Army PR: it's a tough job but the Brigadier can do it

Share
Related Topics
NOT VERY many people have heard of Brigadier-General Wetherspoon.

This is because Brigadier-General Wetherspoon is in charge of a very secret organisation indeed. He is head of AIDS.

AIDS stands for Army Image Defence Service. It's a crack corps that goes into action when the British Army has suffered an image reversal. The British Army is seldom defeated in battle, but it does suffer reverses from time to time in the press and media. And when it does, they send for old Wetherspoon. Get him to restore military pride . . .

'What the Army understands best is inflicting damage. Now my game is quite the opposite, that is, damage limitation.'

And now Brigadier-General Wetherspoon has been given perhaps the toughest job of his life. To restore the image of the British armed forces after the top man has let the side down. You're bound to get a certain image droop when the chief military officer of the armed services has resigned after it has been discovered that he had been having an affair with a lady with a Spanish name.

'Mark you, I couldn't see what he'd done wrong,' says Wetherspoon. 'In my day, there was nothing wrong with going out with a Spanish lady. No risk in it at all. Always neutrals, the Spaniards. Never got involved in a war. Unless they were killing each other. But you have to hand it to the Spaniards. They've been watching us give them a two-fingered salute from Gibraltar for 400 years now, and they've never come swarming over the frontier to retake the place. Can't think why not, actually. They'd get it back in five minutes.

'Do you know what I think their biggest mistake was? Not invading Gibraltar when we were trying to get the Falklands back. They'd have walked it while our backs were turned and while we couldn't afford another senseless rearguard action. The Spaniards could have swanned in and got the Rock back in 24 hours. I say, that's good] Rock around the Clock]'

But now Wetherspoon has to act fast to get a bit of gloss back on the British Army. To buff up the image of the British soldier until you can see your own reflection in it. Or, in the Brigadier-General's own words, to tell Johnny Civilian out there that there's nothing wrong with the British Army that a billion pounds couldn't put right.

'Just joking]' says Brigadier-General Wetherspoon - or Sir, as he likes to be known for short. 'Money's useful in this game, but at the end of the day do you know what makes all the difference? A bit of fun, that's what] No, it's true. If you can show people that the Army has got a sense of humour and can let its hair down, you're half-way home.'

And how is he going to do that?

'Well,' says Wetherspoon, measuring his words carefully, 'we're going to ginger up the D-Day celebrations a bit. I've been put in charge of a showbiz unit which is going to stage a few items and I think it's going to

be a hoot. As our friends across the Channel say, on va rigoler un peu.'

In what sort of way?

'Well, just between you and me - sure you can keep a secret?'

I nodded in a frank and honest sort of way.

'Well, when we re-enact the Normandy landings, we shall have a large contingent of troops rushing ashore from landing craft, just as they did back in '44, and racing up the beaches, and re-forming, and driving inland, and pushing all opposition before them as they go on to their objective.'

Which is?

'EuroDisney, old boy. We're going to go into EuroDisney and capture the place and put it to the torch] Absolutely destroy it] Or liberate it, as we soldiers like to say . . . Anyway, it'll be spectacular] It's going to be sensational.'

But what will Disney Enterprises say to all that? Won't they be furious if EuroDisney is captured and burnt by an Allied Army?

'Far from it. Life-saver, old boy. The insurance money alone will be enough to bail them out of the mess they're in. We shall get all the glory and the good reviews - they will get compensation. We've been planning this hand in glove with the Disney people for nine months now.'

At that point the phone rang. Wetherspoon answered it.

'Bubbles, my lovely girl]' he said. Then he looked at me and his face sank. 'No, I can't talk right now, darling. Got a chap from the papers here. Ring you back when he's gone.'

He rang off.

'Don't put that in the interview, there's a good fellow,' he said. 'I don't think the Army could take another top-level scandal and resignation right now.'

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £30,000+

£16000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are looking for individual...

Recruitment Genius: IT Project Coordinator / Manager

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Project Coordinator is requir...

Recruitment Genius: Mortgage Advisor - OTE £95,000

£40000 - £95000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Vehicle Inspectors / Purchasers

£20000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Trainee Vehicle Inspectors / Pu...

Day In a Page

Read Next
The possibility of Corbyn winning has excited some Conservatives  

Labour leadership: The choice at the heart of the leadership campaign

Jeremy Corbyn
Pablo Iglesias, the leader of Spain’s anti-austerity party Podemos  

Greece debt crisis: Trouble is, if you help the Greeks, everyone will want the same favours

Charlotte McDonald-Gibson Charlotte McDonald-Gibson
Greece debt crisis: EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

An outbreak of malaria in Greece four years ago helps us understand the crisis, says Robert Fisk
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas
How to survive electrical storms: What are the chances of being hit by lightning?

Heavy weather

What are the chances of being hit by lightning?
World Bodypainting Festival 2015: Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'

World Bodypainting Festival 2015

Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'
alt-j: A private jet, a Mercury Prize and Latitude headliners

Don't call us nerds

Craig Mclean meets alt-j - the math-folk act who are flying high
How to find gold: The Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge

How to find gold

Steve Boggan finds himself in the Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge
Singing accents: From Herman's Hermits and David Bowie to Alesha Dixon

Not born in the USA

Lay off Alesha Dixon: songs sound better in US accents, even our national anthem
10 best balsamic vinegars

10 best balsamic vinegars

Drizzle it over salad, enjoy it with ciabatta, marinate vegetables, or use it to add depth to a sauce - this versatile staple is a cook's best friend
Wimbledon 2015: Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

Serena dispatched her elder sister 6-4, 6-3 in eight minutes more than an hour
Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

Greece referendum

Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

7/7 bombings anniversary

Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?
Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has created

Versace haute couture review

Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has ever created
No hope and no jobs, so Gaza's young risk their lives, climb the fence and run for it

No hope and no jobs in Gaza

So the young risk their lives and run for it
Fashion apps: Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers

Fashion apps

Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers
The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy