Political Correctness in the Military

DefenceSynergia(DS) views with mounting concern and incredulity MOD’s focus on obliging the Armed Forces to fulfil every twist and turn of the Political Correct (PC) agenda instead of focusing on their fighting effectiveness.

Colonel Tim Collins, who made his name on the eve of the invasion of Iraq, rightly and wisely wrote on such matters in the Daily Telegraph on 6th January 2018, succinctly establishing the principles on which the British Army should be built – and on which, until recently, it was. The same sentiments, we are sure, can be transferred to the Royal Air Force and the Royal Navy. Our Armed Forces are fighting machines, not social clubs.

One of DS recalls his commissioning day as an officer at the RAF College, Cranwell in the 1970s the day after Battle of Britain day. In an address that lasted not longer than 15 seconds, from the time he walked on the stage to exiting, the Commandant announced to the 50 young men standing respectfully to attention:

“The role of the Royal Air Force is to fly and if necessary to kill, and some of you may die doing that. Those of you who don’t fly are there to support those who do. Those who can’t do that, leave now.”

No one left the room that day and another DS member attests similar briefings being given to junior RAF officers in the 1980s. In the intervening years some air and ground crews paid the ultimate price for their loyalty: some in battle; others in flying accidents; and some on non-combatant operations. Military flying, indeed, military life, is an inherently risky business, in peacetime and war, a fact no one should forget.

Doubtless similar messages to that of the Commandant at Cranwell were given by the Commandant of the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst and the Captain of Britannia Royal Naval College, Dartmouth, to their newly commissioned officers in those decades – as they most likely have briefed reaching far back into history. This is our nation’s heritage and the basis of forming effective fighting forces with esprit de corps and a clear understanding of what serving ‘under the colours’ means to the ‘band of brothers’ who volunteer. Political Correctness has no place in battle, where martial skills, courage, dedicated professionalism and, at times, raw brute force win the day rather than being nice to people according to how they respond to gender.

It is the willingness of these volunteers to form into a disciplined fighting machine and, if necessary, kill, that should be the ethos instilled in and nurtured through every branch of the three Armed Services, not worrying about whether a tiny minority of people will be offended by being called sir or ma’am. The latter should have left the room if they could not live with such trivialities.