Racism in the army shock


by Sunny
9th March, 2007 at 4:33 am    

My brother was an officer in the British Army until recently. He once told me the trick when marching, doing exercises or simply following orders was to be ‘the grey man’, i.e. blending into the background in the hope no one noticed your mistakes. Except if you were brown or black you stood out like a sore thumb and every mistake was remembered the next time. My brother also has a full beard and turban so blending in wasn’t so easy.

The news that Tory front-bencher Patrick Mercer MP was sacked by David Cameron yesterday not long after he made some pretty offensive remarks when talking about racism within the Army. You can read what he said in full from here. I’ll come back to his remarks in a minute, but first the reaction.

Both Daniel Finkelstein and Iain Dale explain why he had to go. Short answer: you cannot afford to annoy ethnic minorities. Unsurprisingly a good proportion of commenters at Iain Dale and Conservative Home called it an over-reaction and say it’s political correctness gone mad (so what’s new?). But to say Mercer was merely being ‘robust’ in his views, or this is an over-reaction, is dishonest.

For a start he said: “I came across a lot of ethnic minority soldiers who were idle and useless, but who used racism as cover for their misdemeanours.” Well isn’t that nice? He might as well have used Ron Atkinson’s famous last words and said ‘they were lazy thick niggers’ because that’s what he is implying. Not only are ethnic minority officers in the Army lazy but they also use their race as cover! The cheek! No racial stereotyping of course.

In addition he’s implying it’s perfectly acceptable to refer to black servicemen as ‘niggers’ or abuse them as ‘black bastards’ just because it happens all the time and because they refer to redtops as ‘ginger bastards’. But what exactly is bad about having red hair? Nothing. But by being black, according to Mercer, means you’re likely to be using your race as a cover for your laziness.

It is a disgusting stereotyping and an insult to any ethnic minorities who join the armed forces. If he wasn’t racist he’d be trying to stop using racially derogatory terms, not perpetuate them further by saying they are acceptable and used regularly. And the idea that the Army is completely colour blind is also rubbish. Patrick Mercer MP is a prime example of why the forces needs an anti-racism trade union.

I would rather the Tories fired racists because they found the comments wrong in themselves not simply because they anticipate a backlash from ethnic minority groups. Doing so for political reasons alone is just dishonest and patronising.

And lastly, the second half of this article sheds more light on why foreign soldiers in the British army wanted to set up an anti-racism trade union. Anyone who doesn’t believe it happens only has to read up on how the Gurkhas have been treated.
Update: cross-posted to comment is free.
Update 2: Benedict White and Garry Smith have contrasting views.


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  1. British Blog Review

    [...] the removal of Patrick Mercer MP from the Tory frontbench garnered some blog inches. Sunny at Pickled Politics has a take on it with links to many more views both for and against Mr Mercer. And so to greener [...]




  1. Kulvinder — on 9th March, 2007 at 7:12 am  

    To be honest anyone bringing in arguments about freedom of speech are funnier than the PCGM lot. Because obviously Mercer has been arrested by the police over his remarks.

    It was an idiotic remark, but then the army isn’t known for encouraging phd levels of intelligence. It would have been a political liability to let him continue so he was removed. I can’t deny i find the entire thing hilarious, a tory frontbencher is called to give an interview about commonwealth soldiers forming advicebodies/pseudo-unions because of discimination and racism, and he absolutely sets the record straight on what goes on in the army!!! Brilliant.

    I’m against military types entering politics, and im glad hes gone. Can you really imagine someone like him being given the ‘homeland security’ role!?

    nb I detest, really really really detest the phrase ‘homeland security’

  2. Kulvinder — on 9th March, 2007 at 7:15 am  

    I would rather the Tories fired racists because they found the comments wrong in themselves not simply because they anticipate a backlash from ethnic minority groups. Doing so for political reasons alone is just dishonest and patronising.

    qft

  3. Pariah — on 9th March, 2007 at 9:52 am  

    So how exactly are his views different from 99% of the population? They are not. The difference is he actually said them.

  4. Pariah — on 9th March, 2007 at 9:55 am  

    Same as the whole Jane Goody episode, she was villified for speaking what everyone was thinking.

    Why are we so surprised that white ppl have recist views? Are we as asians any less likely to be racist? Go ask your dad what he thinks abt black ppl and his opinions are likely to be even more extreme.

  5. El Cid — on 9th March, 2007 at 10:08 am  

    I don’t think the phrase “political correctness gone mad” has ever sounded so hollow.
    It’s official: having peaked with complaints about “blackboards” and “manhole covers” in the 80s/90s, we have now swung to the to other extreme.
    What a cunt.
    It reminds me of the Spanish football manager Luis Aragones casually calling Thierry Henry a “negro de mierda” to gee up Reyes (not that I want to or am even able to talk about football right now).
    Still, better out than in, I say.

  6. bananabrain — on 9th March, 2007 at 10:26 am  

    it seems to me that if you can call someone a fat or ginger bastard you can probably get away with calling them a black (or jewish) bastard, if that is part of the esprit de corps. what you can’t get away with is blaming someone’s laziness on their ethnicity, particularly as part of a generalisation, the same way as you ought not to be able to get away with blaming someone’s dodginess on their ethnicity – yet i don’t see anyone but lord levy about to take the fall for “cash for questions”. and nobody’s asking whether ruth turner is c of e.

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  7. Pariah — on 9th March, 2007 at 10:42 am  

    It’s becoming fashionable accusing a white man of racism…they are becoming the easiest target as they have no (historical) defence.

    Go accuse a black man of racism and you yourself will be villified

    what a lovely world we live in!

  8. Anna — on 9th March, 2007 at 10:47 am  

    It’s becoming fashionable accusing a white man of racism…they are becoming the easiest target as they have no (historical) defence.

    Easiest way to end this is for people to stop being vicious racists!

  9. soru — on 9th March, 2007 at 11:01 am  

    This comes down to multiculturalism. The army has a radically different culture than the rest of the UK, largely based on young males living communally in a type of wooden hut called a ‘barracks’. Many of their community leaders were brought up that way since childhood, in traditional cultural centres known as ‘Eton’ and ‘Sandhurst’.

    Critics call them backwards, male-dominated, and inherently violent. Others say that their traditional approach to issues of conflict contains much wisdom, and can be more effective than supposedly more modern and civilianised forms of violence such as suicide bombings and air strikes from pilotless drones.

    So, do you take the multicultural approach of respecting and celebrating their difference, or the assimilationist one of converging on a concensus on what right and wrong means?

    Or do you send them all off to foreign countries just to get them out of the way?

