DULCE ET DECORUM EST

 

I’ll have no truck with the ceremonies in London where royals and political leaders gathered to pay their respects to people who died in a war that ended at 11 am 100 years ago today (and in the many conflicts since).

Not because I think we should forget war, and most assuredly not such a stupid pointless war as the one from 1914-18 that killed so many millions of people and wrecked the lives of countless more, because we should never forget this kind of monumental folly.

No, rather we should remember and learn from them.

But I want nothing to do with this tra la la, because that is what it will be. There’s no learning to be done. Just the Brits showing off their ceremonial prowess.

Image result for the queen at the cenotaph

The “great and the good” will be there in their expensive black clothes, looking suitably solemn, many of them wearing the “exclusive” poppies that posh people seem to get a hold of. And they will bow their heads in a show of respect for the dead. The dead that they, or their ancestors or predecessors, sent to war, sometimes arguably justifiably, and sometimes most definitely not.

All the remembrance has taught us nothing because, of course, it is rarely the sons of the great and the good (with a few honourable exceptions) that end up in the firing line.

Image result for the queen at the cenotaph

Then, once the ceremony is over, those and their likes will retire to the Foreign Office, mix with minor royalty and doubtless sup taxpayer-funded drinks. Duty done for another year.

Now all of that is fine… or it would be, if along with appearing at the Cenotaph* and looking sad, they would take action to ensure that those who did not die in their many and various wars, but who came home with horrible injuries to body and mind, and the families of those who did perish, were looked after by a grateful state.

Like so much else in this country, remembrance and the poppy have been devalued by politicians who use them as a political tool. If you don’t wear a poppy you are not patriotic. You don’t support ‘our brave boys’. Be ashamed.

Image result for ex servicemen begging for money

Incidentally, funds raised by the Scottish Poppy Appeal are directed to:

  • Providing direct financial assistance to ex-Service men, women and their dependents in Scotland.
  • Funding an advice service, including pension claims and appeals.
  • Supported employment for veterans with disabilities.
  • Grants and research for ex-Service organisations that deliver specialist services to veterans in Scotland.

All very worthy.

But my question is, why has this ever been necessary?

Are we not told over and over again what an important state Britain is, and how we punch above our weight and gain respect from countries all over the world for doing so?

Are we not one of the richest countries in the world?

So, why oh why are people who are sent by the government to do Her Majesty’s bidding and who come home less than whole, not looked after by that rich above-weight-punching government?

Related image

I can only presume it’s because that government is too busy doing up palaces, paying for weddings of nonentities and continuing to punch above its weight LONG after it had any right to.

It’s not me who should be ashamed.

So, I’ll take no lectures on respect for troops from any of them.

Image result for harry patch as a young man

Today I HAVE been thinking about the unimaginable conditions that these men, and possibly a few women, had to endure in France. I’ve read some poems and listened to memories of people like Harry Patch, who was, I think, the last surviving British soldier from the 14-18 war, and who spoke with such horror of what he, at 16, had had to witness. And I wonder how that could possibly have happened, and worse, still be happening.

Image result for destruction in Yemen

I’ve thought too about the people who, because of war today, are starving and dying of completely or avoidable curable diseases in Yemen, of the scenes of destruction we have witnessed so recently in Libya and Syria and of the ongoing misery in Palestine.

For all the remembering that they do, they never seem to learn.

…And then I’m reminded that Bonespurs Trump wouldn’t brave the rain to show some respect for Americans who died in France.

(*I chose the Cenotaph ceremony because that is where the people who make decisions on wars, their funding and their aftermath, will be gathered. Not in Edinburgh, Cardiff or Belfast. And not in any of the towns and cities across Britain.)

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38 thoughts on “DULCE ET DECORUM EST”

  1. Frankly, Tris, I see the Cenotaph performance as just another date in the London “season”, along with the likes of the Chelsea Flower Show, Royal Ascot, Cowes Week, Trooping the Colour and all the other farcical beanfeasts which the Saxe-Coburg-Gothas grace with their regal presence. I think it’s little short of nauseating to hear the unutterable guff being spouted on the media, particularly about the First World War. All that nonsense about our gallant Tommies dying for our freedom and civilized values. It was a war fought between dynastic states for European supremacy and influence; states ruled over by inbred idiots, whose descendants still cling on in several place, notable in Britain. It was little more than mechanized mass slaughter and all for nothing. Lest We Forget? – No, I think we have this jingoistic pabulum fed to us lest we remember.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Not much to disagree with there, Andi.

      Perhaps the needlessness of this particular war is why we SHOULD remember it, but only if, in remembering it we ensure that we NEVER do anything as ridiculous as that again.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. For all the reasons above, and in memory of my paternal grandfather who carried a piece of shrapnel in his cheek from the Battle of the Somme and a lifetime of mental pain from that and from several years at the front, I got myself some white poppies from the Peace Pledge Union (www.ppu.org.uk). Although I don’t get out much at all, I’ve been handing them out to my care assistants, the people I come across at Ninewells Hospital, and so on. Strange how people in the caring professions seem to like them – and in fact I did not see anyone wearing a red poppy on my latest excursion. Perhaps Munguinites who get out more than I do will give us a better appreciation of how many of us here in Scotland still wear red poppies.

