We won't fight for our country.

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by Rajaz, Sep 13, 2004.

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    September 13, 2004

    We won't fight for our country, but we would bring back the cane
    By Alexandra Frean, Sam Coates and Michael Evans of THE TIMES

    This generation has seen British troops in Afghanistan and Iraq and they don't like it

    BRITAIN is becoming a nation of people no longer prepared to take up arms and to lay down their lives for Queen and country.
    The most extensive survey into the beliefs, fears and prejudices of Britain’s 18 to 30-year-olds has found that just one in five would now fight for their country unconditionally. Almost as many would not take up arms for their country “under any circumstances” and the vast majority of those who would make up the bulk of the Armed Forces in times of conflict would only fight if they personally agreed with the reasons for war.


    It is the findings on the Armed Forces, however, that are likely to cause most concern amongst policy-makers. Experts said the poll provides the first clear evidence of a break with 20th-century thinking, when the idea of fighting for one’s country was regarded unquestioningly as an inherent virtue.

    This is the first generation brought up without the spectre of the Cold War hanging over them and it appears that the exposure brought by British troop involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq has decreased support for the call to take up arms.

    At a time when Britain’s Armed Forces are deployed at full stretch around the globe, 19 per cent of the 1,004 British adults aged 18 to 30 questioned for the poll said they would not take up arms for their country “under any circumstances.”

    A further 57 per cent said they would only fight if they “agreed with the reasons for the conflict”. Only 22 per cent readily said they would fight for their country if called on to do so.

    The poll appears to be backed up by Army recruitment figures that show the Armed Forces are now under strength by at least 4,800.
    “I cannot think of a period since the 1930s when there have been similar levels of scepticism about military action,” Michael Clarke, director of the International Policy Institute at Kings College London, told The Times.

    “Britain is safer now as a territorial entity than at any time in its history. The Armed Forces don’t recruit people to fight defensive wars for the country any more, but to defend Britain’s economic and foreign policy interests. Patriotism no longer comes into it really.

    Paul Whiteley, director of the Department of Government at the University of Essex, said that the interviewees’ opposition to taking up arms for their country reflected the emergence of a new post-materialist value system, in which quality of life assumed a greater value than material goods.

    “Part of that shift in thinking involves a move away from believing that the Services are important. It is not that these young people are not patriotic, it’s just that they see militarism as bad for society,” he said.

    Oh my God! This is what happens when historical and traditional values are binned in the name of political correctness.

    Just one other point ... this article appears in the same issue of The Times which shows that the Army is among the top 10 "companies" for graduate recruitment.

    Not sure what this implies.
  2. If graduates are joining up enthusiastically, we may have an Army with too many officers and not enough troops. Perhaps our lords and masters may wish to revisit the changes to the pension scheme, cutbacks etc...
  3. can anyone seriously think that there would be a situation where it was necessary to bring back conscription? That would be the only time when these sort of statistics are relevant
  4. No, this is what happens when the UK faces no obvious conventional threat to its security. Without that threat, individual members of society have no need to consider seriously whether it would fight to defend their homes, their families, or their government.

    If France was massing for an invasion or if a revived Russia was advancing west, then I'm sure the same survey would return a different result.

    So 57% would have fight for a reason with which they personally agreed? Sounds fair enough. This isn't the 19th century - people join up for very different reasons now. I daresay if you asked the British troops in the Crimea 150 years ago if they knew why they were fighting the Russians and whether they agreed with the cause, they'd say 'No' to both. They were in the Army because they were criminals, or they were unemployable, or they would otherwise live in poverty.

    'We need a good brief war against Spain over fishing rights in the North Atlantic. Who's interested?!' Can't see that one whipping today's youth up into a patriotic, Down-with-the-Spaniard fervour. And if such an idea was put to me, I'd resign my commission.

    When the 57% are those saying they would not fight under any circumstances, even to defend the Kingdom from foreign invasion, then I'll start worrying. Until that time, though, I don't think this survey is reason to flap like a pregnant budgie and sound the death knell of the British way of life.
  5. Given the way the country is going with the hunting bill, civil contingencies etc, I have to wonder whether it's really becoming something that I would consider worth fighting and dying for. We are aproaching a state where it will be quicker and easier to list what is legal rather than what is illegal and that worries me.
  6. Have had this discussion many times in that great debating chamber and leveller of men "The Pub". The general consensus does now seem to be that the Armed Forces are looked at more as a tool of foreign policy implementation as opposed to a force that exists to defend the freedom of the country.

