After the media shit-storm about the army using Catweazle for target practice I got to thinking… does anyone, apart from politicians and press (or PR savvy Generals) really give a flying-fuck?
The news that soldiers from 3 PARA had used an image of Jeremy Corbyn for target practice (see below) was, by itself, hardly surprising. Even more so if you happen to be familiar with what many soldiers find humorous.
The ensuing tumultuous outpouring of faux indignation, across both mainstream and social-media post event was also amusing. Most of it probably found its roots in opportunistic political point scoring and/or overt self-promotion.
Army Launches ‘Full Investigation’ After Jeremy Corbyn’s Image Used In Target practice. The Defence Secretary has commended the Army’s response in investigating the video footage. (www.forces.net)
I actually saw Alistair Bunkall‘s original Tweet (see below) within a few minutes of it being posted and thought – “hmm I bet this will get some action” – and as expected, it did.
As is often the way, I found that many of the subsequent satirical comments were the most interesting (and amusing) things to read. Rather than the pointless but expected – “utterly shocking and totally unacceptable” – quotes from the moral high ground. I dislike virtue signalling by morally outraged PC professionals, many of whom really should learn not to throw stones when they reside in glass houses.
Given Corbyn’s unwavering pacifist rhetoric of the past (see here), which is undoubtedly perceived as anti-military by some (see here), perhaps the soldier’s choice of ‘target’ was humorously apt? But many also suggest this perception of Corbyn is a contrived fallacy, one that has been engineered and perpetuated by his political opponents on the right. As can be evidenced by the responses to this last year…
But then again, given Corbyn’s perceived hypocrisy about his (argued) sympathy for Irish Republicanism in the 1970s and 80s, coupled with the part played by the Para’s in the Bloody Sunday events and Alistair Bunkall‘s Tweet was almost certainly bound to explode into angry keyboard battles.
Prosecutors explain Bloody Sunday murder charges against ‘Soldier F’
Northern Ireland’s PPS says inquiry evidence not reliable for criminal trial of other Parachute Regiment members. (The Guardian)
This fact evidences why… it’s usually not a good idea to keep picking at the scabs of unhealed wounds.
Families of victims of the Bloody Sunday killings have expressed both disappointment and relief at the news that one former British soldier is to be charged following an announcement by the North’s Public Prosecution Service. (The Irish Times)
That’s something even more relevant given the recently resurrected rawness of personal angst in the bereaved (see here), the still ongoing legal disputes (see here) and the subsequent aftermath of what is considered (by some), to be a politically motivated, unjust and belated civil rites inquiry (see here)… depending upon which side of the ‘war’ you happened to wave your flag from.
I’m tempted to say… “FFS, get over yourself” but I’d only get accused of belittling the circumstances. Or the real fears of being at risk from threatened violence. Although in these particular circumstances, I would suggest any threats have and will come from the public reading the subsequent social-media posts, and not the soldiers being vilified… for political purpose.
But I do get the argument and in some ways, it’s justified but remember; you reap that which you sow!
MPs, but not necessarily this one I hasten to add, have been constantly and consistently ramping up the rhetoric over issues like #Brexit etc. And yes, holding a passionate belief around any important social issue is to be commended however; the dogmatic application of personal drivers, whilst failing to listen to the opinion of others (mostly the electorate) has lead us to this.
In many ways there is a palpable sense of fear amongst politicians, who sadly in the main appear to be female and/or of BAME origin. But many of these MPs (present company excepted) would also do well to understand the possible consequences born of their own diktats; words and actions, or inaction have outcomes. Political rhetoric can be seen by some, usually the less well read, as their carte blanche ‘licence’ for politically motivated actions. In many ways MPs are being hoisted by their own petard.
I’m sure Nia is a lovely person but please… your’re really not helping the situation. Have a cup of tea and calm yourself down a little. And before you, or anyone on your behalf (as is so often the way today) shouts – “you condescending misogynistic twat” – Please be assured, I would say exactly the same thing to anyone… irrespective of their gender, ethnicity or political persuasions.
One good thing that was immediately evident (as the above shows) was; how the Army hierarchy were all over the situation in double-time. I just hope the subsequent enquiry doesn’t result in overkill, driven by political appeasement and PR repair reasoning.
I have to say the response from Jeremy Corbyn to the incident, was more restrained and measured than that of many of his colleagues. The mark of an elder statesman perhaps?
The ‘Breaking News’ banner across the screen in later reports about the MoD investigation were again… part of my day’s amusement (see below).
But the worrying facts are…
Again the commercialism of click-bait journalism is fuelling the polar political bias of inherent social ineptitude.