    ‘War is a crime against humanity. I renounce war, and am therefore determined not to support any kind of war. I am also determined to work for the removal of all causes of war.’ That’s the peace pledge. The organization was set up in 1934… Nevertheless, after WWII, the preamble to the United Nations Charter of 1945 includes the following:

    “WE THE PEOPLES OF THE UNITED NATIONS[,] DETERMINED to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war” … “[and] that armed force shall not be used, save in the common interest…”

    Here’s the link to the Charter on the UN website: https://is.gd/4N489w.

    The march past the Cenotaph has become a display of sickening hypocrisy, made worse by the fact – fact – that the UK was a founder Member of the United Nations back in 1945.

    Do they still play “There’ll always be an England” as they march, as if the rest of us, my grandfather included, were not involved at all?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’ve seen very few poppies being worn, Ed.

      20 years ago almost everyone had one, me included.

      But they ruined them, like they ruin so many things, either by commercialising it to make money, or politicising it to hide their inadequacies.

      Liked by 4 people

    1. It was read brilliantly, Douglas.

      That is what you need to tell you that war sucks very badly.

      Not a posh coat. Not a big party hat. Not a bigger poppy than everyone else.

      Just listen to the pain in that.

      Incidentally, Owen was killed on the second last day of the war.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Indeed.

        And yet, the leaders of this glorious country glamourise mutual death as though it were some sort of natural occurrence, when it is clearly not.

        I hear the pain. It is astonishing that it is-what is the word- “glamorized” – when it it was an enormous con job by a certain class of over entitled public school boys.

        Frankly we need a poppy that identifies them as as evil.

        I’d subscribe to that.

        ——————-

        Didn’t know that about Wilfred Owen, it is sad when the good guys die. Perhaps we should advocate a ‘Wilfred Owen’ poppy, y’know for sense as opposed to nonsense? Perhaps all funds raised could be directed at educating mad Tory MP’s to forego their completely insane desires to hate?

        I actually despair, but that seems to be kinda normal these days.

        Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Helensburgh.

        Liked by 3 people

  3. Thanks to All
    One Question that comes up at our dining table EACH year.
    Why is the hospital for veterans at Erskine a CHARITY?
    Why doesn’t this state look after the people it has sent into harms way?
    Just use them and forget seems to be the limit of their concern, then the PR people get to work and the Rule Britannia gets another dusting down.
    My 2 uncles who were marched from France to Poland with the 51st Highlanders wouldn’t talk about their experiences as teenagers sent to do their king’s work.
    Worst thing I read about the first war was that the common soldier didn’t even have the VOTE, didn’t have the necessary criteria you see.
    I watched my copy of ‘Oh what a lovely War’ , the satire is educational.
    Like the bits where the vicar tells the troops that the archbishop has said that not a sin to eat fish on a friday, and that the jews can eat pork.
    On the German side they were being told the same, for king and country.
    The generals on all sides hadn’t come to terms with mechanical means of slaughter. Remember it wasn’t just in France, the Italians were fighting the Austrians, the Turks were fighting the Greeks and the Russians were in the fray as well.
    France brought in North Africans to fight, the UK used all of the Commonwealth for manpower to fight in the trenches in France.
    Our next king’s son won’t even work now as a helicopter pilot as it’s too dangerous, he’s just getting on with providing us with 3 more mouths to feed that the common people will not get benefits for the third, strange people out there but I live in hope that the long delayed revolution will come to pass in my lifetime.
    Scottish independence at least, I’ll be able to live with the downside as we will be able to direct our decisions to suit the many and as adults know that it was our decision not a colonial master’s.
    Rant over.
    When will our people not wake up to the reality of their position in life.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I’ve never understood, not even as a kid, why it was left to a charity to look after the soldiers who fought and were wounded. Nor, why the ones that died were lionised (as they should have been) but those who were wounded were forgotten by the state and left to charity.

      As that song that Conan put up pointed out, they were kids. They took two years off their ages and no one asked. Some of them were maybe 15. Sent to war. And their lives were over. A touching line in that song where the boy cried for his mum.

      He was a child.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Off topic: “UK’s top general says the army is on standby to help deal with no deal Brexit” – from today’s Holyrood magazine (https://is.gd/i6tDtI). The article concludes with “The Sunday Times had reported that the armed forces would work with civilian authorities to keep supplies moving.

    But Number 10 said there were “no plans to involve the army in a no-deal scenario”.

    They added: “I can’t be any clearer or firmer than that. I don’t know where the speculation came from but there are no plans.”

    No plans, eh? That would be typical, I suppose… I remain convinced that They are intending to send the army in to quell civil unrest after the nastiest and most disruptive of Brexits, as part of establishing a 1000-year blue-rinsed Reich, but of course They wouldn’t confess to planning it, so – anyone seen my tinfoil hat? My hair seems to be on fire.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Some top bloke from the army was on the Andrew Marr show yesterday with bits of rope all over his uniform, so we know he had to be a high up blokey.

