I FEEL the UK Ministry of Defence requires to tighten up its recruitment procedures, especially in respect of job advertisements. The Ministry has recently encountered a measure of legal turbulence stemming from action taken against it by one Chris McEleny, one of its former employees. Mr McEleny, a former electrician at HM Naval Base Clyde, is claiming constructive dismissal by the MoD on the grounds that it discriminated against him on account of his political views. A three-day employment tribunal, finishing yesterday, heard submissions in the case.

Mr McEleny is a lifelong supporter of Scottish independence who has represented Inverclyde West as a councillor for the SNP. HM Naval Base Clyde is where the UK’s nuclear submarine fleet resides. Mr McEleny is of Irish heritage.

Understandably, the MoD can never be too choosy in its selection of candidates to work in the vicinity of war machines capable of wrecking much of the civilised world as well as Greenock and Port Glasgow. As such, I feel we ought to cut them some slack in their recruitment processes. Perhaps all future job adverts should carry the following appendage: “Preference will be given to those candidates who can demonstrate an unblemished record of voting for the Conservative and Unionist party. It will also be considered advantageous if the candidate is an opponent of the Good Friday Agreement, a Brexiter and a subscriber to Jane’s Defence Weekly, Soldier magazine or the Pocket Guide to Lethal Weapons.

“By agreeing to participate in the selection process candidates will be deemed to have consented to having their electronic media scrutinised. Search histories which reveal the subject to be a supporter of Scottish independence, have an uncommon interest in the songs of Christy Moore and Thin Lizzy and be an imbiber of Guinness may be subject to further questioning.”


The detail of Mr McEleny’s case against the MoD might strike some of today’s snowflake generation as problematic. He was first suspended and then had his security clearance revoked in 2016. Subsequently, he was visited at his home by unnamed agents of the MoD, Messrs Redacted and Redacted. Not unnaturally, given the sensitive nature of Mr McEleny’s employment, he was asked searching questions about his interest in Irish politics, notwithstanding that his family originated in the county of Donegal. He was also asked about visiting websites pertaining to the vicissitudes of Rangers FC and a suspicious interest in the lyrics of folk songs about the Highland Clearances and the back catalogue of Runrig.

There were also troubling eye-witness reports that Mr McEleny had once completed only 54 seconds of the requisite minute’s silence to mark the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother following her sad and untimely passing at the age of 101 in 2002. Visitors to his home have also noted the absence of a portrait of Her Britannic Majesty, Queen Elizabeth on any of his walls. Mr McEleny has also been seen wandering about during his days off sporting a hooped football top. Certainly, his home team of Greenock Morton FC wear hooped jerseys but at a distance you can never be too sure.

I feel though, that people need to get real and understand that the security of the realm is at stake here. We can’t have any old Vincent, Damian or Patrick wandering around a nuclear site willy nilly. As an electrician, Mr McEleny possessed all the skills necessary to cause grievous and catastrophic damage to our nuclear deterrent and thus aid our enemies who are seeking to destroy us and undermine our way of life. He was well capable of slipping unnoticed onto one of our submarines and doing untold damage to it. With a few twists of his screwdriver he could have removed its headlights and caused it to crash or done something dodgy to the propeller blades.

Britain has a long and proud history of free association and speech where men and women of all faiths and ethnic backgrounds are welcome. These privileges were hard-won and we can’t have them being compromised by loose talk, idle hobbies and scurrilous habits.

As it says in 1 Peter 5: “Be sober and vigilant because your opponent the devil, as a roaring lion, doth walk about, seeking whom he may swallow up.” We also know that sometimes Satan wears a tartan bunnet; is known to wave a Lion Rampant and is partial to drink in the hours of daylight. He often prefers a potato-based diet and is unpredictable of mood and behaviours. In these turbid and uncertain days as we seek to exit the European Union it behoves us all to remain vigilant and be on the look-out for those who want to damage us.

It’s also been pointed out that perhaps the Ministry ought to be looking in different places for evidence of treachery or endangerment to our national security. After all, the biggest traitors to Britain’s cause have come from the ranks of the aristocracy and Oxbridge types like Anthony Blunt, Kim Philby, Guy Burgess and Donald MacLean. And yes, even some members of the royal family themselves were keen to appease our greatest foe and seek a bolt-hole in the United States and, er, Ireland.

Usually though, we’ve been able to hush all of that up under the 30-year rule before it can do any lasting damage. Those lower down the orders don’t have the same capacity as their social superiors for resisting the treacherous charm of John Barleycorn and are thus susceptible to the curse of the loose tongue. And in these days of Twitter and Facebook it’s far more difficult to prevent a sneaky picture of the engine room of a big dreadnought finding its way out there for the Russians and Chinese to cast their beady eyes on.

Mr McEleny really ought to have known that he would come under scrutiny sooner or later and he should be thankful that he was permitted to work at the naval base for as long as he did. In a spirit of fair play the Ministry should ensure that his pension contributions nonetheless remain intact. Just to be on the safe side though, he should be placed under covert observation and have his passport confiscated for a limited period.