Amol Rajan: Fox affair could take shine off Khaki Culture

FreeView from the editors at i

Share

It would be wonderful if historians could note with irony that Liam Fox's greatest achievement was causing the demise of corporate lobbyists in Britain. Wonderful, but unlikely.

I first referred to corporate lobbyists as a cancer in our body politic a few years ago; since then, their disgusting influence has grown exponentially and, alas, is unlikely to have peaked with Adam Werritty.

In fact, Mr Fox will be remembered as a tainted but competent Defence Secretary, who rode a wave of public affection for the Armed Forces better than his predecessors. I call it Khaki Culture: the encroaching militarisation of our public space.

Have you noticed the way the Armed Forces occupy an ever larger slice of national life – at a time when the wars they are engaged in generate scant public support?

Tony Blair initiated the ritual of reading out the names of dead servicemen ahead of Prime Minister's Questions. Leaders of other parties then solemnly add their condolences to the families of the fallen. The death of a British soldier in Iraq or Afghanistan is now regularly the second or third item in news bulletins, even when there is no report to go with it. "Our brave armed forces" has entered political language. Minute-long silences have proliferated far beyond Remembrance Day.

The inspirational Help for Heroes campaign ensures stories of injured servicemen and women feature in front pages and on glossy ones. Perhaps the apogee of this militarisation is the elevation of Wootton Bassett, the town that honoured the war dead, to "Royal" status this weekend. Christina Schmid, wife of the late bomb disposal expert Olaf, could be the face of Khaki Culture. Its rise may be the inevitable consequence of our being at war on several fronts. But something else is going on here. We live in age of institutional and professional crisis: the political class, the press, the police, and bankers (to name just four) are beset by corruption scandals. Against all these, the Armed Services stand as a beacon of virtue, a source of national pride and a repository of institutional authority.

This won't last, of course. Huge controversies, involving not just lobbyists but private security firms, torture of suspects and abuse of staff, will set the news agenda in the coming years. Khaki Culture won't go into reverse, but it might slow down. The fall of Dr Fox portends the arrival of scandal in a part of British life – national defence – that patriots like me foolishly dreamt was above corruption.

React Now

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

Biomass Sales Consultant

£20000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitment Company...

Java Developer

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My Client are a successful software hous...

Senior Analyst - Financial Modelling

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: This really is a fantastic chance to joi...

MS Dynamics NAV/Navision Developer

£45000 - £53000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: **MS DYNAMICS N...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Katie Hopkins is a true Twitter villain

Felicity Morse
Adele performs onstage during the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards at Nokia Theatre L.A  

Adele knows that privacy is the best gift a famous mother can give her child

Chloe Hamilton
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform
Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

Take a good look while you can

How climate change could wipe out this seal
Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier for the terminally ill?

Farewell, my lovely

Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier?
Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster to ensure his meals aren't poisoned

Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster

John Walsh salutes those brave souls who have, throughout history, put their knives on the line
Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
Will The Minerva Project - the first 'elite' American university to be launched in a century - change the face of higher learning?

Will The Minerva Project change the face of higher learning?

The university has no lecture halls, no debating societies, no sports teams and no fraternities. Instead, the 33 students who have made the cut at Minerva, will travel the world and change the face of higher learning
The 10 best pedicure products

Feet treat: 10 best pedicure products

Bags packed and all prepped for holidays, but feet in a state? Get them flip-flop-ready with our pick of the items for a DIY treatment
Commonwealth Games 2014: Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games

Commonwealth Games 2014

Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games
Jack Pitt-Brooke: Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism

Jack Pitt-Brooke

Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism
How Terry Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

How Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

Over a hundred rugby league players have contacted clinic to deal with mental challenges of game