He might have made the top

A decorated two-star general has been forced to leave the British Army after being found guilty of lying about his relationship with a female subordinate, The Telegraph has learned.

Major-General Chris Bell, 48,

This might be a little out of date but there comes a point where it’s up or out. Do your 2 or 3 year posting, gain promotion from it or that’s it, pension time. This usually starts at age 55.

But as you can see, there are only a couple of steps left to the top there. And he’s 48. He coulda been a contender.

On the other hand this is part of what the system is at this level. A vicious competition to see who will make it to that top.

15 thoughts on “He might have made the top”

  1. None of which has much to do with fighting for the UK. It has always been the same I suppose –but it shouldn’t be. Maybe he was a waste of space we are well rid of or maybe he was a latter day Wellington. But his abilities on the job should be what counts not where his dick is lodged.

  2. As often in these circumstances, it’s not the shagging or even so much the rumours of paternity that matter, it’s that he got caught lying about it. Which, for someone running 77 Bde, is a really bad thing.

    Now, well-sourced rumour has it that some of the oddballs involved in 77 Bde and their support have the sort of vetting interviews that leave the interviewers reaching for the brain bleach (Q. “How many sexual partners have you had?” A. “This week? In one session? At the same time? In the same orifice?”) but as long as it all involves consenting adults and the security mob know about it so they can support you against any attempts to compromise you, it’s manageable.

    In that environment, if you start putting it about or otherwise engaging in nonconformist behaviour, you need to let the National Security Vetting mob know soonest, so that if someone tries “tell us all about the Sea Noff missile system or we send your wife the sextape of you, the ladyboys and the llama” they’re prepared and ready to pounce on the perpetrators.

    (I still live in hope that the lovely, pouting Svetlana and Ekaterina will offer me lengthy, detailed discussions of Uganda before trying to blackmail me for State secrets, but so far no luck)

    General Bell’s sin is likely to be not so much rogering a subordinate under his command – that’s not good and causes issues, but usually results in transfers, warnings and less likelihood of advancement not dismissal – but failure to report it and admit to it, and as Top Man he really has to be seen to be setting the example or suffering the consequences.

    I’d guess it’s not even that he didn’t come clean to colleagues to admit “yes, all right, I have been hanging out of the back of that foxy chick from 3MI” but that NSV were unaware of a relationship that would leave him vulnerable to compromise, or learned about it through the rumourmill rather than from him.

    Tim also makes a good political point – if he’s not likely to pick up his third star (the ‘rumoured to be shagging subordinates’ will do that) and doesn’t have a “next job” as a 2*, he’s out anyway, so this is a useful way to make a public example of him (complete with “look, even major-generals aren’t above the law!”) and there may have been a quiet discussion of “we’ll hoof you out with fanfare, but if you don’t fight it we won’t mess with your pension and we’ll have a word with a few of your prospects for future employment about how they shouldn’t let this cloud their judgement…”)

  3. So Much For Subtlety

    In that environment, if you start putting it about or otherwise engaging in nonconformist behaviour, you need to let the National Security Vetting mob know soonest

    This is what was explained to me when I interviewed for some organisation or other. Whatever I was in to was fine as long as I told them. Which I thought was nice. Good to see they were so open minded and moving with the times.

    Then I went to work for some other organisation – utterly unrelated in any way to the first organisation (not even in the same ball park so I probably could mention it here) – and they asked a question about some other matters. They assured me that ticking yes did not effect the outcome. Which I thought was also nice.

    After some years working there it came up in conversation with one of the Grand Fromages and I said it was nice that they still took people who ticked yes. And he said not to be so stupid – anyone who ticked yes went right into recycling as they had a queue of people who wanted the job and they weren’t going to waste their time.

    Then I think about my last boss who, despite mouthing all the right platitudes about consenting adults, was had some old fashioned views about men exploiting women. I am pretty sure that he would have found a way to fire me the moment I mentioned doing the Help.

    So I wonder about the Army and the Security Services in general. Yes I am sure their lawyers tell them what they are allowed to say. But I would like to meet someone who was boffing the Junior Staff, whether or not dressed in squirrel suits, admitted it, and yet still got promoted.

