Goodness me. What a load of medals you’ve got.

So, let’s make it very clear a the outset. I have respect for the military.  I realise that among them there are some phenomenally brave and dedicated people and, although in my lifetime this has never really been an issue (in that all the wars fought since heaven knows when have been fought on foreign soil, many thousands of miles away from Scotland), I accept that they are there to keep us safe and I’m grateful for that.


Of course, I don’t agree that an impoverished little country like Britain should have the massive military spend that it does in order to punch above its weight and make senior ministers imagine that they are in some way important. (Let’s be honest, most military decision that affect us are made in Washington. All we do is provide manpower in return for them allowing our prime minister to look like he or she counts. Legacy is all!) A smaller military would be fine for the UK.


Managing to look very glum and funereal.


I can also get pretty angry about the way that the UK government treats military personnel returning from whatever war Washington has sent them to. Big on the turn out at the Cenotaph, wearing long faces and black coats… a little less enthusiastic when it comes to providing them with work, or medical/psychological treatment and the necessary benefits, when their experiences have gutted them and left them unable to settle back to normal life.


This, though, is a reality they don’t look so sad about.


We have to be careful about how much influence the military has. And the latest idea by the UK’s Defence Secretary makes me decidedly uncomfortable. The May Youth?


The child defence secretary. And I don’t mean he defends children.


A good few years ago, I ran a project to help young school leavers to get into work: apprenticeships, training places, college, etc.

While I was doing that, in cooperation with other projects, we ran a Jobs Fair, and of course, my lot turned up (although most of the lads had already chosen, and been accepted for, some sort of apprenticeship).

The Army was there with their recruitment team. And the 16-year-olds gravitated to their stall. A while later after the fair, we were having a coffee as a group and the lads were full of tales of the wonders of the army life.

How much they paid, how many sports you could play, how you got to travel and see the world, what trades and skills you could learn.

“They teach you to ski, Tris!”

Maybe, some of them thought, they should turn down the jobs that they were heading for and take up the military challenge… ‘the queen’s 5 pence’ as it were? It would be a life of fun and adventure. What did I think?


Faced with all this youthful enthusiasm, I was dubious about being too negative but felt I had to intervene with a bit of common sense (after all we’d worked hard to get employers to take them for apprenticeships and letting employers down is never a good idea). So I did ask how they felt about Afghanistan and Iraq, in both of which at the time UK forces were involved in brutal wars.

‘Where?’ they chorused!

These inconvenient little facts hadn’t been mentioned, it seemed.


War? Killing people? Getting killed? Or maimed? Seeing mates killed?

Of all that stuff, not a word.

Now, that seemed a trifle irresponsible, I thought. It’s a bit like taking on a chef and not mentioning that some cookery would be involved. I decided that at future jobs fairs, the military would not be invited.

Of course, I have no problem with people making a decision to join the armed forces. It can be a good life for the right person and as I’ve said, we may need them one day. I had an uncle who dedicated his life to it and was very happy doing so.

But kids need to have all the facts and not a glorified version of life in the forces. I’m happy to say all my lads chose to stick with the dull old apprenticeships in Dundee.

I don’t think it is the job of schools to make soldiers or sailors or airmen. Certainly not of 12-year-olds full of dreams, especially maybe those who come from difficult backgrounds of poverty and deprivation, as so many do.

I trust that our Education Secretary declines to involve Scottish schools in this scheme. I’m suspicious that they really want to do, as they have always done, is take people from the poorest areas in the country, and make cannon fodder of them.

Or am I being too harsh?

70 thoughts on “‘NO, NO, NO’, TO BORROW A WELL KNOWN PHRASE”

  1. Well put Tris
    I had 2 uncles who were in the 51ST, they were part of the rear guard at Dunkirk, they spent the war out in pow camps in Poland after being walked there from france. Young men who joined up before hostilities to get a job, my father’s brothers. Younger one escaped in France, protected by a French farmer and family, recaptured when they were reported.
    He went back to try to find the love of his life, the daughter.
    Stayed a batchelor the rest of his days.
    Other uncle was captured in Hong Kong, Scots Greys, was killed by friendly fire, the ship taking them to Japan to work was sunk by USS grouper, a submarine, the ship was the Lisbon Maru.
    Like you I saw a young man join up after they told him he could be educated to degree level as an engineer. He had toget his mother to buy him out after they decided he would just be an infantryman, after the basic training and the first engineering course.
    My opinion was he was never suited to the life in the forces, he was a soft lad, not a hard man in any way. He did a college course and got a suitable job with National Semiconductor in Greenock as an engineer, he says he fell for the marketing job.
    I hope charlie is never king, or his one male child.
    A republic is what we need, not a banana republic that gives out funny costumes and gongs to members just because they’re family.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I feared that this might be quite controversial, but it had to be said, I reckoned.