  10. Riz — on 9th March, 2007 at 11:33 am  

    I believe racism is rife in the army relative to racism in the wider public, and a lasting effort needs to be made to root it out. I also think that Mercer’s words were not appropriate in this climate, and he needed to make ammends, one way or another. But from an economic perspective, his observation that he “came across a lot of ethnic minority soldiers who were idle and useless, but who used racism as cover for their misdemeanours” isn’t quite the same as Ron Atkinson’s ‘they were lazy thick niggers’. What he is saying, albeit extremely ineffectively, is that people who can hide behind other excuses have an added incentive to do so, simply because they can, and his observation is that a large number of people in the army do exactly that. Personally, I don’t believe that a lot of people use this as an excuse, but that may be his genuine perspective, gained from his observations.

  11. Sid Love — on 9th March, 2007 at 11:42 am  

    Racism in the Tory Party Shock, more like.

  12. sonia — on 9th March, 2007 at 11:47 am  

    soru has some good points.

    from my point of view : the army is trying to train human beings to become killing machines and take orders from those in authority with no questions asked at awkward moments. ( just as well i never got recruited eh? ;-)

    hence who is surprised when they don’t go for encouraging “equitable” i-take-you-as-an- individual-human-not-just-a-representative-of-some-group ethos?

    encouraging them to not be “racist” might encourage other thoughts in their heads – along the lines of like maybe not wanting to kill their fellow humans regardless of the fact that those other ‘humans’ are from different countries? slippery slopes and all that.

    again personally: i would be far more worried about the fact that armies go around killing than if they’re going around being racist. But hey.

  13. Amir — on 9th March, 2007 at 11:47 am  

    Sunny,

    (1) “If he wasn’t racist he’d be trying to stop using racially derogatory terms.”

    The British philosopher Bertrand Russell used to employ a method called “evidence against interest.” For example: If an executioner says he believes in capital punishment, he’s only doing his job; but if he says he doesn’t believe in capital punishment, he may be on to something. Thus, when Leroy Hutchinson – a well-respected corporal of Afro-Caribbean descent – jumps to Mr Mercer’s defence, the terms-of-debate shifted. Mr Hutchinson told the BBC: “He never tolerated racism in the battalion and not a single one of his men would consider him to be racist.” He added: “It’s not meant and it doesn’t come across from an individual as a racist comment. It’s just part of the culture.” But of course, our own Mr Hundal isn’t going to mention the prescient opinions of a black war hero who worked with Patrick Mercer for twelve years. Selective blindsight is always the mark of a political propagandist.

    (1) “He might as well have used Ron Atkinson’s famous last words and said ‘they were lazy thick niggers’ because that’s what he is implying.”

    Don’t. Be. Silly. That’s not at all what he’s suggesting. He’s implying, with some plausibility, that there are a few bad apples in the British army who rely on other people’s racial paranoia to avoid opprobrium for their poor performance or punctuality.

    (2) “Not only are ethnic minority officers in the Army lazy but they also use their race as cover!”

    He didn’t say they were ALL lazy. Get a grip.

    (2) “It is a disgusting stereotyping and an insult to any ethnic minorities who join the armed forces.”

    It is equally insulting, in my opinion, when you and other egotistical bloggers try to ventriloquize the opinions of dark-skinned soldiers, appointing yourselves, in the process, as spokespeople or community representatives for anonymous victims of racism. It reeks of narcissism.

    (2) “And the idea that the Army is completely colour blind is also rubbish.”

    And the idea that Pickled Politics is completely colour blind is also rubbish. I urge Mr. Hundal to do the respectable thing and resign from his job at “Asians in Media” for writing this bold and brilliant article? Read it. [I also remember your sparkling endorsement of Gary Younge’s anti-white bilge at Comment is Free; which, incidentally, was immediately trashed by the indefatigable Katy Newton.]

    (3) “Patrick Mercer MP is a prime example of why the forces needs an anti-racism trade union.”

    Pickled Politics is a prime example of why the British National Party is increasingly seen as a legitimate “protest vote” for a swelling number of angry and alienated Caucasians who’re incessantly accused of “racism” for the most down-to-earth and innocuous comments about human nature.

    To quote Dizzy:

    I also think that in Britain we have a problem with race. That problem is that we don’t talk about it enough. Unlike America, we had no giant civil rights movements, the result has been that the issue of race is framed in debate in much more pernicious and oppressive way.

    Exactly.

  14. sonia — on 9th March, 2007 at 11:48 am  

    of course i am a cynical old cow so just ignore me. we must encourage reform of the army of course.

  15. sonia — on 9th March, 2007 at 11:48 am  

    heh heh good one Sid

  16. sonia — on 9th March, 2007 at 11:51 am  

    going off on a tandem here but im curious as to what people think of throwing people out of India who were born there, because their parents were ‘British’. weren’t they entitled to be indian and stay put?

  17. Leon — on 9th March, 2007 at 11:53 am  

    Sonia, #16, any link that provoked the question?

  18. El Cid — on 9th March, 2007 at 11:55 am  

    Pariah,
    I for one have no problem accusing a black man or woman of racism. None at all. And just as I can call some Spaniards racist, most Asians here have no problem calling their own kind racist either.
    Shut your cakehole you eejet.

    I hope you all remember the kind of people you are voting for when you next contemplate voting for the Tory alternative.

  19. Jagdeep — on 9th March, 2007 at 12:10 pm  

    It is equally insulting, in my opinion, when you and other egotistical bloggers try to ventriloquize the opinions of dark-skinned soldiers, appointing yourselves, in the process, as spokespeople or community representatives for anonymous victims of racism. It reeks of narcissism.

    Then Amir appoints himself the spokesman for large swathes of white people:

    Pickled Politics is a prime example of why the British National Party is increasingly seen as a legitimate “protest vote” for a swelling number of angry and alienated Caucasians who’re incessantly accused of “racism”

    Narcissim?

    High camp mincing?

    Lunacy?

    All three?

    You decide.

    Anyway dude, how high is your caucasian consciousness index in the atomised cosmopolitan city these days? Let us know of your confusion.

  20. ZinZin — on 9th March, 2007 at 12:10 pm  

    “I came across a lot of ethnic minority soldiers who were idle and useless, but who used racism as cover for their misdemeanours.”

    The second part.

    “I came across a lot of ethnic minority soldiers who were idle and useless, but who used racism as cover for their misdemeanours…. I remember one guy from St Ann’s (Nottingham) who was constantly absent and who had a lot of girlfriends…. When he came back one day I asked him why, and he would say: ‘I was racially abused.’ And we’d say: ‘No you weren’t, you were off with your girlfriends again.’”

    Not quite Ron Atkinson.

  21. sonia — on 9th March, 2007 at 12:21 pm  

    yes the linking ‘tags’ in my mind were British Army, Gorkhas, nationalism, racism.

    we’re always hearing the right of people to be British here because they were born here, and not be less ‘british’ because they’re indian or sth. Which i agree with. So similarly i have always wondered how people felt who were born in India, and who had to all up and leave in 1947, because they were British.

    from reading about some experiences, it seems there was a lot of being torn in half – wanting to stay in india and feeling indian, being told by their families they were British and not indian, being told by indians they weren’t one of them because of who there parents were, which they couldn’t help. the usual sort of stuff you know..

