The Long View

#1
You may wish to sit quietly tonight and listen to the the repeat of this mornings programme The Long View which is on Radio 4 again tonight 6th Feb at 930 pm. Or it will be on listen again for the next week. Things have not really changed much in the army. History just seems to keep repeating itself!
 
#3
Listened to it as I sat in the roadworks this morning: I think they glossed over a few bits due to time restrictions, but all in all the parallels with the Peninsular Campaign and today are spookily similar.
 
#4
Some useful parallels between then and now, very listenable.

Wellington is an intriguing fella. Clear a waster in his early years and from dodgy beginnings found a path to a kind of greatness. Seems to have the odd moment of thought surfacing amidst the harshness of the day. Unusual for a Tory! :cyclopsani:
 
#5
BoomShackerLacker said:
Some useful parallels between then and now, very listenable.

Wellington is an intriguing fella. Clear a waster in his early years and from dodgy beginnings found a path to a kind of greatness. Seems to have the odd moment of thought surfacing amidst the harshness of the day. Unusual for a Tory! :cyclopsani:
Ah, but he did have a penchant for hanging and flogging to keep the lower orders in line.

Bit of a 'Lefty', then?
 
#6
I haven't heard this and don't know if they mentioned it but one of his comments was something like the Army employs the scum of the earth but makes damn fine soldiers of them. As someone said, not a lot of change except the scum ration is much smaller.
 
#7
OldRedCap said:
I haven't heard this and don't know if they mentioned it but one of his comments was something like the Army employs the scum of the earth but makes damn fine soldiers of them. As someone said, not a lot of change except the scum ration is much smaller.
Adding: "I don't know what effect these men will have upon the enemy, but, by God, they terrify me."
 
#8
Wellington was a total sh**, hand-picked by British aristocrats quivering in their jodhpurs that what had just happened in France would leak across the Channel, to threaten their social position, their estates and their heads. Wellington's job was to stop it. He did.

 
#9
annakey said:
Wellington was a total sh**, hand-picked by British aristocrats quivering in their jodhpurs that what had just happened in France would leak across the Channel, to threaten their social position, their estates and their heads. Wellington's job was to stop it. He did.
Fine Marxist sentiment that rings true in today's socialist liberal Britain. We're protecting Blair's 'social position... estates', not so? The aristocracy in general fit into your 'total sh**'s categorisation. Wellington clearly wasn't a reformer. Now we've got an egalitarian society are our 'statesmen' and 'leaders' performing any better? Equality versus 'quality'.
 
#10
annakey said:
Wellington was a total sh**, hand-picked by British aristocrats quivering in their jodhpurs that what had just happened in France would leak across the Channel, to threaten their social position, their estates and their heads. Wellington's job was to stop it. He did.

You know absolutely nothing.

Wellington, for much of the Peninsular war was villified by the public and screwed over by Horse Guards - if You want to know about the troops not being given adequate equipment just look at his battles with te Remfs in London.

I suggest You read Wellington, the Years of the Sword by Elizabeth Longdon
 
#11
Actually, the programme discusses the period of the Peninsular War, by which time the French Revolution had been replaced with Bonaparte as Emperor.

The British aristocracy in all probability didn't have too much to worry about: if the French had invaded, and the mobs turned up, it was Bonaparte himself who kickstarted his rise to power by using cannonfire on a protesting crowd in Paris.

Napoleon himself installed various family members as Princes, Dukes, and even Kings throughout Europe during his reign.

I will concede that HMG were a bit worried about the possibility of an Irish rebellion, especially combined with a French landing in Ireland. However it was more the Royal Navy than Wellington who guarded that door IIRC.
 
#12
Sven said:
annakey said:
Wellington was a total sh**, hand-picked by British aristocrats quivering in their jodhpurs that what had just happened in France would leak across the Channel, to threaten their social position, their estates and their heads. Wellington's job was to stop it. He did.

You know absolutely nothing.

Wellington, for much of the Peninsular war was villified by the public and screwed over by Horse Guards - if You want to know about the troops not being given adequate equipment just look at his battles with te Remfs in London.