      Horrific stories there in your piece. These were the kind of risks that were not explained to my lads.

      The royals are a joke in my opinion.

      It strikes me as utterly amazing that someone can work, free, for a charity all their lives and get a miserable MBE or BEM for their troubles.

      Harry gets married and gets a dukedom and an earldom… for getting married?

      I wish them no harm, but I hope we get rid of them soon so we can have a head of state we chose, not one thrust upon us.

      Liked by 3 people

    2. Forgot to put in the post, his life was worth £12.50p, no death grant as his body was never recovered.
      My Mother gave me all the paperwork about it to pass on, I still have the letters, he was just a young man who couldn’t get work, he joined up thinking he would be in the pipe band as he was a side drummer in the local band.
      Just a private in the bloody infantry.
      His name is on the wall in Edinburgh castle.
      Andrew Montague McLean

      Liked by 6 people

      1. Hello Norrie, nice to talk but it’s a sad story.
        Have you looked at the story on the web.
        Seems the americans were having trouble with their torpedoes running deep and going under their target, the Uss Grouper, captain one Rob McGregor, used Six to nearly sink the Lisbon Maru.
        It was carrying Japanese troups, pows from army navy and air force, they were locked in the holds.
        All captured from the fall of Hong Kong

        Liked by 1 person

  2. They’ll be plying them with drink and forcing the Queen’s shilling on them next and reintroducing the pressgang for the navy.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. That Williamson bloke is a complete nutter.

      Why does he need armed forces. I mean, he cant sort everything out himself.


      … or I’ll tell Nanny?


    1. And some farther comments, in the forms of quotes from famous people (I have a file in my home folder of good quotes, where I keep them when I find them). Virtual cookies if you identify the sources:

      “With reasonable men, I will reason; with humane men I will plead; but to tyrants I will give no quarter, nor waste arguments where they will certainly be lost.”

      “A ‘No’ uttered from deepest conviction is better and greater than a ‘Yes’ merely uttered to please, or what is worse, to avoid trouble.” (‘No’ and ‘yes’ may be reversed, and the meaning is still the same)

      “It is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.”

      “The security of the Nation is not at the ramparts alone, Security also lies in the value of our free institutions. A cantankerous press, an obstinate press, a ubiquitous press must be suffered by those in authority in order to preserve the even greater values of freedom of expression and the right of the people to know.”

      “If you kill someone´s husband, his widow will detest you, if you kill someone´s son, their mother will hate you, and if you were to die by someone´s hand…”(I would detest them)

      “No snowflake in an avalanche ever feels responsible.”

      “It is forbidden to kill; therefore all murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets”

      “The Pioneers of a Warless World are those youth that refuse military service”

      “We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office.”

      I think the oldest one there is from ~550BC. When I think about that, I despair of humanity.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. My favourite: “It is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.”

        But they are all good, and handy to have.


        1. That one’s famous enough I don’t expect I have to say it was Hermann Goering, one of the top Nazi PR folk.

          Here’s another one I remembered about, and had to go look up for the exact words:

          “You people in authority often give more importance to prestige, honour and pride, than you give to life itself. But you know full well that it is not yourselves who will be in the front lines in time of war! No presidents, sovereigns or ministers are ever present on the battlefields. It is the ordinary men and women of this world who bleed and die in wars over which they have no control. When rulers talk about the necessity of war, they’re not putting their own lives at risk, or the lives of their families. They’re talking about risking other peoples lives! Those in power care little for those who die as a result of the foolish and belligerent decisions of their leaders. But ask yourselves: what good is a ruined country and a devastated population?”