  22. sonia — on 9th March, 2007 at 12:23 pm  

    individuals been caught in the web of history you know. and then by virtue of the ‘race’ they’re born into, having to follow a different course.

  23. dizzy — on 9th March, 2007 at 12:27 pm  

    Can you clarify something for me please. You said:

    “Both Daniel Finkelstein and Iain Dale explain why he had to go. Short answer: you cannot afford to annoy ethnic minorities.”

    and then linked me when saying…

    I would rather the Tories fired racists because they found the comments wrong in themselves not simply because they anticipate a backlash from ethnic minority groups. Doing so for political reasons alone is just dishonest and patronising.

    Were you drawing a comparison between my comment and theirs and suggesting they were different?

    Whilst Ia ma memebr of the Conservative Party I am also someone who is not afraid to say what I think about cultural issues that I think are damaging to our discourse. The subject of race in this country is framed in an intellectually dishonest way in my opinion.

    We fail to nuance between genuine discriminatory racism, and peer group communications. As I said on my blog, you will, and can, go out on to the streets of the real world and find what, were you to put it in a transcript, consider “racist” which, when you understand the contextual usuage of the comment and langue being used are not actually anything like which they are portrayed when the perjorative term “racism” is levelled.

    For example, when someone, anyone, takes the piss through deliberate insult of another person within their peer group, they tend to naturally do so based on an the difference they see between themselves and the target of their piss take.

    Hence you will unlikely find a black person calling another black person a “black bastard” in the same way you won;t find a white person calling another white person a “white bastard”. Flip those position around in term of target and targetter and it becomes something that may happen, will happen and does happen. IN peer groups this happens all the time.

    It is much, Sunny, the same as if you and I were drinking and you called me a gora and called you ghandi. What genuinely worries me most is that if one even mentions race or something other defining factor about another person then they instantly find themselves walking on eggshells about what they should, or shouldn’t say.

    I can provide a good example of where this oppressive atmosphere in the debate has a real impact. There is a part of the Thames Gateway development in London which is the single biggest hotspot for Nigerian 419 scam and organised criminal fraud in Europe.

    However, very little is being done about it precisely because of the fear that is held that to act may be seen as being racist or discriminatory. Everyone knows what is going on, but everyone is too afraid to act.

    Seriously… for me this whole Patrick Mercer opens up a much wider debate about the way it is impossible to discuss these sort of subjects in the UK without finding oneself labelled a rabid Nazi who wants to oppress all people who aren’t white.

    Frankly it’s a shite state of affairs for a society to find itself in.

    Apologies for any typos.

  24. dizzy — on 9th March, 2007 at 12:28 pm  

    And boy were there typos.

  25. Jagdeep — on 9th March, 2007 at 12:30 pm  

    Well, the tens of millions of Indians who had to leave the land of their ancestors to make way for Pakistan and vice versa have more claims to the title of most ill treated by the cruel hand of history during that period than the gin drinking sahibs and memsahibs of the Calcutta Gymkhana sonia — in my not very humble opinion!

  26. Sid Love — on 9th March, 2007 at 12:39 pm  

    Pickled Politics is a prime example of why the British National Party is increasingly seen as a legitimate “protest vote” for a swelling number of angry and alienated Caucasians who’re incessantly accused of “racism”

    RESULT!!

  27. Jagdeep — on 9th March, 2007 at 12:39 pm  

    However, very little is being done about it precisely because of the fear that is held that to act may be seen as being racist or discriminatory. Everyone knows what is going on, but everyone is too afraid to act.

    Sounds like an urban myth to me. Who are the people afraid to act, what are their names, put some meat on the conjectured crime detecting paralysis. ‘Everyone’ is too abstract a term. The thing that is being played out by you is that criminality is flourishing because of the nature and terms of the discourse surrounding race. But there could be a bunch of reasons for this particular field of crime not receiving sufficient attention, amongst them funding, intelligence.

    The idea that the Met is incapable of addressing ethnic group specific crime in the light of Operation Trident, or the historical busting of Tamil organised crime by the setting up as a special Tamil gangs unit in Scotland Yard, is simply wrong. Nice neat way to present how white people are being oppressed by political correctness and race though, and why the sacking of Mercer for his sloppy language is all a part of this continuum. I like it, I like it.

  28. Jagdeep — on 9th March, 2007 at 12:44 pm  

    RESULT!!

    *Jagdeep high-fives Sid*

  29. dizzy — on 9th March, 2007 at 12:48 pm  

    “Sounds like an urban myth to me. Who are the people afraid to act, what are their names, put some meat on the conjectured crime detecting paralysis.”

    Fair enough, I’m a liar making shit up.

    “Nice neat way to present how white people are being oppressed by political correctness and race though, and why the sacking of Mercer for his sloppy language is all a part of this continuum. I like it, I like it.”

    Are you taking the piss?

  30. Jagdeep — on 9th March, 2007 at 12:59 pm  

    I was congratulating you on your slick rhetoric dizzy.

    I didnt call you a liar, by the way, just explaining why I thought that your example of Nigerian ’419′ crime not being sufficiently addressed by the Met could be down to a number of factors, amongst them; lack of funding, lack of intelligence, operational inertia.

    You however think it’s because white people at the Met are simpering in terror at the prospect of being accused of racism by Nigerians should they attend to this problem. Well, the Met tackles a wide variety of ethnic group specific crime (I gave you a couple of examples, I can give you even more), so why should they be afraid of Nigerians? What hex do Nigerians hold over the psychology of the police? Are they scared of getting spammed by Mr Okoya in Lagos beseeching their help in raising funds to return his brother from the International Space Station?

    I suppose that’s just as much a possibility as anything else.

  31. dizzy — on 9th March, 2007 at 1:03 pm  

    “You however think it’s because white people at the Met are simpering in terror at the prospect of being accused of racism by Nigerians should they attend to this problem.”

    Actually I didn’t mention the Met, you did. There is more to getting things done at a local level than the rozzers.

  32. Jagdeep — on 9th March, 2007 at 1:06 pm  

    OK — do you have Charles Bronson’s phone number?

    My point still stands.

  33. douglas clark — on 9th March, 2007 at 1:09 pm  

    Amir,

    You say:

    “Pickled Politics is a prime example of why the British National Party is increasingly seen as a legitimate “protest vote” for a swelling number of angry and alienated Caucasians who’re incessantly accused of “racism” for the most down-to-earth and innocuous comments about human nature.”

    Funny that. I’ve been reading this site for quite a while now, and no, it hasn’t made me want to vote BNP. Is it just me?

    Has it made you more likely to vote BNP?