    Our ruling class is marked, above all, by a complete lack of connection between what they say and what they do.

  4. SMFS,

    I can only say it applies in the areas I’ve direct knowledge of: it may well be or have been more puritan elsewhere in other places and times (twenty years ago, my brother-in-law was basically being vetted for “no gays, and if you don’t have a current girlfriend you’re suspect…” – that’s probably not the only reason he took up with my sister)

    It may depend on the supply of applicants and how easy it would be to replace a discarded candidate… hence why some colourful characters in very specific niches still receive high-level clearances (and only occasionally end up fatally zipped into sports holdalls…) because they’re scarce specialists in a limited field.

    The two issues involved are that the ex-General was (allegedly) shagging someone not his wife, which is a vulnerability to compromise, without telling at least the vetting and security authorities; and that the “someone” he was (allegedly) going horizontal-jogging with was a subordinate in his unit, which is a disciplinary breach.

    My own view, is that in isolation the second part was likely to result in a discreet, largely-internal “bad General, no promotion, no next job”, and that – given the unit he was involved with – it was the first part of ‘failing to disclose’, that provoked a public pour encourager les autres.

  5. From memory, didn’t the Duke of Wellington buy into a commission as Colonel never having served in a lower rank and shagged any number of women not his wife?

  6. So Much For Subtlety

    rhoda klapp January 7, 2021 at 11:21 am – “From memory, didn’t the Duke of Wellington buy into a commission as Colonel never having served in a lower rank and shagged any number of women not his wife?”

    So unfair! He did not buy a commission as a Colonel.

    He bought one as a Lieutenant Colonel.

  7. ‘shagged any number of women not his wife?’

    Wasn’t it Wello who said ‘Publish and be damned’ when one of his non-wives threatened to reveal all?

  8. This post has been up for hours now. I’m really disappointed in the commenters, that it’s taken so long for someone to make a “Bell end” joke.

  9. @Jason Lynch
    “and if you don’t have a current girlfriend you’re suspect”

    obviously not an IT job then.

  10. “didn’t the Duke of Wellington buy into a commission as Colonel never having served in a lower rank…?”: brilliantly inaccurate. He became a star commander in the Indian Army before joining the British Army.

  11. Bloke in North Powys

    Many years ago, probably over 30, I was interviewed about one of my staff who had applied for a top security job. Eventually we came to “How much does he drink”. I knew he drank a fair bit as we had often discussed lots of beers and home brewing so I said “About the same as me”. The chap nodded and wrote it down. My chap got the job.

  12. Bloke in North Dorset

    “ Just had a quick look at 77 – interesting unit.”

    Me too and I’ll be off to find out a bit more.

    Oh how things change. In my day it was SigInt, Electronic Warfare and massive radars that didn’t exist that were the security vulnerabilities. Which reminds me, I arrived for my 2nd tour in a well known high place in Cyprus right in the middle of a huge RAF investigation in to “pool parties” and major security breaches.

    That led to a major change in the vetting process, no more asking your mates if you’re a good chap.

  13. So Much For Subtlety

    dearieme January 7, 2021 at 3:19 pm – ““didn’t the Duke of Wellington buy into a commission as Colonel never having served in a lower rank…?”: brilliantly inaccurate. He became a star commander in the Indian Army before joining the British Army.”

    How is it inaccurate?

    At the age of 18 he was commissioned in the army and appointed aide-de-camp to the Irish viceroy. In 1790–97 he held the family seat of Trim in the Irish Parliament. At 24, though in debt, he proposed to Catherine (Kitty) Pakenham but was rejected. Arthur abandoned heavy gambling to concentrate on his profession. As lieutenant colonel of the 33rd Foot by purchase, he saw active service in Flanders (1794–95), learning from his superiors’ blunders. After failing to obtain civil employment, he was glad to be posted to India in 1796.

    So he was born in 1769. Say he entered the Army – the British Army not the Indian one – in 1788. He had political connections so he did not soldiering. He was a political appointee in order to keep up with his drinking and gambling. It was six years later that he proposed, was rejected and so tried to become serious. He then served in Flanders – with the British Army not the Indian one.

    After being in the British Army for eight years, he went to India. Where, incidentally, his brother had been appointed Vice-Roy.

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