Diversity quotas are nothing new nowadays. Every major company seems to be following the practice, lest they are accused of discrimination based on sex or race. This is true especially in the case of the giant tech companies of Silicon Valley, where recruiters painstakingly watch over the balance of male and female employees on every organisational level. Not everyone is happy about this, of course. Acclaimed Canadian psychologist, author and media personality Jordan Peterson, for instance, called institutional gender-based equity a ‘preposterous and idiotic idea’, since a sharp drop in workforce quality is an inherent feature of any such system.
Nonetheless, every company has the freedom to take whatever approach they like to hiring new employees. The worst thing that can happen is that they lose profit. But if a branch of the military, whose duty is literally to ensure the safety of an entire country, starts implementing gender equality practices, that’s a whole new ballgame. One that is not meant to be taken lightly, to say the least, especially during a war in Europe. Yet, the Royal Air Force of Britain chose to implement gender equity anyway, as several news agencies reported back in August.
Sir Mike Wigston ordered the RAF’s recruitment office to halt the hiring process of ‘white male recruits’
In order to reach its desired diversity target quotas, the Air Force needed to increase to percentage of female personnel from the current twelve per cent to 40 per cent by 2030, while doubling the share of ethnic minorities to reach 20 per cent in the same period. In his bid to meet this ambitious goal, Air Chief Marshal Sir Mike Wigston ordered the RAF’s recruitment office to halt the hiring process of ‘white male recruits.’ In response, the head of recruitment—herself a senior female officer—resigned in protest. According to Sky News, she called the chief marshal’s order ‘unlawful’ and accused him of putting the appeasement of the woke mob before Britain’s military prowess.
Just by common sense, she’s absolutely right. As the British journalist Harrison Pitt so aptly put it in his commentary in the European Conservative, ‘If diversity, equity, and inclusion are being ranked first among the army’s values, then quality is at best a close second. In a majority white country where the average man is much more likely than the average woman to entertain a military career, adopting an ideological bias in favour of females and ethnic minorities inevitably narrows the talent pool.’ The dangerous implications of this in relation to the war in Ukraine should be clear to anyone. But now it seems that the practice, which has been going on for years in less obvious forms, has raised another imminent concern.
The British Ministry of Defence recently admitted that up to thirty former RAF pilots are thought to have gone over to Beijing’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) to train the next generation of Chinese fighter pilots. China has been attempting to recruit retired Western officers for years now and their efforts seem to have been ramped up recently. Money is not an issue for Beijing since its paying well over six figures to anyone with the right experience. What kind of knowledge are they looking for that could be utilised by the Chinese air force? Simple. A detailed understanding of the way in which Western planes and pilots operate.
That kind of information could be vital in the event of any future conflict, such as one over Taiwan. With the sword of Damocles of an invasion hanging over the island at all times, it would be naïve to think otherwise. The way China is preparing its military—also demonstrated by this latest RAF incident—or the PLA’s recent ‘rehearsal’ of the invasion made it clear that the Taiwan question will be dealt with sooner or later. That is why the UK regards this incident as a threat to national security, prompting the government to announce ‘decisive steps’ to address the issue.
But what does Chinese recruitment of retired Western pilots has to do with the gender equity policy of the RAF? I must admit, there is no obvious connection between the two. Since the British MoD did not release the names of any of the former RAF pilots involved, we can’t find information regarding their personal motivation beside money—if there was any in the first place. Regardless, it’s not too hard to imagine that diversity quotas may have contributed to a certain degree.
I would hardly blame them for being disillusioned with their country
Equity quotas in fact usually need to be reached at every organisational level, including among senior staff members. We don’t know how many white male pilots’ military career was hindered or even broken by these equity measures within the Air Force, but I suspect there was a few. Pilots who were denied professional advancement not because if a lack of talent or hard work, but simply to make room for more female officers. Some may have even left the foce because of this diversity pressure; others could have been forced to retire earlier. Again, these are merely suspicions. But if this happened in the case of one or two of the ‘Chinese’ RAF pilots, then I would hardly blame them for being disillusioned with their country. And even if they did not suffer any injustice themselves, they saw first-hand how the Air Force submitted to wokeness over the years, contributing to their later decision to work for ‘the enemy.’
In any case, chances are that it was only financial considerations that made these former pilots accept Beijing’s offer. Nonetheless, both incidents uncover deep, structural problems within the Royal Air Force; one that it’s reluctant to address and one that it did perhaps a bit too late. One is the result of irresponsible and unnecessary virtue signalling, while the other that of shameful oversight on the executive levels of the MoD. Especially since there were examples of former RAF pilots training the PLA in the past, but never in such numbers.
Perhaps if the Royal Air Force was doing its best to ensure that quality remains its foremost value, we would see far fewer of these disquieting reports. Instead of focusing on protecting the country, the RAF is bent on becoming the most diverse military branch of Britain. Wokeness will not save Taiwan, but British pilots are indeed able to hand air superiority over to the Chinese. Maybe it is time for the UK military to focus on the important things and leave it to less important organisations to experiment with forced equity instead of doing it at the expense of an entire country.