  34. Jagdeep — on 9th March, 2007 at 1:16 pm  

    “Pickled Politics is a prime example of why the British National Party is increasingly seen as a legitimate “protest vote” for a swelling number of angry and alienated Caucasians

    Hundal, you need to print that shit out and put it on your publicity material along with some other stuff that’s been said, I mean, save it and put it on a rolling banner at the masthead.

  35. PedanticLurker — on 9th March, 2007 at 1:21 pm  

    If only he’d just gotten all misty-eyed and declared that “our greatest strength is our diversity,” all would be well in this green and pleasant land.

  36. Jagdeep — on 9th March, 2007 at 1:29 pm  

    If only he’d just gotten all misty-eyed and declared that “our greatest strength is our diversity,” all would be well in this green and pleasant land.

    As if anyone here or anywhere else has said that it would! Nice one.

  37. dizzy — on 9th March, 2007 at 1:52 pm  

    Jagdeep, did you ever the documentary by Darcus Howe called “Who You Callin’ A Nigger?” It was about non-white on non-white racism and started off in Woolwich and Plumstead. Did you, or have you seen?

  38. Kulvinder — on 9th March, 2007 at 2:03 pm  

    I’ve always thought we’ve been quite reasonable about these kinds of issues (Simone Clarke, Shilpa Shetty etc). Don’t blame us for you lunacy amir.

    Fair enough, I’m a liar making shit up.

    You’ve taken that the wrong way, though it does sound like an urban myth. I’d suggest contacting your local MP if you have grave concerns about the ability of your police force

  39. Amir — on 9th March, 2007 at 2:07 pm  

    Guys, guys, guys….

    Laughing out loud ;-)

    When I referred to Pickled Politics in the context of the BNP, I wasn’t referring to the Web site itself or its cultural impact; but, rather, I was using his blog’s name metaphorically, to represent an ideology now common amongst the “soft” liberal intelligentsia. Pickled Politics, for me, is just a miniature cog in the wheels of the race-relations industry. Just look at Sunny’s previous post on FIFA. He quotes Osama Saeed of all people – militant Islamist and unethical journalist – with zealous approval. Sunny has gone so far to the Left that he makes Councillor Terry Kelly look like Enoch Powell by comparison.

    Just to clear up that misunderstanding…

    PP’s influence is way, way too miniscule to have any lasting impact on the voting habits of the white working class. Maybe I should apologise, therefore, for suggesting that it was acting as a recruiting vehicle for the BNP. ;-)

    It isn’t. It won’t. It never was.

  40. Amir — on 9th March, 2007 at 2:19 pm  

    Douglas Clark,

    “Has it made you more likely to vote BNP?”

    What the hell do you think? The BNP’s ruling elite consists of militant Jew-bashers, hardened criminals, Pakistani haters and ethno-nationalists who oppose inter-racial marriage. UKIP are the only real alternative to the pro-immigration, pro-multicultural Tory Party. It’s a decent protest vote.

  41. Sid Love — on 9th March, 2007 at 2:27 pm  

    In other words, you were posting from your arse, as usual.

  42. douglas clark — on 9th March, 2007 at 2:32 pm  

    Amir,

    Quite the contrary. It is likely to turn any sensible person that reads it off the BNP. Which is a good thing.

    So, how are you about voting BNP? Now you’ve, presumeably, seen both sides of the arguement are you going to vote where your mouth is? I did ask, and you haven’t replied.

  43. douglas clark — on 9th March, 2007 at 2:38 pm  

    Amir,

    My apologies. Your reply to me didn’t show up at this end until afterwards. So, your going to throw your vote away on UKIP. Good luck to you. I’ve thrown my vote away on the Liberals too. If you think UKIP is not the acceptable face of the BNP, go right ahead.

  44. Amir — on 9th March, 2007 at 2:40 pm  

    Sid,

    Never do you answer the points I raise.

    Post #13 debunks Sunny’s puerile arguments.

    I’m not interested in any ad hominem abuse. Answer my points directly.

  45. Amir — on 9th March, 2007 at 3:00 pm  

    Douglas Clark,

    To suggest that I or anyone else requires a regular dosage of Pickled Politics to improve their anti-racist credentials is to embark on a discourse that seldom rises about the trivial.

    And yes, I did answer your question.

    I will NEVER vote for the BNP. Get it?

    It’s either UKIP or the Tories.

    What you’re doing, however, is reminiscent of the old Stalinists. Weasel words don’t wash with me matey. As much as I detest the race-relations industry, I ain’t gonna vote for a gang of neo-Nazi knuckleheads. Never.

  46. Sunny — on 9th March, 2007 at 6:46 pm  

    Dizzy,

    I don’t your comments were exactly the same as Daniel Finkelstein’s because I get the impression he thought the offence was a foregone conclusion.

    I say this because he links to the post at Malcolm Gladwell’s blog which outlines in what context racism exists and how it’s perceived.

    Racism simply isn’t – “That black person is not as important or sub-human to a white person”… it can also be the legitimisation of racially derogatory terms like “black bastard” or “nigger”, and it can also be crass generalisations like “black people are lazy and stupid” and “Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world” (remember Mel Gibson?).

    I suggest you read the post linked from Danny’s website. If I called you a “dirty gora” without knowing you and with clearly disdain it is offensive. More so for a front-bench Tory MP who is supposed to treat everyone equally.

    If on the other hand I was an old mate and we shared jokes that required you calling me a “sweaty arab” and me calling you a “dirty gora” (an actual exchange at school with a mate, who was also called Daniel), then it is less insiduous.

  47. Amir — on 9th March, 2007 at 7:01 pm  

    Douglas Clark,

    No problem dude. ;-) I didn’t see your reply either.

  48. Vikrant — on 9th March, 2007 at 7:31 pm  

    I dont think Mercer is being racist when he says: “I came across a lot of ethnic minority soldiers who were idle and useless, but who used racism as cover for their misdemeanours.”

    I dont think hes implying that non-white soldiers are lazy or anything. I think that he is saying that out of the slackers in the army, minority slackers are bound to use racism as a cover for their inaptitude….

  49. Sunny — on 9th March, 2007 at 7:46 pm  

    Aaargh, I don’t think some of you are getting what I’m getting at.

    The sentence itself is not racist in a way that says – “black people are inferior”, but it is a gross generalisation that insults many other black/Asian soldiers/officers in the Army who did work hard and did not use their race as a cover and put up with racism without a word because they didn’t want to create a fuss.

    But he’s nevertheless generalising with negative racist connotations in the same way that saying Jews are trying to take over the world is not explicitly racist but part of that racist mentality that says we should be paranoid of them.

    I’m also annoyed at his legitimisation of swear words including “black bastard” and “nigger”.

  50. Gibs — on 9th March, 2007 at 8:07 pm  

    What was particularly noticeable in the phone ins yesterday about the Patrick Mercer issue was the number of times some MISERABLE B*****D kept coming up with the phrase “IT’S POLITICAL CORRECTNESS GONE MAD”.

