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Just Me

MQ’s and SLA were disgusting and a major retention problem in 1975 – and here we are, the same issues 48 years later.

Eddy R

I was on course and continuation training with the RN from the RAN in 1989 & I agree with “Just me”. If the state of the MQ’s and SLA in the RAN was as bad as I saw in the UK, then I definitely wouldn’t have stayed in the Service.

Richard

True as

Sjb1968

You can dress it up in a report and you can blame many things but working people require decent pay and for the lower ranks the levels are a disgrace. To add insult to injury many of the lowest paid then cover better paid striking public sector workers at Christmas!

It just isn’t that complicated and my serious recommendation to the lower ranks is read about Invergorden and try it.

Let’s see Rushi and co get a frigate to sea, a typhoon airborne and a CR2 into the field.

I have several friends and family who serve and the top brass are by and large out of touch.

Jonno

Disgraceful to suggest mutiny at any level. Much better to get the MP in your part of the world to take up the cause. That’s what democracy is about.

Supportive Bloke

Crazy as the can vote with their feet these days.

Tref williams

We had a “mutiny” on HMS Blake, in Singapore, 1970. Working conditions were horrific and The Mekon stopped the ME dept from getting pink milk, Chinese supplied, from stbd waist.
Sound trivial? It wasn’t to us

Sjb1968

The right to strike is a fundamental democratic right, which people have given up their lives to gain and protect. There is no disgrace in withdrawing your labour but there is for an unscrupulous employer who exploits your loyalty – HMG.

In the real world people are voting with their feet, which is incredible at a time of war in Europe. It is also telling in how disenfranchised the rank and file actually are but they see the Government continue to cut our armed forces so who cares.

It is a desperately sad state of affairs, which I have discussed with my MP. I make it quite clear what I am expecting to get my vote. Unfortunately there is not enough of us who do it.

Sean

• Striking is not a fundamental democratic right.
• Mutiny goes beyond striking and should always be dealt with by criminal prosecution.
• If you aren’t happy where you work, leave, that’s what professionals do. They don’t throw a hissy fit and strike. Nobody wants to work with malcontents.
• There is labour shortage for skilled people currently. Even generous employers like mine and experiencing high staff churn.

The Whale Island Zoo Keeper

The right to strike is recognised by the UN’s International Labour Organization (ILO) as a fundamental right enshrined in international human rights and labour law, and that protecting it is necessary for a just, stable and democratic country.

1) If you cannot withdraw labour willingly you are a slave.
1b) If you voluntarily sign away your rights that is another matter.

Derek

There are always exceptions, buddy. The UN states the everyone has a ,right to Family life. – excluded are violent and sexual criminals who are often (rightly) forcibly removed from their homes and denied access to their children. So, try quoting the ILO when walking away from your station in a hot zone.

The Whale Island Zoo Keeper

1) I am not sure how a right to the family life is germane with the topic at hand. Perhaps you could explain? Or perhaps pluck some other random factoid out of the air that isn’t germane either, buddy?

Duker

I think you will find its the ILO convention on ‘Freedom of association [Unions} and right to organise’ thats recognised by UK .
Not the ‘right to strike’
Even for those who arent in proscribed organisations like military striking might only be under certain conditions or its then illegal

The Whale Island Zoo Keeper

You don’t think. Every post you make proves you don’t think at all.

Sean

You can withdraw your labour at anytime, it’s called resigning. Slaves can’t resign. Idiot.

Think you’ll find there are several professions in the U.K. and other countries that are legally not allowed to strike – the military amongst them.

Duker

Military personell normally have agreed to serve a set number of years so cant ‘withdraw at any time
Time varies for the role

A Direct Entry PO Marine Engineering start at £38k and can go to £51k or more
As a Direct Entry Technician (DET) you will begin your Royal Navy career at the rank of Petty Officer Marine Engineering Technician, effectively accelerating your career by three ranks. You will responsible for providing your expertise and leadership at the head of a team of Royal Navy engineers.’

The Whale Island Zoo Keeper

You can withdraw your labour at anytime, it’s called resigning.

1) The topic was striking not resigning. I am not sure where I said they could not resign. If you could point it out to me please?

2) I think I covered your second point when I said If you voluntarily sign away your rights that is another matter.

3) An idiot am I? You are rude to me over something I was not discussing. I addressed your second point in my original comment, but you had to bring it up like it had not been mentioned. And I am the idiot? Well you are rude and stupid.