The exponential growth of hatred in today’s society is born from the failure of politicians to effectively serve the people. That and manage the polar differences of opinion and mitigate against them, not compound them.
When intolerance rears its ugly head in any society it needs to be controlled however; when it appears in one that is now so evidently bereft of drivers for the common good, and inherently ignorant of national and international history, it is doomed to revisit past political mistakes and costly social failures.
If only it were possible to coral the incendiary nature of our inflammatory press? But many mistake the current, partly regulated press freedoms, for a medium that reflects public thinking. Not so, they are actually engineering opinion, as opposed to reporting on it.
Sadly, they are stoking the fires of a volatile society already in free-fall towards implosion. One that is only relatively recently coming to terms with the fact… we are all mostly disposable commodities in the eyes of the elite – We are and have been taken for mugs… and for too long.
It really is no consolation but the mischievous and disingenuous media machine will probably end up with blood on its hands. But probably with little likelihood of any punitive outcomes.
The press perpetuate discord and division with homogeneous contrived distortion and manipulation of facts. This so-called ‘Fake-News’ has become our reality and is the root cause of the vast majority of our social anxiety, mistrust and bigotry. All of which is furthering those nasty traits of sectarianism, racism and hatred which often culminate in anger social-unrest and violence. It all needs to be brought to an end before it’s too late.
And the Final Outcome(s)?
Despite all the indignation and faux morality, the only realistic outcome from all this is; a few junior soldiers will get disciplined for Bringing The Army into Disrepute (AGAI67), or worse, and possibly face an end to their career and loss of livelihood, and all for what?
The pursuit of political appeasement – bowing to public opinion engineered from a media driven political bias. This makes any media accusations about the soldiers’ political motives, before during or after the target practice, puerile, farcical and grand hypocrisy.
Yes, any soldier should be a-political but, as with the rest of our society, we are all influenced (to some extent) by the politics we happen to subscribe to, irrespective of the colour. It is the media trying to politicise the army, not the soldiers (or the military) that reflect any particular brand of politics.
Even if these behaviours are retrospectively judged to be incompatible with army values, I fail to see how (apparently) relatively junior soldiers can ultimately be held responsible for something that was (probably) authorised by their unit hierarchy… apart from the fact shit nearly always flows downhill in a military (political) cluster-fuck.
It would be incorrect for those soldiers to loose their livelihood because of an ill-judged social-media post (see policy), despite anybody finding it distasteful, due to their personal political, ethical or moral reasoning.
Will many politicians change their political spots or moderate their rhetoric? NO, it’s not in their personal interest. Will the media adjust its mischievous methodology? NO, not without intervention. Will the population change any of their views? Unlikely, at least not any time soon, they’re mostly ingrained over several generations. Will our society be any better off, in any way, because of this incident? NO, certainly not in the short-term and I also hold little hope for the future.
Perhaps, on the day that Corbyn was meeting with May, to talk even more #Brexit crap (see here), there might be reason in all this? Could it be that the whole thing has been another fine example of the covert engineering of public opinion that takes place, to further the purpose of a elite political career class? Surely not? Could the state of our fucked-up nation be turning me into a conspiracy theorist? No!
Oh yes… and perhaps the soldiers should have found a Worzel Gummidge effigy to shoot at instead but meanwhile…
Paper targets, which are often found at the end of firing ranges, are to be given more rights under new proposals being put forward by the Ministry of Morale.
2 thoughts on “The Rights & Wrongs of Targeting Catweazle”
How can service personnel be A political when they have the right to vote?
Had it been an effigy of May, would there be the same outcry?
Very few commentators both MSM and social media and very few politicians will understand the context around the original video? At the end of the day it was military gallows humour, and for Corbyn to claim to be shocked and outraged, perhaps he will understand the outrage of veterans vis a vi his support for numerous terrorist organisations around the globe not least being PIRA. Or the outrage of the Falkland Islanders or Gibraltarians that he wants to undemocratically give their lands away!
To end on a positive; there is no better cockwomble in our not so great country than comrade Corbyn.
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The “you’re supposed to be a-political” tosh is a convenient tool of derision, trotted out by opposing sides of the political divide, and used to attack any public servant who dares to have a view, valid or otherwise, that differs from theirs… except politicians it would appear?
Should a teacher or nurse be a-political when making comment about cuts to education or the NHS? Should police officers be a-political when trying to explain why they are no longer able to protect the public? Since when does anyone have the right (or skill) to label another persons personal political beliefs – by simply observing a short out of context YouTube clip?