    That has got to be the most overused catchphrase in Britain, (used by MBs when they’ve got no coherent argument).

    Perhaps the producers of “Little Britain” could start lampooning that phrase by introducing some ridiculous looking character who goes round saying it constantly. Then these MBs, whingers and moaners would have to find another expression to use.

  51. lithcol — on 9th March, 2007 at 8:08 pm  

    Personal experience. Six foot at the age of 12 and painfully thin. Abused by all the short arses ( is that politically correct ), called beanpole, lamppost etc. Left school at the age of 16, six four 14.5 stone ( is that EU correct ). Strangely, around the age of 14 onwards as I put on musculature skinny heightist epithets diminished. Not so for overweight kids, kids deemed to be ugly etc. In fact any one who stood out, was noticeably different in their behavior, ethnic origin or held contrary views to the majority, was usually subjected to bullying. This could be verbal or physical, or both.

    Over the last 20 odd years there has been a European wide initiative to reduce bullying in school and the workplace. What has been the effect? Hardly perceptible.

    I am not a fragile sensitive soul and insulting remarks about something I had no control over have had no lasting effects on me. Unfortunately this is not true for some young people.

    As for the ex army Tory MP. What has he said that we didn’t know already? People call each other names based on some sort of visible distinguishing feature.

    Sometimes people use the race card, and increasingly the religious card to excuse their own behavior. People have even used the class card. Some learn to play the system and degrade justice for those subjected to real racism.

    He was speaking from experience. His mistake was to utter it publicly without the chapter and verse of evidence.His observation came over as a generalization.
    He should have known that the media would cherry pick. At root I do not believe he is a racist.

    Racism exists worldwide and it is not a one way street. It depends on who is in the ascendance or majority. Racist murders are at all time high in South Africa. South America has seen a massive increase in racist abuse and murder. In the USA, recent illegals from South America have added to racial incidents. Its difficult to know which group hates which group the most. We have interracial abuse and violence in this country. Not just white on black, which gets the big headlines, but all sorts of combinations.

  52. ZinZin — on 9th March, 2007 at 8:20 pm  

    Lithcol read what Mercer said carefully. He is calling black peolple lazy.

    He likes Black people in the same way that Ron Atkinson does providing he is in charge. Why else doe he mention the 5 black sergeant-majors under his command.

  53. Benedict White — on 9th March, 2007 at 8:44 pm  

    I am pleased to see you have fixed the web server!

    My own full take is here:
    http://aconservatives.blogspot.com/2007/03/in-defence-of-patrick-mercer.html

    I have to say I think people are getting rather hot under the collar, and to some extent looking to find the worst possible motive in his words. We have not seen the full transcript and so can’t put these particular comments into the context they deserve.

  54. lithcol — on 9th March, 2007 at 8:57 pm  

    ZIn,Zin
    Of course Colin Powell is an uncle Tom.
    And who said these ethnic minorities were black, ie of African descent? Or did you read into his remarks your own prejudices.
    His remarks were injudicious and should have been backed with evidence. O course white squadies couldn’t play the race card. In terms of proportions, I would assume there were also lazy fatties, redheads etc.
    Until fairly recently, I from a white working class background would have found it extremely difficult to progress to rank of General in the British army. Even if I had I would in all likelihood have been subjected to classist abuse ( an upstart chav, wrong school, etc ). Do not demean the careers that the black sergeants have carved out for themselves.
    I will state again, Racism exists worldwide and it is not a one way street. It depends on who is in the ascendance or majority. Racist murders are at all time high in South Africa. South America has seen a massive increase in racist abuse and murder. In the USA, recent illegals from South America have added to racial incidents. Its difficult to know which group hates which group the most. We have interracial abuse and violence in this country. Not just white on black, which gets the big headlines, but all sorts of combinations.

  55. William — on 9th March, 2007 at 9:09 pm  

    There is no excuse for racial abuse in any of the forces. The excuse for abuse which extends to ginger bastard etc is that this is the army, that it how the army is, we have to be hard, we are training people to be killers etc. Well if that is so why not just use terms like “you orrible little man” or whatever would be the modern equivalent. Justifying racist terms just because it happens all the time is like saying what is valid is valid because it is inevitable. But how is it inevitable if people are choosing to do this and it is not inevitable if there are alternatives.

    This item was on the Mathew Wright show this morning and it was announced that there were several black army personal who had spoken out saying that in their experience Patrick Mercer wasn’t racist. Maybe he isn’t or maybe he is on the one hand and not on the other. Considering the sometimes contradictory nature of human beings would it be surprising if people could be both. It still does not make racial abuse justified.

    It was shocking to find out when it hit the news a couple of years ago that the Ghurkhas did not have the automatic right of abode in this country. This is after they have served this country and even risked their lives. Now Tony Blair is saying they can automatically stay if they have done four years service. They should be able to stay if they have done whatever is the minimum service requirements.

  56. El Cid — on 9th March, 2007 at 10:18 pm  

    With a cooler head, I have three additional observations to make:

    1) The army is not society as we know it. It is a much harsher environment, with different rules. There is a need for absolute camaraderie that has no room for pcness , perhaps even pcness-light, which I only wish I could define but which most reasonable people can identify with. So maybe Mercer’s mistake is to assume that that can deemed acceptable in civvy society. I’d be interested to read what soldier and ex-soldiers thought.
    2) There’s always mixed feeling when someone who has done a lot in cause then messes up by using highly offensive language. As ZinZin has already hinted at, there are strong parallels with Atkinson. The WBA manager was instrumental in bringing to the fore the first great black heroes of modern British football — Cunningham, Regis, and Batson. This Mercer fellah, meanwhile, promoted a disproportionate number of black soldiers. Do as i do, not as i say, is always preferable to do as i say, not as i do. Surely.
    3) Ginger bastard or fat bastard is hardly the same as black bastard. C’mon man — 500 years of enslavement, apartheid, and social darwinism. Give me a break!

    Still, if we could only take the emotion out of it.

  57. ZinZin — on 9th March, 2007 at 10:29 pm  

    El Cid
    Cunningham, Regis and Bateson were signed by Johnny Giles not Atkinson.

    Lithcol
    Its ZinZin not Zin,Zin your confusing me with Zin the stopper and chavez worshipper who posts at HP.
    I was explaining why in spite of the five Sargeant-Majors that Mercer promoted that his remarks are racist. Even the nazis had their favourite Jews. In Atkinsons case those that he favoured such as Carlton Palmer defended him even though his remarks on Marcel Desailly were disgraceful.

  58. El Cid — on 9th March, 2007 at 10:34 pm  

    Atkinson bought Batson, and played the other two regularly. He will always be associated with the three. Anyway, lets not be picky. That’s not the point.

