Yes, idiot

We’re entering a period of intense wartime memorialisation. As the salvation of the British and French from certain death by sheer pluckiness comes alive again in Christopher Nolan’s – by the way, brilliant – film, the centenary of Passchendaele fills the TV schedules with grainy death and plangent trumpets. Farage and his ilk have to own these moments, since their narrative takes so much animation from the atmosphere these wars create: hazily remembered high drama in which British phlegm won the day, and sly foreigners were put in their place. I understand instinctively why Farage would like it if young people spent a lot more time thinking about our victory in the second world war. Yet I wonder what, specifically, he wants the young to understand about Dunkirk, and the more I wonder, the more I think that maybe he didn’t actually watch it.

Nigel runs battlefield tours, as done for years. As with his fishing (where he even writes fishing columns) it’s one of his private interests. He’s also rather good at it.

51 thoughts on “Yes, idiot”

  1. “Indeed, that is the immediate legacy of war: that self-reliance is revealed as not just a myth but a peculiarly unattractive one, thin and tasteless against the richness of fellowship. The mood of postwar Britain was the one that built the NHS, created social housing and signed up to the UN refugee convention. “

    All institutions creaking under the strain and warped far, far out of true from their original purpose…

  2. Nolan’s film is naive, obvious, has no script and a rather obvious denouement.

    And in these days of Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones et al, 20 blokes queuing on a deserted beach doesn’t really cut it.

  3. So Zoe doesn’t like military history, or patriotism or Nigel Farage, but she likes socialist healthcare, socialist housing and plenty of refugees. Quelle surprise.

  4. In which Zoe Williams roots for one John Gummer…… FFS she even manages to work in ‘Fatchah.

    Zoe also swerves the story of Belgian refugees in WW1 and as usual at The Guardian presumes to have the high moral ground from which to launch into smugness and some not inconsiderable sneering.

    I doubt that many of Zoe’s readers will see the film (not that it matters) – but they’ll not sagely over their Monday morning lattes at this tosh.

    The sooner GMG relocate from Kings’s Cross to Caracas the better.

  5. Continental trash cause assorted wars–which after vast expense of precious blood and treasure –we win. Allowing continental trash to live vastly better lives than had we left them to either Kaiser Bill or Adolf.

    And this is the reason–says the scummy Gladrag bitch–that we should submit to the tinpot tyranny of yet more continental trash.

    As for Atlee’s shopping list of leftist disasters–well the EU had the NHS in its sights and –God help us–Brexit is likely to save it.

    Now that is a revolting development.

    This cow needs to be stripped of her UK citizenship and dumped on the shore of France.

    I’m sure she’ll prosper amongst the friendly leftists she finds there.

  6. Tomo–the Socialist Diet–food when there is any-over in Caracas wouldn’t suit the G-gang at all.

  7. If I drew anything political from Nolan’s films, it’s that he’s actually a bit of a rebel in terms of where he stands politically from other filmmakers. The Dark Knight is basically Bush vs Bin Laden. There are mad scumbags out there and have to be dealt with. The Dark Knight Rises is against the mob rising up (and directly goes after the “occupy” types). Interstellar is pretty nasty about the quality of state education, that the people who save the day are a small band. And Dunkirk is a story of the “little platoons”.

  8. Agreed re Nolan’s independence of thought. Saw Interstellar last week and was reminded that, in that film:
    + the Earth’s ecological disaster was pointedly not global warming
    + our hero was betrayed by a lying scientific establishment that had obtained its vast budget using a dodgy prospectus
    + the “best of us all” among said scientific establishment, one Dr Mann, confessed to furthering his ambitions by falsifying data

  9. Oh, and:
    + state education had been politically corrupted to diminish pupils’ ambitions and belittle the achievements of their forefathers.

  10. ‘Yet I wonder what, specifically, he wants the young to understand about Dunkirk…’

    How individuals behave and inter-react during adversity: that far more is learned about the mettle of a society’s members in the bad times than when the good times roll – I wonder?

    Currently we have a society of milquetoasts who can’t even cope with someone calling them a rude name on social media – and things are going well.

  11. Hallowed Be: Hammond is sell-out remainiac scum.

    That the Fish-faced Cow has him as Chancellor says it all.

    Brexit is only part of the fight. Destroying our own well-off, MC/CM London Bubble sewage is essential.

