A group of soldiers are under investigation by the British Army after posing for a photograph with citizen journalist and street organiser Tommy Robinson, with the force vowing to punish those involved.
Britain’s officer class received a stark and distinct reminder that the majority of the nation’s fighting strength is drawn from white, working-class communities Tuesday when a group of two dozen uniformed soldiers bumped into Tommy Robinson at a motorway service station (rest area).
The young soldiers were travelling from the Catterick Garrison, the British Army’s largest base, and had stopped at a motorway services, with some of the men seen in social media posts by Robinson clutching burgers and soft drinks. Left unattended by their officers, the men are reported to have met English Defence League founder turned anti-Islamic extremism campaigner and citizen journalist Robinson by chance.
Images posted by Robinson — who is presently on bail awaiting retrial for a contempt of court conviction in May — during the meeting showed the troops cheering him on, singing, and smiling to the camera.
The British Army released a statement on the incident shortly after implying the military’s view is that Tommy Robinson himself has a “Far-right ideology [which is] completely at odds with the values and ethos of the armed forces”.
Mr Robinson himself issued a statement Wednesday morning denying that allegation, stating: “Islam is not a race and it is more than a religion, it is a political ideology… I have fairly central views, have not mentioned race in any form in over 10 years of activism.”
The British Army statement said:
Far-right ideology is completely at odds with the values and ethos of the armed forces. The armed forces have robust measures in place to ensure those exhibiting extremist views are neither tolerated nor permitted to serve.
Anyone who is in breach of the army’s values and standards will face administrative action.
The Times reports the result of this administrative action can “involve termination of service or a reduction in rank, as well as a letter of censure that can delay promotion. It is thought the men will get equality and diversity training.”
Such was the disappointment at the apparent social and political views of British soldiers, one Army source quoted by The Times called those involved “stupid” and “pillocks”, a traditional British English term for a fool or idiot.
PICS: Huge ‘Free Tommy’ Crowds Rally as Activist Robinson Appears in Court
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) September 27, 2018
The incident, which Army officers have clearly found extremely embarrassing, comes amid an ongoing campaign by the armed forces to appeal to potential soldiers from among minority communities. The Army is experiencing ongoing recruitment difficulties, with the force facing a significant and ongoing shortfall in the number of troops required.
Breitbart London reported in January on the new ‘Army Belonging 2018’ recruitment campaign, which moved away from the older style of recruitment video showing men in warfighting situations as well as enjoying leisure pursuits like sports, to highly stylised cartoons.
In the new video shorts, Muslim recruits were reassured they would be allowed to practice Islam and have daily prayers — “even on exercise”. Another attacked the concept of stoicism, showing soldiers crying, reassuring would-be recruits that they would not be told to “man up, grow a pair” in the forces.