Sir Nicholas Soames – one of Sir Winston Churchill’s grandsons has said “touchy-feely political correctness has no role in the Army” after an advertising campaign told recruits ‘it’s OK to be gay’.
Sir Nicholas MP for Mid Sussex, said he accepted that the Army “must do what it thinks it needs to get people to join”, but added:
“I think they ought to be extremely cautious about the message they send outside.”
And that it was a “matter of the first importance” that the system “must not be altered in such a way that it will produce only pale imitations of what is actually required”.
Soames who commissioned into the 11th Hussars after attending the Mons Officer Cadet School in Aldershot added: “Whilst I’m all for the Army, if it really feels it has to, adapting its recruiting to some vaguely woolly notions, it is important that we continue to get the outstanding young men and women who we are so lucky to have in our Armed Forces and that the training does indeed prepare them for what might come.”
The MoD, he said, made a “huge mistake when it let the contract for recruiting to Capita, who’ve made a real pig’s ear of it”.
This comes in the same week that Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson has insisted additional resources are needed for Britain’s Armed Forces.
Talking about the National Security Capability Review (NSCR) he said: “Modernising Defence will allow us to deliver better military capability and value for money in a sustainable and affordable way. And it will allow us to ensure that Defence capabilities complement other national security capabilities in the most effective way”
The Cabinet minister told the Commons that the new defence review “isn’t aiming to be fiscally neutral”, as he bids to resist pressure to make further cuts.
But former Conservative leader Iain Duncan Smith asked: “Could he please ensure that we do not repeat the nonsense of, when people say you can modernise, what they actually mean is you cut?”
Whether or not he’s succeeded in securing more funds has not yet been confirmed but he has, it seems, secured five months to make the case for increased military spending.
While that has taken the immediate pressure off amid a sap in morale for personnel in the Armed Forces who risk losing their jobs, the harsh reality is that the MoD is currently spending more money that it is meant to. This means it will either have to scale-back operations and overseas commitments or cut-back numbers and capabilities.
That might sound like a simple decision but the politics involved both at home and on the international stage it will mean someone somewhere will have to break a promise.