      He seemed to admit that the forces had been briefed.

      I’ll see if I can find the clip that was on Twitter.

      But my guess is that the police (particularly the English police, so depleted by cuts, won’t be able to cope with food riots. And we’ll have to be tear gassed into acceptance of rat.

      Like

      1. Mind you trispw isn’t it funny that when push comes to shove, especially when the establishment is threatened, vast quantities of police seem to just materialise as if by magic.

        And please trispw do not be taken in by the “senseless, meaningless, dynastic battle, accidental” theory of WW1, this is the British Establishment’s second line of defence after people see through the “battle for democracy and freedom” shite.

        WW1 was planned and prepared for in detail and it had very specific and definite objectives.

        Two Scottish historians, Jim MacGregor and Gerry Docherty – needless to say rubbished by the paid liars in the History departments of our “great” universities – have uncovered the truth, or as much of it as can now be uncovered.

        Get hold of their “Hidden History – The Secret Origins of the First World War”. Read it and weep.

        The British Establishment – utter, utter, ruthless bastards.

        Liked by 2 people

  5. The British state was formed in order to further the global ambitions of the English establishment in competition with Spain and France.
    This was to be brought about through force of arms.
    Nothing has changed,the British state is constantly at war in order to further the “national interest”.
    The image of the lone piper with his British union jack bagpipes (did he buy them from Tesco?) says it all about a certain mind set in Scottish society…. no surrender.
    British bagpipes,British tartan kilt of his British clan etc etc.
    Some people learn nothing from history and some who do choose to ignore it.
    Just reading a book about Simon Fraser.
    Seems politics at the beginning of the 18th century were just as turbulent and complicated as they are now and the present cabal of incompetents in charge of the British state are exactly the sort to lead us back into needless conflict.
    They won’t be doing the suffering or dying however.
    Plus ca change…..

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Interesting that they used bagpipes, albeit housed in a butcher’s apron. Didn’t they BAN the pipes at one stage, along with the tartan.

      Seriously, the kilt was a complete joke. Whoever would wear that?

      Like

  6. On the subject of caring for “our heroes”, I was talking to a not so old soldier a few weeks ago. One of his comments seared me, ” I would be better off if I had lost both my legs, at least then I’d be noticed and maybe get some care.”

    Like

    1. Yeah. I see his point. However, I’m not entirely sure that he would have been much better off. Quite simply, it seems to me, once your usefulness id over, they really don’t give a stuff.

      Looking after ex military with physical or mental health problems doesn’t give them a world stage strutting possibility.

      That seems to be what they care about.

      Jeremy ‘unt is off to Saudi today to lecture them about njot murdering people who piss them off.

      I’m sure they will be listening respectfully to him. Him being such a towering figure in international diplomacy.

      يمارس الجنس مع أنت رجل سخيف سخيفة

      Like

  7. It is as if they were not real heroes, and that the posh folk were. Y’know, the ones that survived?

    Same as it ever was.

    ————

    It is vaguely interesting that there is a meme going around now that splits us into alpha and beta males. The cruel and thoughtless appear to be entirely alpha.

    Same as it ever was, oops said that already.

    Don’t just know what to make of it.

    Crying comes to mind….

    Too beta.

    Like

  8. Not off topic, but tangential… in a dig at Trump, Macron says “Patriotism is the exact opposite of nationalism, … nationalism is a betrayal of patriotism. By saying ‘our interests first; who cares about the others?’, we erase what a nation holds dearest, what gives it life, what makes it great, and what makes it essential — its moral values.”

    I expect he said it in French, though.

    I know it’s not the most important thing to be worrying about right now, but we should grasp the nettle by the horns and change the name of the SNP to the Scottish Independence Party, because it’s our moral and civic values, our inclusive state of mind, that makes us Scottish, not blood-and-soil ethnonationalism. Maybe we’d get a few converts among those who are allergic to what they perceive as (single-category) “nationalism” and don’t realize that the Trumpian, English Defence League, Ulster Loyalist kind of nationalism isn’t the only thing that can go by that name.

    The quote is from a story entitled “Revealed: Trump sulked in Europe after his dreams for a grand military parade evaporated” in Raw Story, today 12 November 2018, https://is.gd/YkRyb0.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Sulking while the rest of the world sent its leaders, on in the case of the U, some unknown bloke from the Cabinet Office, to Paris. Ho hum. At least the nameless puppet from Britain turned up on time.

      Yes I’ve always thought it was unfortunate that the SNP had National in int name. It makes it easy for some numpties to call it the Scottish Nationalist Party.

      Like

  9. Every time I see the phrase ‘Lest we forget’ I always imagine it over a picture of Blair and Bush, with the punch line ‘they took us into an illegal war’.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. True. I was somewhat bothered that the press made so much of what Mr Corbyn was wearing while framed in the same picture were Cameron (Libya) and Brown-Blair (Iraq/Afghanistan). No criticism of sending people off to wars that were nothing to do with us, but goodness me, his poppy was small and his coat wasn’t made to measure, so he’s a demon.

      Great British values.

      Like

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