Baroness Thatcher: Castration of a Nation

Last week, an appeal was sent out by a firm of funeral directors, appointed to ensure that a veteran of World War 2, Harold Percival – who had served as ground crew of the Royal Air Force’s Bomber Command – had a dignified funeral. The appeal was to ask “Any Service Personnel” to attend.

Mr Percival had no spouse, no children and appeared to live much of his later years alone.

There was, unsurprisingly, much activity on social media.

Some tweeted the link to the plea. Others championed the cause, asking others to go to the funeral of this hero.

Indeed, some people even wrote in the comments sections of newspapers about how instrumental they had been in getting lots of people to this forgotten old man’s funeral by quite proudly reporting that they had posted a link to their Facebook wall.

In the end, more 500 people, including many in uniform or wearing regimental blazers, turned out to pay their respects to a man they had never met.

Some of the mourners were crying. For whom? It cannot have been for Mr Percival, or his presence, because they didn’t know him.

My grandfathers were both veterans of World War 2. One enlisted in 1937 and saw war in all its horrors, in no particular order and among other locations, in Dunkirk, Normandy, Italy, North Africa and the Far East.

In his lifetime, he told me only of the locations and some of the funnier experiences in that awful period. Much to my amusement, he took the identity of the woman tattooed on his right forearm to his grave…

My other grandfather was one of those who were to be later described as the Liberators of the death camp at Bergen-Belsen.

The only thing he said to me about his war was “We were told not to give our rations to the thousands of starving people there, because it would kill them.”

Another old friend, an American Veteran who settled in the UK after the war, only ever told me of how his war ended. “Shot in both legs on Omaha Beach, Purple Heart. 50 years of not being able to do the “walk-in-a-straight-line drunk test”

Finally, there was the neighbour who came back, emaciated, from an unnamed Japanese prisoner of war camp. He was nursed back to health by his mother and died, unmarried and childless, 20-odd years ago.

None of these men ever wore the medals he was awarded. One man donated his medals to a university. One man sold his medals, one man kept them in a Quality Street tin, and the other man’s medals were thrown into the sea. None of these men ever attended a Remembrance Day parade.

None of these men would have described themselves as a “hero”.

I feel that Harold Percival, may he rest in peace, would also not have described himself as a hero.

Few veterans of World War 2 would. They were just doing what their country had called on them to do. To work together to defeat the Nazi World Order. They were just doing what needed to be done.

Perhaps if some of the 500-plus people who turned out to mourn this unknown man, and in very many cases pronounce him a ‘hero’, had made the effort to get to know this man in life they would have been able to ask him that themselves.

He wasn’t the first and he won’t be the last old person to die alone, with no family or friends to share a cup of tea or open a Christmas present with.

If you shared the link to the letter from the funeral directors, think on that the next time you walk straight past the house where the lonely old bloke or the strange cat woman lives.

Maybe they don’t want company, but we don’t know unless we ask.

I have written that words – such as racism – have been misused and rendered impotent, or claimed by one particular group (here and here) leading to the loss of the use of words from our wonderfully rich language.

I believe that “hero” is sadly going that way.

In this story, we see a bus driver stopping his bus to persuade a suicidal woman not to kill herself. He, and his actions, in the article are described as “heroic”.

It is a sad reflection on society that once normal acts of humanity have become so rare that we now call them heroic (remember when this happened in that other fine Communist society in China? Does humanity exist under communism?).

Or perhaps it is simply the cynic in me who thinks that manipulation of language into newspeak is becoming more prevalent.

It was that glorious bastion of communism the USSR that had decorations called “Hero of the Soviet Union”, which were “…awarded for heroic feats in service to the Soviet state and society”.

This type of collective public outpouring of grief, such as we saw in Mr Percival’s funeral, has become popular since Tony Blair told us to mourn the “People’s Princess” Diana.

It suggests to me that the political elite seem to have declared war on the British Stiff Upper Lip – that we as a nation shouldn’t show some spine. It seems that the current crop of politicians is pretty spineless, but that’s an aside…

Perhaps it’s further evidence of the emasculation of the population as theorised by the Frankfurt School.

Yet why would a group of Marxists want to emasculate a nation? Could it be so that were a new order to rear its ugly head, as it did in 1930’s Germany, we wouldn’t be the Lions we once were and fight back?

Perhaps instead, we’ll be too busy waiting for the Order of the Hero to be awarded for nothing more than being a decent human being – and doing the right thing.

Hero Of The Soviet Union

2 comments on “Baroness Thatcher: Castration of a Nation

  1. silverminer
    November 15, 2013 at 10:12 am #

    “Yet why would a group of Marxists want to emasculate a nation? Could it be so that were a new order to rear its ugly head, as it did in 1930’s Germany, we wouldn’t be the Lions we once were and fight back?”

    The Baroness asks the right questions here. This is exactly what is happening. When you start joining up the dots the picture becomes clear.

  2. therealguyfaux
    November 15, 2013 at 3:15 pm #

    I am of two minds, I suppose– on the one hand, considering the cravenness of many in Europe who went supine at the sight of Germans coming at them, British WWII veterans as a group are heroic, in the sense that the nation, as a whole, was.

    But of course, the question really is whether the term is abused– in the case of the bus driver, who did, to some extent, risk injury and possible death himself if his attempt to save the woman had gone horribly wrong– an attempt the law does not require he make– some recognition may be due, of course. Whether that includes The Donald cutting him a cheque for ten grand is a different issue altogether.

    The systematic devaluation of excellence, by the awarding of “participation trophies,” may be what is leading to the hyperbolic use of “hero” to encompass, e.g., the firefighter who brings the cat down from the tree, to use a familiar example of someone going the extra mile perhaps, but in no wise going well beyond the bounds of safety. More important by far nowadays, it seems, to build children’s self-esteem by interpreting the Woody Allen dictum of, success consists mostly of just showing up, as implying the showing-up as being a sufficient condition, and not a necessary one, as Mr Allen meant.

    In terms of “showing up,” for the late Mr Percival’s funeral, all well and fine. What are you going to do NOW– that’s the main thing.

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