Last edited 9 months ago by The Whale Island Zoo Keeper
The Whale Island Zoo Keeper

This success has not come cheap and the RN spends more than £20M per year on its campaigns.

1) The ‘government’ spends £7m per day accommodating II’s. There is money. The ‘government’ chooses to spend it elsewhere.

2) In the 1930’s the RAF suffered a recruiting crisis. It raised entry requirements. And the crisis was abated.

3) Seeing what comes out of Main Building to do with the situation in the Ukraine I cannot see them coming up with any real solution as they are utterly barking.

4) Go woke, go broke……..

5) The situation is too complex to discuss here.

6) See you all next thread.
comment image

Supportive Bloke

RN spends more than £20M per year on its campaigns”

Sounds quite cheap to me to achieve what they have achieved.

The Whale Island Zoo Keeper

This success has not come cheap 

1) Please use the complete quote. Not my words, quoted from the article.

2) Anyway I am not commenting further. 😉 🙂

Rob Collinson

A really balanced and informative article. Well done!

ATH

So is the short version that pay will need to be decoupled from rank and determined by the market rate for a person’s skills?

Andrew Deacon

You then get the Rooney paid more than Fergie situation, which I’ve been in as well.

Sean

My company operates on that principle, you pay people their market value based on their skill set and experience, not their position in the management hierarchy. Otherwise you force brilliant engineers/ scientists/ etc into being possibly mediocre managers just to get a salary increase.

AJH

Saw this happen in Civilian life. The poor buggers were out of their depth and many contractors ran rings around them during negotiations.

Aaron

A really great read, and informative article. I read every article posted, but like many I imagine, don’t often comment on things. This site is fantastic in its insight into many background aspects, as well as answers to the daily question of “why don’t they…?” which arises.

I hold a massive interest in the Navy, but wider so encompassing politics, government, budgets etc. Every single government department is in desperate need of doubling its income, with an urgent requirement of a rapid cash injection to keep it going. From the ever spending NHS, to the silent and struggling military branches, to local issues on pot holes, street cleaning or water services and discharge.

For the last few decades we have tried to cut spending one day, to emergency spending the next as things break or stop functioning due to neglect and budgetary constraints. People look to the government as the easy blame, but I’m not sure any other team in power could have made better choices. Yes, any one of the other parties might have given a bigger slice to one government department over another, but when all branches are equally in desperate need there simply isn’t anywhere close to enough money to go round?

To most civilians the armed forces are where to take money from. If we are not actively fighting a war, the assumption is all ships are in port and all soldiers sat in barracks polishing their boots. If a war starts we can rapidly recruit and fight as needed. They don’t have the understanding or comprehension of how military units are created, built, trained or financed. That to build a carrier strike group can take thirty years from concept design to drip feed budgeting for each component, will we ever get a full airgroup? Thus taking the defence budget to the bare minimum set by other nations is fine. Thank goodness for NATO. Without that 2% forced upon us, governments may well have taken us below 1% by now.

How can a government not sustain its citizens’ healthcare or education, its highways and infrastructure, its food supplies or welfare – things that the everyday person sees and uses day to day, by taking money and spending on a military that few people see and less care about?

Across the board there isn’t enough money. Some are hoping AI and automation will save the day, but as this article demonstrates, ‘people’ are still essential. If taxes double tomorrow, and the NHS bottomless pit didn’t swallow it up instantly, there still wouldn’t be enough to meet demand.
Just how do we square this circle?

Wasp snorter

Good post, just to say that aside lack of critical infrastructure investment in all parts of society, there has also been incredible wastage and poor short term decisions that has used up money that could have addressed a lot of issues. We all know how new procurement and kit (boxer etc) has cost far more due to incompetence, or the often discussed ship strategy driving up per unit costs etc. just simple good management and intelligent planning saves billions, same for NHS (eye popping wastage in IT systems and care provision overlap) or Network Rail and so on, if we as a nation were better in management and planning in all industries then the money would be enough. We seem to have lost our ability in this since the early 1970s, maybe since WW2. As tech becomes more complicated and with requirements changing all the time , it gets harder manage costs, so that doesn’t help but if we were smarter we could be much more effective. I

