According to Sky News, the head of recruitment at the Royal Air Force (RAF) has resigned over concerns that Air Chief Marshal Sir Mike Wigston has been putting ‘woke’ ideology before military prowess. Sky’s sources claim that the head of recruitment, herself a senior female officer, has accused RAF leadership of putting an “effective pause” on hiring white male recruits. The force has done so, it is alleged, to meet “impossible” diversity targets focussed on recruiting more women and ethnic minorities.
In fairness, much of the impetus for greater ‘diversity,’ ‘equity,’ and ‘inclusion’ within the military comes from Westminster. Despite over a decade of (nominally) Conservative government, the Ministry of Defence is still pursuing targets to increase the presence of ‘marginalized’ identity groups in the armed forces, as if diversity, like quality, is an end-in-itself. One of these is to enlarge the percentage of women in the force from roughly 12% to 30% by the end of the decade.
Still, under Sir Mike Wigston the RAF has been chasing an even more ambitious target, attempting to get that number to 40% within the same time period. Another RAF aim is to double the number of ethnic minority recruits from 10% to 20% by 2030.
It is an admirable thing for anyone, no matter their background, to want to join the British military. The concern among defence sources, according to Sky News, is that an engineered push towards diversity for diversity’s sake risks watering down the strength of the British armed forces to defend the realm. If diversity, equity, and inclusion are being ranked first among the army’s values, then quality is at best a close second. In a majority white country where the average man is much more likely than the average woman to entertain a military career, adopting an ideological bias in favour of females and ethnic minorities inevitably narrows the talent pool. For a private company to do this is absurd enough; for a national military to play these games is dangerous, since in a time of war countries must depend on talent within the army to keep them safe.
Sky’s sources fear that one consequence will be a deterioration in the fighting power of the RAF—not to mention the Royal Navy and the Royal Marines which, although on a smaller scale, seem to be enslaved by the same ‘woke’ mindset.
One challenge is for conservatives to explain why an institution ostensibly founded on patriotism, authority, and discipline has proved no less susceptible than businesses and entertainment platforms to ideological capture by the zealous disciples of modern identity politics.