Also, how does Santa determine who is naught and nice?

The British Army seems to be trying to screen out dangerously demented Extreme Right Wing (XRW) individuals with a checklist.

That seems like a good idea to me, and those look like common markers for bad behavior right there. I can say that, because I’d score a zero. The real right-wingers on social media sites are pissed off about it, because they conform with at least some of the items on the list.

That, though, is where I start to see problems here. If someone says they think it’s true that they “describe themselves as patriots”, but also detest the idea of “white-only communities”, are they still an XRW? Can you be 10% XRW, or is it an all-or-nothing sort of determination? Is there any weighting of the terms? Sticking “-istan” on place names is stupid, but using racial slurs and violence is far worse.

How are people supposed to use this list? It just says “Look out for individuals who…”, which is terribly vague. OK, if I, for instance, have a co-worker who does any of these things, am I supposed to report them, complain to HR, sign them up for attitude readjustment, get them fired, what?

The chief utility seems to be as a kind of meta test: print it out, show it to someone you suspect of being an XRW, see if they explode into an angry rant, which will out them as an XRW. Then what?

The British military only hints.

Addressing the ‘XRW chart’, an army spokesperson told BuzzFeed News that “robust measures” were in place to make sure they didn’t have people with “extremist views” in the armed forces.

“Robust measures”…what are they?

I agree that anyone who meets any of those criteria is not very bright and is conforming to right-wing cliches, but it’s not sufficient to just wave around a list. You need to explain how to interpret the list and what actions will be taken against people who express some number of the attitudes on it.


  1. weylguy says

    Looks like a screening protocol that the U.S. Army might want to adopt, but for pro-enlistment purposes. Trump would approve.

  2. Dunc says

    There are quite a number of prominent politicians who check off a lot of those boxes… I look forward to spluttering denunciations from large chunks of the Tory Party, the Brexit Party, and whatever’s left of UKIP.

  3. Pierce R. Butler says

    Oddly, this list does not include anything about following Murdoch® media mendacities.

  4. cartomancer says

    I would have thought that “uses pictures of Jeremy Corbyn for target practice” ought to be on there somewhere…

  5. says

    It has been pointed out to me that adding “-istan” to place names is also a common practice among people who come from countries with names that end in “-istan”, often as a joking reference. Context matters!

  6. blf says

    Interestingly, I myself have sometimes done something very close to one of the things listed, “add ‘istan’ to British place names”, albeit not with the (presumed? probable?) intent of the XRWs. To them, I presume, it is a code for an imagined “takeover by teh dreaded moolsin hordes”; my usage was a snark about the ineffectual / corrupt / paranoid States- or NKofE-“government”.† That’s probably unfair on some of the places whose name does end in -istan (or similar), plus quite rude & inaccurate to compare any of those places to the (current) States or either of the two N.Koreas.

    In a similar vein, I used to sometimes use “USAlien” instead of “USAian”, as a snark about the very strange ways the States does things (compared to, so it seems, much of the rest of the world), not as any sort of a comment about immigrants or immigration. However, I kept having to explain what I meant so eventually stopping using “USAlien”, albeit I (vaguely) recall calling the current USAian “government” that of an -istan country quite recently. This can perhaps be thought of as a variant of the old “banana republic” snark, and should be used with extreme care — avoided, really — for similar reasons.

      † NKofE is N.Korea of Europe, sometimes known as the UK; both the real NK and teh NKofE have many traits in common: Nuclear-armed, “governed” by a small paranoid clique, and so on…

  7. Pierce R. Butler says

    Does Santa really deem people “naught” – nothing, zero, not there?

    Hadn’t thought of him as quite that harshly existentialist…

  8. calgor says

    As a British ex-serviceman, this is not that unusual. There are similar broad brush things for bulling and sexism aimed at the junior ranks and works in two ways, first it highlights the behaviour that the higherups have deemed inappropriate for members of the armed forces to engage in and secondly, tolerating such activity will be considered detrimental to your career if you condone it (Hence why you should report if observed). Actual determination would be done either others higher up the chain of command, by other army organisations or even external third parties depending on the situation and perceived severity of the situation.

    You have to consider that this will primarily be directed to the infantry, who are generally considered not to be the sharpest tools in the shed (On the other hand, British servicemen are cunning, I have had to clean up some issues where the exclamation “How the hell did they do this?” was the defining comment of the situation). As I was told by a recruiting officer (he was a retired Brigadier), “Only the stupid or deranged join the infantry, since the first thing that anyone with an inkling of intelligence realises is that the job of the infantry is to get shot at”.

  9. malachiconstant says

    How are people supposed to use this list? It just says “Look out for individuals who…”, which is terribly vague. OK, if I, for instance, have a co-worker who does any of these things, am I supposed to report them, complain to HR, sign them up for attitude readjustment, get them fired, what?