          And I keep trying to find one from Confucius about running to the hills when madmen take the throne. I read it in a physical book, which I’ve now lost.


  3. What a can of wor… no maggots, you’ve opened here, Tris. A sad business altogether, but it needs to be out in the open. Taking advantage of the innocence and ambition, or just plain boredom, of the youth is a thoroughly wicked crime, and just as long as there are armies there will always be wars …

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I say get them some proper jobs for our kids, and… while your on, stop pretending to be a great power. You’re not. You’re a great joke.


  4. Well said, Tris.

    Someone telt me a few weeks ago the military were struggling to get young Scots to enlist into the British nationalist armed services. Hope it’s true.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. trispw,

    Quite an amazingly heart felt post.

    Before I go on, I completely agree with you.


    My parent’s generation, came back from WW2. They were promised, and to a minor extent got, a sort of equitable treatment. Y’know, NHS, schools, shit like that. Which was grinded away, after the posh could do it.

    What they survivors never wanted, perhaps, was the ‘ahem’ nobility of a prick like Prince Charles. There is one badge, trice worn, that says the idiot served ‘with long service and good conduct’.

    Was a bullet ever addressed at his head? Apart from ‘long service and good conduct’ quite what did he do?

    A single VC is worth all the medals that that idiot wears on his chest.

    Real people earn a medal. Plastic imitation replicas just display their plastic imitation replica medals.

    And, often, it would be far better if they never had to earn it in defence of, well, Prince Charles or Theresa May.

    May I ask?

    Have you just recently become more radical?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. LOL no, I don’t think so, Douglas.

      But recently it seems to me, they have become more ridiculous.

      The pantomime government in Westminster get more”laughable” (but no one wants to laugh) by the day.

      Today we learn that despite Mr Johnson telling us that the head of Porton Down said that the poisoning could be laid at the feet of Putin, it turns out he didn’t.

      They aren’t even half way competent at being incompetent. They don’t even bother to lie well.

      Oh, and will someone tell me what kind of Jewish people am I supposed to like, or dislike, or whatever. Because I’m really confused now.

      As for Charles, I’ve no idea what he did in the services. I think he was the commander of something… well, he would be.

      I wonder if he travelled with his own toilet seat back then… His bum must be a bit special.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Chalie was given the commaand of a vessel of the queens fleet, it was based at Faslane.
        It was a command to suit the admiral of the fleet uniform.
        It was a plastic mine sweeper, can’t remember it’s name , Brecon or something.
        Remember he also crashed a 146 , 4 engined passenger plane, of mummies flight, on Islay, he ran off the runway at the end.
        The actual pilot in charge got the blame for letting him land it.
        Brother Andrew uses a helicopter of mummies flight to do the golf courses that are a bit too far to get to.
        Need to keep the boys busy

        Liked by 1 person

  6. What a shower of hypocritical bastards with their poppies which we probably paid for – especially the arch bastard Blair. I don’t hate many people but…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. When people take or ruin other people’s lives… in some cases hundreds, thousands, or even hundreds of thousands (yes Tony, I’m talking about you) to further their own ends (aye, still you Tony, you know you wanted to please DubYa so that he would treat you as if you mattered) while all the time professing to be DEEPLY, nay PROFOUNDLY, religious, and so we assume “good” (heavens Tony, that’s you again)… I don’t think it is too unreasonable to hate them.

      So you won’t find me disagreeing there. I’d add social security people like Duncan Smith and Grayling and the obnoxious bitch that’s in there now, McUtterly Vile. Oh yeah, and that Hopkins woman. … the list goes on. They seem to do nothing but evil.

      And you are right… some MPs did claim for poppies on their expenses.

      We care so deeply about our brave boys. That will be $4.50 for the poppy, please.


  7. The British establishment do love a good war, but what they fail to understand is that all these wars leave their precious UK in a weaker state than before.

    All their 20th and 21st century conflicts have left the country ever more bankrupt. As for the human cost……

    Meanwhile, not far away in Ireland, this year the people get to choose their Head of State in an election of all things instead of just giving the job to De Valera’s or Cosgrave’s descendants. How novel.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Lanark,

    “Meanwhile, not far away in Ireland, this year the people get to choose their Head of State in an election of all things instead of just giving the job to De Valera’s or Cosgrave’s descendants. How novel.”

