If the British Army rises up against anyone, it won't be Jeremy Corbyn

The general who has threatened a coup against the Labour leader must be historically illiterate

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The Independent Online

The unnamed general who has threatened a coup against Jeremy Corbyn if he's elected prime minister should be careful what he wishes for.

Unusually for a senior officer, this character – who for the record should be identified and court-martialled if the establishment knows what is good for it – sounds politically illiterate.

If this closet rebel knew a thing about history he should know that it's often the blustering tyrant who gets the chop in such situations, particularly when common soldiers decide to write their own script. Let’s remember that a proto-version of the British Army helped Charles I to his doom, and that the Russian Army marched off the front lines and straight into a leftist revolution in Russia in 1917.

And what about the late Hugo Chavez, a man whose politics aren’t a million miles away from Corbyn’s? He had no problems gaining the support of certain army regiments in Venezuela during his early coup days. He was a colonel after all.

The point is simple: "soldier" does not mean "moron", despite what the military and Government would like us all to think. They have minds entirely of their own and they know how to use them.

It was veterans, after all, who played a central part in getting rid of Churchill, voting in Atlee and founding the true legacy of Britain’s military men and women: the NHS, welfare state and other wholesome things of which Corbyn is a veritable champion.

Loyalty to daft plots is not a given when it comes to fighting men and women. It's a mistake to think of the army as a group of apolitical clones, who will unquestioningly adhere to orders, whatever they may be.

Like all social institutions, the army is split along class lines, meaning there is no guarantee that all or part of the army would not mutiny against a coup. It is one thing to waffle on about "direct action" carried out by fair means or foul, but any good general needs to consider the practicalities: an armed coup would involve killing British citizens, including Corbyn supporters. If push came to shove, would the British Army really mow down the people who back him?

The people who have most to gain from a Corbyn government are those from the less well-off communities of Britain. Incidentally, these are the communities that our predatory military recruits from. British soldiers shooting their own friends and families at the whim of some would-be dictator? Really? Are you sure you want to go down that road?

And consider this: politicians and the military have been betraying soldiers for years. Thousands have died and been wounded for no good reason. There's been pension cuts, job cuts, homelessness and a chronic lack of mental health provision for veterans. So it may be overly optimistic for a general with an eye on dictatorship to think that the army would be on his side.

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