Request for volunteers - Soldiers Panel

#1
Gents/Ladies

I have been approached by BBC Radio who would like to recruit a 'Soldiers' Panel' This, unlike the 500 year old generals and 'our own military expert who knows bugger all' that you read in the papers, will be a panel of soldiers, ideally recently retired but active association members also considered. Looking for a variety of Corps and Arms, Navy RAF and Marines as well as TA obviously.

The aim is to have a panel of guys/girls able to be rung up by the Beeb and asked to either appear on programmes or to provide comments/insight from the soldiers' view of a particular topic. An example is what people thought about John Reid telling people to stop being so quick to blame the Forces when they react to extreme provocation etc....or their thoughts on the war in Iraq or even whether we should send troops to Dafur.

Anyone interested would have to be prepared to let my contact (a producer) have a contact email/telephone number and he would rotate as required. ie if the topic is Iraq he'd be looking for people with recent experience over there, if soldiers' welfare then a wife might be asked to talk about how she copes when hubby is away.

Could people also say whther they think this is a good idea or not?

Personally I think this is something that might be good fun as well as a chance for people to get their views and thus those of the lads/lassies serving in the public domain. After all not everyone knows about ARRSE...

Interested parties PM me please so I can forward you the emails from the Beeb so you can see what they want. Thanks
 
#3
No, no not serving soldiers obviously but recently retired ones could 'ring up their mates still in and ask them what they think?' but not admit to doing so.........
 
#4
Cabarfeidh said:
Gents/Ladies

I ideally recently retired but active association members also considered.

The aim is to have a panel of guys/girls able to be rung up by the Beeb and asked to either appear on programmes or to provide comments/insight from the soldiers' view of a particular topic.
Great idea 8O Lets have the comments and observations on how the soldiers feel from people who are no longer in the services! Additionally, after the BBC allowed the identities of the soldiers in the most recent Iraq scandle video to be clearly seen, against the better judgement and express wishes of the MOD; they can shove their programmes up their "licence fee subsidised" asses :twisted:
 
#6
putteesinmyhands said:
Why not just start up a website where serving and retired soldiers express their feelings behind a barrier of anonimity, then read the posts on the radio.

Doh!!! :roll:
Might have to go out after the watershed though...... :lol:

Litotes
 
#7
"Might have to go out after the watershed though...... "

How about 2310hrs then again at 0215 hrs then kept online for the whole world to listen to for a week afterwards........

I can just see it now....Sir! Sir! Listen to what my old dad said on the radio last night...."The CO is a buffoon"

OK young man, walk slowly to the jail and tell the Provost Sgt I sent you....!
 
#8
I would suggest legal advice before volunteering for anything. I believe the service test of the AGAI67 could be brought into play if any person made derogatory or malicious remarks about any individual, unit or such like. I KNOW !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 
#10
bobos said:
I would suggest legal advice before volunteering for anything. I believe the service test of the AGAI67 could be brought into play if any person made derogatory or malicious remarks about any individual, unit or such like. I KNOW !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Fair point, but I thought Cabarfeidh was asking for volunteers "ideally recently retired but active association members also considered". Official Secrets Act would still apply to ex-serving of course, but their expressing an opinion on facts in the public domain should not fall foul of the OSA.

"This is not legal advice".
 
#11
Hackle

Exactly so. This is specifically why the Beeb want retired (although active duty about to retire would be welcome) as they can say what the troops want to say but can't and at the same time the panel should be more aware of things like OPSEC etc so they don't drop anyone or any unit in it.

Actually if the Federation wanted to set up a panel I'm sure they would have more clout....thoughts?
 
#12
Cabarfeidh said:
Actually if the Federation wanted to set up a panel I'm sure they would have more clout....thoughts?
Personally I can imagine something like that happening. It would of course be up to the Federation when the time comes.

Such a panel might usefully supplement the efforts of the principal spokesperson (who I controversially envisage as a Shami Chakrabarti type, but with a duelling scar and a Mention in Dispatches to her name.) :wink:
 
#13
Cabarfeidh said:
This is specifically why the Beeb want retired (although active duty about to retire would be welcome) as they can say what the troops want to say but can't and at the same time the panel should be more aware of things like OPSEC etc so they don't drop anyone or any unit in it.
Aye but the media have been doing this for years anyway. Like the old 'a friend of the actor said last night...' which translates as 'the actor told me (but wants to deny being an egomaniac)'.

They might as well just get already well known ex-soldiers to chat on the news....Andy McNab (and the usual rent-an-SF-celeb mob)talking about slotting people, Nigel Benn just glowering at the reporter, Kriss Akabusi can laugh for a while, Kelly Holmes can use her Army experience to talk about...er...PT. Charles Ingram, Lord Brockett, the list of glitterati goes on (where's my gun)....
 
#14
I thinka panel of real 'experts who've actually been there and dunnit' variety is a brilliant idea. However if the BBC trawls this site it will find enough material for a whole range of programmes covering just about everything, comedy, tragedy, fashion, history, politics, morale and finance to name but a few.
 
#15
Ladies/Gents:

We've got a few names off to the BBC as our resident non-McNab/Ryan experts. The suggestion that they call themselves the BSP (British Squaddies Panel) was sent as was our request for Kate Adie to be our mascot...you young people can stick with Katherine Jenkins, we mature chaps prefer Kutie Kate.

The BBC are saying: "Once I have some names and numbers I'll send the list to programme editors so that people know that there are folk available as alternatives to the "usual suspects".

So this is OUR chance to get OUR viewpoint and those of the serving SOLDIERS across (as in a friend of the actor above) :cool: to lots of different programmes not just Radio 5 or the World Service.

Any more volunteers? We've got ex Inf, Int, RE, REME, RAMC could do with RAC RSigs etc.
 
#16
MoD should have been straight on top of this, and given permissions to suitably briefed (these are your boundaries) individuals

It is a gift for eloquent 'Gentleman rankers'.
 
#17
Although we are ever eager to get the right point of view across (without reliance of the awesome MOD PR machine!!!), I see several problems with the suggestion:

1. Better trained, media comfortable, morally outraged spokesman, belittling the enthusiastic, passionate, possibly less eloquent Ex soldier.

2. CURRENT KNOWLEDGE. The reason people get frustrated with the “Usual suspects” is they are out of touch and talking as experts of past events. Things change remarkably quickly, just ask TELIC 1, 2 & 3 pers to exchange notes, and the so called spokesperson would be out of touch relatively quickly.

3. People can become star struck very quickly and start believing their own press, low and behold yet another “media Whore” being manipulated to put the corporations viewpoint across.

I am, however, jaded and have a major distrust of all things Press. I fear the way ahead is for our “Media Ops” people to get their act together and start representing our views, stronger, better and faster. “Big News” generally comes out in the Sunday Rags, yet Main Building (or at least the web page) closes for the weekend, giving all the detractors ample time to jump on the bandwagon.

There endeth yet another Rant in the world according to CAARPS
 
#18
Agree with your points but until MoD get their flaming act together...and get rid of the passed over or pissed off officers who have been doing the job for eons and are obviously bored or arrogant or both.

Have you seen the Americans for example? They have serving SNCO and JNCO briefers answering press questions. Why do the MoD not have a couple of good eagled eyed, strong jawed George Clooney and Demi Moore Warrant Officers to handle this sort of stuff about how the lads/lasses on the ground feel?

The idea is not to use the Panel as often as you might think; just to have someone in the background ready - until MoD get their act together we need someone to be able to talk up for the serving soldiers. As for relevant experience most of the lads on call will have recent experience of access to lads who do. Thus they are the 'friend of a friend etc'

The US and most other countries have standby Media Ops staff - our lot seem to have a pager but never bother ringing the press back, shoot round to BBC studios etc. The Yanks have teams of rapid reaction people who flood the airwaves and TV studios - they have learnt from experience over the last three years when the media only reports the bad news and are slowly getting their own message out much more.

Until MoD get a grip this is one way forward. Until we get a Federation and or a Sergeant Major of the Army type figure to brief the Press it will have to do. Any suggestions that might make it better to get the message across for the lads on the ground who are generally ignored?
 
#19
Couldn’t agree more on the point about serving soldiers being press trained. Its about time the there was a realization we have many bright young things in relatively junior positions who, with a bit of Media Trg, would be more than able to put a counter argument across.

I’m not talking about a clearly uncomfortable bloke, as stiff as a board, spouting the party line. More a well trained person who has natural confidence and a bit of the “X” Factor (no jokes!!!!!!).

In my opinion the main points are Currency and credibility. Someone who is quite obviously aware of the local situation, because he is actually in front of you, on the screen, in his desert combats, with an Afghan (substitute where ever) village in the background or in the Trg environment where the alleged incident took place etc.

Whether it is EX Maj Gen Snooty or EX Pte Bloggs, the problem is the EX. Yes blokes talk to their mates, but how quickly, actual fact becomes, juicy story, becomes Urban Myth in the re-telling.
 
#20
Whilst agreeing with the point that those serving are obviously best placed to relate the reality of current situations, depth and interest can be added to media discussions by eXperts, who may be EX and may also have the X factor. What makes the expert, expert is not having a thrusting view on the specifics off every bombing, suspected suicide or dodgy deals at the back of the QMs but that they can bring perspective, balance or ‘history’ to a topic.

Yes the armed forces have changed hugely in recent years. I have written that same last sentence several times in the last 15 years. What has not changed it seems is the idea that only carefully briefed officers can construct a sentence and articulate a single party line view. What is of interest, I think, to the great washed and unwashed public is input from a variety of sources asking probing questions and moving debates on through their informed and ‘expert’ input. Many 'cold war warriors' never saw a shot fired in anger but many did; they had their go as 'the lads on the ground.' So I say - bring on the British Squaddies Panel.
 

Latest Threads