  59. lithcol — on 9th March, 2007 at 10:51 pm  

    El Cid,
    Social Darwinism, a late 19th century sociological belief, mainly aimed at shit poor whites. Then of course there was eugenics. Don’t let the lower class white scum breed excessively , and don’t let them interbreed with their betters. Weakens the blood line old chap.
    Most indentured white wage slaves in this country knew very little or nothing about the European and even older Arab slave trade in blacks. They probably never benefited from it. They were certainly exploited.
    I went to university in the late sixties. Bright working class lad. Couldn’t believe the prejudice. Wrong accent, wrong side of the tracks etc.
    How things have changed over the last thirty years. Better opportunities for everyone. We have minorities from all over. Some people resent what they see as an invasion. So what is new. Try moving into a well connected community, small village for example. You will encounter all sorts of attitudes, mostly negative. In time you might be accepted. It’s going to be hard work.
    There are those who philosophize what should be, and there are those who live it and try to make it different. It’s tough, people have preferences and usually it is not surface features but the content of the others mind that makes a difference as to whether harmony prevails .

  60. El Cid — on 9th March, 2007 at 10:56 pm  

    you realise i’m white don’t you — single parent family, free school dinners, oiky accent, the full works and more besides. don’t tell me what i don’t already know. and?

  61. lithcol — on 9th March, 2007 at 11:02 pm  

    El Cid,
    I would not dare to presume anything about your social origins, upbringing, education etc. I will just judge you on the content of your thoughts. I have revealed too much about myself and I will reveal nothing else.,

  62. Pariah — on 9th March, 2007 at 11:13 pm  

    I can’t help feeling that only Amir has really captured the essence of this situation

  63. El Cid — on 9th March, 2007 at 11:23 pm  

    and what is that essence Pariah, coz Amir’s post looks a bit long to me? c’mon, boil it down to its essence

  64. lithcol — on 9th March, 2007 at 11:27 pm  

    Pariah,
    Obviously the whole thing has been overblown. To whose advantage, superannuated individuals in the race relations industry, and of course the BNP who will milk it for what its worth.

    Amir has made a number of good points which I don’t need to elaborate.

  65. Bert Preast — on 10th March, 2007 at 2:07 am  

    Woah, woah! Your brother was a full bearded officer in the British army? The only beardies in the British army are assault pioneer sergeants unless things have undergone some major changes – they may earn the right to wear a beard but every other bugger has to be clean shaven. Otherwise your gasmask won’t work, see? Can you clarify?

  66. Bert Preast — on 10th March, 2007 at 2:14 am  

    And Mercer was telling it how it is. Shame he gets binned for it, but it’s all part of learning politics I suppose.

    I saw plenty of racist abuse in my time in the army, but I can’t say I saw a single episode of racism. There is a difference.

    There’s no excuse for a screw to pick on the colour of a new recruit, none at all, which is probably why they don’t. But once you get to battalion you’re working and living with your fellows under pressure and you’ll need a thick skin whoever you are.

    I’ve seen the racism card played, and it was played by a soldier who was lazy and useless – he wasn’t being bullied because of his race at all. He didn’t belong there but what can the army do? Tell him he’s lazy and useless and let him leave? What do you think would happen when a battalion got notice to deploy to the Falklands or similar then?

  67. Bert Preast — on 10th March, 2007 at 2:16 am  

    For the ginger/black stuff – is velcro head okay? rubberlips? flatnose? All are acceptable terms of abuse for a white soldier, tell me what are the acceptable terms of abuse for a black soldier?

  68. Bert Preast — on 10th March, 2007 at 2:21 am  

    “There is no racial bigotry here. I do not look down on niggers, kikes, wops, or greasers. Here you are all equally worthless.”

    Ah, Sergeant Hartman. It’s corny but it had to be done.

  69. Bert Preast — on 10th March, 2007 at 2:32 am  

    “I’m also annoyed at his legitimisation of swear words including “black bastard” and “nigger”.”

    Er, how do you think the good citizens of Basra refer to our black soldiers? Soldiers are sandly these days not allowed to chuck the toys out of the pram and enforce respect until someone actually shoots at them. I myself have lain stoic and unmoved by the most venomous verbal abuse – whereupon the miscreants pissed on me instead. I remained stoic and unmoved and covered my arcs. What else can you do with journalists about?

  70. Unity — on 10th March, 2007 at 2:46 am  

    Zin Zin:

    Sorry, mate – you’ve got your Baggies history wrong…

    Only Cunningham was signed by Giles, who left the club at the end of 1976-77 season. Regis was signed from Hayes for £5000 during the close season by Ronnie Allen, after Giles had left the club, and Atkinson signed Batson from Cambridge United, completing the trio…

    … and a whole generation of young white kids in the West Midlands (myself included) grew up with no greater ambition in all the world than to be a black footballer.

    However crass and insensitive Big Ron’s comments were about Desailly, I can honest say that I saw racism die on the terraces at the Hawthorns because of those three players and the effect they had on the club and its supporters, and even today when I visit the club’s conference centre from time to time I follow the same routine. First the Astle gates to pay my respects to a true club legend, and then to third floor of the centre, where the have one of Laurie’s shirts on display, to pay my respects to the greatest player I ever saw in an Albion shirt.

  71. Sunny — on 10th March, 2007 at 2:50 am  

    Otherwise your gasmask won’t work, see? Can you clarify?

    Yes they had this problem. My brother refused to shave… there was an impasse for a bit and then they shifted him to recruitment instead.

  72. Bert Preast — on 10th March, 2007 at 2:51 am  

    Which mob?

  73. William — on 10th March, 2007 at 3:03 am  

    Bert Preast #65

    Not sure what the situation is now but at one time the Royal Engineers could have beards.

    There are plenty of ways to abuse people to be ard and make us ard! without being racist. The thing is would it be hard to take the racist element out.
    If the phrase black bastard was banned would it turn the British army into wussies if they couldn’t say it anymore. I hardly think such restraint from big strong men would make them weak.

  74. Bert Preast — on 10th March, 2007 at 3:05 am  
  75. Bert Preast — on 10th March, 2007 at 3:07 am  

    William, the engineers with beards are the assault pioneers and only sergeants are permitted them.

    And as I asked in #67, what terms of abuse will you deign to allow us?

  76. William — on 10th March, 2007 at 3:36 am  

    Bert Preast

    people can say you orrible little bastard!

  77. William — on 10th March, 2007 at 3:40 am  

    Bert Preast

    My dad was in the Royal Engineers. Where we lived in Tidworth I saw in a bar a large soldier who could carry several pints of beer on one arm. He had a beard, I guess then he was an assault pioneer sergeant

  78. Kulvinder — on 10th March, 2007 at 5:14 am  

    Just to clarify i don’t have a problem with DC getting rid of him as he clearly would have been a liability (as would an asian saying the same thing) – it is the Conservative party’s decision. I certainly don’t think hes a closet blackshirt or that he should be hounded for life. I wish him well.

