The proud motto of northern Europe’s crack rapid-reaction force is ad omnia paratus. Prepared for everything, everywhere. But the heraldic lion above the Latin tag now sends a less plucky message – he has just been digitally emasculated and, though technically still a lion rampant, he does not seem to be ready for anything, anywhere.
The change was implemented after a group of women Swedish soldiers protested that they could not identify with such an ostentatiously male lion on their army crest. A complaint of sex discrimination was then lodged with the European Court of Justice.
“We were forced to cut the lion’s willy off with the aid of a computer,” Christian Braunstein, from the Tradition Commission of the Swedish Army, said.
Now the Nordic Battlegroup, a force of 2,400 soldiers, is looking deeply embarrassed. For sceptics who already consider the Nordic Battlegroup to be something of an oxymoron – it is led by the Swedes, who were last in battle in 1809 – the operation on the lion is not an auspicious omen.
“A castrated lion – the perfect symbol for European defence policy,” an American military blogger sneered.
They seem not to have noted that said lion still has a mane.