On the way back from visiting a friend I found one of those free Newspapers that are handed out every evening at Tube stations in London. I don’t buy papers anymore; have you seen the price of them?
What caught my eye was a double page spread advertisement placed in the London Metro by the army and I assume acting on instructions from the Ministry of Defence and the government. I’ve cut out part of the advertisement scanned and posted it above this post and as you can see an image of a beautiful young women in combat fatigues. I have no reason to believe that this young person isn’t a serving member of the armed forces and with the looks of a model.
The advert has a personal account of army life given by Major Laura Blair 31 (can you believe that name) who is a member of the Adjutant General’s Corps (AGC) and they apparently specialise in HR Personnel. Laura if she does exists says wonderful things about army life and ends by advising anyone who may be interested in an army career to either pop into one of the Army Careers Offices dotted around London or visit the Army Show Rooms in Hounslow or Dalston to find out just what life in uniform could offer them.
Well the killing locomotive that is the army always needs fuel to feed into it's boiler, so tens of thousands of pounds are spent on newspapers convincing youngsters to sign away (no apology) their lives. The campaign to win the young to war has come a long way from that poster used in the ‘First Great War’ you know ‘Your Country Needs You’ and the pointing finger of Kitchener. However the British armed forces were criticised earlier this year for their recruitment techniques in a report that said marketing materials glamorise warfare to children and fail to highlight the risks of military careers.
Anyone who picks up a newspaper or owns a television set cannot fail to miss the risks and the modern wars in Afghanistan and Iraq has proved deadly.
We in Britain are the world’s largest military spender after of course the US, and our armed forces are the most stretched in the world, over £2 billion is spent each year on recruiting and training 20,000 new personnel to replace those who leave or are – killed.
The British armed forces have some of the most difficult and far-flung commitments to maintain. Major commitments in Afghanistan and Iraq co-exist with others from peacekeeping in Cyprus to patrolling the Falkland Islands.To meet these commitments, an estimate is made of the required number of trained full-time personnel, known as the ‘trained requirement’. The actual number of trained personnel, known as the ‘trained strength’, is usually slightly less than requirement. As of 1 April 2007, the trained requirement stood at 183,610; the trained strength stood at 177,760, of which 99,280 were in the army, 34,940 in the navy and 43,550 in the air force. In terms of personnel, the UK regular armed forces are about the third-largest in Europe after Germany and France.
The armed forces and the statistics show; draws its non-officer recruits mainly from among young people with low educational attainment and living in poor communities. A large proportion joins for negative reasons, including the lack of civilian career options; a survey in the Cardiff area in 2004 found that 40% of army recruits were joining as a last resort and the army reveled in 2004 that while roughly 45% of all young people leave school with 5 GCSE subjects graded A-C only, 17% of all Army recruits in 2003–04 had English at A-C level, with the figure for Math’s at about 10%. On average Army recruits have 0.9 of a GCSE at grade A-C. ... Records also show that 24% of all Army applicants in 2003–04 were unemployed for a significant period before applying.
A survey of the personal backgrounds of 500 recruits joining from 1998 to 2000 in the Cardiff catchment area revealed that:
• 69% of recruits were found to have come from a broken home;
• 50% were classified as coming from a deprived background;
• 16% had been long-term unemployed before joining;
• 35% had had more than eight jobs since leaving school (nearly all on a casual basis);
• Just over 60% had left school with no academic qualifications;
• 40% were joining the army as a last resort.
I think that this information leaves me in no doubt that the most disadvantaged and sometimes long suffering young people in our society are shucked into the capitalist war machine!