Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Petty (Il)Legality


There is (yet another) worthy petition up on the "to be patronised by a junior member of the PM's staff" site regarding the unfair position people leaving the Armed Forces are put into when looking for civilian housing. Please look at the petition here and, if you feel it appropriate, vote for it.

However, that is not my point. I found out about this petition through an "Armed Forces and Guests" website - specifically the British Army's Armynet site. Having a look at the list of signatories, I saw that a number of serving personnel had signed it and was just musing on how this fitted with the current definition of the military crime of mutiny. In years gone by, I was taught that, as well as the standard, Fletcher Christian-esque organised (or organising) refusal to follow an order (as opposed to individual refusal, which would be "refusal to obey" or "insubordination"), organising yourselves to make a joint protest or complaint either to or bypassing the chain of command also fell within the definition. Whether the petition site gets close enough to the Bliar to count as "bypassing the chain of command", I leave for separate discussion :)

This other side of mutiny was highlighted as the reason why there was no significant overt pressure for an Armed Forces Union (remarked on with much surprise in the Bett report), or even equivalent bodies to the Police Federation (sorry, and here for you Southerners), Superintendents Association & ACPO. Now there have clearly been unofficial organisations mediated by new technology, such as the fantastic Army Rumour Service, but this is the first time I have actually seen this sort of thing on a (semi-) official site. Ho hum, I suppose a quick read of last year's Armed Forces Act won't stop me from pretending to work.


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