Utrinque Paratus

A video has emerged of soldiers of the Parachute Regiment firing pistols at a picture of Jeremy Corbyn, causing the chattering classes to wring their hands:


What reputation would that be, then? I’ve written before about the habit of certain Brits to assume foreigners share their elevated opinion of themselves, and I suspect the same applies here. No foreigner other than Irish republicans will give a damn about this video, and if Peston thinks it undermines a reputation of Britain being a peace-loving country where things are settled by debate rather than violence, he might be surprised to learn the Iraq War put paid to that. As one of my followers on Twitter said:

Sometimes people high up in our society talk as if they are the adminstrators of the wayward province of an empire.

Certainly, their idea of what foreigners think of Britain appears to be uninformed by talking to any. Our media continually tell us we’re a laughing stock because of Brexit, but fail to appreciate it is not those who voted leave who are mocked but the incompetence of the political classes. And where do you think this video sits alongside politicians flatly refusing to honour the results of a referendum in a ranking of things which damage Britain’s reputation overseas? Old Robert Mugabe must be chuckling to himself as I type.

As another of my Twitter correspondents noted, the Mother of Parliaments is now a laughing stock; the Parachute Regiment isn’t. I find foreigners’ impressions of the UK vary greatly, but quite a few wonder why we appear to be committing suicide by opening the borders to all and sundry. Their tone suggests they used to believe Britain to be a serious country run by serious people, but no more. Our chattering classes would also be surprised to find what many foreigners – particularly those from the Middle East – think of London having a mayor named Sadiq Khan. While we insist it’s a sign of our tolerance, they see it as abject surrender. My point is if our reputation abroad mattered as much as people say it does, we’d be doing things very differently.

As for the video itself, well, what can I say? Jeremy Corbyn supported the IRA when they were murdering members of the Parachute Regiment in Northern Ireland, so what do you expect? Yes, we can talk about professionalism and worrying precedents but if these are the topics of the day, the Parachute Regiment can take their place a long way down a list which includes politicians, parliament, the police, the courts, the CPS, the immigration service, and pretty much every branch of government I can think of. Let’s talk about their professionalism and the precedents they’re setting before launching inquiries into what paras get up to when on the range. If they murder someone or commit atrocities then let me know, until then I’m content that single men in barracks don’t turn into plaster saints.

Of course, elements of the right have responded to the video by doing what they do best: talking earnestly about propriety and principles, as if these mean anything on a battlefield which the left hold every square inch of in large part because to them they don’t. So the MOD at the behest of a Tory government will identify and sack these soldiers, the right will refuse to defend them, the left will celebrate, and their Culture War trophy cabinet will groan a little more under the weight. I get that people on the right don’t want to defend the soldiers, but they could at least remain silent and not do the left’s job for them. I’ve written before about how the right needs to stop defending their enemies; they also need to stop punching right at every opportunity (as they do whenever Tommy Robinson’s name is mentioned). The country is dividing, old alliances are crumbling and new ones forming. If the centre right wants to wrest back control of the country, they’d better start demonstrating to potential allies they are serious about it. Right now, that means being on the side of these soldiers of the Parachute Regiment, or at the very least saying nothing.

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25 thoughts on “Utrinque Paratus

  1. Firstly, videoing it knowing it would end up on the internet was idiotic and deserves the mother of all bollockings. Like it or not the military has to be like Caesar’s wife so the MoD will have to discipline them.

    It would be nice to see some perspective in all of this though. AIUI they have those pictures because they are responsible for close protection of VVIPs and need to practice NOT shooting them if the shit hits the fan. If Corbyn visits Afghanistan or anywhere else dodgy there these lads would lay down their lives for him, in that there is no doubt.
    I’ll bet his wasn’t the only VVIP picture used for a bit of fun and probably joins most politicians who’ve visited as well as a few celebs who were looking to boost their careers in a rogues gallery.

    I’d also lay good money that if it had been a picture of Maggie, Corbyn and the left would have been all for it, possibly dancing on her grave again as part of their support.

