Lord Kitchener may well be spinning in his grave if Army veterans are to be believed. They are horrified by the Army’s latest recruitment campaign, based on the Field Marshal’s famous ‘Your Country Needs You’ posters from the First World War.
The new campaign, featuring ads, posters and TV commercials under the banner Your Army Needs You is aimed at recruiting people aged 16 to 25.
It singles out so-called modern stereotypes, by saying the fighting force could use the ‘compassion’ of ‘snowflakes’, the ‘self-belief’ of millennials, the ‘confidence’ of selfie takers, and the ‘focus’ of phone zombies.
Many veterans have taken to social media, spluttering in disbelief, saying it is ‘political correctness gone mad’, reflecting badly on both modern youth and the Army’s recruiters, they say.
What would Britain’s enemies make of it, they ask, and does it really portray an Army fit to defend Britain’s interests on the world stage?
One said: ‘It’s extremely embarrassing and makes the once-respected British Army a laughing stock.’
The Army has defended its campaign. Major General Paul Nanson, pointing out that t he army is facing a recruiting crisis and still struggling to hit manpower targets, said: ‘The army sees people differently and we are proud to look beyond the stereotypes and spot the potential in young people, from compassion to self-belief.
‘We understand the drive they have to succeed and recognise their need for a bigger sense of purpose in a job where they can do something meaningful.’
Like all employers, the Army must try to appeal to its potential workforce as it is, rather than how some wish it might be.
Society has changed since Kitchener’s day, and if this is what it takes to make fighting for Queen and country sound like a career plan, the campaign will have worked.