The Sun
10 January 2018

The new army advertising campaign that promotes emotional and physical support for recruits has prompted huge debate over the message it sends out.
Here former SAS sergeant Andy McNab and former First Sea Lord Admiral The Lord West of Spithead wade in to the row.

“If you don’t go out to all the sections of society to recruit, there won’t be a military” ~Andy McNab

“The adverts are a good move. The fact is, they’re opening up to a broader spectrum of potential applicants.

We are having problems recruiting people to the army because it’s not seen as a vocation any more and the bureaucracy of it is so painful that it puts people off.

If people think the military is full of six foot tall, four foot wide heterosexual males, then they’re wrong.

You get people jumping up and down saying it’s an outrage that there are gay people in the army but basically go to any battalion and try to pick the gay guys out, because you can’t – but they’re there. There have always been homosexuals in the army, there will always be great soldiers who are homosexual in the army. I think they’ve been watching too many Sunday afternoon, black and white war films. They exist in society so of course they’ll be in the military.

If you’ve got a gay man who wants to join the army, he now knows he’s welcome to apply. He’ll find out when he gets there if he wants to stay or not, but getting him there in the first place is the real issue.

PTSD and mental health issues are now being recognised as much as a battle space injury like getting shot or blown up and that’s the way it should be.

The adverts address this upfront – they’re being open about it and celebrating it. The campaign is saying, “It’s alright, it’s okay, we’re aware of it and we’re dealing with it, so come on in”. What these adverts do is address the issues for people who might stop going ahead with an application.

There have always been gay guys in battalions. So what? There have always been women in units, carrying the same weapons. The standard of the unit it’s not going to change. What you’re doing is opening up the pool of people to apply. It’s a weird sort of perception people have of the military. The whole black-white, men-woman thing has long disappeared. The senior management were brought up on punk music – they’re not all Colonel Blimps.”

It doesn’t matter what colour you are or what your sexuality is; if you fit the requirements, great, you’re in – now start working. ~Andy McNab

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