Media Coverage

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by Darthspud, Jun 5, 2006.

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  1. Sunday Telegraph

    Is it just me or does the British Media seem to be getting a little more vocal in its support and coverage of the Armed Forces of the Nation?

    The link above is one of a number i saw over the last week, and most were extremely well written ,apart from Col. Collins again,and made well thought points for a non-military readership.

    Col. Collins

    Does the man have no modesty?
    He can hardly hope that the British Army would regard him in the same way Monty was held by our forefathers-in-arms, and his constant need for media attention is both annoying and counter-productive for him.
    He will never again command British troops and should like many before him,find another life away from the military.

    p.s. for Hackle, loved the tie on your t.v. interview last week :)
     
  2. Goatman

    Goatman LE Book Reviewer

    Darth,

    since the links will only open if you are a subscriber, fancy doing a cut and paste for us illiterate Morning Star types ?
     
  3. OldSnowy

    OldSnowy LE Moderator Book Reviewer

    The first of the two articles Mentioned. All (c) Telegraph Group Newspapers. And I'm pretty sure you don't have to pay for access - I don't!

    Permission, please, to let my bottom lip quiver
    By Nigel Farndale
    (Filed: 04/06/2006)

    If there is a male equivalent of the menopause it is surely the realisation that you are too old to be sent to war. In this country the upper age limit for the call-up is 35, which seems shockingly young to me, now that I am 41. I'm not saying a man's biological urge to fight and, if necessary, lay down his life for others, is quite as strong as a woman's to procreate, but there is a sexual parallel.

    If you have never had to prove yourself in battle, never had to test your courage, you do feel vaguely impotent and emasculated. Samuel Johnson expressed this well when he said: "Every man thinks meanly of himself for not having been a soldier."

    Lately I've been thinking meanly of myself because I've been brooding upon the life of Johnson Beharry, the British soldier who won the VC in Iraq for twice saving members of his unit from ambush, despite sustaining head injuries. A friend of mine, Chris Lang, is writing a BBC drama about Beharry, due to be screened in the autumn, and the more we discuss his life, the more we realise we do not - never will - know how we would react in similar circumstances. Do we have, as he clearly has, that elusive quality, "character"?

    In A Soldier and his Conscience, Gen Sir James Glover wrote: "A man of character in peace is a man of courage in war. Character is a habit. The daily choice of right or wrong. It is a moral quality which grows to maturity in peace and is not suddenly developed in war."

    You don't have to be in a battle to show character, then. Owning up to a crime you have inadvertently committed takes character. Ending a passionate affair for the sake of your children takes character. Keeping your nerve in a World Cup penalty shootout against Germany takes character. But while all heroes must have character, I'm not sure all those with character automatically qualify as heroes.

    In the coming weeks, the tabloids are bound to bore on about how the likes of Beckham and Owen are heroes. But they are not. They cannot be. Only those who risk their lives for others can be heroes. Heroes are the old men with MC or DSO after their names, the ones we read about on the obituaries page every day. There was one such last Thursday: Major Bill Close, MC and bar, who had 11 tanks shot from under him between 1940 and '45 but each time he simply climbed into another tank and kept fighting. His determination and personal courage, it almost didn't need to say, "were an inspiration to his squadron".

    Another difference between genuine heroes and the rather fey and boastful impostors we see prancing around football pitches, is their understatement. Beharry dismissed his heroism with the words: "I was just doing my job."

    A few years ago when I was researching a biography of Commander John Kerans, DSO, the hero of the Yangtze Incident of 1949, I tried to persuade those who had served with him to give me colourful accounts of the actions they had been involved in - but, so governed by the dignity of understatement were they, the best they could manage were phrases such as: "Things got pretty hairy in the Malta convoys."

    I was listening the other day to Col Julian Fane being interviewed on Radio 4. He was awarded an MC for his part in the evacuation of Dunkirk. He had, he said with a gentle laugh, been given the order: last man, last round. "I thought it was a bit soon in my career to hear that order, but there it was. That was what we were in the Army for."

    When I heard this I felt like the Hugh Laurie character in Blackadder Goes Forth: "Permission to let my bottom lip quiver, sir." The Second World War poet Keith Douglas wrote of the "famous unconcern" of the British officer class on the battlefield, and Colonel Fane clearly had that. He's old now. No doubt we will be reading his obituary before long. But, having nothing to prove, I imagine he will die a contented man - man being the unambiguous word.
     
  4. [quote="DarthspudCol. Collins

    Does the man have no modesty?
    He can hardly hope that the British Army would regard him in the same way Monty was held by our forefathers-in-arms, and his constant need for media attention is both annoying and counter-productive for him.
    He will never again command British troops and should like many before him,find another life away from the military.

    :)[/quote]

    Did you actually read the article ? You comments above make it look as if Collins is looking to compare himself to Monty. What he was actually saying was that neither the Brass nor the Politicians are looking out for the well being of the Military - so in the face of this lack of interest/respect/guts people are talking about creating an Armed Forces Federation but that what we actually need is senior leadership willing to stand up and be counted.

    I can't see much to disagree with there.