  79. Kulvinder — on 10th March, 2007 at 5:15 am  

    Actually i qualify that, i wish him well but obviously not well enough for the tories to win :)

  80. Canon — on 10th March, 2007 at 9:44 am  

    Black bastards is a very apt term for most of the anti-White Muslim racists on this site..you should all be deported!

  81. Sid — on 10th March, 2007 at 10:00 am  

    Er, how do you think the good citizens of Basra refer to our black soldiers?

    Why are you singling out Basrian antipathy towards our black soldiers only? I’m sure the citizens of Basra have a few choice racist epithets for our white soldiers as well. But if you’re going to invade and occupy their country for a massive oil and land grab, what did you expec? Sweetmeats and flowers?

  82. Bert Preast — on 10th March, 2007 at 10:37 am  

    It doesn’t matter if you’re in Basra or somewhere else. If the army is deployed it’s because there is an enemy there, and that enemy will always have some local support. The minute the locals click that you’re not allowed to shoot them whenever they piss you off, they’ll start trying to piss you off. They’ll look for any chinks in your armour – which is also what your own NCOs will have checked you for by roundly abusing both yourself, your sister, your mother and your perennially absent father whenever you piss them off. The system works.

  83. Bert Preast — on 10th March, 2007 at 10:38 am  

    William #77 – you guess right.

  84. Bert Preast — on 10th March, 2007 at 12:39 pm  

    Blimey, I stand corrected:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/birmingham/content/articles/2005/02/04/makand_singh_qa.shtml

    So you can wear turban and beard, but if you’re combat role you’ll have to shave and ditch the turban when on ops. Sounds fair enough.

  85. Chairwoman — on 10th March, 2007 at 1:06 pm  

    It’s been quite a week for people telling us to leave for contravening one or another of the UK’s racial purity laws, hasn’t it?

  86. Katy — on 10th March, 2007 at 1:07 pm  

    Shouldn’t someone be deleting that nasty little comment by Canon at #80?

  87. William — on 10th March, 2007 at 1:51 pm  

    The Makand Singh article is interesting. It is good that they are extending the variety of employees to serve different religions in the army, i.e Muslim, Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist rather than just Christian Chaplains although I always thought there were Hindu preists connected to the Ghurkha regiment.

  88. Bert Preast — on 10th March, 2007 at 2:05 pm  

    Our chaplain used to just mooch about feeling sorry for himself. No one ever turned up to church on sundays except on the odd occasion we were forced to, and 90% of the lads being atheists the only time he got to speak to anybody was when replying to unanswerable questions. Poor bastard. :D

  89. Anon+1 — on 10th March, 2007 at 3:38 pm  

    I was in the army and saying that black/asian people stick out is complete bollocks. There was 4 Black people in my troop and not a single one of them were ever singled out or picked on for colour, in fact it was the white fat kids that got most of the brunt because they were lazy and didnt put in the effort.

    I agree with that MPs comments on them using it as an excuse for poor performance, soldiers in the army are praised and respected for effort regardless of skin colour.

  90. Bert Preast — on 10th March, 2007 at 3:53 pm  

    What were you in? And what on earth drew you to the BNP?

  91. lithcol — on 10th March, 2007 at 4:48 pm  

    It seem strange to me that any lazy individual, fat, ginger, black, or otherwise would remain in the army given the stick they would get. Probably masochists. Why would a lazy individual join the army in the first place knowing that they couldn’t get away with malingering? Join local government, loads of fat etc lazies there.

  92. Bert Preast — on 10th March, 2007 at 5:20 pm  

    They have to remain in the army. Otherwise as I pointed out earlier every time a battalion deployed to somewhere like the Falklands it would do so with like 10 men.

  93. lithcol — on 10th March, 2007 at 5:35 pm  

    And they would get their arses shot off.

  94. Bert Preast — on 10th March, 2007 at 5:46 pm  

    Sheep don’t shoot back. Though if you have the eye for it, you might identify one that will push back.

  95. Anon+1 — on 10th March, 2007 at 7:49 pm  

    I was Royal signals, systems engineering technician. Infantry class 3 trained by infantry and Royal engineers.
    The fat/lazy kids didnt last very long, they were treated with contempt not only from training NCOs but trainees too as they use blanket punishment alot. If they didnt improve they were under alot of pressure to leave.
    From personal experience, being a minority grants you more slack. I was assisting training of upcoming officers at Sandhurst and there was a young upcoming officer from foreign climates with rich Saudi parents. He had no skills whatsoever, he could barely speak English and when it came down to negotiations with a hostle crowd, all he could do was shout gibberish and swing his SA80 like a sword. This guy was pushed through training and passed out.

    What drew me to the BNP? I read their manifesto. Never heard of them before that. (7 Months ago)

  96. Bert Preast — on 10th March, 2007 at 7:57 pm  

    What? Infantry class 3 trained how exactly? An infantryman is class 4 after 6 months training. Signals might be attached to infantry but as a systems engineering tech that’d be pretty rare. Do many ICFTs did you? Realise you were paid and probably they still are almost half again what a rifleman makes?

    The Saudi officer was not destined for the British army, so why does it matter? They pay us plenty to say they passed out.

    I also read the BNP manifesto, like most soldiers it’s what put me right off ‘em.

  97. Anon+1 — on 10th March, 2007 at 8:33 pm  

    I might of been in slight error over the class 3 thing, must be class 4.
    Thinking about it im pretty sure that infantry are class 3 after 6 months training, not class 4.
    My training lasted over a year and incluced all the basic skill at arms and fieldcraft training ontop of learning communications systems.

    I was paid quite well, £1400 per month but money isnt my primary concern in life.
    Dont you mean BCFT’s btw? I cant recall the exact number I did, but i know i hated doing them.

    The manifesto is something I can identify with, Immigration, Crime, Golbalisation and Social decay are all addressed.

  98. Bert Preast — on 10th March, 2007 at 8:41 pm  

    If you never passed an ICFT you were never any grade of infantryman. Infantry Combat Fitness Test – it’s fairly self explanatory. 8 miles up and down hills and through rivers in full CEFO in 1 hour 40, followed by an assault course and the range. It’s the standard test of basic fitness in the infantry. You’re thinking of the BFT, which I could still do now without breaking a sweat, because it’s meant for cooks, clerks, signallers and other remfs.

    I’m not normally this insulting with the support arms – but when they try and pass themselves off as infantry perhaps you’ll understand it grips my tits a bit?

    And the manifesto is bullshit idealism. Been tried many times, never worked. The system needs change I’ll grant you, but that’s not it.

  99. Anon+1 — on 10th March, 2007 at 8:50 pm  

    http://www.theroyalwelsh.org.uk/1bn/index.php?id=70
    Even says its a BCFT there, dont compare me to a cook or clerk after the number of battlecamps, tabs, ranges and exercises ive been through.

