No room for PC in the Military
Over the past year, our fight against the coronavirus has, naturally, dominated the media headlines and continues to do so.
However, a close second is the increasing demand for more radical political correctness (PC) and wokeism. Indeed, it seems all aspects of society, government and the commercial world are battling each other to see who can be the most woke.
The idea that we should reduce racism, prejudice, embrace inclusivity and minimise offence and upset is a noble ideal, but in reality, not something that can realistically be achieved by violent protests, radical and hypocritical virtue signalling, cancellation culture and disproportionate demands.
The reality is, the vast majority of people in this country do not harbour hateful prejudice and those that do are unlikely to be dissuaded by legislation or demands from sanctimonious celebrities, MP’s or sports stars. It is now getting so bad that I do fear many normally fair-minded people are becoming increasingly irritated by the direction wokeism is now going; so much so, it is highly likely to create an uncomfortable backlash if not radically curtailed and in the end create greater problems than those it seeks to solve.
Here are some recent examples:
Universities, that used to be places of scientific advancement, vigorous debate and the transfer of knowledge to the next generation, have embraced wokeness and become intolerant of any intellectual dissent. Disney has just announced a ban on children under seven from watching the classic cartoons Peter Pan, Dumbo and the Aristocats as they are now deemed racist. Then we have councils up and down the country evaluating ancient statues, street names and historic buildings to see if they have any connection with the British Empire or slavery.
If the government, councils and public sector wants to divert finite time and resources on removing statues, renaming streets and ensuring all staff know the difference between a transsexual and a transvestite then fine. But they’ll get little sympathy from me if, they don’t have time and funds for care for the elderly, shelters for the homeless and all the other key public sector services we rely on.
However, there is one institution that must be protected from the current rise in extreme wokeness and that is the military. Just recently, I was alarmed at Shadow Foreign Secretary Lisa Nandy’s support for the idea of replacing the military with a ‘gender-balanced security force’ that would adopt a new approach to conflict resolution that refrains from using violence. Not sure how that would work.
In peace time, the military helps and supports other public services in times of need; indeed they are assisting now with the vaccine roll out. However, when they are deployed on active service, they are expected to do the ultimate job and that takes a very particular type of person. One that is not the same as everyone else.
In recent years, the military has struggled to recruit and the number of military personnel is at an all-time low. Regrettably, and to the dismay of senior generals, the MOD decided to embrace a more woke agenda to its recruiting policy. Recent advertisements gave the impression that the modern British Army has abandoned its image as a lethal, highly effective fighting force for one that ensures recruits feel safe, happy and woke. Indeed, one of its TV ads depicted soldiers fighting a battle only for them stop because one of the soldiers needs to pray. The rest of the unit happily and patiently wait, with one soldier even shushing the radio operator so the guy can continue to pray without being disturbed.
Did those who signed this off really believe our enemies will tremble at the sight of our military embracing PC wokery?
Well they won’t, and the reality is adopting a softly, softly approach towards recruitment and training of the military will lead to increased and unnecessary casualties.
As a former solder myself I can speak from personal experience. Back in the mid 1980’s I joined the Army and will never forget the basic trading. Military basic training is when a civilian is evaluated, tested, trained and pushed to very limits of endurance to see if they have what it takes to go to war and kill or be killed. In the height of battle, in often hostile and extreme environments that are far from home comforts, soldiers need to be trained, equipped, be fit physically and mentally to do the ultimate job. They work and live together, where each person’s role, job and function are like links in a chain and that chain is only as strong as the weakest link.
Not many people have what it takes to be a soldier and that is why the military recruitment, training program and regime is harsh, almost brutal even, to ensure those who are not cut out for a military career are weeded out from the beginning. To do otherwise would, quite simply, put their lives and the lives of their comrades in jeopardy. That is why there is no room for PC wokery in the military and it needs to stop now before is it too late. Lives, literally, depend on it.
There is a line in the chorus of the military anthem ‘The Green Berets’ that sums up perfectly how a life in the military is for the few not the many: “One hundred men we’ll test today, but only three win the Green Beret”.
This column was published in the Newcastle Journal on the 4th February 2021