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'Err...can they do that?'

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'Err...can they do that?'

Old 12th Jan 2007, 07:52
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'Err...can they do that?'

There have been many postings concerning the distanciation (yes, there is such a word) between HM forces and the British public. To illustrate this, I learned just before Christmas that I will go off on a long and dusty det very shortly. Mrs CF was cross but eventually accepted it with the grace comendable of all service spouses. However, over Christmas, a number of civilian friends and neighbours, on learning of my impending deployment, quizically stated.."Can they (the 'military') just send you away like that?" Furthermore, knowing that I can be a difficult and argumentative [email protected], several naively questioned "Why don't you say No?"
By way of explanation, we live far from the madding crowd in a completely demilitarised community (and house - not even the Commissioning Parchment in the loo...) but it is clear that the concept of being ordered to go on operations and complying with a lawful order (without questioning it) has been lost on those who have no contact with the military. The public assume that service personnel have greater freedom of employment and association than we can exercise. Several more liberal friends suggested that I should not go in order to protest against governmrnt policy; nonetheless, comments and advice has generally been well meant. During this time we had a gas leak in our kitchen and a gas fitter spent three days replacing the meter and associated pipework. Just before he left, he came up to me and said, "You're a brave guy to go out there, please be careful, for your family's sake" and then shook my hand warmly. I felt very humbled and he left me with quite a lump in my throat.
I won't trivialise the discussion about all the other misapprehensions many civilians have, but suffice to say that unless the public have had direct involvment of the post Cold War military environment, they haven't got a Scooby...
Cumbrian Fell is offline  
Old 12th Jan 2007, 07:58
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.....off you go then Lad.
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Old 12th Jan 2007, 08:38
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You are right, 'distanciation' doesn't exist.

You could always kick off and wriggle out of your det. Someone else will happily go in your place at short notice.
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Old 12th Jan 2007, 09:28
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Ecce Homo! Loquitur...
 
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I think the word you are probably looking for is alienation.
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Old 12th Jan 2007, 09:34
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Alienation

Distanciation is a term used in Globalisation used to describe the widening gap between the self and 'the other'.

The point that I clearly didn't make too well is that I will skip happily off to my det as we all do; but civilians simply don't understand that in many matters, we military chaps and chapesses simply don't have a huge say in these matters.
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Old 12th Jan 2007, 09:40
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I guess it's partly a culture thing that the services will some day have to address - but I don't know how.

The fruits of my loins are all doing well in their jobs, and enjoyed immensely much of the service life. They also accept that to advance in any profession you have to move around. What they found very difficult in the service context was the lack of choice in those moves.......

Hence no junior teeters in uniforms ....... about which I have very mixed feelings......
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Old 12th Jan 2007, 10:35
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but civilians simply don't understand
Some civilians surely?

Cheers

Whirls
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Old 12th Jan 2007, 10:43
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TMJ
 
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Originally Posted by Cumbrian Fell View Post
...a number of civilian friends and neighbours, on learning of my impending deployment, quizically stated.."Can they (the 'military') just send you away like that?" Furthermore, knowing that I can be a difficult and argumentative [email protected], several naively questioned "Why don't you say No?"
<snip>
...the concept of being ordered to go on operations and complying with a lawful order (without questioning it) has been lost on those who have no contact with the military. The public assume that service personnel have greater freedom of employment and association than we can exercise.
<snip>
I won't trivialise the discussion about all the other misapprehensions many civilians have, but suffice to say that unless the public have had direct involvment of the post Cold War military environment, they haven't got a Scooby...
Not entirely surprising but slightly at odds with my experience; when I was in the recruiting world I met a lot of people whose perception of our lifestyle owed more to a 1950s Army image than to reality... "Are you allowed out at weekends?" was a common question, even from people who'd done a reasonable amount of research into joining up.
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Old 12th Jan 2007, 11:11
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Some civvy misconceptions I've noted over the years--some as recent as last week*. Some are totally wrong, some are mixing up what used to be with present practice or US practice. Most civvies are astonished when put right.

Food and accom is free.

MQs/hirings (or whatever they are called this week) are free.

Forces don't pay Income Tax.

Forces don't pay Income Tax when deployed on Ops.*

Duty free booze/tobacco can be bought on Service bases.*

Fuel on base service stations is duty free.

Rail/air travel within UK is free.

No TV licence required.

If you get a medal then you receive a 500 annuity.

Laugh or cry?
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Old 12th Jan 2007, 11:16
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Originally Posted by Gainesy View Post
Some civvy misconceptions I've noted over the years--some as recent as last week*. Some are totally wrong, some are mixing up what used to be with present practice or US practice. Most civvies are astonished when put right.
Food and accom is free.
MQs/hirings (or whatever they are called this week) are free.
Forces don't pay Income Tax.
Forces don't pay Income Tax when deployed on Ops.*
Duty free booze/tobacco can be bought on Service bases.*
Fuel on base service stations is duty free.
Rail/air travel within UK is free.
No TV licence required.
If you get a medal then you receive a 500 annuity.
Laugh or cry?

May the govt should listen to the people?
 
Old 12th Jan 2007, 16:22
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Originally Posted by Gainesy View Post
Some civvy misconceptions I've noted over the years--some as recent as last week*. Some are totally wrong, some are mixing up what used to be with present practice or US practice. Most civvies are astonished when put right.

Food and accom is free.

MQs/hirings (or whatever they are called this week) are free.

