And there was I thinking that the military was a bastion of middle class, middle england values, whose members would no more indulge in the seven deadly sins than Marks and Spencer would sell premium sex toys next to the baby food. The Army, Navy and Air Force are renowned for taking feral working class oiks whose career paths would otherwise include a little light fingering, assault as a matter of ritual (and avoiding picking up the soap in the showers at HMP Dartmoor), and then turning them into highly trained, disciplined, single minded targets for every passing jihadi with a rucksack and bitterness. Officers, of course, being drawn from the ‘respectable’ middle classes, already know the score and how to keep their little peccadillos from being dragged out of the shadows, blinking into the harsh light of justice. They are the moral backbone of the military, whose first principle is of course ‘don’t get caught’.
Our fabled military then is a supposed home to a solid conservativism, one which would no more recognize impropriety in the ranks than it does Imperialism in Whitehall.
And yet…turns out someone (and 8 of his shipmates on a nuclear submarine) likes a toot of Colombia’s finest white stuff, while two of his superior officers breach the ‘no touch rule’ designed to prevent intimate relations on board. There is now panic in the rest of the fleet as the Defence Secretary, Micheal ‘Fiddler’ Fallon, wants all submarine crews to be drugs tested. Is he mad? That’s like lifting manhole covers in London hoping to see sweet scented pink ribbon wrapped bouquets of roses instead of a fleet of fetid, feacal flecked fatbergs clogging the arteries of the city. What does he think will turn up?
Who does he think joins up and why they do so? The Royal Navy in particular was built on Rum, Sodomy and the Lash. Hearts of Oak joined up to serve King/Queen and Country, to go to other countries and shag their women, bomb their brothers and shout loudly for more beer. They went to avoid having to do the shitty zero hours, low paid, dead end bullshit jobs back home. Alcohol is the lifeblood that makes it tick over. Pusser’s Rum was the oil lubricating the penile pistons in whorehouses from Devonport to Sembawang. Adultery is always an option, especially now that Wrens go to sea.
So, there is of course a stonking great elephant here, wearing a big red sash called hypocrisy. The Navy is not the Church of England at sea.
If you ever find yourself in a huge metal tube, cut off from the outside world for very long periods of time with the coming apocalyse in nuclear form as company, and you don’t sniff a little, swig a little or shag a little to avoid facing up to the insanity of your situation…I fear for your soul.