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Kipling, wan’t it?

Tommy this and Tommy that but when the band begins to play?

Why is it that Britain loves to bask in the glittering glory of its soldiers, sailors and airmen on the great occasions, but treats them like dirt the rest of the time?

It’s hardly new now, is it?

Nor, in a country with such a distrust of a – large – domestic standing army, is it necessarily unwise.

7 thoughts on “Kipling, wan’t it?”

  1. In prison cell I sadly sit,
    A d_d crest-fallen chappie!
    And own to you I feel a bit-
    A little bit – unhappy!

    It really ain’t the place nor time
    To reel off rhyming diction –
    But yet we’ll write a final rhyme
    Whilst waiting cru-ci-fixion!

    No matter what “end” they decide –
    Quick-lime or “b’iling ile,” sir?
    We’ll do our best when crucified
    To finish off in style, sir!

    But we bequeath a parting tip
    For sound advice of such men,
    Who come across in transport ship
    To polish off the Dutchmen!

    If you encounter any Boers
    You really must not loot ’em!
    And if you wish to leave these shores,
    For pity’s sake, DON’T SHOOT ‘EM!!

    And if you’d earn a D.S.O.,
    Why every British sinner
    Should know the proper way to go

    Let’s toss a bumper down our throat, –
    Before we pass to Heaven,
    And toast: “The trim-set petticoat
    We leave behind in Devon.”

    —–Harry Morant

  2. Thanks Jussi. I’ve always sympathised with Breaker Morant.

    Of course we’ve now got another case in Oz where a bloke is being persecuted for what he’s supposed to have done in Afghanistan.

    Got to admit that’s one thing on which I approve of both Trump and Biden. They dumped Afghanistan.

  3. Pearson claims that soldiers are “treated like dirt”, but nothing in her article suggests this is true. She merely says we have too few servicemen and women, that numbers are down. That’s two different issues. She seems to have consulted some forces “expert” (i.e. anyone who has risen to Captain or higher) and heard that they need more men. Well, of course. And we need more doctors. And social workers. And teachers. And then combined it with a middle-aged woman’s “Oh my gosh aren’t they lovely” vibe.

  4. The young pallbearers, five flown back from Iraq within hours of the Queen’s death

    We need more soldiers to defend our freedom and democracy. (In Iraq.)

    During the pandemic, soldiers who were seconded to put up the Nightingale hospitals simply could not believe the grotesque inefficiency of the NHS.

    Inefficiency never happens under the MoD.

    Many more youngsters like Cox would benefit from the fantastic education a military career offers

    “Survive 6 years getting shot at for a salary assistant petrol station attendants would laugh at, and you too could end up working in an Amazon warehouse.”

    Amazing how young people aren’t queueing up for this incredible opportunity.

    Imagine an advert featuring those glorious Grenadier Guards carrying their Queen in their arms. We are not now that strength which in old days moved earth and heaven. But some noble work may yet be done. […] Meanwhile, on a personal note, could I possibly borrow a Grenadier Guard? I’m sure Company Sergeant Major Jones can spare one.

    Allison Pearson then slipped off her seat. Next week’s column focuses on her moist memories of the hunky junior doctor she saw in A&E.

  5. I reckon we get it nearly right. I don’t want to be a militaristic society, and all this “thank you for your service” is pretty cringe. If we really are in trouble from a forrin enemy it will still be the brickies, waiters, sales reps and aspiring tik tokers who will have to take up arms. And it’ll be their performance that will be the test of our national,martial character.
    Steven: very funny.

  6. Hallowed Be

    Allanbrooke noted during WW2 that the British were a martial not a militaristic nation. And that is, as you say, A Good Thing. And probably, hopefully, the military is currently relatively over-staffed with generals/admirals/air vice marshals and with sergeants and junior leaders. It’s this cadre which will turn the Common Man into a military man, as was the case in WW1 and WW2.

    My old man was conscripted into the Eighth Army in the Western Desert. And that was an almost totally citizen army and it saw off Rommel and his troops. Milligan remarks on this at the end of ‘Rommel? Gunner who? A confrontation in the desert’ (I think it was that volume)

    But we do need more troops/sailors/airmen (airpersons?).

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