David Cameron’s long held wish to enlarge the Cadet Forces is finally taking shape. In his summer austerity budget George Osborn pledged £50 million to create cadet forces in 500 state schools. Most would be in ‘less affluent areas’. This is a vast increase over the present 275 cadet units most of which are in private schools and already receive £26 million per year. Too few seem to ask why this expansion, in time of ‘austerity’ or indeed any time, is needed. It cannot simply be because the prime minister is a former cadet?
A key reason is revealed by an MoD spokesperson: ‘Cadet units are beneficial to both society and for recruitment into the Armed Forces, that is why we want to increase the number of them.’
The Combined Cadet Force website expands on the reason for such expansion: ‘The Cadet Expansion Programme is part of the Government’s aim of promoting military ethos in schools; to instil values in young people that will help them get the most out of their lives, and to contribute to their communities and country’.
Lord Nash, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Schools, is also enthusiastic about cadet forces ‘Teenage girls from single-parent families who had “never experienced the love of a man” could be deterred from forming “unsuitable relationships” if they enrolled in a cadet unit’.The power of cadet forces seem limitless.
The WW1 anniversary is a boon for military recruiters and military ethos promoters. On the army’s website alongside an offer of some not very interesting stuff about WW1 is an ‘option to request a soldier to support teaching activities within the classroom’
Touting for military recruits in schools may be bad enough and indeed the MoD faced mild criticise when it was revealed that it requested access to sensitive data in the National Pupils database so that it could “target its messaging” in relation to military careers, but ‘inculcating the military ethos’ is wholly unacceptable. This is the sinister part of the government’s militarisation project. While some fulminate about Trojan Horses, the silence around this multi million pound, multi agency indoctrination program is profound and we need to change this wherever we come across it.