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Armed Forces Covenant

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:06 pm on 2nd February 2017.

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Photo of Bob Stewart Bob Stewart Conservative, Beckenham 4:06 pm, 2nd February 2017

The main point of the armed forces covenant is to ensure good morale in our armed forces. Maintenance of morale is the second most important principle of war and has been described as

“a positive state of mind derived from inspired political and military leadership, a shared sense of purpose and values, well-being, perceptions of worth and group cohesion.”

It is thus at the heart of the armed forces covenant. Napoleon called morale the “sacred flame”. He went further, saying, “Morale is to the physical as three is to one”. When I was an instructor at Sandhurst, between 1979 and 1980, when some in the Chamber were not even born, I did not really understand that. [Interruption.] Hon. Members are waving at me. I taught it, but I did not understand it. It means that if an army has high morale, the enemy thinks it has more forces. I did not understand that until I went to Bosnia.