The Daily Mail has published a leaked story about the Royal Navy’s nuclear missile submarine HMS Valiant. The Mail talks of it as a “party boat”, with cocaine use and illicit sex.
One can imagine the gleeful enthusiasm with which the Daily Mail developed this story: nuclear warheads, rampant sex, drugs, irate wives, the Senior Service, the Captain’s safe containing the Last Resort Armageddon letters from the Prime Minister, the red nuclear warhead firing trigger… too good to be true in newspaper terms.
The Daily Mail quotes outraged senior naval officers quoting Admiral the Lord Nelson; and reports that the Defence Secretary is furiously demanding drug testing for everybody else in the Royal Navy. In newspaper terms it’s the “Navy Lark” – spun in such a way as to wind up everybody from CND to the saltiest of anti-women-in-the-Navy diehards. They even quote “Naval wives” who say they predicted this sort of thing especially in submarines.
Whereas….drug and alcohol abuse in the military is a command problem – at the very highest level. With the UK Government being so irresponsible with defence generally – and the Royal Navy specifically, I feel really bad for people serving at the moment.
Regardless of whatever actually happened here, and nothing is proven apart from the drug tests, the matelots and officers (especially of nuclear submarines) are very carefully selected, and highly trained.
It seems that a whistle-blower complained of sex on board Valiant (which is illegal): specifically of one affair – or possibly two. It should be emphasised that there has been no question sexual harassment; rather one (or two) alleged affairs (by mutual consent – as it were).
So the Regulators (naval police) and Service Investigation Bureau (SIB) turfed the entire crew out of their boat – all of them in disgrace. The were all sent ashore, to stay in US hotels alongside in Florida, while the alleged affairs were investigated.
The SIB also ordered Valiant’s crew to delete their social media accounts. This in itself, smacks to me of cover-up. But not before the Daily Mail had downloaded photographs of the two allegedly offending female officers.
I don’t know if you’ve ever been investigated by the SIB, but it ain’t fun – and very heavy-handed. So, surprise surprise, some of the untried and yet disgraced crew went on the piss – and nine out of the 168 succumbed to the attentions of local coke dealers.
The Mail talks of ‘parties’ – whereas this drug test positive could have resulted from just the one occasion. It does not, as implied in the article, mean rampant drug-taking on the submarine. Or indeed any drug-taking or partying on the submarine.
Furthermore it does not prove that drugs were taken when on patrol. It does however show that having been ejected from their submarine and put into crummy Floridean seaport hotels, nine out of the extremely pissed-off 168 person crew – who had hitherto committed no crime – made the mistake of snorting enough cocaine to register on a drugs test (which isn’t very much…).
Service men and women not allowed to take drugs. So they deserve their dismissals. But as I said earlier, drug use is a command responsibility at the very highest levels – including the ‘outraged’ Secretary of State.
The Daily Mail article published two photographs of female naval officers – one at least looking like a download from social media, of the females alleged to have conducted illicit affairs. This is very definitely outrageous.
The sailor who went AWOL seemed to me to be totally sick of the whole thing and legged it back to UK for a bit of sanity with his girl friend. I don’t blame him.
And now the Daily Mail is pillorying them all – naming and shaming, when nothing has so far been proved. And the military authorities are in full-on cover-up / blame-everybody-but-ourselves mode.
I wonder who leaked all this to the Mail?