  12. This is the lefty interpretation of WW2. None of that evil rightist nonsense about individual bravery, camaraderie, national pride and the fight against totalitarianism.

    No, the message is that the state had an unprecedented control over the populace in our finest hour, so that is the way forward today.

    I suspect she thinks 60m dead was a small price to pay for the creation of the NHS, pbui.

  13. Mr Ecks, I still haven’t read the interview yet so i’m not hanging him on third hand bbc reporting. That said every time Philip speaks to a reporter he throws up an issue on the UK position or undermines the negotiation. Either he speaks for the Cabinet or he speaks for himself. If its the latter then before the business end of the negotiation comes up they better shunt him off somewhere or it will just descend into utter shambles.

  14. The Inimitable Steve

    Hmmm.

    Can you imagine Dunkirk happening today? Not WW2, thankfully there’s no Hitler or Stalin across the water, I just mean the evacuation.

    Even if you could scrape up enough English people – and our present demographic situation is far more dangerous to our survival than any Nazi threat – they’d be assailed by clipboard-wielding Elfin Safety inspectors before they got off the beach.

    Also the Royal Navy – traditionally the home of our stiffest repressed homosexuals – doesn’t really “do” wartime heroics these days, it’s now a job creation scheme for assorted transvestites, Satanists, and women of both sexes.

    Remember those sailors got caught by the Iranians, who forced them to wear tracksuits and play board games? Not exactly Noel Coward stuff. I’m pretty sure they’d file complaints with their diversity and equality officer if a Stuka dive bomber came after them.

    Up close, all you can see in a thousand small boats, defenceless against the skies, is what Thatcher dismissed as the “soft virtues”: humility, gentleness, sympathy. Of her “vigorous virtues” – self-sufficiency, independence, rectitude – almost none.

    Yeah, take THAT, Fatch! She hated sympathy.

    The mood of postwar Britain was the one that built the NHS, created social housing and signed up to the UN refugee convention.

    So, the bounty of peace gave us an NHS that’s permanently falling apart – when it isn’t making sure dying babies don’t get healthcare – Grenfell Tower, and Somali rape gangs / little girls being scraped off the streets of Manchester.

    Maybe Edwin Starr was wrong?

    And on that matter of the refugees, Farage is on his diciest territory of all: in the evacuation of the French from the beaches, Britain breached his yearly migration target – the tens of thousands – in 48 hours.

    We’re reaching levels of Guardianista fuckwittery that shouldn’t even be possible.

    John Gummer, speaking to the Environmentalists for Europe, said – almost tearfully – that, because of the EU, nobody had had to send their son to another country to kill someone else’s son for 70 years

    Thank Schulz the Korean War, the Falklands, the Gulf wars, and our long, pointless Afghan adventure never happened. Besides, our commitment to “refugees” means there’s an ever increasing chance your son doesn’t need to leave Britain to be killed by foreigners.

    Mebbe Gummer was wrong about Mad Cow Disease after all. How else can we explain Zoe Williams?

  15. It’s always great to see the return of the Inimitable Steve (whatever happened to the Fake Steve that was peddling his wares on here pre Brexit I wonder – did the danegeld dry up?)
    and a devastating riposte.

    ‘Even if you could scrape up enough English people – and our present demographic situation is far more dangerous to our survival than any Nazi threat – they’d be assailed by clipboard-wielding Elfin Safety inspectors before they got off the beach’

    Absolutely – fortunately ISIS, who’d have Williams starring in a video or might use her as a sex slave seem to have been stopped in their goal of a ‘caliphate’ by a combination of Shia Muslim forces and Kurds but in the event they ever got near these shores I don’t think lecturing them about ‘intersectional feminisms’ or the like is going to stop the headhackers….

    ‘John Gummer, speaking to the Environmentalists for Europe, said – almost tearfully – that, because of the EU, nobody had had to send their son to another country to kill someone else’s son for 70 years’

    Even more tear-inducing I’d guess for people in Bosnia (for example) or Eastern Ukraine seeing people killed because of the EU’s meddling.

    One of the worst articles I have seen in the Guardian in at least a fortnight but par for the course for our Zoe…..

  16. “+ the Earth’s ecological disaster was pointedly not global warming”

    I noticed this too, although in ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ the MacGuffin was a fusion device that could deliver untold clean energy (“rolls eyes”). It put me off the movie a bit I have to say; I found it totally unnecessary as a plot device.