    Now, whilst we all know that this has always been the case, it is the actual perception that matters. When I joined the thoughts of The Falklands, Ulster and The Cold War were still fresh in the minds of people and signing on the dotted line did appear to be a virtuous decision that was taken with the sole intent of serving to defend Britain. When we were deployed to BFG to ward off the commie hoards, Granby to liberate the Kuwaiti's (of course it wasn't about oil), NI to do away with the terrorists and The Balkans to sort out the nasty people (please read all of the previous with the correct amount of sarcasm), it still had the perception to most civvies that we were doing the right thing.

    Nowadays the perception (or at least the perception the majority of my lager riddled cohorts, many of the younger ones who do fall in to the recruitment age bracket) of many is that the Armed Forces are simply a tool used for political gain, with no tangible benefit being gained to the UK as a result of their actions. You can argue the point to them that the Armed Forces roll is and always has been implementation of government policy, but it just won't wash when they feel that government policy only benefits one group of people and that is the government itself.

    Rightly or wrongly, many believe that the UK has become a much more dangerous place because of government policy and it’s implementation by the Armed Forces as opposed to it being the other way round where the Armed Forces are trying to make the UK a safer place by combating the perpetrators of indiscriminate violence. This isn’t to say that any of them actually blame the Forces in any way, shape or form, they just don’t believe that the actions taken by them (as dictated by HMG) are effective in combating the problem. Interestingly, the general consensus seems to be that the actions taken are too soft, although a lot of that gets shrugged of by me as the closest that any of them have ever been to the realities of soldiering is playing Medal of Honour.

    I have still yet to hear any of them come up with a sensible and working solution to the problem though, but, as they will argue, that’s supposed to be the politicians job and very few people believe that they are doing very well at it.

    Before I get ripped to shreds as a lefty hand wringer, remember that the views above aren’t mine but they do seem to be the views of a great majority of our target audience. It should also be noted that it isn’t the view of all of them and the 20% bracket indicated in the survey of guys who would join and fight “indiscriminately” is also probably right and that almost to a man they would all take the Queens Shilling tomorrow if a direct threat to the UK, as in a tangible threat to the country or part of in the form of another Cold War, Falklands etc, was to appear.

    I just find it very disheartening that the Armed Forces is now beginning to be seen as nothing but a chess piece it Bliars master plan for personal domination.
  7. woopert

    woopert LE Moderator

    The pertient question is this:

    With the current state of "diversity" how many of that 57% would not fight for the UK, but would fight AGAINST the UK in the name of some other interest. I'm thinking of the "Tipton taliban" especially, but it proves the point that times are changing with a greater preponderance of non-indigenous people in the UK. The challenge then is how to protect Britain's interests when a proportion of its own people lay their allegiance with a religion and not a state and would fight the state in the name of the religion.

    This isn't a rant against Islam (in fact it was for this reason that Catholics were always historically suspect, and why ironically enough a radical anti-western Imam could become PM but not a Papist by law), but it is an issue that needs addressing and not stifling by the lefties with cries of "racism" every time it's mentioned.
  8. One question that the chatterati seem to be ducking is, why would anyone in the UK want to die for Iraq?

    Too many "Those who would make up the bulk of the Army " type comments for my liking. The blokes that are in, by and large, do what our masters tell us. We might not like it, but it gets done.

    The writer seems to assume that the populace in general would be mobisied in time of war, issued with a complete set of military skills and later that day, fight the foe.

    Wrong wrong wrong.
  9. Not quite, a Papist can't become the Monarch, but said Imam could; Glorious Revolution et al (which was the last successful invasion of England... by the Dutch.....)
  10. So what's stopping you?
  11. I.d rather have someone looking after my back than any number who couldn't give a to*s and NDing into my back.

    Don't want to fight? Then how come every high street up and down this "green and pleasent" on friday and saturday night is full of idiots who want to ruin someone else's night out.

    As stated above "Who the F*** wants to die for some sh*thole like iraq?

    An angry BHB :evil:
  12. ViroBono

    ViroBono LE Moderator

    The onset of puberty, I think.
  13. Does anyone consider themelves fighting for there country? in my opinion a lot of servicemen have little patriotism and are in it for themselves. A reasonably secure job. Well paid, and if you can put up with the odd inconvienience of the odd tour and possible death you're laughin'. Loads of leave, sport and beer etc and some of the women aren't to bad either.
  14. Have you written your letter to Santa yet spikeboy