Friday, 14 September 2012

Spot the balls up

The Hillsborough scandal has followed the usual course. Quarter of a century wait for the truth;police come out badly, lawyers rub their hands as they wait for the shower of gold from a public inquiry and Jack Strawman blames it all on Lady Thatcher
.I have been out of tune with what we laughingly call Western Civilisation  since the Dawn of Denim and the advent in the Sixties of the  adenoid as a musical instrument.
One valuable lesson has stood between me and madness.
 I have never trusted  a word the Government has said.
The statistics for drunken drivers included drunken pedestrians and accidents in which drink was a presence but not necessarily the cause; the World Health Organisation despite trying unsuccesfully for five years to identify  dangers from second hand smoking, still insists they exist. They admitted that the number of safe drink units was plucked from the air. r The government has only to see a number to double it.

The Battle of Britain certainly saved us from invasion but  the gallant Few was a fiction. The RAF had several hundred more pilots than the Luftwaffe. Between June and September 1940 , we made three times as many new fighter planes. The  enemy  ran out of  aircraft and spares
 The Government  made a victory out of the shameful defeat  in France in 1940.The B.E.F left behind 475 tanks,38,000 vehicles, 12,000 motor cycles, 8,000 tephones, 1,855 wireless sets, 7,000 tons of ammunition,90,000 rifles,1,000 heavy guns,2,000 tractors, 8,00 bren guns and 400 anti tank guns. On 6 June the War Cabinet were told there were only 600,000 rifles and 12,000 Bren guns left with which to defend Britain.
In a vain attempt to persuade the French Government not to surrender the  51st Highland Division were ordered to stay behind. They  defended a twenty five mile front with only the light tanks of the Lothian Light Horse in support until forced to surrender.The Division,all volunteers 'were condemned to spend the war as slave labour in Silesian coal mines.
 Churchill was the Master of Spin. Asked how history would view Britains role in the war he replied.“ Have no fear. I will write it”
Unfortunately others were so incensed at his boasting they wrote  their own accounts .
In his diaries Field Marshall Sir Alan Brooke, his Chief of Staff wrote;
"He knows no details, has only got half the picture in his mind, talks absurdities, and makes my blood boil to listen to his nonsense. The wonder is that three quarters of the population imagine Churchill is one of the great strategistsof all time...and the other quarter have no conception what a menace he was"
The historian Noble Frankland wrote in The Spectator that Churchill  thought air support on a battlefield would add a complication without advantage; that the Germans would be unable to break the French on the Western Front; that the Japanese would be too cautious to enter the war and if theydid Singapore would remain invulnerable; neither submarines or aircraft would pose a seious threat to battleships and he sent two battleships without air cover and bnoth were sunk within a week. He did not believe in radar.He was a passionate advocate of poison gas He ordered the bombing of Dresden and then condemned it and was responsible for the disastrous Norway campaign. On the eve of victory in Europe he ordered the Chiefs of Staff to prepare a plan for an alliance with Germany to attack Russia"
Andrew Akexander in his book " America and the Imperialism of Ignorance" denies there was ever a Soviet threat. He quotes Sir Michael Howard " No serious historian any longer argues that Stalin ever had any intention of moving his forces outside the area he occupied in Eastern Europe"
In a fascinating book ""What needled Cleopatra" Phil Mason wrote of the  famous phrases, which  enshrined Churchill as a great leader. Sadly they were not original. In 1611
John Done wrote; "Tis in vain to do so or mollify it with thy tears or sweat or blood"
 In 1823 Byron wrote of "Blood,sweat and tear-wrung millions"
Others who used it were Lord Alfred douglas,d Theodore Roosevelt and Garibaldi
Churchill even admitted his plagiarism . In his History of the English Speaking Peoples he cites " much owed by so many to so few" as borrowed from a contemporary innthe English Civil War " Never ran so many from so few" Sir John Moore on the seige of Calvi in the Peninsula War " Neverwas so much work done by so few"
 His friend F.E.Smith talked of "The end of the beginning."
Not even Goebells was safe. In February 1945 he wrote inDas Reich of the result of Nazi surrender;
"... An Iron Curtain would descend on this territory"
Ten days later Churchil used it in a letter and later to great acclamation in the US Senate