  17. Like so much of what appears in the Guardian, this is basically an indictment of modern education, and also a demonstration of how trivial so many people have become.

    I’m coming round to thinking that we should give these people what they want. First up, I suggest the formation of a Royal Transgender Corps who will be at the tip of the spear on all future ops. Zoe Willimas can go along as a conscripted commissar to ensure rightthink in the face of the enemy.

  18. Regarding taxes and Brexit, yet another enormous own goal is missed. VAT on domestic fuel is extremely unpopular, and is an EU imposition. The government should say, today, that it will abolish it. Force Remainers to justify why making pensioners and poor families (or, in fact, anyone) pay VAT on essential domestic heating is Progressive and necessary.

  19. If we ever do go to war again and the noodle-armed bearded manginas are conscripted, imagine them being whipped into shape by Gunnery Sergeant Hartmann.

    I’d pay good money to watch that.

  20. Henry Crun

    I’d like to see R. Lee Ermey appointed as editor in chief at The Guardian.

    I’d subscribe in fact if that were the case.

  21. Rob +1. Can the government please show some balls instead of trying to pander to every fecking little snowflake a strategy which has completely backfired.

  22. The Inimitable Steve

    Van_Patten – thank you kind sir. I think Fake Steve is now writing about how Brexit will never happen for The European.

    Yeah. It’s interesting how quickly ISIS started to roll up after President Trump ascended the cherry blossom throne. It’s not so much what he did, but what the US no longer seems to be doing that’s interesting – no more covert CIA funneling of weapons and cash to “moderate” (pinky swear!) jihadis in Syria and no more threatening Assad and the Russians whenever they do anything effective against the head-chopping murderers trying to take over his country – as long as they don’t gas civilians.

    It’s astonishing how President Obama – in charge of the world’s greatest military for eight long years – never seemed to be able to hinder ISIS, but only if you assume the Yanks intended to hinder ISIS.

    No, not because Obama was a SEEKRIT MUZLEM, but because the long disaster that is post-Cold War Western foreign policy means we can no longer tell friend from foe. Our institutions no longer serve our own interests, not even in a cynical way. For example, if the lefties were right and Iraq was a war for oil – where’s the oil? Why aren’t we rolling in plunder instead of rolling in refugees?

    Instead, our foreign policy is a toxic combination of inept grandstanding (see: Willie Hague, who thinks he’s Somalia’s Lawrence of No-Labia), predictably stupid pratfalls that Will Be Different This Time right until the sad trombone plays (Libya), and giving shedloads of money we don’t actually have to countries that either hate us or don’t actually need aid (like India, a country that has its own nuclear weapons and space programme).

    We’ve done everything humanly possible to resurrect enmity with Russia and left a bloody crescent of death and destruction from Libya to Afghanistan, all the while crying about human rights.

    I’m not saying every single politician, spad and Whitehall mandarin should be drowned by feral otters on a very special episode of IT’S A KNOCKOUT. But it’d be a start.

  23. The mood of postwar Britain was the one that built the NHS, created social housing and signed up to the UN refugee convention.

    Wot, the social housing that my grandad grew up in that was an award-winner at the 1910 Town Planning conference?

  24. We’re entering a period of intense wartime memorialisation.

    Two films. TWO.

    Not quite Black History Month every year, is it?

  25. We’re entering a period of intense wartime memorialisation.

    Guess what happened exactly a hundred years ago? Guardian readers can ask a friend if they don’t know.

  26. “John Gummer, speaking to the Environmentalists for Europe, said – almost tearfully – that, because of the EU, nobody had had to send their son to another country to kill someone else’s son for 70 years”

    Interesting – so Mad Cow Gummer has yet to discover the existence of NATO.

  27. @PF – and the EU can of course time travel and cause things that happened before its existence.

    The fact that the purported things didn’t actually happen doesn’t matter – feelz trump data with the left.

  28. Bloke in North Dorset

    “.Force Remainers to justify why making pensioners and poor families (or, in fact, anyone) pay VAT on essential domestic heating is Progressive and necessary.”

    Add in the Tampax Tax and the cognitive dissonance should cause more than a few exploding heads.

  29. The Inimitable Steve said:
    “I’m not saying every single politician, spad and Whitehall mandarin should be drowned by feral otters on a very special episode of IT’S A KNOCKOUT. But it’d be a start.”

