Friday, 9 March 2007

The Sacking of Patrick Mercer - An Ex-Sailor's View


The sacking of Patrick Mercer has received a lot of attention from the media and blogging commentators alike. His comments have been received by some as racist and by others as just foolhardy and ill-thought for a man in his position. I personally cannot decide between the two, it's a bit of a grey area and there are many people on both sides of opinion. I would say it is unfortunate in today's PC climate that he was not given the chance to defend his comments or to apologise before he was sacked. Mr Mercer was sacked for the good of the Conservative party, guilty or not. For this I do not blame David Cameron, I feel the blame must fall upon today's 'sack now, discuss later' society.
What disturbs me is the image of our Armed Forces that Mr Mercer's comments may have put into the minds of the general public. I served in the RN from 1986-2002 and did not once witness an act of racial abuse. I did hear racist comments from the occasional idiot, but never once did I hear these uttered in the presence of a person of an ethnic minority. I was not an 'out of touch' officer, I came up through the ranks and left the Navy as a Senior NCO. I had a few very good black friends in the Navy and I, along with the vast majority of the people I served with would have jumped down the throat of any racist.
I cannot speak for the Army or for the period that Mr Mercer served in it, but I believe that because of media attention, the public may think that the problem is far worse than it actually is.
Let me make this very clear: from my sixteen years experience, the Armed Forces of this Nation and the good men and women serving in them are zero tolerant on racism.

4 comments:

Colin McKelvie (clmckelvie@aol.com) said...

"Current political topics that EFFECT the UK"? How about "affect"?

Regarding Mercer, his account of the robust language used in barrack life is factually true, but that is not synonymous with his condoning it. Must an honest, decent man hedge everything he says with caveats? Perhaps he must, in a world where Polical Correctness stifles discourse. Sad.

Andrew Allison. A Conservative View said...

Steve: I teach the armed forces to drive at Leconfield. I went on a half day seminar last year run by ATRA. The procedures that are in place now for soldiers to voice their complaints about bullying and racism amazed me. The army takes this very seriously. I never here racist comments from the lads I teach, but I do hear racist comments from the occasional colleague. I would like to discuss this with you further.

Daily Referendum said...

Colin,

If the Conservatives had a massive lead in the opinion polls or had just won the Election, Mercer would not have been asked to resign.
Political Correctness does stifle discourse but so does party politics, sad but true.

Daily Referendum said...

Andrew,

I can sympathise with your experience, I've witnessed a lot more racist comments as a civilian than I ever did during my time in the forces. The forces should really be seen as a roll model for multi-culturist society. The armed forces bring people or differing social backgrounds, religions and ethnicity and binds them in comradeship.
The media would do well to point this out.