Private Eye Magazine's 'Squarebasher' bashes TA

#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:

TA numbers actually fell between 2011 and 2012 as more of them became "windy" at the idea of serving in Afghanistan
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
 
#5
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.
im·pli·ca·tion (mpl-kshn)
n.
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)
n.
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
im·pli·ca·tion (mpl-kshn)
n.
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)
n.
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.
...and now realises exactly why TA numbers are falling.
 
#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.
 

FORMER_FYRDMAN

LE
Book Reviewer
#8
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.
 
#9
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
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.
 

RP578

LE
Book Reviewer
#10
The latest Private Eye issue (1341) has an article by their regular* defence columnist 'Squarebasher'

*both meanings
'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.
 

Goatman

ADC
Book Reviewer
#11
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.
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 shouting...one 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
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!!!
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
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!!!
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.
 
#15
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!!!
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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#16
And "if" you want to be a territorial soldier then you either make the commitment or you don't!
For too long there has been the great debate over whether TA soldiers are as good as Regulars.
Surely it's up to TA units to get soldiers up to the required standard or medically downgrade them?
If 2020 is going to become Regular & Reserve this surely means higher standards?
 
#18
And "if" you want to be a territorial soldier then you either make the commitment or you don't!
For too long there has been the great debate over whether TA soldiers are as good as Regulars.
Surely it's up to TA units to get soldiers up to the required standard or medically downgrade them?
If 2020 is going to become Regular & Reserve this surely means higher standards?
TA soldiers are as good as regulars and that is a fact proven from ops. Fitness to do the job is not just about your mile and half run time (which is what some TA struggle with) but also your ability at trade. Regulars like to reduce the debate to pfa or CFT as that's the only area of weakness they can find. Why not do a comparison to the US regulars who you'd obviously be OK working with? A male aged 42 to 46 will pass after 10 press ups, 32 sit ups and 16.5 min mile and half run............. Don't see you giving them a hard time?

Posted from the ARRSE Mobile app (iOS or Android)
 
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