It was revealed earlier this month that thousands of military personnel will have to wait five months to discover whether they will retain their jobs following yet another restructuring (reduction) of what remains of the defence force once known as the British Army.
According to a Ministry of Defence (MoD) communique a third round of 5,300 Army redundancies is to be announced in June, this being part of a strategic five year plan to reduce the Army’s regular strength from 102,000 to 82,000.
A MoD spokesman justified the cuts by claiming that they were necessary “to meet the challenges of the future”; quite when the MoD developed the amazing ability to foretell the future was unfortunately not revealed.
Clearly the MoD can’t predict anything with any degree of certainty for, within a mere week or so of the announcement, we find Britain involved in yet another unplanned foreign adventure, this time to the former French, resources-rich, colony of Mali. Quite why the French need British help in their contribution to the “War on Terror” remains a mystery.
Quite apart from the clear and detrimental impact on this country’s defence capability from the proposed cuts, is the atmosphere of uncertainty enveloping service families, with breadwinners facing the dole queue and, potentially, in many cases, the loss of their service housing.
A government minister, speaking in the House of Commons, said that the Army “must live within its means”, a somewhat, perhaps, hypocritical statement considering the extent to which tax-eating Westminster politicians choose to live within our means.
The MoD, ever sensitive to adverse public reaction, has stressed that no personnel preparing for, serving on, or recovering from deployments will lose their jobs unless they have applied for redundancy – although they could be affected next year. Consequently it is not thought likely that Captain Wales (Prince Harry) will be amongst those applying for Job Seekers Allowance any time soon.
However, although soldiers currently serving in Afghanistan will not be effected this time round, it has been confirmed that they will be included in the next round of cuts. How this news will affect the morale of men putting their lives on the line for their country in furtherance of the United States so-called “War on Terror” can only be guessed at.
This latest bout of redundancies will be the largest faced by the Army and results directly from a £38bn deficit in the defence budget – coincidentally(?) the government bailed-out the banks to the tune of £37bn in October 2008.
Meanwhile, in not unrelated news, it has also been confirmed that Aerospace giant Rolls-Royce is in consultation with unions over job cuts.
According to union officials nearly 400 workers at the company’s Ansty plant, near Coventry, are at risk, which is nearly half the total workforce.
Rolls-Royce confirmed in a statement that: “We are in consultation with trade unions over reductions in our defence workforce at Ansty”.
Once again we are witnessing the dismantling of yet more of this country’s remaining manufacturing base, together with the “junking” of a highly skilled workforce. Once again we see Britain’s defence capability being undermined to the extent it can only fulfill one role, that as an auxiliary for the US military.
But it’s not all bad news for our skilled soldiers, technicians and engineers – apparently there are competitively remunerated jobs at Homebase, Tesco and McDonalds in most parts of the country.
British McJobs aplenty for redundant British soldiers and engineers – assuming the wage pressure suppressing economic migrants don’t get them first.