Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Gordon Brown and social history

I don't like our Prime Minister. I don't like what he stands for. I don't like the ideology he believes in, the politics he espouses or the policies that he and his disgraceful government are implementing.

I really do not like Gordon Brown.

But even I am finding the way the media hound and vilify him at every opportunity and for every little thing pretty disgusting. From biscuits to bad spelling it has now gone far beyond what could be considered reasonable and is now nothing more than the press trying to drive a man into an early grave. Yes, it is that bad. They do not just want to see him lose the election - they want to destroy the man.

Sure, the hand written letter to the grieving mother of a soldier killed in Afghanistan is slapdash, the handwriting atrocious and the spelling appalling, but isn't that just symptomatic of society today where text messaging corrupts our language and the email and word processor has meant that nobody bothers to write much of anything by hand any more?

Personally, I think that the fact Gordon Brown actually bothers to write these messages to the families of the fallen personally and by hand demonstrates that every man lost matters to our PM. He should be congratulated - not crucified. It would be all too easy for him to have some flunky draft the letter - spell checked and proof read - for him to sign, but the man actually takes the time to do it himself.

Did Tony Blair do this? I doubt it.

On a secondary note, the fact that letter writing has become something of a dying art is actually a serious cause for concern. Our historical record is based on the written or printed word and social history is particularly dependent on the handwritten letter. It is thanks to these that we know so much about our past social history - probably far more accurately than the official documented history of books which often omit the little details which can be obtained from personal letters.

In this digital age it is all too easy for these records to go missing. Who knows - in a thousand years hence they may be trying to piece together the history of these times from tiny fragments of information as so much has been lost. We could become the New Dark Ages for the people of the future simply because we ignored the skill of writing upon which our history - particularly our social history - depends.


JuliaM said...

"...but isn't that just symptomatic of society today where text messaging corrupts our language and the email and word processor has meant that nobody bothers to write much of anything by hand any more?"

Except Brown isn't of that generation.

Stan said...

No, but he belongs to the cultural clique that have imposed the assumption that spelling, grammar and good handwriting is elitist.

William Gruff said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
TheFatBigot said...

Having bad handwriting is one thing. Sending out a letter containing spelling errors and crossings-out is another, particularly on such a sensitive issue.

Only the irrational could think that even this most incompetent of Prime Ministers intended to cause offence. Of course he didn't.

In a way that makes it even worse.

Spelling errors are bad enough, but crossings-out can be avoided by taking a fresh sheet of paper and starting again. Not to do so suggests a cavalier attitude to the task at hand.

Jon said...

My mother was told of my father's death in the Second World Way by way of a personally signed by typewritten letter from King George.

She treasured that and I found it in her belongings when she died.

This miserable lot of envy ridden, socialist scum have tried to take every of what made us an tolerant and compassionate nation and destroyed it. I loathe them.

Stan said...

I noticed during the press conference yesterday that Brown appears to use a felt tip pen to write with - that won't help his handwriting much.

I hadn't realised there was crossing out as well, FB - that is really awful. No excuses for that.

Jon - a personal signed letter from the King is pretty impressive.

I've seem quite a few letters to WW2 families written by their son's commander. They tend to say pretty much what Brown's letter said - the difference being that they were always written in immaculate handwriting with good spelling and impeccable grammar.

Anonymous said...

"Personally, I think that the fact Gordon Brown actually bothers to write these messages to the families of the fallen personally and by hand demonstrates that every man lost matters to our PM."

But they don't though Stan. He writes the letters to appear "human" and "caring" - he really doesn't care at all.

Remember that this is the man who slashed MOD budgets whilst Chancellor and cut the helicopter budget in 2000/2001. If he cared so much, he would fund the forces properly so that they had the right equipment for the circumstances and terrain. He would ensure that the right number of troops was made available to the Commanders on the ground. He would give clear strategy and objectives.

That there was only ONE helicopter available for casevac operations is unforgiveable.

The only thing Gordon cares about is himself and his own political skin.

Stan said...

I don't know, Henry - until this furore started up, was anyone aware that Gordon Brown wrote personal letters to the families of soldiers killed in action? I wasn't - so I don't think he did it for appearances.

I think that pretty much all chancellors and governments have been guilty of cutting defence spending in real terms over the last forty years or so. I wonder if we would be so short of helicopters today if a certain PM had not sold off Westland?

It's a sad reality of war that soldiers are killed and more often than not it is due to the "lack" of something or other. Helicopters are excellent for medevac (as it was known in my day), but they are hugely expensive and terribly vulnerable. Perhaps it is a sign of the times that we have 30 air ambulances operating in the UK, but so few to support our troops in Afghanistan.

I'd also argue that the defence budget - although too small - would be just about adequate if the MOD were not so wasteful on procurement and the armed forces not so intent on big expensive projects such as Eurofighter, FRES and aircraft carriers with no aircraft.

Anonymous said...

Stan, it really doesn't do to blame previous governments on this issue. Yes there have been mistakes but this current lot have had 12 years to put things right. But instead we have been involved in 4 separate conflicts - Bosnia/Kosovo, Sierra Leone, Iraq and Afghanistan.

You would think by now that the Labour government would have got a handle on how to manage the armed forces on a war footing. But they haven't.

Helicopters are vulnerable and I vividly remember bullets pinging round the fuselage during my last casevac op in Angola. Generally casevac doesn't happen under fire and the dead and wounded are taken back to a safe landing area.

The mismanagement of projects is rife, and this government will always have pet projects such as Trident. Why? because it will provide jobs for their core vote rather than projects that will best serve the armed forces in the terrains and conditions that they are expected to operate.

Stan said...

I sort of agree and disagree, Henry. I don't agree that we can't blame previous governments because they are the ones that allowed the "culture" to develop at the MoD - and this government have just continued that culture. As for this government not getting it right despite fighting four wars in 12 years - I've posted before how I believe the main reason for this is that there is nobody in government today with significant experience of the armed forces. A bunch of ex-teachers, lawyers, barristers, councillors and union adminstrators doesn't add up to a great deal of knowledge on defence matters - and to be honest, it is not much better on the opposition side of the house.

The first duty of a government is defence of the nation. As such it is absolutely ridiculous that we do not have experienced former senior members of the armed services sitting on the front benches at the Houes of Commons.

I don't have a problem with governments using arms procurement to secure jobs - as long as they are British jobs and the projects are worthwhile. It does annoy me that we often choose projects which are politically expedient rather than militarily necessary - but again, you can blame previous governments for that too. After all, they are the ones who destroyed a once great defence industry in this country and that includes Tory governments.

Larry said...

This would certainly explain things:


Makes you wonder.