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Friday, 26 July 2013

Killer Apes

It seems that not only do we want young men to fight wars, risking injury or death on behalf of politicians, but we want them to be bright as well …… a report just issued has said that we must have ‘clever soldiers’.

The Parliamentary report has criticised the fact that two-fifths (39%) of recruits to the British Army have the reading ability at or below that expected of an 11-year-old, with 38% at this same level of ability in numeracy. It also claimed  that of those groups, many actually had an even lower standard i.e. Just about National Vocational Qualification entry level 2, or put another way, below the standard expected of a seven- or eight-year-old in literacy and numeracy.

While of all of those who joined the Royal Navy or the RAF in 2012, all were above NVQ entry level 2, it found that 3.5% of all army recruits had reading levels at this standard, and 1.7% only had this level of ability in maths.

They then criticised that fact that 28% of army recruits are under the age of 18 when they join, compared with 5% for the Royal Navy and 8% for the RAF, but frankly you would expect a bit better from a Commons Defence Select Committee report with the committee normally chaired by Tory MP’s.

Scholar Soldiers?

The answers to these concerns are self evident if you have an ounce of savvy in your body, but apparently not to a bunch of Members of Parliament in the UK:

Starting with the recruitment age issue:

The army is facing the worst peace time cuts in 50 years …. It’s been forced to lay off thousands of experienced fighting and support soldiers, and is desperately short of soldiers to fight in the several wars the UK has got involved in. The cheapest replacement manpower available is teen males, and therefore the Army is packing the lower ranks with cheaper replacement soldiers, hence the fact that 28% of army recruits are under the age of 18. The answer is simple. Stop and reverse the army cuts to negate the need to take under 18 year olds.

Literacy levels:

These are boys and men who have often failed in the school system for a variety of reasons. They often face three stark choices post educational time:
  1. Life on the dole, fathering multiple children at the expense of the state (and at a cost far greater than that of paying them in the armed forces). 
  2. A life of crime – quick money in drug dealing and petty crime.
  3. Or, make something of themselves and joining the armed forces, where they can develop practical and educational skills that offer them some chance in life post the military.

What exactly does this committee of MP's want? An army of Oxbridge graduates who couldn’t fight their way out of a paper bag, while an army of less privileged young men are denied a second chance, and lay indolently on our estates breeding children in-between bouts of petty crime and violence?

I know exactly which of those options are better for our society. So why don’t they? 

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