    How novel indeed!

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Hi Danny,

        I found this quite interesting. It requires you to put around 40 minutes of your time to listen.

        These are the real radicals!

        Liked by 3 people

          1. dc…..It’s easy to make a mistake and click on a wrong post. Did you notice that clicking on it again just turns off your “Like?” The clicks just toggle on and off. At least that’s the way it works on my browsers.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Cheers Danny. It didn’t work for me. Just assume that no-one liked my post! Which is kinda like normal. No big deal, I’ll try to not make the same error again.

              Liked by 2 people

              1. dc…..Interesting! As long as I’m logged into the site and have the notification icon showing in the upper RH corner of the webpage, it works that way for me. But you never know what a particular browser and webpage will do at a particular time. The other day, it would not accept a Like on a Conan posting. I have no idea why.

                Liked by 1 person

  9. Much to say on this. When teaching 16/17 year olds with few prospects in NE Eng years ago, some were considering the army, they felt they had no other option. A few years ago, quite a few, maybe 10 yrs, I was walking through Edinburgh New town, well off area. A youngish guy in front was on his mobile talking away, very smartly dressed, army type, very well spoken. I heard him saying to the effect, ‘we have to make it more attractive, the forces needs to up it’s game, get the young ones on board, only by selling it as romantic, fun and exciting’. I was shocked, well, a bit.

    My grandad was called up during WWII, he too was taken prisoner spent 5 years in Polish prison. His wife thought he was dead, apparently. She had 3 small kids, so took up with a new guy, my father hated him. His real dad returned one day after the war, my dad heard him being told to get lost. My dad never got over losing his dad, who he was very close to. They had also closed his school down he was 10, the army burnt all the books and took over the school. NE Eng. Education over, no father, working aged 11 selling newspapers.

    My dad then joined up due to wanting some kind of career, fought in Malayia. He had some very interesting tales to tell, I like the one where they stopped a toff of an officer, from forcing a local pregnant woman to walk 10 miles through the jungle. The men had boundaries when it came to how the locals were treated. Sometimes the lower ranks were not the ones taking orders in the deep dark jungle, or anything could happen eh.

    It’s the rich who indoctrinate having kept families poor and begging. We must not tolerate poverty, normalising it or the rich mans tactics of making our kids into cannon fodder to line their dirty rotten, stinking greedy, pockets.

    ‘War is a racket’. Look up that poem.

    Oh and I have a friend who’s daughter joined up aged 17 a couple years ago, she was a tough lass then, could even say a tom boy. Now? She honestly looks like a barbie doll, it’s what the army has done, made the girls into barbie’s.
    No thanks.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Here’s the problem, isn’t it?

      ‘we have to make it more attractive, the forces needs to up its game, get the young ones on board, only by selling it as romantic, fun and exciting’

      But war isn’t to most people’s minds romantic, fun or exciting unless you are watching it from a Hollywood angle perhaps.

      Killing other humans just isn’t.

      Unless you are weird!


      1. The young are easily led and manipulated though. Young minds and all that. They get them excited about it in schools etc, as early as poss, say, 12, then they join at 16, signing contracts, not sure, but a minimum of 4 years.

        In England you can join the army at 16, and get married but you can’t vote, oh no can’t have that! In England officially you are not even an adult until 18 years old, in Scotland it’s 16.

        They do brainwash people in service to government. My dad said they were repeatedly told ( shouted at ) that anyone and everyone was their actual personal enemy, it’s how they get people to kill.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. The trouble, I think, is that they have had problems recruiting. If they get them started at school that should probably solve that, especially in really poor areas.

          I hope John Swinney tells them to go away.


  10. Actually I looked up re UK and the EU yesterday and came across an interesting piece on what led to the UK joining. I had no idea that the UK, ie I guess England, was the only country doing well out of the war economically, in Europe. It was well off after it, but with a few years of Tory and I guess some Labour governments, was soon an economic basket case and begging to join the EC. I wonder what they did with the money then.

