Anorak News | In The Line Of Duty

In The Line Of Duty

by | 13th, February 2006

‘“BROWN’S CALL-UP FOR STATE SCHOOL CADETS,” announces the Daily Mail, scarcely able to hide its excitement – but just managing to, in the interests of helping its Tory friends.

Conservative defence spokesman Gerald Howarth tells the paper that his party supports the Chancellor’s plans to expand the Combined Cadet Force, and admits that he would have done the same. However, he also accuses Brown of cynically attempting to “reinvent” himself, and dismisses his plan as a transparent attempt to “curry favour with Middle England”.

But never mind the politics, what are Gordon’s chances of enticing British youth to don the uniform of Queen and country?

Today’s papers helpfully provide two prominent stories that give an interesting picture of life in today’s Army.

The Mail itself publishes pictures of the latest controversy involving troops in Iraq, where members of the 20th Armoured Brigade are accused of “beating four Iraqi teenagers arrested during a riot”. The paper’s editorial describes the pictures as


Meanwhile, the Sun and Mirror lead on the antics of a famous young soldier named Wills, whose own brother, Harry, has a chequered past involving binge-drinking and drug abuse at the notorious Rattlebone Inn – a well-known haunt of ne’er-do-wells and scoundrels of every stripe.

Since those days Harry has, to employ the modern parlance, “turned his life around”. He has given up his foolish youthful ways and dedicated himself to serving his country.

So it came as a bit of a shock to read in today’s Sun that William spent his first weekend off since starting at Sandhurst by visiting a public house where Sun journalists were busy purchasing cocaine – in the line of journalistic duty, we hasten to add.

“I can get you anything you want,” boasted a “posh” student, and the hacks duly put in their requests.

Yet rather than demanding the things their paper professes to want – a tolerant society in which all citizens show respect for one another and the law – the reporters asked for cocaine instead. This arrived with the promptness for which British service industries are renowned, a very reasonable three hours later.

This allowed plenty of time for the reporters to talk to the regulars, who told them the pub was “really wild”, and that although Wills was OK, his brother Harry – another youngster set on a career in the military – “can be a real arrogant w*****”.

Meanwhile, Harry’s old pal Guy Pelly was caught smoking a “spliff”, thus putting Harry at risk of passive smoking of illegal drugs.

This is not the first time Master Pelly has embarrassed the royals. He infuriated Prince Charles by stripping to his aristocratic bollocks at a charity polo match, and he has been at the scene of most of the princes’ high jinks in recent years.

A Sandhurst source responded to the latest story by pointing out that “drugs of any kind is [sic] a complete no-no in the Army”.

But might today’s publicity have a silver lining? Are today’s tales of beatings and drug abuse not a fine example of the Army moving with the times?

In the old days it was enough to promise three square meals a day, and a piss-up and a punch-up at the weekend. Today’s youth demand gang violence and hard drugs – and today’s Army has shown itself willing and able to respond.

Like it or not, it’s the future, and we must move with the times.’

Posted: 13th, February 2006 | In: Tabloids Comment | TrackBack | Permalink