By Patrick Ward
Downloading PDF. Please wait... Issue 322

Troops out – by their own choice

This article is over 16 years, 0 months old
A defence select committee of MPs has reported that the morale of British troops has fallen dramatically over the past several years, leading to a haemorrhaging of soldiers.
Issue 322

Recruitment levels have also sharply decreased, as – predictably – few want to sign up to be sent to fight in deeply unpopular wars. The stretching of troops over Iraq and Afghanistan has led them to not getting enough rest. So-called “harmony” guidelines define the amount of time troops spend on active duty in any one year, but these guidelines are being greatly exceeded according to the report.

Meanwhile, soldiers are not the only resources overstretched between war zones. The rising cost of developing new war machines – the Astute submarine, the Type 45 destroyer and the Nimrod MRA4 – has increased by well over £500 million over the last two years.

However, Quentin Davies MP, who defected from the Tories to New Labour last year, has a different take on the question. He has suggested that morale is decreasing due to soldiers’ public perception. The MP has reviewed public attitudes for the government, and is to officially recommend that soldiers more frequently wear their uniforms off-duty, a measure previously discouraged to preserve their safety.

This, along with his suggestion that troops should return home to grand military parades, are to be recommended by the government as a magic bullet to solve the problem.

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