Posted on January 12, 2024

The Cult of Diversity Is Becoming Dangerous

Allison Pearson, The Telegraph, January 11, 2024

I’m curious. What was your first thought when you read in this paper that the Navy has so few sailors that it has to decommission two warships to staff its new class of frigates? (Intake for both the Navy and Royal Marines dropped by a shocking 22.1 per cent compared with the previous year.)

Mine was that if you repeatedly tell your young people that their country is hateful, its history despicable, its beautiful flag a symbol of oppression, its global legacy odious, then don’t be surprised when there is a lack of volunteers to defend that country or dedicate their lives to its betterment.

Additionally, if boys are brought up thinking masculinity is “toxic” rather than strong, occasionally noble, and really rather useful for opening stubborn jars and protecting women and children, likely lads may not exactly sprint to the nearest careers office which, in any case, is no longer manned by a mutton-chopped Captain Poldark to paint them an exciting picture of life on the ocean waves. If, that is, we are allowed any longer to say anything is ”manned”. Today’s would-be marines are, presumably, required by HR to tick one of the 56 available genders.

The sense that our once-mighty Royal Navy may be at a dangerous tipping point was reinforced last week when it was revealed that it had been reduced to advertising on LinkedIn for a new Rear Admiral – Director of Submarines. “Experience of commanding a submarine or, you know, living underwater in some capacity, an advantage. Please bring own flippers.”

Not long now before search parties are despatched to the nation’s pleasure boating lakes in the hope of recruiting anyone who can steer a midway course between a mother and her ducklings.

Sorry, I shouldn’t joke. Veterans are warning that a rapid loss of skills and institutional knowledge means the situation may soon become irrecoverable. Politicians starve the Armed Forces of funds, which would boost morale and resources (and hence recruitment), while puffing out their puny chests and boasting about sending “British warships” to the Red Sea to repel Houthi attacks. Such delusions of grandeur are embarrassingly outdated. Make that one warship and a pedalo.

Women are the solution to this Armed Forces recruitment crisis, according to Grant Shapps, who succeeded the admirable Ben Wallace as Secretary of State for Defence. “Something which I’m extremely passionate about is actually having a military which should represent our country as it is today,” said Shapps. “It can’t be right that our military still only has 11 or 12 per cent women, for example, when they make up half the population.”

How entirely predictable, yet how deeply depressing, that diversity is trotted out as the answer to a problem which urgently requires a lot of good men. Diversity hires are not exactly looking that clever at the moment, are they? The unremarkable Paula Vennells, drab spouter of dehumanised management cliches – “accurate and reliable” was her mantra about the wretched Horizon IT system – can surely only have secured the top job at the Post Office because she ticked a box. (A former PO employee who heard Vennells talk about management said she was “incomprehensible but everyone was very respectful to her”.)

Like all over-promoted people, this lacklustre graduate of the University of Bradford stuck arrogantly to her script, unable to improvise sufficiently to take onboard minor considerations like the unspeakable anguish of hundreds of innocent sub-postmasters. As the Government makes an initial offer of just £75,000 compensation to those who were hounded by the Post Office – and had to pay back cash – but who were never convicted of any offence, let us remember that, at the height of her reign, Paula Vennells was paid tens of thousands of pounds a month.

Masculinity is an amazing strength, not a liability

Meanwhile, Dame Sharon White has been such a terrible occupant of the chair of the John Lewis Partnership (her tenure which ends next year will be the shortest in the history of JLP) that the group posted a loss of £234 million in 2022-23. Women can, of course, be superb leaders, and there is ample evidence that mixed teams yield the best results. Still, the modern fetish for parachuting unqualified drones into a senior role seemingly on the basis of their skin colour or uterus too often ends in failure.

The reductio ad absurdum of diversity came when the Royal Air Force unlawfully discriminated against white men. Fast-tracking ethnic minority and female recruits into training slots at the expense of boys who had yearned to be fighter pilots since the age of six when they first fired a rubber band plane across the back garden was not going to make our country better defended. On the contrary; it was plain stupid. RAF chiefs admitted women cannot currently fly the advanced F-35 Lightning fighter jet because they are not heavy enough to wear the pilots’ £325,000 high-tech helmets.

Given a choice, though, between a more diverse and equal workforce and one that can actually do the job, I’m afraid the HR zealots would go for diversity every time. Discrimination against young white men is now ubiquitous. Fretful parents tell me that, while their daughters picked up a graduate position with relative ease, their well-educated, bright and ambitious boys can’t even get work experience. “It’s HR gone mad,” says a friend who is a senior manager, “but nobody dares question their objectives which will ultimately ruin the business because so many of their hires aren’t up to it. It’s shocking”.

It is shocking, but it’s also dangerous. Our young men are not going to apply to the Navy in particular, and the Armed Forces in general, if they think masculinity is treated as a liability instead of the amazing strength that it is. Strength that will keep us safe. All the nice girls love a sailor. Soon, there won’t be any sailors unless they’re nice girls. Better start learning Russian or Mandarin. When defence of the realm comes a poor second to diversity, you know our country is in big trouble.