    Been tried many times? Please
    How is lowering incentives for offshoring jobs, tougher and more strict sentencing on criminals and halting all immigration bullshit idealism?

  100. Bert Preast — on 10th March, 2007 at 9:12 pm  

    I shall compare you to who I like. You were in a Corps yet pretend to be infantry. There is an RS trade of “combat signalman”, but even he’s a remf to the infantry. That’d be why each infantry battalion maintains it’s own signals platoon, because we do need some signallers up front with us and cannot trust the corps to supply what we need.

    What you propse there is the bit that isn’t bullshit idealism, but the “voluntary repatriation” for anyone not of “western European stock” is frankly Hitlerite. Forgive those of us who suspect that in the event the repatriation may not be entirely voluntary, eh?

    Mind, the offshoring jobs bit is how things will go. The only way for world peace in the long term is absolute free trade where nations stick to what they do well and outsource what they don’t, then arrive at a balance. It’ll sting, but it is the only way.

  101. Anon+1 — on 10th March, 2007 at 9:31 pm  

    I dont pretent to be infantry, I claim to have some infantry training. Im more proud of the fact that I was a systems tech as any monkey can be pure infantry.

    What you say about outsoucing what they are no good at is rubbish, the UK outsource what isnt fashionable or desirable as we are hellbent on becoming a nation of media clowns, socalists or beaurucrats. All that will happen is that other nations will overtake us in technologial advancements while we are left boasting about the quality of our celeb gossip mags and how we have lawers so skilled, even looking at someone wrong can get you sued.

  102. Bert Preast — on 11th March, 2007 at 12:26 am  

    “I was Royal signals, systems engineering technician. Infantry class 3 trained by infantry and Royal engineers”

    That was what you said. And that makes you in the eyes of a rifleman what we call a “Walt” – I’m sure you are familiar with the term.

    As for any monkey can be infantry – well you may be right. But if you lack the reslilience of a monkey you’re not going to get in, are you? Playing with radios is a piece of piss, lets face it BT engineers can manage it. Infantry is something very special indeed, only 26 of my intake of over 120 passed out. Monkeys we may be, but we’re fiercely proud that we can hack it because we know no one else can. And you know full well you’d never say monkey to my face – pride does indeed come before getting knocked flat on your fucking arse sometimes, eh?

    For the outsourcing I repeat, the only long term solution that can ever work is for each nation to do what it does most efficiently. How could anything else be sensible?

  103. Anon+1 — on 11th March, 2007 at 11:45 am  

    I can promise you that passing out as a systems engineering tech is alot harder than infantry, theres alot fewer on the course for starters as most are not even considered. We only 6 people passed out of my intake of 22.
    There is alot of complex training in analogue/digital/radio systems.
    If you think I just played with radios you are mistaken.

    Im not taking anything away from infantry, but you dont need to use the mind very much. Infantry is body conditioning, im pretty convinced I could pass out of an infantry intake. Difficult as I know it would be.

  104. Rumbold — on 11th March, 2007 at 12:11 pm  

    I expect that you both had very hard jobs- I could never make it in the military.

  105. Bert Preast — on 11th March, 2007 at 12:59 pm  

    (At the risk of sounding ‘when ah were a lad’)

    Only 1 in 5 got past Sutton Coldfield to even begin training in my day, it was the mid-80s, and unemployment was rife.

    And you’d be very surprised how much the mind is needed for infantry – I know I bloody well was. Many failed because the map-reading was too much, for others the BATCO book remained a mystery. AFV recognition was horrendous, but all had to recognise almost every NATO and WP vehicle. Then you have to master sign language and fieldcraft, which is a science in itself.

    Then weapons training, it’s not enough to know your way around your rifle. You need to get to grips with the LMG, the MMG, grenades (fearsome), the 66mm, the 84mm, the LAW80, mortars, pistols. Not just how they work, but their capabilities and how to maintain and repair them. Then you have to do the same with all the likely kit the enemy will be trying to use against you.

    And because you will always be doing the job under conditions of enormous stress and fatigue, that’s how you have to learn the job. Most lessons are held outdoors, and as the saying goes ‘if it ain’t raining, it ain’t training’. The thick ones don’t get in.

  106. Jagdeep — on 11th March, 2007 at 1:24 pm  

    All you playa haterz stop hating on my man Nirpal Dhaliwal! He’s written about his father’s experience in the army and all the racism he experienced. I dont care what anyone says, I’m liking him more and more.

    My dad was called a ‘black bastard’ too

  107. Jagdeep — on 11th March, 2007 at 1:35 pm  

    And Nirpal takes his argument with lefty idiots and undercover luvvie bigots mainstream! Including the moron Kira Cochrane, who thinks all Indian dudes look the same, innit?

    The liberal left enjoys a wog joke along with the best of them

    I don’t care what anyone says. Nirpal is the man.

  108. Bert Preast — on 11th March, 2007 at 1:55 pm  

    So Nirpal’s dad joined the infantry and as a shy and introverted new boy he was picked on? Then he found some self confidence and realised that his former nemesis’ would actually stand up for him and even put their arses on the line for him? This knowledge made him a veritable prince among men, drinking skins under the table and slamming his balls in the fridge door without blubbing?

    Man, he’s almost worthy of his son. Good article :D

  109. Jagdeep — on 11th March, 2007 at 2:02 pm  

    This is the best line Bert. It’s something that even the BNP supporting, lackey of Holocaust baiting Mark Collet guy called Anon+1 might agree on (I said might!)

    When men and women sign up to fight for this country, their sense of Britishness should never be degraded. My father came under fire in Northern Ireland. He had courage and patriotism. For soldiers like him to be routinely called a ‘black bastard’ is unforgivable.

  110. Bert Preast — on 11th March, 2007 at 2:23 pm  

    Should point out it doesn’t stop with ‘you ginger bastard’. It’s also a widely held belief and I have heard a scientifically proven fact that gingers stink of piss. As one would expect, much is made of this and the abuse their women come in for well, it shouldn’t be repeated on a respectable forum such as this.

    As I said, they’ll look for the chinks in your armour until you make sure there aren’t any.

    Oh, and I’m strawberry blond, by the way. Honest.

  111. Anon+1 — on 11th March, 2007 at 4:24 pm  

    I thought it was foxes piss and twiglets?

  112. El Cid — on 11th March, 2007 at 7:54 pm  

    Does that mean you are a Celt then Bertie?

  113. Bert Preast — on 11th March, 2007 at 8:37 pm  

    I am the Cheddar man.

    And it’s wulf piss and marmite.

  114. El Cid — on 11th March, 2007 at 8:54 pm  

    I am a Cheddar man too (I even rate it above Manchego — proper farmhouse Cheddar mind)

  115. Bert Preast — on 11th March, 2007 at 9:22 pm  

    I’m extra mature and extremely smelly. We must hook up one day.

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