Loyalty is a two-way street: We shouldn’t be surprised that RAF pilots are hawking their skills to China

Loyalty is a two-way street: We shouldn’t be surprised that RAF pilots are hawking their skills to China. By Simon Evans.

News broke this week that China has recruited dozens of former British military pilots ‘to teach the Chinese armed forces how to defeat Western warplanes and helicopters’. According to Sky News’ Deborah Haynes: ‘Some 30 pilots — many ex-fast jet, but also some helicopter pilots, lured by annual salaries of around £240,000 — are currently in China training pilots in the People’s Liberation Army, in what a defence analyst described as a stunning breach of security.’

The immediate and overwhelming consensus has been one of almost comical indignation, bordering on horror and disbelief. After all, it would be hard to imagine a more overtly treacherous act than taking money to school our adversaries in our weaknesses and limitations, and in how to neutralise our strengths.

And not just any adversary. China! ….

The times and culture has changed:

RAF pilots are highly qualified, no doubt. But so too, it seems, is our appreciation of their service.

RAF pilots were once celebrated for their courage — for an almost cavalier disdain for risk that had made them, as Churchill reminded us in August 1940, deserving of an historically unprecedented debt of per capita gratitude.

Yet they have more recently come to be seen as yet another example of ‘toxic white masculinity’. And those drawn from the traditional stock of ‘The Few’ — the archetype that still informs the British public’s imagination and no doubt that of eager Chinese recruiters — have been made to feel about as welcome as a fart in a sealed, high-velocity cockpit.

‘RAF “pauses job offers for white men” to meet “impossible” diversity targets’ ran a headline only a couple of months ago …

Throw in the well-established tradition of letting veterans decline as long and hard as their individual story arc demands and it is not too hard to imagine a glimmer of ‘Very well then — fuck you!’ bubbling up under such circumstances.


The elevation and prevalence of ‘DEI’ — that is, diversity, equity and inclusion — as a priority in human-resource management, attracts a lot of lazy scorn. It is perhaps too tempting to resent well-intentioned efforts to attract a wider range of acceptable candidates, to draw from a deeper well. The UK no longer looks like it did when the Battle of Britain was being fought. Wouldn’t it be great if its defenders looked like the people they were defending?


But maybe there are other cases when criteria other than DEI targets should take precedence. And maybe these include those in which candidates themselves are facing the very real prospect of becoming actual targets — locked on to by some hostile digital crosshairs. When they are expected to embrace the fact that, if they or their colleagues make one single error, they might very easily, actually die. …

Imagine finding out that some on your team have been selected by criteria other than their chances of keeping you alive. Imagine then realising that your presence is publicly regretted — that you are seen by your bosses as some sort of unwelcome beneficiary of white privilege, hogging all the best kills. Is this not likely to grate, somewhat? Meanwhile, there is only so long you can ignore the sheer marketability of your personal skill stack.

Another unforeseen consequence of woke. So much is taken for granted that breaks under woke or communism.