Mistakes lead to bullying shocker!

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by Proximo, Jul 13, 2005.

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  1. From The Grauniad:

    The story is here.

    It would be trite beyond description for any of us to condemn bullying - it's a no-brainer and a truism. However, I remain to be convinced that the men from the ministry are capable of discerning the difference between actual bullying activity and good, hard, effective military training that befits an Army of our standing with the kind of operational stresses and loads our people routinely experience.

    I'm also alarmed whenever talk turns to 'external agencies' or 'independent elements', but maybe I'm prejudging?
  2. I know I'll be accused of heresy, but sometimes an independent or external input can work. The Independent Police Complaints Commission, for example, is chock-full of professional liberals, some with a bit of an anti-police history but there is a strong police input (mainly from retired officers) who understand how things work.

    As a result, the system appears to be working OK, and they only look at very serious complaints and don't get in the way of local decisions by forces.

    A similar system in the army, whereby "They" get called in for Deepcut-style incidents but don't meddle with local commander's role in enforcing discipline seems to me to be a possible way forward.

    My experience of large organisations trying to convince external partners that they are keeping their house in order is that, ironically, their internal discipline procedures get over-zealous to convince those third parties. Because an outsider isn't trying to prove anything, they can be more even-handed. Reading Col. Collins' account of the investigation against him seems to be instructive, as is the cack-handed pursuit of allegations against other soldiers in Iraq. An exteranl agency filtering them would immediately negate the ambulance-chasers and political opponents of the military. And be fairer.

    I know the army is tribal and like to protect it's turf...it's natural. But when events like Deepcut which really do have the potential to cause significant damage to the good name of the army occur then it seems appropriate to call in the big guns ASAP.

    Just an outsider's POV.

  3. Agreed that independent inspectin can be a good thing, but........after the "Safer Training" report came out all the soul searching started. I was reminded of the scene in 1984 where Winston Smith begs to be allowed to confess just as long as he is told what he has to confess to.

    we are going down the same route. We seek to confess to everything without having the strength to say - yes some bullying takes place, we will do all we can to keep it to a minimum but it is impossible to stop it totally and you'll just have to live with that!
  4. Have you had the pleasure of seeing the new anti bullying poster?

    Apparently 'shouting' constitutes bullying, so no more drill for me I think, and 'unrealistic deadlines' are another element so is it possible that the contractors on Bowman could claim they've been bullied by the Army?

    The sort of systematic and in many cases carefully considered bullying that can take place is nothing short of repugnant, but there seems to be a tendency to swing too far in the opposite direction. The molly coddling that this engenders is recognised as such by the majority and the overall, worthwhile, message is devalued, allowing the minority to continue their behaviour.

    Yes, lets stop the excesses that can ruin peoples' lives. But lets also recognise that the tired old line trotted out about 'the army must reflect the society it protects' is fundamentally flawed. The very nature of the Army's stock in trade is diametrically opposed to the society it reflects. While society venerates the individual the Army gains it's strength from the individual subsuming themself into a greater body that is far more than the sum of it's parts.

    That requires a robust approach to life, one that sees the individual tested and results in them being more resilient and usually more confident. The Army, or indeed any of the Armed Forces, cannot hope to function if it takes on the mores of a society in which a young woman can be 'addicted' to her mobile phone to such an extent that she becomes 'anxious and distressed' if seperated from it for more than 30 minutes.

    When an MP earnestly expresses the view on national television that 'modern warfare is about push button technology' and states that 'the idea of soldiers going over the top with fixed bayonets went out with the Battle of Omdurman' it's pretty evident that civil society doesn't get it.
  5. Some of the soldiers that come from training are the worst examples of barrack rooms lawyers that i have seen. When i shout at someone to do something it normally to stop them killing themselves doing something stupid. There is no place for a soldier on the battlefield who cannot react to a effective short command. I do not want the enemy firing at me and myself having to explain to a young soldier why he is to give me covering fire. It is high time the wooly minded liberals in our society understand that the world is not like a disney film. It is full of arrogant and corrupt people that require a short sharp shock to the system. I am paid to kill people and my colleagues around me are also paid to do the same job it is that easy. I would like the training that soldiers recieve in training and continuation through there careers to be robust firm and above all fair. There is no place however for bullying in the army. ninety nine percent of the time incidents are credited to individual soldiers. The hierarchy is always the last to know and it does get sorted eventually. These children tjhat are passing out of Army traing centres are full of ideas about human rights, You do not have any on the battlefield of life it is dog eat dog out there. The best way of winning is to shut up and listen to the older soldiers and act on what they say, They know they porbaly been in that situation 2000 miles away in the searing heat of the desert and seen waht can happen.
    Nuff said and yes i was bullied in my army career, But when in Bosnia the first round went through my windscreen all the training recieved pulled me through. I am grateful my instructor in basic training was a complete bastard he saved my life.

