There’s now speculation that two of the Royal Regiment of Scotland’s five regular battalions may be facing the axe in the next round of defence cuts. The reason given is the RRoS is being targeted is that it’s not filling its recruitment targets.
The plan to cut the number of infantry battalions from 36 to 25 is insanity. If the British Army is having recruitment problems, maybe it should be looking at why that is. Arguing that battalions have to axed because there are not enough men to fill their ranks is a sneaky underhand way to cut the defence budget. Scotland, where there are very few “real jobs” any more, should be a fertile source of quality recruits. The answer is not to cut the number of RRoS battalions or fill its ranks with the very last people who should be trusted with a gun by lowering recruitment standards. The answer is to make the Army a good job again.
I would hate to see a return to something I witnessed as a reporter in England, where little criminals could avoid a fine or jail by joining the local regiment. I lost count of the number of times a defence lawyer at the Magistrates Court would announce that his client would be unable to fulfil his dream of serving in Her Majesty’s Forces if he had a criminal record. The magistrate would then dutifully agree to postpone accepting a plea and announce that if the little darling was indeed in the Army when his case was next called, then the charges against him would be dropped.