Aaron

Definitely agree. Modern society just costs so much more to do what it was never asked to do years back. A few examples:
■ a hospital ward in the carry on film days were 20 or 30 beds. Now they are wards of 4 to 6, with each bed equipped with monitoring, electronics, dedicated nurses doing all sorts of jobs. Hi Tech equipment. A complete hospital now a billion pounds.
■ a house built in the 60s was bricks and mortar. Now it has thermal dynamic insulation needs, double glazing, phone, TV, Internet, and power cables to most rooms, plus loft and cavity insulation. Houses and the land they occupy are way more expensive and totally unaffordable.
■ guns only warships had engines navigation and crew bunks. Now they have missiles, radars, sonar suites, dynamic wave form CGI generated hulls, sound considerations, stabilisers, mission bays and more.
A 1960s post war creation built then, needs a whole load more tech for one of the same thing now, and thus high tech everything included is the new more. Like for like is barely identifying it. Even the slim down type 31s, could probably cost more than 3 basic Frigates of the postwar era, (inflation adjusted) but be capable of taking out maybe an entire fleet of that era in technology.

This tech continues in schools, council buildings, and equipping libraries. It means every new road laid requires far more interaction with water, sewage, energy contractors, communication cables and more before anything can take place.

I agree short term 5 year parliament visions have hampered things. Trying to pay for the debt of the week; be it the 2008 financial crash, the austerity period, covid, cost of living, energy crisis, Ukraine… we are always trying to skimp on buying, in order to clear the books… but the books never get balanced. Before we get anywhere close to settled, the new crisis of the week appears.

I guess the flip side is if governments came in with a 20 year vision… but then would things ever get realised even then? If you were voted out of office, would the new government honour the plans laid down?

We can’t give a dozen government departments 100% of the budget they need. We postpone capital projects for down the road, dropping their individual budgets to 80%, then we cut, squeeze and efficiency drive until they get 60% of their money. Then each budget, one department gets a boost, up to 90% what they ask for. The Defence budget got a boost several times under current defence minister, yet £3bn here and £5bn there are swallowed up in an instant. £5bn used to be a lot, but divided between three or four MOD branches, its nothing. Even if the Navy had all of it, you’d barely get 5 ships out of it, and because of all the waiting lists… how long are those subs going to sit in that basin?

Someone with more knowledge than me, should write an article on what a real defence budget needs to be. One that provides fixes for infrastructure, crewing, research and development, ships built in time for when we need them not by when we can afford them. Are we looking at £100bn or more annually, to realistically meet the need?

We need to know, plan and be ready for unexpected bumps in the road that are cost heavy, whilst running an economy that can sustain hits. If Scotland leave the UK one day, that will be a huge expense on relocating Trident. Anything can be just round the corner.

Duker

A hospital ward is still 20-30 beds just instead of 1 large room they have 4-5 smaller rooms with 6 beds each plus some single rooms. Still overseen by a common ward staff and doctors. Some specialist wards like intensive care may be smaller numbers of patients but higher staff numbers.
Building is the same, improved standards of construction ( when done by qualified people) which takes more sub specialist trades and longer to do.

My view is that people dont stay in jobs as long as they used to, so theres a larger pool of semi skilled who never fully qualify but a lesser pool of long time qualified and fully * experienced* people who keep it all going.
These days whether teaching or nursing the degree is just the start of being experienced enough which might be 5-8 years more.

Jon

“…yet there still seems to be a kind of disconnect between investment in people and in shiny new kit.”

Wages and training etc come from the RDEL budget while shiny new kit comes from the CDEL budget. If you hear extra money has been given to MOD, pound to a penny says that’s all gone into CDEL for infrastructure and kit. Treasury hates RDEL and puts a separate cap on it.

Hildegard Von Trapp

Why was phase 2 training unable to scale?

bob

It depends but more often than not there’s only a limited amount of equipment to train on which limits class sizes etc. If equipment isn’t the issue it usually comes down to lack of staff to teach the course or lack of space to house the additional equipment etc.

Sonik

It’s not just the MOD, this problem is across the public sector. It’s not unusual for organisations to have a capital surplus that they are unable to spend on staff retention. We can thank Gordon Brown who implemented these rules in the name of ‘ring fencing’ budgets. The reality is it was a political move so they can claim to be ‘investing x-amount’ in whatever public service is affected.

Mike Salt

My lad left the British Army in 2019 after 7 years of service, he was on around £30k pa. Found employment quickly and now earns around £90k pa plus bonus plus share options with none of the hassle of service life

If they are not going to pay service personnel what their worth then they will leave.

We a complete restructuring of service remuneration packages.

Supportive Bloke

I doubt we went from £30k to £90k unless he was SF doing bodyguarding or other ‘security’ related works.

