An exit strategy, of sorts

July 10, 2008 at 6:58 am | Posted in British Politics | Leave a comment

Nearly half of the UK military are ready to quit, according to the Ministry of Defence:

Some 47% of Army and Royal Navy respondents and 44% of those in the RAF said they regularly felt like quitting. Among the concerns raised by the 9,000 servicemen and women surveyed were the frequency of tours, levels of pay and the quality of equipment and housing. The Ministry of Defence said the survey revealed “areas of concern” but that conditions were being improved.

Last month, the government tried to provide the evidence to dispute Army chief General Sir Richard Dannatt’s claim that soldiers were paid less than traffic wardens. Problem is, the only way they could prove  this wasn’t not true was to add a bundle of questionable ‘perks’ to the basic salary. Here are some figures, culled from the BBC:

So if you just count the basic pay, a private is going to be paid over £700 less than a traffic warden in Central London. Now, I hapen to think traffic wardens should be paid more as well, but that’s beside the point. The point is that when you add up these extra perks and benefits, their pay looks even more paltry. They only get an extra £2,380 for a 6 month stint in Afghanistan? Considering the risk of death or serious injury or the dangers of developing post-war mental conditions like PTSD, that seems a truly miserly amount of compensation.

Anyway, Brown’s already pledged to rectify the situation, as well he might; going on today’s figures, we won’t be going on any more crusades for democracy in the near future.

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