Peter Rhodes on sacking soldiers and being lectured on ethics by a bank

In a breathtaking moment, Vladimir Putin accuses Nato of having “imperial ambitions.” A useful Russian phrase: “eto bogatyy” (that's rich).

Meanwhile, Boris has been spending far too much time with geeks and bean-counters. They want the British Army to shed 10,000 troops to a pitifully small 70,000 and morph into a lean, fit cyber and drone-based fighting machine.

There's no secret why the Treasury wants fewer troops. Even a single soldier is an expensive item, requiring barrack blocks, gyms, medical support and entertainment. If the soldiers are married with kids, the MoD has to provide homes, schools, welfare support and legal advice. The great thing about a drone is that you don't have to build a house for it and it'll probably never ask to see the padre.

Generals, who know more about fighting real battles, would rather have a few thousand more fighting soldiers, or “bayonets” as they are charmingly termed. Micro-chip warfare is all very well but you can't hold a bridge with a laptop, nor dig a trench with a mouse.

Halifax bank is “promoting inclusivity” by inviting its staff to wear badges indicating their preferred pronoun. It proudly tweeted an example of a name badge reading “Gemma (she/her/hers).” Now, while this may thrill the woke-on kids in Halifax's Human Resources, it has offended some customers. Halifax hits back, claiming the badges will prevent “accidental misgendering” and puts its money where its mouth is by declaring “if you disagree with our values, you’re welcome to close your account.”

I would not be surprised if some older folk do leave, on the grounds that any symbol that reveals a person's gender or sexuality is deeply sinister. Over-60s have a race-memory of the pink triangles and yellow stars of 1930s Germany.

It's very simple. I am merely cashing a cheque or opening an Isa. I do not wish to know the cashier's sexual standing (or even their name, to be honest) and I certainly don't want him or her to know mine. And while Halifax proclaims “our values,” we all know that if half its customers threatened to quit, it would suddenly discover some new values. We don't need any lessons in ethics from the banks, thanks.

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