But these days £90k is very common.

Mike Salt

Works as a threat incident data analyst in the cyber security industry. Companies in that area love ex military personnel with real time experience.

So you can forget SF bodyguard story

Supportive Bloke

That makes sense as it is quite specialised and I’m assuming he had some cyber training when he was in?

Mike Salt

https://www.checkasalary.co.uk/salary/incident-analyst-london

Just to back up my comment. Johnny Mercer was pushing this live a couple of years ago.

Donald MacIver

Who trained him ? No sense of duty ?
I served in the RN for 8 years and it was’nt always sunshine n roses, but I had a great time for 90% of the time, saw a large chunk of the World.
I had no complaints about accommodation shoreside or on board, was with great lads and never got bored. I left as I was married with kids, and it seemed the right thing to do at the time, tried to rejoin when the Gulf War kicked off and they said they were short of manpower, but they only needed a couple of branches reinforcing and I was’nt required. Had they accepted me I’d have done my 22 years probably. My thoughts on our shortages are folk are too soft nowadays, don’t see how dangerous the rise of Russia and China are to all of us in the UK, or don’t care so bury their heads in the sand. Where would we be if my father and grandfather’s generations did’nt have the balls and sense of duty to to their families and country. We have to fight to keep what we have or it’ll be taken off us simple as that.
Folk need to wake up and smell the coffee.

Mike Salt

Why should any service impoverish themselves on the grounds of sense of duty. He done his bit, he wants a family and a his own home, impossible on service pay.

I myself left the British army fed up with low pay and poor housing conditions, worked overseas and earned considerably more than if I stayed.

Pay them what their worth or people will vote with their feet.

Rob

I see people burying their heads in the sand a lot. Life’s hard and these are really crazy times, but we can’t hide from reality. We have to engage with life and what’s going around us to make it better. Better for ourselves, our families and our fellow citizens. Hiding away or pretending thi gs are ok is not good for anyone. That doesn’t help make things better.

Chris Herniman

How can the RN recruite on one hand & MOD close or try to sell of accommodation, for example FORT BLOCK HOUSE in Gosport, one of UK oldest military sites. Room for hundreds of personel who are now housed in hotels.
Typical lack of joined up thinking

Mike

I’m sure the Army can help you out with recruiting. Another 10,000 jobs to go even with Ukraine going on.
You couldnt make it up. We’ll done the bean counters.

Huw ex junior rate

Army personnel don’t like ships. Smaller crew sizes means that the lower ranks do more cleaning. The Captain’s and Jimmy’s will want to impress top brass.

bob

Heaven forbid some of the SRs or Officers chip in with some of the dirty work!

Jimmy

Get rid of some of these CDRs and above who really aren’t needed
Saving lots of money

Paul42

Poor pay, very poor accommodation with longer deployments or shore postings due to shortage of hulls. Sums it up I think.

Bill moray

Too much Woke Pish,s**t living conditions and downright disrespect to the sailors.

Spud 114

We’re suffering the knock on effect of the Cameron, Osborne, Hammond era. There should be an enquiry as to what they have done to the British armed forces. It’s a tough fight back from a spiral of cuts.

Ex Military

Well the defence ministers from the past 30 years should be hung for starters as they all thought they could cut cut cut the Armed Forces to the bone and the world would stand still around them. The fact is it is not worth doing a full career in the military anymore the pension isn’t worth it, salary isn’t worth it, houses are deemed not fit enough to house immigrants.

Roy

There is also a cultrual issue here. Today, with a national population of 67 million, the Royal Navy can’t attract 40,000 personnel. In 1914, with a national population of 42 million, the RN had 140,000 personnel … and the serving conditions for officers and men at sea were far from what they are today.

Soapy

Pay 2000 killed retention of the expertise in the engineering branches 2 decades ago, it doesn’t sound like things have improved much since. Particularly with reduction of skill sets by dilution of Artificers to ETs

The Whale Island Zoo Keeper

Particularly with reduction of skill sets by dilution of Artificers to ETs

1) Especially because it brought about the situation that creating Artificiers was meant to avoid.

Willem van der Knaap

The navy personnel structure from seaman to admiral is broadly the same as in Drake’s/de Ruyter ‘s days while ships, a/c’s, command structures, etc. have technologically dramatically changed, as have sociological structures and conditions, including education. There is a great mismatch that asks for serious investigation.

donald_of_tokyo

Simply, there is ZERO needs for T32, until man-power issue be solved. If there are any such money, just increase payment. Simple?