  6. i agree with armadilio The best way of winning is to shut up and listen to the older soldiers and act on what they say, There is no place for a soldier on the battlefield who cannot react to a effective short command

    this is the army and as i have always been told the army is your father
  7. Problem with all of this is the sort of creeping paralysis which tends to happen.

    In my Reg days (old sweat moment there) it was the norm. Everyone going through basic received a healthy dose of what would now be deemed "Bullying" or "Human Rights Abuse". So what? Answer is, and I agree with Armadillo on this point, that when you are out there in the danger zone having the ability to shrug off hardship, cope with people taking it out on you because they are having a bad day and generally take all the negative stuff that goes with spending a tour venturing out into danger every time you leave your shit hole of a sand bagged windowed converted factory is a positive BONUS.

    My "real" green days done I am now an ACF Officer and reguarly see examples of "Zero Tolerance on Bullying" and "Young Persons Act" being taken to extremes.

    Don't get me wrong. We most certainly should not expose Cadets to the kind of beasting that most of us (older at least) Regs know only too well.

    However, I recently saw an instance of where Cadets were not even allowed to choose their own friends during free time because "to exclude someone from your group is emotional bullying" Note I do not mean "Feck off you smell" or "You are not one of us coz we don't like you" but rather instances of "Listen kidss, you MUST let xxxx join in with your free time activity whether you want to or not because we don't want him beeing bullied by exclusion"

    Another one was a female Cadet who told me (whilst wearing three pounds weight of cheap makeup on her face) that "I am not wearing cam cream Miss because anything I put on my face brings me out in a rash and if you make me I will report you for bullying me and get the Doctor to say you caused it".

    Point is that this is a worrying trend. As young people are now being "niced" throughout formative years how on earth are we going to continue producing go anywhere, do the job, get on with it type soldiers?

  8. Please Please tell me who that was
  9. It was Jack Ashley, now Baron Ashley of Stoke.

    His comments were made several years ago when, as you may recall, there was a minor furor over the MoD not employing disabled people in the military.

    Presumably Jack would have offered his services to the Royal Artillery, coming to the job deaf rather than leaving that way would save a lot of time and money.
  10. I was always told it was my father AND my mother. Naturally that led to some gender-dislocation which is why I would probably have been better off in The Queens Own Transvestites rather than the Masculine Light Infantry...Sadly the MS branch posted me to the 11th Royal Flower Arrangers and the rest as they say is history and indeed court martial precedents...
  11. For my two pence worth, I feel that yes there is a need for an independent body to investigate and regulate the army, one which can not be influence by the chain of command and one that is viewed as being impartial and independent, and approachable, such an organisation would be able to act as a buffer to the left wing tree huggers who think rightly or wrongly that the army is made up for bullies and thugs. This organisation would also provide some bomb cover for the chain of command when dealing with "controversial issues" i.e. the policy laid down by them allows this....

    However this organisation needs to keep in focus the job of the army,

    The British Army exists to defend the Nation and its interests. It has a
    Reputation second to none, based largely on its fighting spirit, and on the high
    Standards of professionalism, behaviour, and self-discipline that British soldiers
    have consistently displayed.

    Land operations are physically and mentally demanding, extremely
    unpredictable, and potentially dangerous. In the end they depend for success on
    teamwork, which comes from demanding training, strong leadership,
    comradeship and trust. Such trust can only exist on the basis of shared values,
    the maintenance of high standards, and the personal commitment of every
    soldier to the task, the team, the Army and the Nation.

    I do not feel that civilians standards can be applied to the military in a basic sense telling soldiers in Al-Amara not to smoke is a waste of time and perspective they are not worried about cancer in 15-20 years time they are worried about getting shot in the next 3hrs of there patrol.

    At the end of the day when the cards are on the table and the army is at war, (yes this does happen despite some people push button beliefs) they have to do a very strange and unnatural things and risk there lives and the lives of there friends, possibly in my humble onion due to the example set by the officer at the front leading the way, and the Platoon sgt at the rear who is more scary than the enemy at the front(they can kill the enemy at least)

    An organisation which understands these demands and why training is so hard/demanding and so through would be a great asset to the army if correctly managed. And could deflect allot of criticism which is levelled against the army. While at the same time be able to step in and stop any unfair no unreasonable bullying.

    Worse case I challenge anyone to 30 days in some of the more colourful areas, of telic and then see how there mutual respect policies work and how they would improve the quality of life out there.
  12. It's that sort of bollocks that is going to get supposedly 'trained' soldiers killed when they find themselves in situations that they are not trained or mentaly prepared for. Real bullying is not to be accepted in any form, but to replace real, effective, hard training with 'cotton wool' isn't a 'duty of care' it's gross neglegence.