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The Army must take a bayonet to this diversity mania


I AM in despair at the state of the Army. What was once universally regarded as the best in the world is now unable to recruit and frets that the proportion of ethnic minorities amongst the officers recruited from the Commonwealth is too low. The proposed solution? Reduce the security requirements. That comes on top of reducing the medical requirements and standards for entry for officer cadets at Sandhurst. In effect the proposal is to defend the realm with poorly led asthmatics (and attention seekers?) whose allegiance to the Crown is uncertain. What could possibly go wrong? 

It’s so obviously wrong that even Grant Shapps has noticed. He has commissioned a review, which probably won’t complete until after the next election and more likely than not will be written by the very people who have caused the problem. That’s pathetic. The Army, MoD and country need more than that. Much more.

Soldiering is primarily about people. In the armed forces you literally trust your comrades with your life. The core requirement for all soldiers is that they will unquestioningly risk their life to kill His Majesty’s enemies, if necessary by eviscerating them with a bayonet. That requires a certain mindset, discipline, physical capacity and confidence. Recruiting anyone who doesn’t have those attributes is not just a waste of money, it compromises the whole force.  By the same token, anyone with them should be welcomed, nurtured (robustly at times), trained and rewarded.

This is not rocket science and the Army used to be pretty good at it. Indeed not so long go the Army was one of the greatest engines of social mobility in the country. In 2017 it came in at 55th in the Social Mobility Foundations ranking of employers. Today it doesn’t make it on to the list (although the RAF does). 

No business would outsource a core function. Yet since 2012 the Army has used Capita to attract and deliver recruits into the training centres. Capita has consistently failed for years. Yet it was only last December that General Sir Patrick Sanders, the outgoing Chief of the General Staff (as the head of the Army is known) did something about it and announced: ‘We are taking 400 soldiers out of the field army to put them alongside recruiters, because, guess what, it takes a soldier to recruit a soldier.’  That’s been true since before the Napoleonic Wars. How was it forgotten? 

Why was recruiting outsourced in the first place? By whom? Why has it taken 18 months for this general to do anything about it?

One reason is the MoD’s enthusiastic embracing of diversity which is ‘on the cusp of obliterating this country’s military capability’, as Tim Collins wrote in the Telegraph this week. It’s worse than that. An army reflects the society it is drawn from; deranged diversity, inclusiveness and equality policies are destroying the country.

Maybe the country has obliterated itself already. The NHS, itself a national religion well supported by single-issue lobbying groups, pays diversity officers more than doctors. 

There is talk about the UK paying reparations for the slave trade that it abolished, yet no one asks who captured the slaves in the first place. Job applications from white, heterosexual males are unwelcome as more and more companies have diversity quotas. The Royal Air Force got caught out but was no doubt following industry best practice. 

Our probable next Prime Minister can’t define a woman. How on earth will he cope if, as happened last year to Mr Sunak, he gets the midnight phone call saying that the Russians have launched a missile into Poland?

Who put Stonewall, Black Lives Matter and the rest of the woke pressure groups in advisory positions across the government machine? How much have we taxpayers paid them to undermine the defence of the United Kingdom? It’s not them who will halt His Majesty’s increasing number of enemies. Quite possibly they are the enemy.

Rather than yet another internal review, Grant Shapps needs to be bold and decisive. If he is serious about reform he must:

·       Terminate the Capita contract for non-performance and fire the people who placed it.

·       Introduce a UK equivalent of the hugely successful American GI Bill – should pay for soldiers who have completed their service to go to university.

·       Legislate to place Armed Forces veterans at the top of the housing ladder.

·       Remove unnecessary headquarters/organisations, their commanders and their staff. Today’s Army has two full Generals, ten Lieutenant Generals, 52 Major Generals and a staggering 151 Brigadiers, all to command a force that can deploy just 157 tanks (usually commanded by a corporal or sergeant).

·       Make recruiting a commander’s responsibility. As Tim Collins suggested, it can be done.

·       Force the Treasury to accept that the Army is recruiting in a competitive environment and find the funds for a pay rise for junior ranks. That’ll cost a few quid, but less than the foreign aid budget. Or the NHS diversity officers budget.

Will Shapps do this? Unlikely. Neither would his Labour counterpart, John Healey (who?) He’d be up against years of a vested interest and corrupted Whitehall, even if he was so minded. Years of a country taught to loathe itself, uninterested even in defending itself. A country perhaps not even worth defending?

The real question isn’t how to recruit soldiers, it’s how to get rid of the subversives who’ve taken control of all of this country’s institutions. Issuing P45s is easy, finding a political party in Westminster with the guts to do it isn’t.

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Patrick Benham-Crosswell
Patrick Benham-Crosswell
Patrick Benham-Crosswell is a former Army officer who has spent the last 30 years in commerce. He is the author of Net Zero: The Challenges, Costs and Consequences of the UK's Zero Emission Ambition. He has a substack here.

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