  2. Firstly, videoing it knowing it would end up on the internet was idiotic and deserves the mother of all bollockings. Like it or not the military has to be like Caesar’s wife so the MoD will have to discipline them.

    Absolutely, but let the military deal with it, not grifting politicians like Chuka Umunna.

    I’d also lay good money that if it had been a picture of Maggie, Corbyn and the left would have been all for it, possibly dancing on her grave again as part of their support.

    Exactly, which is why the right need to step up in defence or STFU.

  3. Peston is the sort of tit who has not encountered a soldier since since his mum put away his toy-box and packed his trunk for university. In a mature and sensible country, politicians and journalists keep things in perspective, and don’t get all stressy about young men behaving in a harmlessly disrespectful manner.

  4. I get that people on the right don’t want to defend the soldiers, but they could at least remain silent and not do the left’s job for them

    I don’t, it should be ignored or excused. Corbyn has repeatedly sided with those our military & allies are at war with. He is a threat, practise target is good training.

    However, Paras?

    Grouping is abysmal, range behaviour appalling, berets like mushrooms. Fake News (Piers Morgan walt)?

  5. My first thought: ‘Good shot boys’ and had a laugh.
    It would help the commentariat to develop a sense of humour too.

  6. As a Yank with considerable affection for pommieland, my only concern here is the lack of political balance shown by the Regiment. They should have alternated pictures of Corbyn and May, perhaps occasionally throwing in one of whoever is now head of the irrelevant Liberals.

  7. “I cannot even begin to think how much damage this does to our global reputation.”

    What “global reputation” would that be? As an interested outsider, I have to note that most people in the world do not think about the UK at all — or at least, no more often than they think about Sri Lanka. And by the way, Jeremy Who?

  8. The press, being twats, have it all wrong: the “villain” of this piece is not the soldiers but Labour. Think about it: they’ve picked a party leader who is apparently despised by rank-and-file soldiers. How does he indeed to win them round? What effect will his premiership have on recruitment and retention? Will soldiers really be willing to risk their lives in a pointless war when they think this ill of the PM? Shouldn’t a party leader be a uniter, not a divider? Etc, etc.

    Are any Tories at least taking that angle? (He asks, knowing the answer.)

    ————————————

    …their idea of what foreigners think of Britain appears to be uninformed by talking to any.

    […]

    Our chattering classes would also be surprised to find what many foreigners – particularly those from the Middle East – think of London having a mayor named Sadiq Khan. While we insist it’s a sign of our tolerance, they see it as abject surrender.

    Clearly you’re talking to the wrong sorts of foreigners. It’s a sign of tolerance, and every African journalist in London, Indian economist at Davos and Chinese student at Stanford agrees.

    ——————

    Grouping is abysmal, range behaviour appalling, berets like mushrooms.

    I thought it was just me! Second from left looks like he’s having trouble clearing the thingamie, and manages to point his gun at his mate while he’s doing it. Perhaps a soldier or an American can confirm: isn’t that a big no-no?

    —————————

    Finally, on British importance: this actually made the news down under, but I think that’s down to the laziness and globalist provincialism of our media rather than any interest among Australians. But I may be wrong. How many Australians know who Jeremy Corbyn is, or would care if they did? I don’t know.

  9. Out on the internet is a shot of Daniel Craig escorting the Queen. He asks her,”All of Parliament, Ma’am?” She replies,”Yes, 007. The Whole Bloody Lot.”
    For one man to accomplish the mission is a tad ambitious but a whole regiment…?

  10. Judging by my Twitter and RSS feeds as well as it being relegated to a minor heading on the BBC’s political section the storm seems to have passed and hopefully they’ll not get treated too badly.

    Seen elsewhere:

    If watching Paratroopers shoot paintballs at photographs triggers you, you’re in for a big shock when you find out about their day job

  11. Smart foreigners won’t laugh but will take good note of this incident. It’s symptomatic of a deep discord within the country although I’m not in a position to judge on where exactly the fault lines may lie and how deep they could be.

    Maduro’s soldiers bayonetting Guaidó posters or Putin’s commandos shooting at Navalny’s photos would be a rather disturbing sight, but that’s what one generally expects of dictators’ squads.