I suggest You read Wellington, the Years of the Sword by Elizabeth Longdon
I don't think Annekey is that far from the mark Sven in general terms about the purpose of Wellington and his ilk in maintaining the social order of the day by dint of their role. What benefit did the average soldier and his family derive from our imperial battles, indeed what advantage did he gain from 1914-1918?
 
#13
BoomShackerLacker said:
annakey said:
Wellington was a total sh**, hand-picked by British aristocrats quivering in their jodhpurs that what had just happened in France would leak across the Channel, to threaten their social position, their estates and their heads. Wellington's job was to stop it. He did.
Fine Marxist sentiment that rings true in today's socialist liberal Britain. We're protecting Blair's 'social position... estates', not so? The aristocracy in general fit into your 'total sh**'s categorisation. Wellington clearly wasn't a reformer. Now we've got an egalitarian society are our 'statesmen' and 'leaders' performing any better? Equality versus 'quality'.
I think it's true to say that middle England picked Blair, and his job is to defend their standard of living. He's done well.

At the end of the 18th century the British ruling class was terrified (with good reason) and chose Wellington to help them sleep at night. They chose well. Who other than a total sh** was up to the job? It wasn't until the danger was past - the 1830s - that Wellington could be dumped and limited reform permitted.
 
#15
#16
BoomShackerLacker said:
What benefit did the average soldier and his family derive from our imperial battles, indeed what advantage did he gain from 1914-1918?
Now that's an interesting question. Anyone else read the late Alan Clark (the former Minister, philanderer, diarist and rather fine military historian) on WW1 and socialism? His thesis is that those millions of young British working class men ordered by their upper-class officers to:

"Walk not run!"

into German machine gun fire caused a fatal fracture in the British social structure which, he claims, helped usher in socialism. Never again would the British upper class be trusted by their social inferiors. Anyone visiting the great WW1 cemeteries in Northern France might agree with him.

His first book, The Donkeys (1961), was a revisionist history of British involvement in the Great War, which was well received by the public but which greatly irritated the Army.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Clark
Especially powerful coming from a high Tory, not some swivel-eyed Trot. Beautifully written too. Sorry, slight thread derail.
 
#18
annakey said:
BoomShackerLacker said:
What benefit did the average soldier and his family derive from our imperial battles, indeed what advantage did he gain from 1914-1918?
Now that's an interesting question. Anyone else read the late Alan Clark (the former Minister, philanderer, diarist and rather fine military historian) on WW1 and socialism? His thesis is that those millions of young British working class men ordered by their upper-class officers to:

"Walk not run!"

into German machine gun fire caused a fatal fracture in the British social structure which, he claims, helped usher in socialism. Never again would the British upper class be trusted by their social inferiors.
Hardly a blinding insight from Clark, given that Germany, Hungary, Russia etc....all had socialist revolutions during or directly after WW1.

Wellington did most of his fighting against the French after Bonaparte had declared himself emperor. Better historians than I can discuss whether the fight by that point was against the Revolution, or simply to protect the Empire against Johnny Froggo, same as we'd always done.
 
#20
BoomShackerLacker said:
Sven said:
annakey said:
Wellington was a total sh**, hand-picked by British aristocrats quivering in their jodhpurs that what had just happened in France would leak across the Channel, to threaten their social position, their estates and their heads. Wellington's job was to stop it. He did.

You know absolutely nothing.

Wellington, for much of the Peninsular war was villified by the public and screwed over by Horse Guards - if You want to know about the troops not being given adequate equipment just look at his battles with te Remfs in London.

I suggest You read Wellington, the Years of the Sword by Elizabeth Longdon
I don't think Annekey is that far from the mark Sven in general terms about the purpose of Wellington and his ilk in maintaining the social order of the day by dint of their role. What benefit did the average soldier and his family derive from our imperial battles, indeed what advantage did he gain from 1914-1918?
A third of a pint of rum for a start. And if they took part in the battle of Vittoria it was quite possible that they got a fair bit of loot as well - unless they were one of the few battalions that maintained their discipline.

To be honest what does any soldier get from fighting a war apart from the warm fuzzy feeling that he is doing the right thing :roll: And couldn't a napoleonic British soldier get that from kicking the French out of every country they weren't supposed to be.
 

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