Running away for Queen and country

August 2012

Believe it or not but behind this veneer of grumpiness is a mild mannered and very polite individual. I’m generally quite a shy, self-effacing person and I avoid confrontation like Michelle McManus avoids salads. I tend to get on with most people and have very few issues with anyone in the real world.

However, occasionally there are people I meet who I take an instant dislike to. It doesn’t happen very often and the types of people are usually limited to estate agents and Piers Morgan. The last time it happened was a couple of years ago when I was introduced to someone by a mutual friend down the pub.

He was one of these loud arseholes who thought very highly of himself and appeared to have a psychological defect that blinded him to the fact that everyone thought he was a bell-end. He was a relatively well-built chap, which I assumed was either to over-compensate for a small penis or because he was in the armed forces. Or both.

Anyway, he hadn’t been in the forces all that long and was obviously very proud of himself. He bragged for some time about how he spent most of his days in the gym, rolling about in mud and marching up and down in straight lines for hours on end. He seemed to think it was a relatively easy life. Of course, a few months later he finished his training and was told he might have to go to Iraq or Afghanistan and help in the battle against the rock throwers.

This was obviously a bit of a wakeup call because it transpired that this overconfident guy who was full of his own self importance was actually a bit of a coward. Rather than make use of his 2 year’s worth of training and feel proud to be serving Queen and country, he bailed. He left the armed forces and fled like a little girl. When I heard this, it reminded me of that Monty Python sketch where Eric Idle announces to Graham Chapman he wants to leave the army because it’s dangerous and he might get hurt. The only difference being that was funny and this was pathetic. I personally think the guy should be shot for being such a coward – like they used to do in the good old days.

Not only is it cowardly but it is also selfish. It costs a lot of money to train soldiers and a lot of effort goes into it. What this guy did was a disgrace. He wasted precious time and resources getting trained for something he will never use. He may as well have gone to University. Even more of a disgrace was the fact he subsequently took a job at ASDA.

So he was scared about getting hurt. Well pardon me but I think you’ll find that’s a hazard of the job. If you are scared of getting shot at, blown up and tortured by rebel insurgents, why the hell would you even consider a career in that field? I mean, stories of soldiers losing limbs after they’ve trodden on landmines is no joking matter and I’m of the opinion that injured troops should be looked after financially for the rest of their lives given the best medical care possible.

However, I am against families of these soldiers attempting to sue the government when their beloved gets injured or killed. This is not because I’m insensitive; it’s because their beloved made a conscious choice to serve and knew the dangers. This wasn’t the case for people like my granddad for example who was conscripted at the start of the Second World War. The fact that he was almost dying of illness at the time didn’t matter. He was put on a warship and sent off to the Far East where he was immediately captured by the Japanese. He was then torpedoed by the allies before being forced to work as a slave on a railway line for the next 5 years. As soon as he was classified as missing, the army immediately stopped his pay. He got no compensation, no counselling, nothing. And he never complained. He never suffered from post-nip trauma or anything like that. He was a true hero. There are very few of his kind left now. The nanny state has deemed it alright to be a coward and has convinced people that even traitors are equal.

Anyway, with most of the Middle East waging war against everyone they deem to be an infidel and with America prodding the likes of China and Iran with a stick at every turn, the threat of a full scale war is very real indeed. So because commanding officers are not allowed to shout at cadets any more because it is considered bullying and cowards are allowed to turn their back on their country as soon as they’ve finished their training, how do we expect to beat hardened fanatics who are prepared to set themselves on fire and blow themselves up for what they believe in? It’s a scary reality that we will have to face sooner rather than later I fear.

So what have we got our soldiers doing now? They are busy being security guards at the Olympics. It sends a great message doesn’t it? With the government having recently announced spending cuts that will see 20,000 soldiers lose their jobs, they are now being asked if they can help with security at world sports day because a private company called G4S, who were supposed to be handling security arrangements, appear to have embezzled £475 million without actually providing any security guards or indeed a security service.

Having said that, who else is more used to having a lack of equipment and facilities but the British army? I imagine the government feel a bit red faced about this. I mean telling people they are going to get the sack and then being forced to ask them for a favour has to be almost as awkward as getting the North and South Korean flags mixed up at the Olympics opening ceremony…