    But the “leader of the opposition” does not have the same meaning in Venezuela or Russia as it does in the UK. The paratroopers were filmed shooting at images depicting a member of Her Majesty’s Privy Council and the leader of her Most Loyal Opposition in the House of Commons. This can be reasonably interpreted as a strong anti-government, more specifically anti-Parliament, statement – a seditious one, as they used to call it before sedition got struck off the books. Today, this conduct can still be found “prejudicial to good order and service discipline,” and with good reason. Parliament could be a laughing stock – not for the first time – but Parliament is still sovereign. Are these soldiers loyal to Parliament or not really?

    Back in 1912, Bonar Law said, referring to the Asquith-Redmond coalition and the Home Rule Act:

    If they seriously attempt to carry out their programme when at least half the nation is against them, it will not be representative government – it will not be a government at all; it will be the tyranny of a revolutionary Committee. If they make the attempt they will impose a strain upon our Parliamentary institutions which I am sure these institutions cannot bear.

    The Act was duly passed, although never implemented, and Bonar Law became PM ten years after his doomsday prophecy. Business as usual.

  12. Are these soldiers loyal to Parliament or not really?

    They’re loyal to the Queen, and they take that oath rather seriously.

  13. @Matthew McConnagay on April 4, 2019 at 4:12 am

    Second from left looks like he’s having trouble clearing the thingamie, and manages to point his gun at his mate while he’s doing it. Perhaps a soldier or an American can confirm: isn’t that a big no-no?

    Yes, yes, yes – never point a gun at someone unless your objective is to kill them.

  14. @Alex K. on April 4, 2019 at 4:07 pm

    Re your wibble

    As TN said: Military swear loyalty to and serve The Queen, not PM or parliament

    You may now return to your cry-room and reflect on why “TCH” was a Minister’s name.

  15. To swear allegiance to the Queen is to swear allegiance to her government, since it is acting on her behalf and the crown has irrevocably transferred its prerogatives to it. In particular, the Queen may only exercise her legislative power as the Queen-in-Parliament, which is another way of saying Parliament (made up of the Commons, the Lords and the Queen) is the supreme legislative power. By refusing to defend a branch of government, a soldier would refuse to defend the Queen. Shooting at a picture of one of her privy counsellors is not a sign of loyalty to the monarch.

  16. To swear allegiance to the Queen is to swear allegiance to her government,

    Shooting at a picture of one of her privy counsellors is not a sign of loyalty to the monarch.

    To be honest, I’d rather take the view of those who have actually taken the oath.

  17. To swear allegiance to the Queen is to swear allegiance to her government

    No it isn’t. You may have committed to follow the directions of her government (of which Corbyn isn’t a part, no matter how much May is kowtowing to the rancid old anti-semite) but there is a big difference between that and allegiance.

    One of the many things that divides us from the Yanks is that they (their military) will, however much they dislike the current President, generally recognise that he is their Commander in Chief and be, in uniform and in public, reasonably polite about them. I’ve seen the strain with both Obama and Trump. The visceral and obvious disrespect of our politicians expressed by many in the British military is strange to them.

  18. I’d be interested to know how you’d swear an oath to government. It changes every few years & the country has a new one. Renew the oath after each election? Or do you mean the buildings?
    With the Yanks it’s the Office of the President, isn’t it? Not the particular asshole’s got his feet up on the desk of the Oval one. So the Constitution & thus the essence of the USA & it’s people. “We the people..” ‘n all that.

    Wonder what’ll happen about Jug Ears? Can you seriously see anyone swearing an oath to that pratt. How would you keep a straight face? OK, George III was barking. But really….

  19. Something’s off.

    These are Paras? Airborne? Known as one of the most professional and fearsome units around?

    These guys don’t know how to behave on a range, they all hold their pistols differently (and not very well), and their results were abysmal. All of my kids did better than these guys when they were 12, in all of these respects.

  20. These guys don’t know how to behave on a range,

    Indeed, that’s the real scandal here.

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