Amid growing talk of a major war between Russian and NATO, the Head of the British Army, General Patrick Sanders, made shockwaves last month when he warned that Britain must “mobilise”, and stressed the need for a “shift” in mindset to be mentally ready for a military conflict.
“Within the next three years, it must be credible to talk of a British Army of 120,000, folding in our reserve and strategic reserve,” General Sanders said, adding that we must now take “preparatory steps to enable placing our societies on a war footing.”
As reported in the Telegraph, however, several senior military figures, including Major General Julian Thompson, Rear Admiral Roger Lane-Nott and Lieutenant General Sir Henry Beverly, have now written to Defence Secretary Grant Shapps, warning that the military is being forced into a “moral disarmament” due to “the lunacy of pushing woke ideas”.
Despite the fact that the Cabinet Office began phasing out ‘unconscious bias’ training across Whitehall in December 2020, after a strong body of evidence emerged to show that it had no sustained impact on behaviour and may even be counter-productive, the Army’s latest Race Action Plan refers to this Critical Race Theory-derived concept in its ‘Elephant In the Room’ (EITR) training course for soldiers.
The Race Action Plan states that EITR workshops should: “unearth and interrupt unconscious (and conscious) biases”, “raise awareness of and discuss the issues e.g. race/identity, power and privilege” and “educate about micro-aggressions/micro-inequalities (day-to-day exchanges that transmit a sense of subordination) and how to reduce/tackle them”.
In pursuance of the Plan’s overarching aims, on January 30th, 2024, the Ministry of Defence posted an internal blog article for staff on the subject of “micro-behaviours”. They are “small, and may be behavioural, intentional or unintentional unconscious things people say or do,” the article explained. Military personnel were then warned against committing microaggressions, such as “asking a person ‘where they are really from’ or repeatedly misusing someone’s pronoun by referring to someone as a ‘he’ or ‘she’.
Elsewhere, the Army’s Inclusive Behaviours guidance encourages personnel to introduce their pronouns, with the following examples provided: “Hello, my name is Sergeant Smith, and my pronouns are she/her”, or “Hi, I’m Captain Harris, my pronouns are they/them”.
Under this same guidance, Unit Commanding Officers are assigned a series of diversity-related tasks including appointing diversity advisors and practitioners to units and providing diversity boards, training, reviews, inspections and assessments to report on identity-based forms of oppression experienced by the 600-700 personnel in their unit.
Similar initiatives are now embedded within training schemes delivered across the Armed Forces.
In December 2021, for instance, the Royal Air Force transitioned to the use of “gender-neutral ranks and language”, scrapping the use of “airmen” and “airwomen” in favour of “aviator” in a bid to be “more modern and appropriate” – a decision that former Tory MP and ex-Army colonel Patrick Mercer described as “woke b******s”.
More recently, the RAF’s Gender Network, a group for airmen and airwomen to discuss gender, published a blog on the MoD intranet, accessible to all serving personnel, for ‘International Pronouns Day’. “It can be offensive or harassing to guess at someone’s pronouns”, the post said, before attempting to educate airmen and airwomen on the importance of “neopronouns” including “xe/xir/xirs, ze/zir/zirs and fae/faer/faers”.
Last year, the Express carried news of Navy HQ’s recently published ‘Divisional Officers and Troop Commanders Briefing Notes’, courtesy of a tip-off from the FSU.
The Royal Navy, which has previously boasted of its status as a Stonewall Diversity Champion, uses the Briefing Notes to urge officers to “routinely share” their chosen pronouns, suggesting this could be an “act of allyship”.
The document also advises officers to avoid saying “good morning, guys”, instead using the gender neutral ‘everyone’ or ‘team’.
Elsewhere, the document explains the importance of another concept drawn from critical race theory: ‘lived experience’, that great incontestable of the woke age, in which the engagement with day-to-day life of certain pre-identified groups is filtered through a pre-written script of systemic racialised oppression.
Navy officers are then told they need to understand how race, class, gender and other badges of victimhood impact on a person’s identity and “to recognise and appreciate the lived experience” of the oppressed members of their team.
“Before you voice your opinion on another person,” officers in command of sailors aboard commissioned ships operating in fast-paced, high-risk environments are told, “you should stop to think about whether you have the right to speak about them from a position of no direct expertise and consider whether your behaviour is contributing to or alleviating their existing disadvantage.”
As if the image thus conjured of Blighty’s new generation of nerveless, amphibious killing machines wasn’t already enough to fill the hearts of Vladmir Putin’s inner circle with terror, the Briefing Notes go on to address the issue of ‘white privilege’, and how it impacts Navy officers themselves, the vast majority of whom are white males.
“The term ‘white privilege’ has been talked about in the context of the Black Lives Matter protests,” the document says, adding: “It refers to the idea that skin colour can affect your lived experience such that it can either give you an advantage or be a barrier to almost all areas of life.
“Therefore, if you are ‘white’, whatever situation you are in, it is almost always the case that the outcome has not been affected by your skin colour” – a statement that will no doubt one day be of great comfort to the Captain of a lone British frigate locked in a tense stand-off with a fleet of Chinese warships as they begin maneuvering themselves into an attack formation a few miles off the disputed Spratly and Paracel Islands in the South China Sea.