I think it’s worth making the point again that destruction of one of the Royal Regiment of Scotland’s five regular battalions is a big mistake. The British Army is already too small for all the jobs it’s required to do. The RRoS may indeed have recruitment problems. But the answer isn’t to cut its numbers. The answer is to make the Army a decent career again. With wave after wave of redundancies in the past few years from the Army I’m not sure I’d be rushing to sign up. The Army doesn’t seem to be a good career choice these days – it’s down there at the bottom of the pile with deep coaling mining and print journalism.
The British Government has always had a bad record when it comes to supporting the Army. If it hadn’t been for the French in both World Wars, the tiny British Army would have overwhelmed by the first waves of Germans. We might not have time in the next war to equip and train a reasonably sized army before whoever the next Bad Guys turn out to be over-run us.
The rest of the British Army is wondering why the Scots are getting so uptight about the threat to the RRoS. “What’s so special about the Jocks,” many ask. “The English and Welsh infantry have been being amalgamated into super-sized regiments for the years and yet the Jocks have somehow survived. If the Scots really care, they should vote with their feet by joining up.” While at first sight these arguments have a lot of validity, they miss the fact that supplying good infantry is part of the Scottish national identity. Four out of 10 of the British Army infantry divisions which fought in NorthWest Europe in 1944 and 1945 were Scots. The Scots lost more men per head of population in the First World War than any of the other Home Countries and that was mainly because so many fought in the meat-grinder that is the infantry. But the Scots are not stupid, until the British Army is prepared to make infantryman a half-decent job choice, how can they be expected to join the RRoS?