It is wonderful to hear that 6,000 members of the armed forces will play a huge part in the Coronation on Saturday 6 May. I am certain that the soldiers, sailors and air personnel will be magnificent on parade and in the lead up and to the big day. However, it is worth reminding ourselves that these ceremonial duties, which replicate outdated Victorian tactics, will have a negative effect on Britain’s fighting capability similar to the security duties for the 2012 Olympics and the assistance to the Department of Health during the pandemic.
In August 2000, the Chief of the Defence Staff, General Sir Charles Guthrie, delivered a stark warning about Britain’s fighting capability because the armed forces were involved in too many non-core tasks. According the government figures, the army is now 25% smaller and the full time trained strength of the armed forces has dropped by 2,540 in the past year.
The current head of the army, General Patrick Sanders, recently complained about how the war in Ukraine has left the British army weaker, so I wonder what he now thinks about another non-core task diminishing his fighting capability.