As a War Corresopndent in the Boer War Winston was lionised when he broke his parole and escaped from captivity by the Boers in 1899. A fellow captive Aylmer Haldane claimed that he and another prisoner had included Churchill in their joint escape plan. " He slipped off without myself or the third man, whose abuse of Churchill I shall not forget"
Winston's political career until the Thirties was a resounding disaster but it did no damage to his towering self belief. Its apogee was the Gallipoli debacle which he urged on Government to relieve a British army in a vain attempt to capture Baghdad were trapped by the Turks at Kut el Amara. Gallipoli failed with half a million casualties , the army in Kut surrendered with 10,000 casualties, the diseased starving survivors were sent on a 600 mile death march to Anatolia where the few that remained were put to work on railroad change gangsies. Neither defeat need have happened. When the Young Turks seized the Ottoman empire in 1907 they sought an Alliance with Britain.At Churchill's urging Britain turned them down.  The Turks had placed an order for two battleships with Cammel Laird.  Churchill as First Lord of the Admiralty commandeered them.. In 1914 the Turks signed a pact with the Kaiser.
As Colonial Secretary in the 1920s, he unleashed the notorious Black and Tan thugs on Ireland's Catholic civilians, and when the Kurds rebelled against British rule, he said: "I am strongly in favour of using poisoned gas against uncivilised tribes...[It] would spread a lively terror."

. Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin was warned by Cabinet colleagues not to appoint him to office

 When Mahatma Gandhi launched his campaign of peaceful resistance, Churchill raged that he "ought to be lain bound hand and foot at the gates of Delhi, and then trampled on by an enormous elephant with the new Viceroy seated on its back." In 1943 a famine broke out in Bengal,  Up to 3 million people starved to death.e British officials begged Churchill to direct food supplies to the region. He bluntly refused.

He believed t Kenya should be kept for white settlers, and approved the clearing out of the local "blackamoors". ". under Churchill's post-war premiership, some 150,000 of them were forced at gunpoint into detention camps  where according to historian, Professor Caroline Elkins. . "Electric shock was widely used, as well as cigarettes and fire," she writes. "The screening teams whipped, shot, burned, and mutilated Mau Mau suspects."
Churchill invented Iraq. As  Colonial Secretary he offered Palestine to both the Jews and the Arabs –
Would we have won World War 2 without him? Probably not. He inspired the Home Front in the darkest days,he was the first to warn against the dangers of the fledgling Nazi party at a time when much of the Establishment, including Edward 8 admired Hitler and would have welcomed Nazi invasion. His personal bravery was beyond question. He expiated the Gallipoli debacle by fighting in the front line in France commanding a battalion of the Scots Guards
A close friend Lord Boothby who shared many of Churchill's "qualities" said of him " Churchill was a shit but he came at a time when we needed shits"

Clearly the Olympic Games ,like the rest of the poor, is always going to be with us.It has succeeded in taking  the public's mind off the appaling mess successive governments have made of our finances.It has justified the billions spent on Nazi inspired imagery. The Olympic village, the torch ceremony,even theOlympic circles archeologists "found" on a cave in Greece were put there by Lotte Reineger and used as a symbol in the film she made of the Berlin Games.
I suggest an innovation without a shady past
. For four years lottery money has been poured into the training of athletes to ensure that most gold medasls went to the teams from wealthy countries.Poorer countries weere nowhere.
 Should not the money be put into a joint fund and shared with the poorer countries? That would have been the manifestation of the true Olympic Spirit of which everyone could be proud to share.