The Whale Island Zoo Keeper

there is ZERO needs for T32

1) Has the specifications for T32 been produced as yet?

Duker

Doesnt work like that. generally the shipbuilding budget is spent on that or not at all.
The base construction budget and maintenance spend is separate pools of money.
When the Treasury gets its cuts from shipbuilding it will want cuts to base building and maintenance as well

The Whale Island Zoo Keeper

He was saying there is no need to build a new class of ship without the money to fund a crew.

donald_of_tokyo

I know it.

But, if I were HMT, when RN/MOD asks for new ship, I will just say “why are you requesting an additional ship, although there is no crew? …Reject”, and its the end.

So, in place, RN/MOD will push HMT for pay rise, in place. That’s it.

Last edited 10 months ago by donald_of_tokyo
Supportive Bloke

They will be told to manage that from their own budgets.

donald_of_tokyo

So, HMT will not agree to buy T32, because it is clear RN/MOD will fail to manage it. They are failing to do it for a decade. No hope, without pay-rise and other investments.

Last edited 10 months ago by donald_of_tokyo
Supportive Bloke

No T32 = no constant drum beat of ships = single source of supply.

Buying T32 is probably the cheapest option.

donald_of_tokyo

Sorry, disagree. Even if T32 be there, T33 and T34 and T35 are needed before T31 replacement.

Note that why Babcock’s T31 is so cheap is partly (or mainly) because its high-tempo = 1 year drumbeat. This means you need 25-30 T3X series (or T31, 32, 33, 34, 35, as 5 each) to keep “constant drum beat”. In short, impossible.

So, in short, Rosyth will lose constant drum beat of building escorts on 2029 (without T32) or 2034 (even with T32). No big difference.

Keeping Rosyth busy CANNOT be the rationale for T32, I think.

Last edited 10 months ago by donald_of_tokyo
The Whale Island Zoo Keeper

1) Manning ships is a different problem to building ships.

donald_of_tokyo

But, building T32 does not solve EITHER of them. This is my 1st point.

“Building ship which cannot work because of no-crew” will make the RN/MOD budget requirement much less competitive. RN will not (and shall not) win it.

Actually, there are many urgent things MOD must buy.

Plenty of ammo stocks: Even only for RN, there are Aster 30, CAMM, TLAM, NSM, JSM, SPEAR3, 57mm-ALaMo, and many many dull ammo. This will amount to as much as a few Billion GBP.

Equipment related to naval warfare, we need: 3 more P-8A, 2 more E-7, 6-9 SeaGuardian UAV (with ASW), more F35Bs.

“Additional escort which cannot work because of no-crew” will be in much much lower line of the list = must not happen.

Last edited 10 months ago by donald_of_tokyo
The Whale Island Zoo Keeper

1) I know that is what I said to Duker.

2) Please consider reading the whole comment chain before replying to posts.

Jon

You only need 25-30 low level frigates to get a maintained annual drumbeat if you build them to last 25-30 years.

We’ve had this conversation before, and there’s always an assumption that if you build a hull to last longer it’ll be better because look at what has happened to the Type 23 which wasn’t supposed to last that long. But that assumption is invalidated once you can get the Treasury to accept continous production. You never have to Lifex ships.

Duker

Whats happened is the lifex , once required to go ahead after the 5 year plus delay in the T26 build wasnt even funded properly and some got upgrades and others only overhauls for shorter term.
Its no coincidence the 2nd SL , a Vice Admiral is responsible for personnel , bases etc and there isnt currently ( since the mid 60s) a 3rd SL responsible for ships and aircraft.
Its now just lower level ‘capability manager’ and one of many ‘assistant chief of Navy’

Last edited 9 months ago by Duker
The Whale Island Zoo Keeper

Buying T32 is probably the cheapest option.

1) Yes this ^^^^^^
1a) Though I would buy more T26 or T31 (with ASW). T32 is vaporware.
1b) Take the older T31 out of commission.

Peter S

” Substantial new funding” seems rather unlikely given the widespread demands for large pay increases across the public sector and the inflationary pressure on the equipment plan. On average, serving members of the armed forces cost considerably more than the civilian employees of the MOD. Are there still jobs that could be transferred to civilians to free up some extra resources for improvement in service pay/ conditions?

