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Mark Andrews on Saturday: It Ain’t Half Hot Mum

By Mark Andrews | Opinions | Published:

THE Army’s new recruitment campaign, which targets ‘snow flakes’, ‘me, me, me, millennials’, ‘selfie addicts’ and ‘phone zombies’ has got off to a bit of a ropey start.

It Ain't Half Hot Mum – the future of the British Army?

Not only has it been met with almost universal ridicule for patronising the young and debasing Her Majesty’s armed forces, it has also led to one of its poster boys announcing his intention to quit the army, unhappy that his picture has been used in such an embarrassing manner.

Aside from anything else, how do the Army top brass think recruiting thousands of supposedly sensitive, immature and self-indulgent creatures is going to pan out in the battlefield?

The Army wants 'snow flakes' – but will they find a safe space in the battlefield?

“Permission to speak, sergeant! This gunfire is really distressing. Can the enemy use jazz hands instead?

“That bayoneting is horrible, and Captain Square has used some deeply offensive words. I need a safe space to be alone with my thoughts.”

It Ain’t Half Hot Mum was supposed to be a comedy series. Not a training video.

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ALMOST one in five children goes hungry, according to a committee of MPs, which seems odd given that we are usually being told they are suffering from obesity.

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As with most of these claims, there is probably a grain of truth in it somewhere. But I suspect, as is usually the case, that the problem is being exaggerated by those who use emotive terms such as ‘hunger’ and ‘poverty’ far too casually.

What is very telling, though, is the proposed solution to the problem put forward by committee chairman, the Labour MP Mary McCreagh. She has called on the Government to appoint a ‘minister for hunger’.

Only a politician could think that the answer to folk going hungry is yet another politician on a six-figure salary.

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HALF a century after the voting age was lowered to 18, the usual suspects have once more repeated calls for 16-year-olds to be given the vote. But why 16? What about 14-year-olds? Or 13? Where will it all end?

At the same time as all this was going on, my attention was drawn to an old photograph of my 18-year-old self, which has disturbingly resurfaced on Facebook. And as I looked at the picture of a lanky teenager in dreadful clothes, awkwardly trying to avoid being pictured, I thought ‘how was that idiot old enough to vote?’.

And probably most teenagers think the same. Look back to when you were 16, 17 or 18. What were your priorities? Your first car, the opposite sex, getting served in the pub? I’ll venture that elections weren’t particularly high among them.

On the rare occasions when you do hear teenagers making the case for the voting age to be lowered, they invariably reinforce the argument of why it shouldn’t be. Usually they are earnest, idealistic types, fixated on a particular issue. Think of the footage of a 16-year-old William Hague at the Tory Party conference, or Ed Miliband in his student days.

Yes, in my late teens I was as bad as anybody when it came to putting the world to rights. But having no experience of life outside a small circle of people from a broadly similar background gave me a very narrow outlook. A few years in the real world soon knocks that youthful idealism out of you.

I doubt there are many 16-year-olds who actually have any strong desire to go out and vote. And I bet the ones who do fully demonstrate why they should not be allowed to.

Mark Andrews

By Mark Andrews
@MAndrews_Star

Senior news writer for the Shropshire Star specialising in in-depth features and commentary, investigative reporting and political matters.

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