Forces don't pay Income Tax.

Forces don't pay Income Tax when deployed on Ops.*

Duty free booze/tobacco can be bought on Service bases.*

Fuel on base service stations is duty free.

Rail/air travel within UK is free.

No TV licence required.

If you get a medal then you receive a 500 annuity.

Laugh or cry?
In 5 years time they'll have to do most of this to get anybody to stay in.
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Old 12th Jan 2007, 16:35
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Yes, Him
 
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Point is, a large percentage of Civvy St think you have all that already and so largely dismiss any valid points raised on pay/morale/accom etc as whinging and moaning from cosseted prima donnas.

Any JOs or junior ORs still on benefits BTW?
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Old 12th Jan 2007, 17:16
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There are many variables to the public perception of Britain's finest and not all good ones sadly. In my view, and quite a few people I have spoken to on the subject agree, I believe that service personnel not on service duty should not be in public except in "proper" uniform. In other words the scruffy working clothes that are seen so often these days do not distinguish the trained and highly disciplined from the scruffs who buy their clothes from the local surplus stores. This cannot be good and a line ought to be drawn somewhere on this point. You have worked long and hard for the right to wear the uniform so why not show it off to best advantage?
Gainsey - the upper earnings limit beyond which benefit is no longer payable is now nearly 54000 per annum so the vast majority of the population of the UK (if they meet the other criteria) will be entitled to some benefits. I believe the pay for the armed forces puts you well above average for the UK.
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Old 12th Jan 2007, 18:04
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I think you'll find that service law demands that the serviceman/woman is smartly turned out.

As for the other points - see this older thread:

Defence: Public ignorance, the media, and cutbacks
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Old 12th Jan 2007, 18:26
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Originally Posted by Gainesy View Post
Some civvy misconceptions I've noted over the years--some as recent as last week*. Some are totally wrong, some are mixing up what used to be with present practice or US practice. Most civvies are astonished when put right.
Food and accom is free.
MQs/hirings (or whatever they are called this week) are free.
Forces don't pay Income Tax.
Forces don't pay Income Tax when deployed on Ops.*
Duty free booze/tobacco can be bought on Service bases.*
Fuel on base service stations is duty free.
Rail/air travel within UK is free.
No TV licence required.
If you get a medal then you receive a 500 annuity.
Laugh or cry?
The most recent one I had was actually from a civvy friend's mother who was adamant that because I flew I had to be in the RAF, and no amount of argument was going to convice her that I am actually RN. I believe she even went as far as to suggest that I must be mistaken as to which Service I was in. (I've never been that drunk!)

Now I know that RN PR is not always the best in the world, but when you're fighting this level of ignorance, it can't be easy!
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Old 12th Jan 2007, 19:29
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Came across a similar thing some years ago when some mates wanted me to go to the Munich beer festival with them and I was on SGF. They couldn't really see why I couldn't just say 'no'.
3 or 4 years ago we were sent a CD Rom containing video interviews with members of the public about the armed forces. The level of ignorance displayed was quite apalling but, on reflection, unsurprising.
To most civilians their job is just that, their job. They go to work do it and then go home. If they want to get on or earn more money they stay later, do overtime, get themselves noticed or whatever. The notion of their employer holding any authority over them outside of their job is non-existant and why should it be otherwise I suppose? Many civilians struggle to cope when faced with ANY authority at all, even a simple parking fine or speeding ticket can elicit a quite dispproportionate response!
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Old 12th Jan 2007, 19:47
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Originally Posted by Radar Command T/O View Post
The most recent one I had was actually from a civvy friend's mother who was adamant that because I flew I had to be in the RAF, and no amount of argument was going to convice her that I am actually RN. I believe she even went as far as to suggest that I must be mistaken as to which Service I was in. (I've never been that drunk!)
s0d that! I have to tell people that just because I'm in the RAF, I don't fly aircraft! The shame of it - to think, I worked quite hard at school as well.
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Old 12th Jan 2007, 20:29
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Originally Posted by splitbrain View Post
.........
3 or 4 years ago we were sent a CD Rom containing video interviews with members of the public about the armed forces...
with what purpose in mind?
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Old 12th Jan 2007, 20:36
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Originally Posted by Brewster Buffalo View Post
with what purpose in mind?
Good question well presented! The 'we' in question was RAF Cosford and if I recall correctly the CDRom was part of an information package designed to demonstrate to us (us being the RAF) just what we faced in terms of public ignorance of our role, day to day life, what sort of people we were etc One person said he pictured RAF personnel (whom he'd never encountered) as being arrogant
I later recall sitting in a COs brief in which he made mention of the same sort of ignorance issues, he actually said that the few people who knew what the RAF was about were sat in rooms similar to the one we were in!
Ultimately it was all about raising the public profile of the service, what became of it I know not.....
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Old 12th Jan 2007, 23:05
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Originally Posted by ratty1 View Post
He is quite right. Look here there is even a website about it.

http://www.distanciation.com/

Rubbish. "Distanciation" appears in none of the following dictionaries; OED, Collins, Cambridge, Merriam-Webster, One-Look.

The word, "distantia' is latin, meaning "to stand apart".

Since when was 'Globalisation' the arbiter of authentic words. Ditto for the existence of a website - I checked, and couldn't see 'skynews' in the OED either (as in www.skynews.com). I can't stand this modern drivel where no-one ever says any real words ....

Rant off.

Now what was the point?
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