Samuel

To fix this issue you would need war to be on the doorstep again….Look at Ukraine, had they still had any ships left then they would have no problem getting crews for them considering how they have grown their armed forces over the past 2 years. This is exactly the same issue in the care sector….everyone knows its dying and pardon the pun…but its in “Abandon Ship” mentality

Rob

Sad but true. It will likely take a war. People have become fat and complacent. A real threat to our existence and our culture should do it. You’d think. But I could ge wrong, many people are ambivalent about their country these days. Apparently its someone else’s job to defend it, just not theirs. War will fix that right up.

Francis Heritage

My recent submission to the 1SL’s Fellowship Essay competition examined this from a different angle, trying to understand if technology could provide some opportunities to make Service Life more fulfilling, perhaps mitigating the effect of real-term pay-cuts.

For example, if people are the RN’s Number 1 asset, where is the investment in PODS for learning and development, side hustles, personal projects, etc? There’s more to deployable systems than weapons, sensors and UxVs.

https://open.substack.com/pub/francisheritage/p/how-does-a-navy-that-strives-for?r=gjmjy&utm_campaign=post&utm_medium=web

Last edited 10 months ago by Francis Heritage
The Whale Island Zoo Keeper

1) Fantastic piece of writing. BZ. I have posted the link to my main online community for others to read it.

2) Have you ever read Ricardo Semler’s ‘Maverick’? It was required reading on the management course a former employer used to run. I didn’t earn any brownie points by pointing to the course admin that we would be at best blocked or at worse sacked trying to do anything like the book suggested.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Maverick-Success-Behind-Unusual-Workplace/dp/B001Q3M6D4

Duker

Isnt it just a compendium of the usual *business speak* with the latest buzzwords added into the Defence acronym soup of the day?

 pivot around employee experience and demonstrate ethical prowess, is to leverage recent transformations in Artificial Intelligence / Machine Learning (AI/ML) and imminent RN investment in the PODS ecosystem and Augmented Reality (AR)

Thats just at the beginning

‘However, a new form of Machine Learning is increasing the speed and breadth of feedback, while reducing its siloed nature and cost. ‘Transformers’ have enabled the creation of Large Language Models (LLMs), a form of Generative AI. Trained on a huge corpus of text, and deploying neural network architecture, LLMs demonstrate a behaviour called ‘emergence’, whereby they can undertake many tasks, despite not having been trained to do so. 

The Whale Island Zoo Keeper

Isnt it just a compendium of the usual *business speak* 

1) Why are you addressing me and not the author?

2) Do you understand that you can reply to him by clicking on reply in his comment? You don’t have to use the last comment in the chain.

Duker

My mistake . Its obvious its intended for that comment. In practice the replys dont always align with the particular comment or other comments appear in the chain.
Keep calm and carry on

John Hartley

Well, if there is the forecast global recession this year, a full scale refurbishment of married quarters, would be a good “make work” government project.

Tracy Clarke

Bullying is rife in the RN and I mean serious bullying not just banter
No one is listening, I’m currently trying to get the Second Sea Lord to listen but I think they are just burying their heads in the sand.
My Sailor “Born in Plymouth, Destroyed by the Royal Navy” and I will never forgive them or stop fighting for him. I will not have my son join the high number of suicide statistics

Rob

This is what happens when leftist woke ideology is allowed to permeate like a virus, when liberal “anything goes identity politics” is rammed down peoples throats, when you no longer encourage a strong sense of national pride and identity. Even flying the union jack in your garden is racist. I did 9 years in the RN under Maggie and served in the Falklands war. That’s when we felt the country was unified and worth fighting and dying for. Now the military doesn’t want white Men (RAF recruiting), apparently they’re racist and evil and nationalistic. Unless you accept transvestism you’re a monster. Let me tell you, sailors don’t want to bunk up with gays and cross-dressers. We used to be proud of Britain and felt it was exceptional. Now we are told that’s racist thinking. Unless Britain gets a grip (highly unlikely) Britain is done for and looking more and more like junior players Portugal or Latvia. The BBC constantly reminds people that Britain is a racist shameful place not worth defending, that needs to be aggressively called to account for “colonial crimes” and slavery. If I heard that repeat message back in 1978 I would not have served either. EDITED

John Nisbet

My oldest boy has a marine engineering qualification and substantial sea time. He recently applied to the RN thinkingbhe had enough to get in. But his application was rejected because when he was 15 years of age he got a grade 3 in science and not grade 2. Imagine the lunacy of that. A trained marine engineer rejected for one grade but is a qualified marine engineer. If you want to know where the problem is in recruitment its the application of out dated standards.