    Glorious.

  30. “John Gummer, speaking to the Environmentalists for Europe, said – almost tearfully – that, because of the EU, nobody had had to send their son to another country to kill someone else’s son for 70 years”

    This only makes sense if you turn your brain off before reading it.

  31. “John Gummer, speaking to the Environmentalists for Europe, said – almost tearfully – that, because of the EU, nobody had had to send their son to another country to kill someone else’s son for 70 years”

    We tried sitting around a table and making a deal with Germany. It was called the League of Nations. It failed. So no, talking shops and deals made no fucking difference.

    This was all about incentives. The German incentive to invade Czechoslovakia, Poland and Austria was to get either land, or people to grow food on that land AKA Lebensraum.

    Once you got tractors, fertilisers and improved means of distribution, land stopped being worth the blood and treasure to get it. It became cheaper to just buy food or make use of your own land to grow it. It’s why war has diminished all over the world. It’s pretty much dirt poor places like bits of Africa, and oil producers.

  32. BiS

    “It’s why war has diminished all over the world.”

    There’s also the small matter that liberal democracies simply don’t tend to declare war on each other. Pretty much ever, although I’m sure there may be an exception or two somehere that otherwise proves the rule?

    Once can also argue that it is the EU itself that is stoking up fresh nationalist tendencies, directly as it increasingly tries to weaken the national institutions and identities of those liberal democracies that make up the bloc.

  33. I’m told that
    1) no two functioning democracies have ever gone to war with each other
    2) there has never been a famine in a democracy

  34. PF,

    The reason most countries became functioning democracies is through industrialisation. Once people have skills rather than just being peasants depending on the land, people become less dependent on states and can change country. So, countries are then in competition for those people.

  35. BiS

    Interesting theory.

    “So, countries are then in competition for those people.”

    Though – given that most people never consider moving – my gut tells me there may be more to it than that?

    Democracies generally being wealthier (through skills), yes I agree. Then, tin pots (ie the twats that like bossing others) being more accountable to the demos – that’s crucial. Follow that up with “wars cost serious money, and usually lots of lives” – hence “defence” (of what you have) is good/necessary, but being a gratuitously aggressive dick and risk losing everything, gets more of a “don’t be so fucking stupid” from the demos? Etc etc?

  36. The mood of postwar Britain was the one that built the NHS, created social housing and signed up to the UN refugee convention.

    Rather ironic given that the refugee convention is producing scenes on the Libyan beaches not too dissimilar to those at Dunkirk.

  37. The mood of postwar Britain was the one that built the NHS, created social housing . .
    That will be the NHS that didn’t build a hospital of its own till the late 1960s, and the social housing that gave us the the Glasgow grand slam of Pollok, Easterhouse, Castlemilk and Drumchapel. And high rises that were pulled down in the 1990s and 2000s in the outer London boroughs.
    As for kids being coerced into fighting wars, those non-EU territories of FAR, ICE, Lie, Swi, MON, And, IoM, Jer, Gue and NOR have had millions of their young slaughtered because their parents couldn’t get along with each other. Haven’t they?

  38. PF,

    “Though – given that most people never consider moving – my gut tells me there may be more to it than that?”

    There’s also the power it gives people. As they become independently wealthy they can fund revolts.

  39. Interstellar was 2014’s 2001.

    Good film.

    Quirky AI, spaceships, great special effects, crashing organ music, a what the fuck is happening now bit and a what happens next bit at the end.

    Make a good double bill.

  40. No country with a Q in its name has ever been to war with a country that has a silent R in its name.

    Just saying.

  41. The mood of postwar was grey. There was even a comedian whose catchphrase was ‘The day peace broke out’.
    People were fed up. Things were rationed and housing was short. Nobody cared about grand notions just food and fuel.
    It got bloody cold.

  42. I thought Interstellar was a piece of environmental twaddle. The earth (Gaia) rejecting humans? Science unable to deal with the effects? Fallen Angels is a much better view of what environmental fascism leads to.

  43. We even had conscription during the Korean War, so LITERALLY young men being *sent* to their deaths.

  44. Interstellar was mainly good in my opinion; earth broken, main characters can’t explain why, education system fucked, robots disposable, the biggest problem was the film’s save the woman at all costs narrative.

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