“Touchy-Feely Political Correctness”
Sir Nicholas Soames, MP for Mid Sussex, known rather better for being the grandson of Sir Winston Churchill than for being Chairman of private military contractor Aegis – famous for paying some contractors $16 a day – this week stated, “touchy-feely political correctness has absolutely no role whatever in the British Army“.
Nobody is suggesting that we get behind the often-shared Jeremy Corbyn meme and cease to exist as an effective fighting force, but is it actually helpful to use the words “touchy-feely political correctness“?
Their use firstly implies that the British Army is already entering an era of touchy-feely political correctness. The Veterans Network contributors range from those who have been out of the army for approaching twenty years, to those that have left relatively recently. To suggest that more recently active soldiers in some way have less ‘moral fibre’ than those of twenty or more years ago is not only a huge injustice, it is categorically wrong. The use of those words also implies that suppression of feelings and of emotions is a good, positive and healthy thing. Again, categorically, it is not.
A quick search of the NHS website shows that under the section detailing PTSD, its symptoms and its treatment, there is an entry highlighting Group Therapy as an effective treatment for PTSD. Top of the organisations offering this treatment is, you guessed it, Combat Stress.
The entry describes,
“You may also be offered group therapy as some people find it helpful to speak about their experiences with other people who also have PTSD. Group therapy can be used to teach you ways to manage your symptoms and help you understand the condition.”
Perhaps too touchy-feely for Sir Nicholas.
This intervention from Sir Nicholas appears to have been driven by the recent advertising campaign that we blogged about https://veteransnetwork.co.uk/vetnet-film-award-2018/
There is little doubt, from the surveys that Veterans’ Network carried out, this campaign is seen very negatively by veterans, but no reflection on serving soldiers. However, in this case, Sir Nicholas has done us a favour in highlighting an area where real change is needed.
We need – and this country deserves – politicians that enter the debate to raise the conditions faced by serving and veteran personnel, not to raise quibbles about the standards of our admirable soldiers, sailors and airmen and women.
Written by the VetNet Team