As they say, so much “Guardian”:
In some respects, the UK military – the institution, rather than the people – is itself a far-right organisation. On one hand it is anchored to a violent colonial past that it gleefully celebrates. On the other, the army operates according to ideas that are recognisably of the right: submission, obedience, unaccountable power, nationalism, a commitment to remaking the world with lethal, racialised violence, and so on. Other visible far-right traits include a selective reading of history. The MoD’s recent marking of Black History Month celebrated soldiers, sailors and airmen of colour but failed to mention Britain’s centuries-long military domination of Indians, Africans and others.
This from Joe Glenton, a former (you can see why) soldier himself and a former military journalist.
The occasion for all this is a group photo that a bunch of British soldiers have snapped with Tommy Robinson, the number one hate figure of the British left, frequently described as an anti-immigration and anti-Islam activist (if he’s lucky). There is an argument here that active military personnel should avoid getting into photos with political figures, which could imply support for their ideas. The big problem, of course, is that politicians from the major parties routinely get snaps with the defence forces as part of their official duties. Most of them might be a lot more respectable than Robinson, but why should being a Tory or a Labourite privilege you vis-a-vis public figures involved with other political parties or indeed no political parties?
Robinson is just an excuse of course to bash the army. Men with guns have traditionally been a more conservative force in society, which is not particularly surprising when the left wants to slash their budgets and often sides with the nation’s enemies (best case in point: the current Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and his infatuation with Irish and Arab terrorists, not to mention communist regimes). Large sections of the modern left are deeply anti-military and would dearly love to remake the armed forces in their own image: pacifist and politically correct, i.e. completely useless and unfit for their purpose. This has pretty much happened all over the continental Europe, with the implications that countries like Germany or France wouldn’t be able to fight their way out of a paper bag. To demand that the military be “apolitical” is completely disingenuous in this context, because for the left it’s simply a code word for being left-wing. British armed forces stay out of politics (as they should in a democratic country) but you can’t expect their members not to have their own political beliefs, and particularly beliefs at odds with those who see them as dumb racist thugs, like “Guardian” does.