The British Army has been slammed for bowing to “political correctness” after spending £1.6 million on a campaign engaging with gender and racial identity politics and encouraging troops to be more emotional.
Army representatives say they want to encourage diversity of religion, gender, sexuality, and ethnicity with their ‘Army Belonging 2018’ campaign, as well as telling recruits its okay for them to cry.
In promotional videos, voiced by serving soldiers, recruits ask: “Can I be gay in the Army?”, “Do I have to be a superhero?”, and “What if I get emotional in the Army?”
In another, a Muslim soldier explains how the Army has allowed him to practice Islam, but Christian soldiers are not given the same reassurance in the campaign.
Can I be #gay in the #Army? Yes. The #Army delivers effect through teamwork and mutual support and needs a broad range of talented people to be the best. Great addition to @armyjobs #ThisIsBelonging campaign voiced by serving soldiers. https://t.co/6DIX8hjx8Y
— Army LGBT+ Forum (@ArmyLGBT) January 10, 2018
Responding to the videos, Colonel Richard Kemp CBE, a former commander of British operations in Afghanistan, said the campaign would not address the army’s recruitment problems.
“The army, like the rest of government, is being forced down a route of political correctness,” he told BBC Breakfast. “What is most important is that the army is full of soldiers. It is of secondary importance that they reflect the composition of society.”
He said that what attracted recruits was the job in hand – fighting and defence of the realm – rather than identity politics.
“The main group of people who are interested in joining aren’t worried so much about whether they are going to be listened to… they are going to be attracted by images of combat.
“Of course the more people from all parts of society who join the better, but it’s even more important to fill the army up with people who want to fight and want to be soldiers and this I don’t think will do that.”
However, General Sir Nick Carter, head of the Army, said trying to appeal to minority groups was a good idea as fewer white men are expected to join.
He told BBC Radio 4’s the Today programme: “Our society is changing and I think it is entirely appropriate for us, therefore, to try and reach out to a much broader base to get the talent we need in order to sustain combat effectiveness.”
It came after Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson intervened last month to block Army chiefs from scraping the “Be The Best” slogan after critics claimed it was “dated, elitist and non-inclusive”.