It’s that time of year when stores that don’t usually sell books have on display the coffee table books that are perennial favourites for Christmas presents. Motoring, cooking and Christmas romances are always very popular along with the exploits of fictional detectives, novels sitting alongside biographies of some tome by a politician (I wonder how many Christmas stockings will include ‘For the Record’ by David Cameron?) and the now usual historical books with the two world wars being in particular evidence this year.
I’m not of the age group that these books are written for and it may well be that they are for younger generations who, according to the mass media, are not particularly interested in modern British history or the two World Wars. However, I did have a conversation recently with a young and very enthusiastic history teacher who told me that that was not necessarily correct but in her case the curriculum allowed just about two hours to explore with students the whole of World War 2. I ventured to suggest that this should act as a bit of a warning to the political ‘elite’, but maybe they are all of the same mind as Henry Ford or Corbyn’s Labour Party who want to rubbish everything ever done by Britons. They have the idea that all history is ‘bunk’ or ‘racist’ or some such and not worth taking the time to study or teach, unless of course it’s the work of a ‘revisionist’. Such people generally want to decry or apologise and have all the answers and knowledge that sitting behind a computer in a specially designed office chair in air conditioned comfort provides.
It’s amazing what confidence some people have when deciding that they have more analytical thought processes or insights into what people did or thought or said – sometimes hundreds of years ago. You can see this illustrated not only by authors but often by well-known figures in the arts world and particularly politicians who are seemingly hell-bent on tying the UK to some military alliance with the EU defence force as it prepares to defend Europe against some imaginary military threat from goodness knows where. Just for a moment imagine the EU, bolstered by the UK military and taxpayer, strutting around the world stage with the British and French nuclear capability under its central command and eventually taking a seat on the UN Security Council.
Now that would make a good thriller, with a motley crew making decisions on how our armed forces should or should not be deployed. Well I say a ‘thriller’ more like a ‘nightmare,’ when even a cursory look at what these people intend to do, are doing, or more worryingly have already signed up to do without any scrutiny in Parliament or by the mainstream media. Surely that should be enough to make people ask questions and not be fobbed off with carefully scripted non-answers as is the case now and has been for some time.
Odd then how silent everyone is about this, but then the present and prospective Parliamentary clowns would never sign the UK up to anything without informing the great British Public, would they?
How different things once were, when young men and women actually volunteered for the armed services, unlike today when recruitment and lack of trained personnel is causing operational problems for the services. How long, I wonder, will it be before conscription to fill our role in the EU defence force raises its head? Hopefully the Remain parents and grandparents of Dyson and Amelia will be very happy to see their progeny kitted out in the multi gender field grey uniform of their beloved super state.
But not to worry, the Prime Minister and Defence Secretary (who’s turn is it this week?) have said many times we have nothing to worry about (just as ‘I’d rather be dead in a ditch’ and ‘the UK was leaving the EU on 31st of October’). If that’s the case, why is it these supposed or imaginary defence treaties are not being talked about on the run up to the election? Maybe the ‘elite’ sees few votes in admitting what they are planning for the futures of all these young people that we keep hearing about.
I recently attended a talk by the well-known journalist and writer Max Hastings. The subject was his latest book Operation Chastise, which describes in meticulous detail the RAF ‘Dam busters’ bombing raid on the German Ruhr dams during World War 2, a raid carried out at great cost by young men still in their late teens or early 20s who displayed courage and determination that beggars belief in this over-comfortable closeted world of the 21st century. You certainly grew up quickly in those days that is for certain. Photographs taken at the time show young men of 20 looking like men in their early 40s and family diaries give touching details of how parents and siblings noticed how quiet and withdrawn their son or brother had become on what was to be their last leave before leaving for the raid. Although you may not agree with some of the conclusions, the book is well researched and an interesting read for anyone who has an interest in the subject.
All this came to mind a couple of days later when, driving into a city multi-story car park, the driver of the car in front suddenly braked hard and sounded the car’s horn, just in time as it happens, as two children flashed past us on scooters. Bit dangerous I thought, wonder why they aren’t in school, it being a Tuesday afternoon, and then we drove off, parked the car and thought no more about it. As one does these days of many people doing the most extraordinary things it’s probably better and safer to ignore.
Part 2 will be published here tomorrow.