If anyone is labouring under the delusion that the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament restricts its campaigning to the abolition of Trident, think again.
The secretary of its Ayrshire branch (yes, the ghost of Michael Foot lives on in Scotland) seems to believe we won’t rest safe in our beds until the Army is relieved of its guns too. And heaven forfend that any recruitment drive should feature the weapons soldiers have to learn to use.
Clearly it’s time for an overhaul of standards in our nasty, threatening armed forces. As follows . . .
UNIFORMS: Camouflage fatigues, frankly a nightmare of shoddy tailoring, are so, so last century and send out disturbing echoes of uncivilised acts in a steamy jungle environment. They also clash with the boots. We suggest a pretty pink tracksuit, perhaps with crimson piping to match the new suedette combat slippers. For formal occasions, and it surely doesn’t need me to tell you this, you can never improve on the little black dress with matching kitten heels. As for spit and polish – eeuw! A light rub with a dry powder puff should suffice.
TANKS: How militaristic can you get, rolling through the streets on pollution-heavy diesel power, pointing that turrety, gun-barrel-type thingy at terrified civilians? All change on the transport front. Henceforth any invasions (now classified as shopping opportunities in nice new places) will be conducted by a fleet of heliotrope Toyota Yarises with outriders on tricycles.
TRAINING: For generations, sergeant majors with bulging eyes and bristling moustaches have shouted orders at young soldiers, traditionally beginning and ending with the words: ‘You ’orrible little man’. Not any longer, bully boy. Eyes must now remain firmly in sockets, moustaches will be Zapata-style and floppy, and the standard form of address will start: ‘Excuse me, if it’s not too much trouble, would you mind putting your iPad down for a moment while I pass on a few tips, you delightful person of indeterminate gender and stature.’ Which brings us to . . .
ASSAULT COURSES: Those same generations have been subjected to barbaric and, let’s admit it, undignified exercise regimes involving swinging from ropes, diving through tunnels and clambering over walls (often without prepared hand- and foot-holds). This has led to sprained ankles, mussed hairdos, mud stains and even broken fingernails. The 2018 experience will involve negotiating the revolving doors at Harvey Nicks backwards, with those awkward Dolce e Gabbana carrier bags in both hands.
WEAPONS: As our CND ally points out, machine guns can often give off an intimidating vibe. When faced with a confrontation-type situation, we find that sarcasm is usually all that is needed. Or irony.
But never, ever, direct criticism. For further guidance, see ‘Articulacy Under Fire: My Way With Litotes’ by Professor-General Doris ‘Tiger’ Izzard-Fry (vols 1-4).
DOGS: Snarling alsatians and inquisitive springer spaniels can give offence to the public, particularly Muslims. Their replacements are still in the development stage, but we propose to train a cohort of crack sniffer snails to detect explosive traces.
YOGA: A good idea is to adopt the lotus position when facing hostile behaviour. This minimises the risk of having your legs blown off by less enlightened opposition colleagues. Which reminds me, it’s time for my Advanced Ashtanga class. So, fellow peacekeeping personnel, catch you later and keep up the good work!