Fisher

    The soldier whose face was used in the snowflake advert… is a snowflake: https://metro.co.uk/2019/01/06/soldier-quit-army-face-used-snowflake-advert-8314549/amp/

  • Mr Ed

    Here is some ‘blue sky’ thinking on the role of women in the Army from what I understand to be the perspective of a serving British Army Major, it’s called ‘Leadership Insight’, and draws on a book called ‘A Good Time To Be A Girl” by an author called Morrissey.

    A Good Time To Be A Girl is not a title that will immediately draw soldiers to grab this book off the shelf. Ashamedly, I would not have read it a couple of years ago. Perhaps it is this shame that is forcing me to write now, or, the shame that previously I might not have acted when I should have done; a guilt knowing that I have let objectifying and discriminatory comments go by unchallenged in the past. As an infantry officer, my experience of working with women is limited, a poor excuse, but my recent roles alongside diplomats and business leaders have been a turning point. They have opened my eyes to some of the challenges and biases that still exist and have made me feel empowered and duty bound to act. I had not considered feminism a leadership issue before, but if leadership is truly about enabling others to succeed, then feminism (and diversity more broadly) is critical. Embracing diversity, standing up for what is right, and maximising everyone’s potential is vital to leading at all levels, and especially to leading through change.
    Morrissey’s book is not just for women, it is for everyone, for all genders. It argues for the betterment of all, not just women, and not at the expense of men. It calls on everyone to work towards a truly inclusive modern society.

    The biggest short-term effect we can all have is through challenging everyday sexism. At its worst this includes objectification and discrimination, and at its most innocent includes naively undermining a colleague. Both are unacceptable and contravene the Army’s Values and Standards and Leadership Doctrine. ‘Changing mindsets takes concerted effort’, Morrissey says, and discussing what is right and wrong in our teams, and the emotional reactions our comments and actions can cause – whilst remembering the dangers of overt political correctness – are all important steps to prevent these sorts of behaviours from happening in the workplace and more broadly.
    The idea that we cannot do anything to tackle gender inequality, sexism, and bad behaviour is cowardly and defeatist. We can, and we must.