I detest the Guardian reading liberal left elite in this country but never more so when they attack our Armed Forces and undermine and discourage young people who look to the forces for a structured career.
They ran a story this week attacking our Armed Forces by quoting a pediatrician and someone called Reem Abu-Hayyeh, a ‘public health advocate’ (??), ‘UK army should stop recruiting children, health experts say’ who accuse the government of putting 16-year-olds at risk. ‘Last year a survey commissioned by campaigners thought recruits should be aged over 18 years’. They are campaigners against child soldiers. Listen to the language, you would think they are talking about a despotic African state recruiting child soldiers under gunpoint whilst raping, maiming and killing their mothers and sisters. This is Britain and we see a lot of this nonsense.
These people think that applying to the UK army, navy and airforce at the age of 16 goes against children’s rights because they cannot give voluntary and informed consent. This is not conscription. They are not deployed on frontline combat roles and under 18s can leave at any time before their 18th birthday.
These white flag advocates express horror that the Armed Forces are recruiting kids who have poor GCSE results and come from low socioeconomic backgrounds. So, what’s their future otherwise: do you want fries with that, low paid jobs in the gig economy or zero hours contracts?
The Army refutes that they recruit from predominantly disadvantaged backgrounds. My sons’ grammar schools had active Combined Cadet Forces which offered them fantastic adventures and training during the week and at weekends.
Instead, by joining our elite Armed Forces — and that’s the key — we still have an elite fighting force, despite government cuts, our young recruits will be exposed to adventures they or their families could never afford and to acquire skills, direction, a trade for life, an alternative apprenticeship, where they learn discipline, often lacking in their home life, forge new friendships based on comrades you have to rely on through teamwork, communication and potential life and death scenarios, and to put their life back on track.
This is not an easy career choice. It is physically and mentally demanding, placing young people in circumstances where they quickly develop skills for life and future employability.
They get free accommodation, free food, free educational qualifications, including MA’s and PhDs, leadership and will be more employable than those kids who are told that a career in singing and dancing via their fake schools, named Academies for the Performing Arts, is a real career choice where you can support a family and mortgage.
The Armed Forces offer an exceptional opportunity to explore young people’s talents and abilities, exposing them to leadership, adventure, competition and camaraderie that could never damage young people in the Armed Forces as much as taking in the leftist views of the Guardian and its ilk.
No matter how many young people are pushed into university, and steered into taking useless degrees and coming out with enormous debt to themselves and the taxpayer, ending up in jobs that do not require a degree, there are alternatives.
For some of the recruits, it will be the first time in their lives that they will be subject to discipline, structure and direction. These kids would never have considered university or even attained the low grades required for some of our low-grade universities.
These young recruits will emerge from the highly tuned training system with a tangible sense of belonging who are highly motivated and very employable young people.
It should be pointed out that the Armed Forces are some of the best paid in the public sector. You can join with practically no qualifications, where a Private with six years service will be earning at least £26k a year, before allowances and benefits and a non-contributory pension.
Many young people don’t know what they want to do, even with a university degree and a huge debt. I know a young man who has applied to the Royal Navy. He didn’t want to go to university despite a first-class education. Finally, after drifting from job to job, he applied and thinks he wants to be a diver or a warfare officer. The senior recruitment officer said he will be encouraged through the rigorous aptitude tests to join what would suit him best and be given a vast array of opportunities. This young man is excited about his future.
If he had listened to the ‘experts know best’ approach from academics with patronisingly paternalistic presumptions from their privileged university/advocate positions he would still be unloading vans for a supermarket chain.
This week I had the privilege of being looked after by three close protection officers with military backgrounds. When they left the Armed Forces they had become paramedics, diplomatic security operatives, a high ranking policeman, all of whom had been given opportunities that they otherwise would not have had.
I was happy to place my life and my cameraman’s in their hands because they trained to be the best.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik