Private Eye Magazine's 'Squarebasher' bashes TA

Discussion in 'Army Reserve' started by Blyth_spirit, Jun 2, 2013.

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  1. The latest Private Eye issue (1341) has an article by their regular* defence columnist 'Squarebasher' entitled "TA News". Unfortunately there is no online version or I would link to it.

    Essentially the theme of the piece is the same drumbeat from the popular press: The A2020 reliance on the reserves at the expense of the regular army will not work. That's been addressed in a number of other threads and I don't mean to challenge it here. What I do have issue with is Squarebasher's methodology and examples.

    His title is the TA and argument is against the cuts to regular army manpower; he then cites the different basic training times between an RAF Regt Gunner and a RAAF reservist. If this is their military 'expert' then surely he must have some understanding of the three services?

    He gives an example of a training exercise where reservists fail to find a mortar round concealed in a car at a VCP. What was the level of training? Was this a scratch serial on a low level ex or were they at the point of completing PDT - the implications are somewhat different. Also, is he implying that regular soldiers have never done this during training? This is what training is there for: make your mistakes in training to get it right on ops, shurely.

    Finally, and worst in my eyes, he writes:

    The implication here, and the take away for those with little exposure or understanding of the army, is firstly that no TA soldiers have, to date, served in Afghanistan and secondly that the possibility of mobilisation under new TACOS is causing TA numbers to haemorrhage.

    TA numbers did fall during that period but I know of no anecdotal or statistical evidence to show that this was linked in any way to cowardice in the face of the brown envelope. I could suggest a pisspoor recruiting process, lack of employment protection and the decision vacuum over FR20 commitment as possible reasons for the numbers downturn, but windyness?

    The implication that we do not and will not deploy on operations is an insult to every one of the thousands of TA soldiers who have served on operations, alongside their regular counterparts, in the past 20 years; especially those killed, wounded or decorated for bravery.

    I'm not going to cancel my subscription, I'm saving that for when I lose my sense of humour in a maelstrom of tweed and ruffled Telegraph, plus I'd miss the funnies. I understand 'Squarebasher' browses ARRSE so I post here in the hope he may read this. Maybe he might even consider issues from a TA perspective in his column in future.

    *both meanings
    • Like Like x 4
  2. No it isn't. It is that numbers fell, and that some of this fall in numbers might have been related to misgivings over op deployment.
  3. Seems to be the quality of recruits, more seem to fail then pass and it seems to be the simple things they are failing on such as weapon handling tests. Is this the result of stricter training? Possibly. Have only been a stab for about 5 years and have noticed a distinct dip in the pass rate since I joined

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  4. Bloody eck, not another Millwall thread
  5. im·pli·ca·tion (mpl-kshn)
    1. The act of implicating or the condition of being implicated.
    2. The act of implying or the condition of being implied.
    3. Something that is implied, especially:
    a. An indirect indication; a suggestion.
    b. An implied meaning; implicit significance.
    c. An inference. See Usage Note at infer.

    state·ment (sttmnt)
    1. The act of stating or declaring.
    2. Something stated; a declaration.
    3. Law A formal pleading.
    4. An abstract of a commercial or financial account showing an amount due; a bill.
    5. A monthly report sent to a debtor or bank depositor.
    6. Computer Science An elementary instruction in a programming language.
    7. An overall impression or mood intended to be communicated, especially by means other than words: Glass, exposed beams, and antiques were combined to create a strong decorative statement.
  6. ...and now realises exactly why TA numbers are falling.
    • Like Like x 1
  7. Did numbers fall because of possible deployment .... at a time when Endex was in sight (or at least declared by HMG) ?

    Or did numbers fall because of constraints on training, plus increased nausea on training evenings, plus permanent staff expecting one to do TA admin at work?. This last an issue with all businesses tightening belts and some looking for any excuse to lighten manpower costs.

    I left 1994 but have been amazed at how many have struggled on in last 5 years.

    Not sure whether Squarebasher is one person, or Major Stig. The column has little consistency in quality or timeliness.
    • Like Like x 1

    FORMER_FYRDMAN LE Book Reviewer

    The 'windy' comment is a cheap shot and it diminishes 'Square Basher'. It's not windy to question whether it's worth risking life and career for a lost cause and in the middle of an economic downturn, particularly as plenty of TA actively volunteered to put themselves in harm's way in those halcyon days before it was realised that our politicians had sunk to new depths of venality and that the Regular Army was so operationally inept that the Yanks no longer trusted us and even its own acknowledged 'rising stars' were resigning in column of route in protest at the incompetence of the CoC.

    Trying to replace great chunks of the Regulars with TA is insanity but if the Regular Army had put half the effort into developing a winning approach in Iraq and Afghanistan and fighting the politicians that it has put into briefing the press about this policy, the proposition would not now be on the table.
    • Like Like x 5
  9. Firstly, this is Private Eye. Secondly, while some of the methodology might be a bit dodgy, it is not hard to identify the many many holes in the Army 2020/integration of the reserves plan. Thirdly, I don't think it implies that TA soldiers have not been deployed to Afghanistan, merely that (again perhaps slightly dodgy methodology) that any new TA TACOS (required to enable any chance of integration in the AF) will almost certainly result in some people leaving the TA.

    In sum, dry your eyes and stop whining.
  10. RP578

    RP578 LE Book Reviewer

    'Squarebasher' is the cover name given to any number of contributors who write about military issues. I know of one TA soldier who wrote an email to them which appeared verbatim under the 'Squarebasher' title.
  11. Goatman

    Goatman LE Book Reviewer

    Firstly, well done Blyth_Spirit for having the balls to tell 'Squarebasher' they am talking balls, and not from experience.

    Secondly, its a bit like the old QI joker being played ' How then is FRA 2020 going to be made to work ?' NOBODY KNOWS ! So for S-B to single out the Army Reserve as an exemplar of the flaws in the plan is , ahem, singularly rich.

    Thirdly, telling a fellow soldier to dry their eyes and soldier on just plays into the hands of the media chatterati who already think they can get away with printing any old kvetch and still be paid £150 for 400 words.....ALWAYS RESIST, ALWAYS CHALLENGE, ALWAYS QUERY...never,never,NEVER back away from the fight.

    and now, back to rustling the Torygraph...harumph!

    apologies for the is a little Mutt & Jeff....prolonged exposure to inane bullshit....
  12. And that's why some PSI's in TA battalions find it so difficult to motivate TA soldiers.
    In a regular unit if your fat & overweight you have to do something about it or loose your job.
    2 standards, 1 regular & 1 territorial!!!
  13. Which is even doubly hard when the said fat soldier owns a roofing/fencing company or any other much needed service's and is doing some "jobs" for the CO!
  14. No that's because they lack imagination and real leadership. In a regular unit if you're fat and overweight you get a biff chat, hide in stores or get someone to falsify your BFT pass and if all else fails get a posting to a TA unit as a PSI.

    Having seen the number of fat regulars in DFAC 2 in BSN you are fooling no-one.
    • Like Like x 1
  15. If your fat and over weight in the regulars you have weekly pt and PTI's to beast you back into shape as part of your normal working week schedule. If your far and over weight in the ta you have to force yourself into getting fit and fit this fitness training in and around a full time job and family life as there is not to many full time jobs are going to allow you phys time during your work hours

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    • Like Like x 2