    Well, it does say at the bottom “you should report your concerns through the CofC and to the Army Warning, Advisory and Reporting Point.

  10. says

    Then there’s conscious, well-developed, intentional (as in “not raised as an excuse later”) satire, such as referring to a region whose right-wing-nuttery “local” newspaper just trumpted the more-white-than-the-rest-of-the-country-and-going-to-stay-that-way census data as “Redneckistan.”

    When the speaker was fourteen.

    But then, very few military organizations understand satire. (I was a career officer; I’ve seen waaaaay too many colonels who self-identify with General Ripper.)

  11. calgor says

    Unfortunately, the use of -istan is a common pejorative used in the British armed forces particularly if they have deemed that group to be below the required level of professionalism expected.

    However, certain groups have successfully used the race card against the British, my personal favourite was the use by the Pakistan Army of “Paki” in their call signs with British troops, since in the UK, the use of “Paki” by whites is akin to the use of the N-Word and with similar social abhorrence.

  12. johnson catman says

    I have heard Fayetteville, NC referred to as Fayett-nam and more recently Fayettistan mainly due to the proximity of Fort Bragg and large numbers of soldiers.

  13. robro says

    Army Warning Advisory and Reporting Point or WARP? Is this for real, I ask myself. Apparently so given the coverage for this story in the UK press. Who thinks these acronyms up?

  14. blf says

    Army Warning Advisory and Reporting Point or WARP? […] Who thinks these acronyms up?

    Someone with a warped imagination?

  15. says

    Those “robust measures”? Why, they train them to be members of Parliament for the Conservative Party and/or UKIP, of course. Where did you think they found those people?

    (Say, on that note, I haven’t noticed any official mention from PZ that Sargon of Akkad lost his electoral bid to be a MEP, partially because he was running as UKIP when Nigel Farage’s new money-making scheme organization, the Brexit Party, basically siphoned off all their voters and partially because he was publicly derided in the press for the whole defense-of-pedophilia thing.)

  16. pipefighter says

    “All hail glorious Soviet Canuckistan!!!” I don’t care what anybody says, I love that name.

  17. says

    This reminds me of how social media has an issue with targeting right wing extremism in the same way they target Islamic extremism because if they did they’d end up banning a lot of conservative politicians.

    I’m also reminded how American conservatives lost their shit when DHS had a study of right-wing extremism.

  18. brucej says

    I guess I must be one of them because I often describe Trumps glorious acres of empty red America as “Dumbfuckistan”…

  19. twarren1111 says

    Not surprising a psychopath like trump hits every criteria. And no wonder we can’t face white nationalism for what it is in America: terrorism. Bc if a white Christian bombs and burns and shoots up a school or synagogue or mosque it isn’t gate or terrorism bc it’s a white man. And we gotta suddenly worry about free speech. If a man of color posts the wrong thing on Facebook or god forbid tries to drive a car, then he could be murdered by ‘safety’ officers who are usually white men…but if we try to call out fascism and white nationalism or identity politics or dog whistle dehumanization rhetoric then we are guilty of over reacting per Steve Pinker and we are just overly politically correct SJW who just want to suppress free speech.

    So twisted.

  20. Nemo says

    Can you be 10% XRW, or is it an all-or-nothing sort of determination?

    It’s a Bingo card — you have to make a line.

  21. wzrd1 says

    First, look at the context. UK army, the UK army does not patrol and investigate civilians, but if such is observed in ranks (a current US military problem, which has increased since the cheeto took charge), report it to a specialist team for investigation and if valid, management. That can range from retraining through dishonorable discharge.
    Save, that there are criminal penalties in the UK. Where hate speech might still remain protected, with some margins, that protection is not present in the UK and most Commonwealth nations.

    Or, they can do it US style, where they steal ammunition as an organized hidden group, then act out once they leave the service. That’s been nearly successful once, within the US armed forces and were barely caught before a tragic crime was committed to a large group and dozens of other smaller groups still betraying their nation have been caught, property recovered and they served time for their thefts. We’ve known since the ’90’s about that, when one group of former service members joined their civilian counterparts to take up arms against their targeted group and due to a few infiltrators, were intercepted, their arms confiscated and returned to the DoD.
    After, the FBI and since, DHS has been investigating such groups. Until Trump took office and dismantled that DHS team.

  22. wzrd1 says

    Oh, CofC refers to Chain of Command. WARP is a special office.
    WARP is Warning, Advice and Reporting Point.

  23. blf says

    Sooo, they’ll be disbanding the paras then?

    Sadly, no. Instead, there are moves afoot to give them (and other units) amnesty for the war crimes committed in N.Ireland, and (as I recall) for any committed anywhere more than ten years ago.

    (I haven’t been following this story very closely, and so could easily have details wrong. Corrections are most welcome.)