A major UK Armed Forces Careers Day was declared a success by military chiefs after it passed without one reference to the reasonably high probability of becoming a fatality statistic upon signing up.
The joint careers effort from Britain’s army, navy and air force focused on learning a trade and ‘softer’ subjects including adventure training and the comparative ‘scoring potential’ of the different uniforms. To ensure everything ran smoothly, the event’s presenters and guides were given instructions on how to deal with questions that could arise among the hundreds of eager young school-leavers, including how to react to any mention of the words Afghanistan, Libya, or ‘reasonable living conditions’.
Sergeant-Major Howard Collins, who was responsible for managing the event, successfully deflected questions on the perils of an under-funded, undermanned military being sent by an unsupportive government to the most dangerous parts of the world on American misadventures, by pointing at the sky and shouting, ‘Look! It’s the Red Arrows!’ as a pre-arranged fly-over was launched.
‘I had some concerns about sexual equality, racial discrimination and pension provisions,’ said one army hopeful, ‘so I asked about them, and the next thing you know they let me drive a tank. It was brilliant!’
Sadly, no new recruits signed with any of the forces on the day, after Sergeant-Major Collins responded to a question about the risk of injury while snowboarding by explaining the planned fast-track treatment programme that would rush soldiers with extreme sport injuries to the nearest NHS hospital. Potential recruits all claimed the risk of spending any time being treated in an NHS facility was ‘just too dangerous’.