What first attracted Michael Lyons to a career in the armed forces was an advertisement he spotted as a teenager, depicting the Royal Navy delivering humanitarian aid.Well, they aren't going to use images of the Iranian Navy boarding your boat and confiscating your iPod, are they?
Lyons, now 25, is beginning a seven-month term in military detention after being found guilty earlier this week of wilful disobedience of a lawful order. He was also demoted and dismissed from the navy, where he had served since 2005 as a medical assistant submariner.Not exactly the most shocking result ever, though it seems Libby can't quite get her head around it.
Perhaps it was simply the case that Lyons, who enlisted at 19, grew up.Clearly, not, if he thought he could get away with pouting and saying ‘Shan’t!’ when given a lawful order, Libby…
He is not the first, nor will he be the last, young man to enter the forces with a naive or partial view of all this commitment entails and then suffer the consequences.Libby, you see, believes the Armed Forces prey on young urban NEETs and that is clearly wrong.
The rising percentage of 16-year-olds joining up is arguably an inevitable result of spiralling youth unemployment. But it may also be the outcome of intensifying efforts to attract young people to a forces career – increasingly targeting those below recruitment age – following negative publicity around the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.So, lack of jobs means those who have come through the comprehensive educational system untroubled by the effort of reading, writing and adding up have an outlet, and that's somehow a bad thing in Libby's world?
Tim Worstall can't believe it either.To Libby, you see, those things never happen to anyone other than ex-Forces personnel...
… the demographic that is targeted is significant. The armed forces draws non-officer recruits mainly from young people with low educational attainment and living in poor communities. Research suggests schools from deprived areas are more likely to be visited by recruiters, with particular focus on the north-east of England, Scotland and Wales."...with the boys from the Mersey and the Thames and the Tyne..."
And Infantry recruits need only the literacy skills of a five-year-old to join. A large proportion appear to sign up for negative reasons, such a lack of civilian opportunities.What 'civilian opportunities' would they have, being as they are ruined by the progressives' 'all must have prizes!' schooling mentality?
There will, of course, be young men – and it is still mainly men – who enlist as teenagers, stay the course and avail themselves of every opportunity going. But there will likewise be those who will scrape a few years within an institution unsuited to their needs, then return to the communities they were escaping from in the first place, with no resettlement support and minimal transferable skills, perhaps having picked up a heavy drink habit or post-traumatic stress along the way. From this angle, the parachutist at the air show looks a lot less benign.