The first thing to mention is, as always, the teachers came out of this whole thing as a bunch of inarticulate, blithering fools, incapable of presenting their arguments in a logical or reasoned manner. Whereas the military folks, mostly ex-squaddies, came across as focused, literate and grounded.
Then the fun started. It seems the NUT have suddenly decided that they don't think the Army should be coming into schools and effectively doing a little bit of marketing and unofficial recruiting.
These quotes are from the Beeb:
Paul McGarr, a teacher from east London, said only when recruiting materials gave a true picture of war would he welcome them into his school. These would have to say:
Join the Army and we will send you to carry out the imperialist occupation of other people's countries, Mr McGarr said.
Join the Army and we will send you to bomb, shoot and possibly torture fellow human beings in other countries.
Join the Army and we will send you probably poorly equipped into situations where people will try to shoot or kill you because you are occupying other people's countries.
Join the Army, and if you survive and come home, possibly injured or mentally damaged, you and your family will be shabbily treated.
Okay, some have merit - particularly about being poorly equipped. But so much of it reads as an anti-Iraq rant. I'm as anti the Iraq war as your next Guardian reader, but even I can see that the Army, for some, is just as valid a career choice as going into the building trade.
In similar ways is Mr McGarr demanding that all trades and careers represented at what we used to know as the careers fair have the same truthful advertising:
Become a plumber: no knowledge of plumbing necessary, learn on the job as you casually fuck up someone's house for them. Ability to take tea breaks on the half hour every half hour a must.
BT customer support representatives: Can you completely ignore someone's problem and just repeat the same mantra over and over from some badly written pre-prepared script?
Are you a pompous, arrogant twat with no sense of reality and have no problem charging £30 for a letter? - become a lawyer.
Incompetent, illiterate? Can't really think what you want to do? Ever thought of teaching?
But the NUT are questioning why it is that the army recruits a disproportionate percentage from poor, underprivileged and ill-educated backgrounds.
I'm no expert, but hasn't this always been the case? Centuries ago didn't Tarquin go off to officer's camp before taking over daddy's estate whilst Billy, the Blacksmith's son, if he fancied doing something other than being a Blacksmith, buggered off and enlist in the army?
The best bit of it all is these teachers claiming that 15 year olds are not equipped to understand the futility and horrors of war and are thus being sold a misleading and polished version of army life.
Isn't it possibly worth asking that if 15 year olds don't have an understanding of the futility and horrors of war - shouldn't someone be TEACHING them better?