48 Responses to Balance at its best …

  1. mailman says:

    Exactly, what about them traitors?



  2. Houdini says:

    What is brave about that?

    Again people who have never fought get to set the agenda.


  3. Tom says:

    Yes, let’s remember that under the Conscription Act 1916 provision was made for conscientious objection, so that Quakers and other committed pacifists could elect to do non-lethal service as ambulance drivers, stores clerks etc.

    Pretty civilized country, I’d say.


  4. Dr R says:

    t wasn’t Naughtie, it was the revolting Humphreys.

    Not just that – this was to promote a Ch 4 doco going out tonight. Of course the grasping, monopolistic Al Beeb wouldf never promote Ch 4 in normal circvumstances – but if it’s an anti-army story (superbly timed to follow Armistice Day)…. of course!


  5. Boy Blue says:

    You can bet elements within the Labour party are pushing for this behind the scenes.

    It’s a bit like Shiria law, and how the BBC softened up the public with a stream of pro-shiria propaganda before the Government announced elements of its introduction into British law.

    All you need is the Archbishop of Canterbury to open his mouth and make a favourable comment to complete the picture.

    I have a counter idea. Let’s ban all politicians from the Remembrance Day service. Their presence there is an f-ing disgrace to the war dead and to Britain. The Queen represents this nation, not they or parliament.


  6. frankos says:

    also the bomb disposal work and mine sweeping and Atlantic convoys with the merchant navy done by conshies in WWII– the ones that sat on their arses and expected others to fight for them are reprehensible –but a lot them were very brave- just didn’t want to kill.


  7. hippiepooter says:

    Until the Tory Party is in a position to sort out BBC bias, why doesn’t it declare certain journalists ‘hostile’, as with certain witnesses in Court?

    Humphrys and Naughtie of course being prime candidates.


  8. Iain says:

    I don’t think much of Gracie Fields either.

    Benjamin Britten also ran away but at least he didn’t try to have his cake and eat it.


  9. Robert S. McNamara says:

    But what about those brave men who refused to fight?

    They ate a bullet. There you go Mr. Naughty (if that is your real name) – case closed.


  10. henryflower says:

    Iain, at least we can state with certainty that Britten’s pacifism wasn’t the rationalisation of cowardice made at a time of war. He was more or less a lifelong and wholehearted pacifist, it was part of his overall belief system. That, I don’t have a problem with. His youthful flirtation with communism, under the baleful influence of Auden, was rather more of a lapse in intellect, however temporary.


  11. Stephenb says:

    Jon Gaunt on Talksport radio (1089 MW most weekday mornings http://www.gaunty.com) is always very pro-army (‘I salute you’ is one of his catchphrases when talking to the services personnel).

    Here is another good talkshow:
    Spencer Hughes on Foxnews.com/radio
    here is the link


    eg 7/11/08 podcast on the link above he asks: ‘Why is it that George Bush got hammered for the same things that Barak Obama is doing now?’
    then he gives two examples….
    ‘No Obama supporters have rung up yet to explain that little double standard and I’m wondering if that’s the way it’s going to be for the next four, or, God forbid, eight years; hands off Obama completely. He does something that you CRUCIFY George Bush for and it’ll be okay because Obama is perfection incarnate and he can do whatever he wants and can make no mistakes.’


  12. Cockney says:

    If you start from the premise that someone who is “brave” has exceptional, above average courage, then by definition the majority of people aren’t particularly brave. I’m sure conscientious objectors had a variety of reasons for not fighting but its a fair assumption that most of them would just’ve been bricking it so a universal description as “brave” is ridiculous. Not that I’d condemn them myself on the basis that never having been called up to fight I’ve go no idea how I’d react – no doubt the people decrying traitors have all served themselves??

    Anyway I recall a very interesting albeit insensitively timed discussion on this topic on the Beeb post 9/11 when many pointed out the ridiculousness of universally describing people as “brave” who simply had the misfortune to be sitting on a plane when it got highjacked and crashed into a tower and who presumably in reality ran the spectrum from incredibly courageous to complete cowards. Why doesn’t this level of intellectual reasoning also apply to anti war types?


  13. RR says:

    Wonder if they’ll mention this observation by George Orwell?

    “it’s better for
    The health to be a C.O. than a fighter”

    Read the whole thing here:



  14. John Gentle says:

    Somebody is being unfair to Gracie Fields. She was married to an Italian who was due to be interned, that’s why she left. Furthermore, she was in many areas of action, entertaining the troops. Churchill spoke of her services to the cause in the House of Commons.


  15. Ralph says:

    The conscientious objectors who went into no mans land during World War One to bring back the wounded were brave and should be honoured.

    Humphreys probably meant those who refused to do anything and used religion as an excuse.


  16. John Bosworth says:

    I’m glad this has come up. It’s a regular theme on the BBC. And it crops up in the weirdest places. Anyone heard of a C-BBC show cartoon show “Pinky and the Brain”. The billing for one episode called “Brainy Jack” read:

    “Cartoon chaos with the anarchic duo. Discovering that the best way to take over the world is through pacifism, Pinky and The Brain travel to the Southwest on horseback and create a colony to teach the world the value of peace, love and improvisation.”

    But the real drama was over a drama. Remember the fuss over the “Monocled Mutineer”. It’s worth refreshing one’s mind over battles past: BBC vs Public Opinion. There’s an accurate account (sort of) at http://www.offthetelly.co.uk/drama/bleasdale/mutineer.htm


  17. Ralph says:


    The BBC aren’t subtle, they take negative bits of any event and report it, and ignore the good things if you are a Republican, and do the reverse if you are a Democrat.

