6.08.2008

Soldiers and the UK

Marius is my slight obsession these days. He was accused of being a publicanus by his enemies .... So I was tempted to call these fools the anti-Marians, but comparison to any Republican Roman seems to dignify them too much.

I'm not pro the War but I am getting slightly fed up of people being rude about the soldiers who are bravely risking their lives and serving their country.

The other day British General Sir Richard Dannatt suggested that the troops should be paid more than those who dole out parking tickets.
Very Marian.

The Daily Mail then picked up on a speech given, admittedly last summer, by the British Secretary of State for, Des Browne (Labor Party, of course), where he is quoted as having said:

'Why don't we pay servicemen and women in a comparative rate to uniformed organisations in civilian street?
'I have to say the honest answer to that, for a number of young people, particularly those who join the Army, before they join the Army, they would not have been accepted by any of these organisations.'

I find it hard to believe that anyone would seriously describe a parking attendant in the UK - where it is civilian sub-contracted job handled by people with poor English, and not a police job - as wearing a 'uniform' with a straight face. Are waiters men in uniform? Air hostesses? McDonalds employees wear uniforms ...

The Conservative Party's spokesman was more Marian, pointing out that:

'Our Armed Forces are some of the best in the world. It is about time this Government gave them the respect they deserve.'

But what really got my blood boiling is some pansy of an actor, Rupert Everett, who I believe has written an auto-biography which covered his drug use as well as his time as a gay rent boy, claiming that US troops are "whining wimps" - I can't be bothered to quote any more of his nonsense, which I am sure he will claim was taken out of context.

So I thought - What Would Marius Do? Conscript them? Actually, I'm not sure. Though I suspect that Scipio Africanus would quite happily have crucified them, as he did with the Romans and Latins he found after he took Carthage. Perhaps Mr. Browne could do a tour in Iraq.
And if Mr Everett feels that today's troops are not up to standard he'd like to volunteer too?

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