The term 'camp followers' draws its publicly understood meaning from only one type of camp. However, it does not lose any force if used to refer to others; such as peace camps, or environmental protest camps.
I am, of course, no longer a solicitor in Scotland, but the recent unfavourable publicity surrounding the behaviour of the Special Demonstration Squad, specifically the reprehensible sexual conduct, including the fathering of children upon suspects, which has been alleged against, and in some cases admitted by, former members, has got me thinking a bit about really how foolish such courses of action might have been and might yet still be for the men concerned.
For example, if any of them were married at the time they started behaving in that manner it would seem to me to be very unlikely that the nature of the roles they were playing, and the purposes for which they were being played, would constitute a defence to any action for divorce on the grounds of their adultery that might - ever - be raised against them by their wives.
Similarly, it also seems to me to be very unlikely that the nature of the roles they were playing, and the purposes for which they were being played, would ever absolve them of their clear obligation to aliment the children they fathered, unless, of course, such behaviour had the benefit of existing statutory protection. If such protections exist that would in my view be a disgrace. The state cannot condemn some absent and irresponsible fathers via the Child Support Act and then condone others who have fathered the children from whom they have later absented themselves while furthering the alleged interests of the State.
Similarly, if any of them were married and entered into marriages which they knew to be bigamous they would in my view have no defence to any prosecution for bigamy which they might later face.
There seems to me be very little moral difference between the behaviour of these men and the behaviour of the Argentinian authorities during the Dirty War, if only because fathering a child under false pretences is precisely the same as raising one under false pretences in my book. However, the children fathered by the camp followers of the Special Demonstration Squad seem to me to occupy a unique position in law. Even although their fathers have their own personal obligations towards them, these are children who would not have been fathered had their fathers not been engaged, to their understanding, in the business of the State. These are not children who were conceived off-duty - these children were conceived in the line of duty, and I can't think of any group of children outwith the Royal Family who have ever enjoyed such a unique relationship with the State. The State therefore cannot just walk away from them. They deserve and really must receive lifelong support - perhaps a measure of priority in education, healthcare and housing, or a pension of some kind; for if they have come into the world as a result of actions intended to make us all more secure, a measure of security is precisely what we owe them.