Defence Procurement

“Could the Minister perhaps explain the source of the complaints I’ve been receiving from constituents that are members of the Royal Tank Corps regarding the new uniforms they’ve been issued?”

The Minister stood up, looked across the House and spoke with confidence. "Certainly, and may I express disappointment at the complaints. A careful assessment of our armoured fighting vehicles revealed that the most common point of vulnerability is the small hatch required for disposal of human waste.

"As armed conflict can require our brave men and women to remain at risk for extended periods we need to make provision for their inevitable bodily functions. This is for instance why tea making equipment is a mandatory feature of all of our main battle tanks.

"Removal of the hatches to better secure and protect the lives of our couragous warriors left us with just two options. One would be the fitting of a seated area for the receipt and holding of human waste but I am sure you can understand that this would impose too greatly on the limited space available, and require crews to move around within their vehicles at potentially inconvenient and dangerous moments.

“So instead we adopted the other option, a wearable device capable of retaining any waste matter and preventing it soiling the soldier’s clothing, or indeed the inside of the vehicle. This has the advantage of providing unisex support, more easily enabling mixed gender tank crews, something I know many members have been requesting for some time. Yes, I’ll give way.”

The Minister sat down and waited for the interjection.

“While I understand that there were complaints, how has this change to uniform and the introduction of an improved gender balance impacted on recruitment efforts?”

The Minister stood once more. "Thank you for that timely question, I was about to address that very point, and I shall move on to it now. We have not only seen a sharp increase in applications to join the Regiment, they are coming in greater number across all demographics. Ministry officials tell me that the additional of female sailors on board our frontline fleet did not have this effect, so we must assume that the new uniform is in fact extremely popular.

“For this reason we are not only continuing with this programme but we are expanding it too, so that all members of our Armed Forces may enjoy the protection and comfort it affords. I shall return to the House next week to provide full details, but I can reveal that we have been developing military grade beverage holders that resist spillage and plan to issue those to all of our Services forthwith.”

The Minister, clearly satisfied with his own answer, sat down and turned to share a comment with his colleague. He heard nonetheless the follow up question.

“Does the Minister not think that diapering our valiant fighting forces might lead to a loss of respect and difficulty in finding peaceful solutions where they’re engaged in hostile civilian situations?”

The Minister sighed and stood once more. "The Honourable Member is quite right to raise this concern and it is one we have carefully studied and modelled, and tested in the field. The new uniform makes it harder for hostile personnel, whether civilian, insurrectionist or military in nature, to tell when fear has sadly overcome our soldiers’ control of their own bodies.

“The outcome is that our patrols are perceived as more confident and capable even than before, and on the rare occasion that an unfortunate smell does provide hints to the contrary, frankly our enemies have fled in fear. As a prisoner told us in response to gentle questioning, if we do this to our own soldiers then what will we do to them if we capture them. Yes, I’ll give way this one final time.”

“What do we do if we capture them?”

The Minister stood, paused, and smiled. “Why, we treat them better than they deserve. We look after their every need. Every need.”

He sat down and, in a strange breach of protocol, started giggling.

“Order!” called The Speaker, “We now move on to…”