    Here is the article.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. hettyfor indy, thanks
    Why did Britain join? For various reasons. Because De Gaulle left, the Commonwealth could not compete, Heath defeated Wilson, the free trade area integration model sunk. But above all, Britain joined because joining the European project was perceived to be a way to stop its relative economic decline.
    And we are told it’s a good idea to return to EFTA.
    Lack of knowledge of history, and the lemming syndrome.
    See mother theresa is to solve the gender pay gap , well within a generation, NO HURRY then, maybe now is not the time, another promise neatly filed in the round filing basket.
    CHarlie was around 5 years old when he won the Coronation Medal, hell I didn’t get one.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I understand that De Gaulle didn’t want Britain in because he said they would always want everything their way and not be able to compromise.

      He was right.

      I think we may be looking at a split in the Tory Party… and perhaps the Labour Party too. The Brexit committee has recommended that that membership of EFTA ( and access to the market through that) is the way forward… in other words, the Norway deal.

      That would mean a single market in goods, services, finance and people, and paying in big money to the EU budget while having no say, and getting no grants …

      Fox has said that that would split the Tories. After what people like him and Rees Mogg, Cash, Gove, Johnson have said, could they stay in a Tory Party that accepted that taking back control actually meant relinquishing it?

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Slightly O/T
    Mundell , Govenor General of Scotland has been found as reported on EBC.
    Seems the fish processing factory in Annan is moving to Grimsby, loss of 450 jobs in the constituancy he is supposed to represent.
    The effect of this can’t be understated says the GG.
    Solution by the GG, I’ll try hard to get them a good redundancy package, I call on the SG to solve this problem.
    Ah well that’s that out the way then, back to the scottish branch office for tea and cake with my 100 new civil servants, work to do wrecking indyref2.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Military – tories still think there’s an empire and it needs the poor to defend it, like always.
    Fluffy – no doubt legged it to Grimsby to assure the good folks there that as long as he’s in office he’ll do his best for them.

    Liked by 3 people

  14. Ye monarchs, whom the lure of honour draws,
    Who write in blood the merits of your cause,
    Who strike the blow, then plead your own defence,
    Glory your aim, but justice your pretence;
    Behold in Aetna’s emblematic fires
    The mischiefs your ambitious pride inspires!

    Fast by the stream that bounds your just domain,
    And tells you where you have a right to reign,
    A nation dwells, not envious of your throne,
    Studious of peace, their neighbour’s and their own.
    Ill-fated race! how deeply must they rue
    Their only crime, vicinity to you!
    The trumpet sounds, your legions swarm abroad,
    Through the ripe harvest lies their destined road;
    At every step beneath their feet they tread
    The life of multitudes, a nation’s bread!
    Earth seems a garden in its loveliest dress
    Before them, and behind a wilderness.
    Famine, and Pestilence, her firstborn son,
    Attend to finish what the sword begun;
    And echoing praises, such as fiends might earn,
    And folly pays, resound at your return.
    A calm succeeds – but Plenty, with her train
    Of heartfelt joys, succeeds not soon again:
    And years of pining indigence must show
    What scourges are the gods that rule below.

    Yet man, laborious man, by slow degrees
    (Such is his thirst of opulence and ease),
    Plies all the sinews of industrious toil,
    Gleans up the refuse of the general spoil,
    Rebuilds the towers that smoked upon the plain,
    And the sun gilds the shining spires again.
    Increasing commerce and reviving art
    Renew the quarrel on the conqueror’s part;
    And the sad lesson must be learn’d once more,
    That wealth within is ruin at the door.
    What are ye, monarchs, laurell’d heroes, say,
    But Aetnas of the suffering world ye sway?
    Sweet Nature, stripp’d of her embroider’d robe,
    Deplores the wasted regions of her globe;
    And stands a witness at Truth’s awful bar,
    To prove you there destroyers as ye are.
    O place me in some heaven-protected isle,
    Where Peace, and Equity, and Freedom smile;
    Where no volcano pours his fiery flood,
    No crested warrior dips his plume in blood;
    Where Power secures what Industry has won:
    Where to succeed is not to be undone…

    William Cowper
    From Heroism

    Liked by 3 people

      1. Two lines, also from Cowper, sum up Mundell and his ilk:
        “…Men from England bought and sold me,
        Paid my price in paltry gold…”

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Exactly, or absolutely or whatever. I’m not entirely sure why we are a minority in our own nation. Seems obvious to me and thee.


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