Was shooting a picture of Jeremy Corbyn army banter or something much worse?
By Joe Harker
A video that appeared to show British soldiers shooting a picture of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn on the firing range has caused controversy.
The video showed a number of soldiers during target practice firing at an enlarged picture of the politician with the caption "happy with that".
A full investigation has been launched into the matter as widespread condemnation of the video has been given, particularly in a time where violence against politicians is a real threat.
Brigadier Nick Perry said the army was taking the matter "extremely seriously" and would be investigating the matter fully. He said those shown in the video displayed "totally unacceptable behaviour"
He insisted the army will always be an apolitical organisation.
Corbyn said he was "shocked" by the video and Labour said it had confidence in the army's ability to investigate the matter. A spokesperson for prime minister Theresa May said the conduct was "clearly unacceptable", while defence secretary Gavin Williamson commended the army for quickly launching an investigation.
Labour MP and former soldier Paul Sweeney said he was concerned that the video of soldiers shooting a picture of Corbyn could lead to another assassination of an MP. Labour MP Jo Cox was murdered in 2016 and some politicians regularly receive death threats.
Violence against politicians is a serious problem in British democracy. Rosie Cooper, another Labour MP, was the focus of a recent terrorist plot to assassinate her, reports The Times. A former member of a far-right group planned to kill her with a machete to send a message to the House of Commons.
The Counter Claim:
Retired army Colonel Richard Kemp said he thought the soldier's actions were "entirely inappropriate and unacceptable" but insisted there was nothing "sinister" behind it.
He said the soldiers were just "having a laugh and fooling around" in an example of military humour that went a bit too far rather than implying that they would actually like to shoot the leader of the opposition.
Colonel Kemp said it was "quite obvious" that the soldiers weren't practicing killing Corbyn, suggesting that those in the video would likely receive a verbal warning or minor punishment rather than something more serious like a court martial.
A former Royal Marine called into LBC to give his view on the matter and said the soldiers would have got the picture of the Labour leader as one of the targets on the shooting range they were not supposed to fire at. He said other pictures on the range included other politicians and football managers.
He also gave an example of military humour by criticising the grouping of the shots, saying that a dark sense of humour was necessary for many who had to deal with the threat of death that comes with being in the armed forces.
The date of the footage is currently unknown, but is thought the incident was filmed in Afghanistan.
ITV News reports that the photo of Corbyn used was taken in March 2018 so the video was most likely taken within the last year.
The video was first posted on Snapchat but has since been shared on many other social media platforms and has been used by a number of news sites.