Monday, April 09, 2007

Something rotten...

According to some reports, 'fears are growing' that the behaviour of the MOD and the fifteen released navel personnel in selling their stories to the media might result in a lessening in public sympathy for them.

Whether there was much there to begin with is highly questionable. This past week, it's not been necessary to be a hard-beaked hawk to have been made utterly despondent first by the remarkable level of public indifference to the crisis, and then by the utter lack of decorum and supine self-justification which characterised the actions and pronouncements of the fifteen, and the soft-ball indulgence with which they have been treated by the broadcast media. A few streets away from me, a house is festooned in banners and balloons in a welcome home to one of the seamen. But so far, neighbourly interest seems to have been rather scant. Indeed I would in other circumstances have been moved to add my congratulations, but on this occasion, when our failings have been so cruelly exposed, I have found it impossible.

Why has television been so craven? This must be because this story fitted perfectly the dumbed-down Diana-fication of the news reporting agenda. It wanted a blubfest, and it's been doing its best to get it. Doubtless this will continue tonight when Faye Turney is interviewed by Trevor McDonald on ITV. Television would have liked this to have been The People's Hostages.

But from Friday's press conference on, only the most hysterically sentimental (who unfortunately, in our society today, make up a large number) would not have had serious doubts and reservations niggling away at the backs of their minds. Most people may not be able to readily articulate it, but they sense that this whole episode says something disturbing about what has happened to us.

The print media, thank goodness, have in its various colours been more restrained, and have either conspicuously kept their council or have been describing the qualms and unease many have felt as the whole episode has unfolded. Interestingly it was a piece in the Guardian by Marina Hyde which summed up, albeit flippantly, what many of us have been thinking.

The West is facing a decades-long struggle. Many people don't get this, which is of course a help to those in the West itself who want so desperately to see it fail. It's up to us to continue to make the case, to do everything we can to get Europe to wake up. In the meantime, it would be helpful if we didn't have to listen to tales of our military sobbing themselves to sleep at night.


Donal Blaney said...

Spot on. The fact they are being encouraged to sell their stories by and with the approval of the Defence Secretary sums up everything that is rotten about this government.

One wonders how those who were imprisoned in Kolditz would have reacted had WW2 happened today.

David Cox said...

Try this one: http://commentisfree.guardian.co.uk/david_cox/2007/04/shameless.html