Those of you with good memories will recall a twitter-storm I had visited on me some time ago. It involved the Boys’ Brigade, and it came screaming from the ether, red in tooth and claw, when I suggested some similarities between the BB and a picture of some children dressed in paramilitary garb at a dissident republican event. Scandalous, disgusting, vile – choose your adjective or add a worse one. No attempt to consider the fact that the BB has a quasi-military (or yes, Virginia, paramilitary) flavour, with its uniforms, marching, trooping the colour, ranks of captain, etc.
I mention that celebration of the irrational as I’ve recently come across an article about the Girl Guides. (I can almost hear the safety-catches being released as I type.) It appears the Girl Guides have signed a sponsorship with the British army. This will involve little girls as young as four. It seems the British army has deployed recruitment vehicles and stands at one if not more Girl Guide events. Pictures showed young girls posing beside these vehicles, holding up “Army, Be the Best” posters. Many human rights organisations, including the United Nations, are critical of the ways in which the military like to target potential recruits at such a tender age.
An article in The Guardian a couple of months ago is enlightening: “The army’s link with the Guides appears to be part of a broader and long-running attempt to promote the military to children. In 2012 the Department for Education developed a strategy to promote a ‘military ethos’ in schools. More than £50 million was awarded to the cadet expansion programme in 2015. And the government has set a target of opening 500 new cadet forces in state schools by 2020, focused in deprived areas.”
Ask me, the dissident republicans are only in the half-penny place.