Let's send Tommy Robinson to the front
The forces are already reliant on gammons.
The National Service discourse has prompted many midwit takes. I’m currently writing something slightly longer on why I’m (still) against National Service, but one particular line of midwittering has exercised me enough to write this short post. This is the line:
This was repeated in a ‘comedy’ video of a member of Britain First engaging in various forms of hypocrisy in order to avoid conscription.
My particular problem with this line of thinking is that the people being mocked are actually the backbone of the forces; the Venn diagram of Tommy Robinson Enjoyer/Britain First Member & British Army recruit is practically a circle. Let me let others explain. Here’s a section from ‘Understanding the rise of the far right’, a report of the Equality and Human Rights Commission by Martin Boon:
Far-right voters are often portrayed in the media as being predominantly young men. While it is true that the BNP does generate support among men more than women, supporters were haphazardly distributed across different age bands. There were slightly more supporters within the 25-34 age band compared to their incidence within the sample as a whole, but the same can be said about the 55-64 age band. Far-right voters are thus found across the age spectrum.
The profile of BNP voters and considerers on other demographic variables matches the findings of other surveys. Most supporters are found within the lowskilled C2DE socio-economic groups, have lower levels of educational attainment and rent their properties from the local council. There is an inter-correlation between these findings: BNP voters live in deprived areas and accordingly share the characteristics associated with those areas.
Now here’s a section from ‘Conscription by poverty? Deprivation and army recruitment in the UK’, a report by the Child Rights International Network on armed forces recruitment in the UK:
Contrary to longstanding recommendations made by the parliamentary Defence Committee, the Ministry of Defence does not collect information on the socioeconomic profile of its recruits. However, the available evidence confirms the widely-made assumption that enlisted soldiers tend to come from deprived backgrounds, in contrast to officer cadets who tend to come from particularly privileged backgrounds. Some evidence indicates also that young people who leave full-time education at age 16 or 17 to join the army tend to be particularly under-privileged, as discussed below.
Our own research into the army’s recruitment in England from 2013 to 2018 has found a correlation with socioeconomic deprivation. During the five-year period, recruits aged under 18 came disproportionately from the most deprived constituencies. Specifically, the rate of recruitment was 57 percent higher in the most-deprived fifth of constituencies, relative to the least-deprived fifth (see Fig. 1). Young recruits tended to come from areas in the north of England, particularly the urban fringe areas of major cities, while relatively few came from London and the south-east (see Fig. 2).13 Although the study does not show conclusively that recruits themselves experienced deprivation, it does show that they tended to be recruited from poorer areas and regions.
Other characteristics of recruits further indicate that the youngest soldiers come disproportionately from deprived backgrounds. One is their level of educational attainment. For example, in 2015 only three percent of the intake at the army training institution for under-18s were assessed as having literacy skills at Level 2 - the expected level of attainment for the age group. Three-quarters had literacy skills at Entry Level 3 or below (equivalent to a reading age of 11 years or less).
Furthermore, the report added that ‘socioeconomically deprived young people are intentionally targeted by military recruiters.’
Now as someone pointed out to me, the BNP are a different group from Britain First/Tommy Robinson fans. I couldn’t find data on the makeup of these latter groups, which I presume is driven by the fact that they are relatively new grouping, but are also looser groupings that the BNP, as a formal party that contested elections, was.
Regardless, both Britain First and Tommy Robinson are essentially continuations of the BNP. Both came to prominence after the BNP declined under Nick Griffin, and both are motivated by the same core concerns that the BNP was. I can't see any reason to believe the demographics have changed significantly - unless you believe these new groups now include a much larger proportion of middle class or BAME members*.
I think there’s an element of snobbery in the posts I picked out at the start. In reaction to a ‘comedy’ video mocking people outside of London being concerned about the level of crime in the city, Kristian Niemietz asked ‘When did being worried about crime and anti-social behaviour become a low-status opinion?’ I pointed out that it tied in a lot with socio-economic status;
Lower SE status means higher vulnerability to crime & anti-social behaviour as a result of social breakdown. Basically, caring about these things is a signifier of being lower class, because only the lower classes are affected by them.
I added that there was probably a racial element to this too, because lower-status socio-economic communities tend to disproportionately feel the negative effects of immigration. The thought that anyone concerned about social breakdown or immigration as a racist - as well as being poor & stupid - is now deeply embedded in normie culture.
I believe it’s also a continuing effect of immigrationnisme, which I’ve written about here and here. A key effect of that process has been the shutting down of debates around immigration, which has disproportionately affected communities from lower socio-economic backgrounds, as I argue below:
There is a wider democratic danger to immigrationnisme – that of not allowing a citizen body to engage in a conversation about its’ own direction. The policing of the immigration debate has had further decreased social cohesion because, as Christopher Caldwell writes;
Democracy cannot long tolerate a system that makes an advanced degree in sociology or a high government position a prerequisite for expressing the slightest worry about the way ones country is going.
Immigrationnisme has left those without university education and with lower social status - those who largely bear the costs of immigration - completely disempowered. They are unable to take part in debates around immigration unless they are prepared to be labelled racist, whilst elites defend immigration with what Hans Magnus Enzensberger described as ‘a moralising flourish and a maximum of self righteousness.’
Initially immigrationnisme limited itself to debates around immigration, but I believe these takes prove there are some - midwits though they may be - who think that process of exclusion should now extend to public debates on foreign affairs & defence policy.
How much these takes are influenced by socio-economic snobbery vs immigrationnisme is a question I leave up to the reader.
Personally, I find the thinly-veiled contempt that pervade these takes morally disgusting. When the groups being mocked are already providing the bulk of armed forces recruits, I also find them very stupid - but then I suppose that is the essence of midwittery. Vibes don’t care about facts.
*The CRIN report doesn’t include ethnicity statistics, but BAME personnel currently make up 11.5% of other ranks in the regular UK forces. However this data may be obscured by the fact that Commonwealth troops are mostly BAME, and are generally concentrated in the lower ranks.