Sunday, July 15, 2007

Heroes and villains

I sat down to watch "Dambusters" yesterday afternoon with my youngest son.

This inspiring tale of inventive genius and selfless heroism would not get made today - instead we would have to have "balance" provided through images of the German dead and the devastation wreaked upon the innocent civilian population. This would be followed by long passages of introspection by the surviving pilots for the comrades they lost and questions of "was it worth it?".

This is why, 25 years after the Falklands War, we still haven't had a decent film made about the many heroic events of that war.

But the most insightful comment came from my son as the pilots returned to their mess after their harrowing mission to drink their tea and eat their eggs and bacon wreathed in cigarette smoke.

"They wouldn't be allowed to do that now" he said - meaning smoke cigarettes in a canteen.

This immediately conjured up the image in my mind of some supercilious, self-important "health and safety" jobsworth telling the weary and mightily relieved men to "put those cigarettes out".

It's the curse of our times that our nation is in the hands of people not fit to lick the boots of the British heroes who forged and defended our nation.

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