Donate to build socialist media: We have the biggest opportunity in a generation for socialist ideas to gain ground. Help us raise £10,000 so we can rise to the challenge. Read more »
Close this message


Jeremy Hardy thinks… about militarism

As a young boy, I was an avid militarist, partly because I thought we were still at war with Germany for most of the 1960s
August 2010

This country is suffering from a creeping militarism.

I freely admit to having a jaundiced view of the army. I grew up in the Aldershot area and there was a time in the early 1970s when we were thinking of calling in the IRA as a peace-keeping force. Of course, as a young boy, I was an avid militarist, partly because I thought we were still at war with Germany for most of the 1960s.

Today, we’re allowed to oppose the war in Afghanistan, and especially to have opposed the war in Iraq. But it seems to be compulsory to support the people who are actually prosecuting war. There are even some who think ‘Support the troops, not the war’ is some sort of coherent left position.

I know there are serving soldiers who say that they shouldn’t be in Afghanistan, to which my reply is: ‘No, you shouldn’t. And you shouldn’t be in the army. And if you hadn’t joined, you wouldn’t be there. And Britain wouldn’t be there because, if people like you didn’t keep joining up, there’d be no one to send. Governments aren’t going to go themselves, so they’d have to send our Olympic relay team or the scouts.’

But with the classic tendency to infantilise the working class, some on the left say: ‘A lot of these lads join up because of a lack of opportunities, but they don’t necessarily expect to get sent to war.’ I’m sorry, but they joined the wrong thing, then, didn’t they? If you join the Royal Horticultural Society or the Tooting Bec Lido Swimming Club and get sent to war, you can justifiably say that it was the last thing you expected. But the army’s got a pretty poor track record on these things.



Jeremy HardyJeremy Hardy is a comedian and writer who regularly appears on BBC Radio 4's The News Quiz and I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue.


 

Chilcot inquiry: don't mention the oil

The Chilcot inquiry kept the oil industry and private interests free from scrutiny. Greg Muttitt and David Whyte report

Are nuclear weapons being transported through your town?

Ahead of a series of public meetings, Matt Hawkins calls on local communities to join the disarmament movement

Arms fair protesters put weapons industry on trial

The protesters who blockaded the DSEI arms fair should never have been on trial, writes Lisa Butler – it's the weapons trade that is in the wrong

Rebuilding Kobanê

Tom Anderson and Eliza Egret report from the war-torn city of Kobanê and meet those trying to rebuild what Daesh and US bombs have destroyed





Comments are now closed on this article.






Red Pepper · 44-48 Shepherdess Walk, London N1 7JP · +44 (0)20 7324 5068 · office[at]redpepper.org.uk
Advertise · Press · Donate
For subscriptions enquiries please email subs@redpepper.org.uk