Our Defence Secretary needs to act decisively to preserve the British Army’s credibility
Article published in The Sun, 11 January 2018. © Richard Kemp
Man for man, the British Army has always been the best in the world. Today this proud reputation is under threat.
Numerically at its weakest since Napoleonic times, politicians are now increasingly infecting it with dangerous political correctness.
This includes David Cameron’s decision in 2016 to allow women into the infantry.
Today the Army faces a manning crisis, with 4,000 fewer regular troops than needed and a failure to come close to filling the ranks of the reserves.
How is this being tackled? By even bigger doses of political correctness. The latest recruiting campaign focuses exclusively on minorities.
An MoD insider admitted yesterday that this is all about meeting quotas for black, Asian, minority ethnic and female recruits.
It is right that the Army reflects the make-up of the society it fights for.
But that is very much secondary to the overriding need to be fully manned by battle-ready combat troops. While these adverts may have a marginal effect on recruiting minorities, they will not appeal to the majority of potential recruits.
These are young people who want challenge, action and adventure and who are willing to fight for their country.
What will appeal to them are images of tough military training, troops leaping from helicopters, skiing, sky-diving and mountaineering. (more…)