    Others like the Mirror do the same thing but we have a choice about buying them.


  18. Intense says:

    Here we go…….

    From the Next Generation of the New Labour/BBC axis.

    No doubt before long, he’ll be either working for, or advising the BBC on what they should and shouldn’t say!


  19. Kill the Beeb says:

    “But what about those brave men who refused to fight ?”

    Com on guys, give him a break. Humphries was probably referring to his own grandfather.

    Maybe they should do a piece on those that SENT men to their deaths. Again, much of the privelidged class’ grandfathers.


  20. MarkE says:

    Only slightly related, but I heard Steve Wright yesterday while preparing Breakfast. Apparently Remembrance Sunday is when we remember the fallen of WW1. I assume Mr Wright feels no need to remember the fallen of WW2, Korea, Suez, Northern Ireland, the Falklands, Belize, Sierra Leone, the Balkans, Afganistan, Iraq etc. I guess since most of the fallen in those conflicts were stopping the spread of some very unpleasant totalitarian regimes, Mr Wright would prefer us to forget.


  21. Iain says:

    John Gentle: “Somebody is being unfair to Gracie Fields. She was married to an Italian who was due to be interned, that’s why she left.”

    But why did SHE have to leave at a time when thousands of families were being separated forcibly?

    Churchill may have been gracious towards her but members of the public who had to stick it out were less forgiving; her popularity never really recovered.

    I agree with henryflower’s comments on Benjamin Britten though.


  22. frankos says:

    The BBC common assumption is that the WW1 was a case of Lions led by Donkeys —the brave valliant working class led by the cowardly effette upperclass officer classes..The facts are actually very much more complex with an impossibly hard war fought with 19th Century tactics by a mix of volunteers and BEF –The last few battles of the war which were fought with artillery barrage tactics, plane spotting and broken attacking showed that the generals had learnt their lessons. Still didn’t get much credit


  23. RR says:

    You mean “Blackadder” wasn’t entirely factual?


  24. Iain says:

    RR: “You mean “Blackadder” wasn’t entirely factual?”

    It must have been – it got my son through GCSE History.

    On the other hand……


  25. AndrewSouthLondon says:

    Far be it for me to let the BBBC off the hook but the Radio Four presentation on Remembrance Sunday was dignified and respectful, with interviews with top brass Jock Stirrup (don’t believe the name but thats it)covering rembrance of all the modern conflicts including Falklands Iraq and Afghanistan, without so much as a word or nuance out of place. There Beeb, you see it can be done.

    Its the shallow “entertainment presenters” that are the problem.


  26. Chris Lowe says:

    I shall pay my respects to those who fell in WW1 and WW2. I shall not pay anything to anyone for Iraq or Afghanistan. They are not even in the same category. If I’d been alive for the first two World Wars I’d have fought (mainly because you at least had some chance of surviving rather than being shot for “cowardice” by those who never even ventured onto the field themselves) but for these recent conflicts, stuff that rubbish. For the record, religion doesn’t affect my judgments (I’m not religious at all) and I certainly don’t think the Queen represents us anymore either.


  27. Ross says:

    All service men and women get my respect.

    But, without wanting to defend the BBC specifically, some of the so-called “conshies” HAD served but were affected so much that they became very mentally ill indeed. It would have been irresponsible for those to return to the front-line and would have placed other personnel in danger.

    Those conshies who never went into battle in wwI&II shouldn’t have been in the army of course but it’s easy to say that 90 years later.

    My great grandfather and three great uncles fought in the Great War. All died. But who am I to judge others whose circumstances I don’t know?


  28. Anne says:

    Chris Lowe: I’m in two minds about this. I assume you’re making a distinction between wars fought in the interests of one’s country and wars fought for purely political purposes?

    I never supported the invasion of Iraq but I wouldn’t be so quick to dismiss the sacrifices of those who died – if that’s what you’re doing. Once you’ve joined the armed forces, you can’t pick and choose.

    Secondly, you obviously believe that Britain was right to declare war on Germany and, on balance, I probably do. However (and I know I’m on dangerous ground here), WW2 was exploited by the US and crippled us financially for years. Looking around, I often wonder if it was worth it. It’s difficult to raise these concerns without appearing to belittle the efforts of those who took part. However, I know ex-servicemen who feel exactly the same way.


  29. AndrewSouthLondon says:

    Remembrance is for those who gave their lives in the service of their country, the bereaved , and those badly injured who live with that loss every day. Death is still death – seems churlish to me to pick and choose between WW and todays conflicts, if that was your point.

    What left me puzzled was to hear the words to “God Save the Queen”. Never really thought about them before but not really as positive a message as “God Bless America”


  30. William says:

    A bit off topic but worth mentioning nevertheless.

    You want to be up here in Scotland, Celtic Football Club had a minutes applause (yes, a minutes applause)for our war dead.

    On BBC Reporting Scotland (local newscast) at 17:35 on Saturday evening the newsreader stated a similar minutes applause had also been held at the other football grounds in Scotland.

    This, of course, was a lie, every other ground in Scotland had a minutes silence.

    I wonder why BBC Scotland did this, would it be because it is full of handwringers, liberals and those allied to the “Irish cause”.

    UK BBC has nothing on this mob up here in Scotland believe you me.


  31. 1327 says:

    My Grandparents held a grudge against Gracie Fields until they died a few years ago. I remember as a teenager being with them when a Gracie Fields film came on the TV and they both shot up to turn it off while muttering about her under their breath. Within a minute a neighbour came around to say how disgusting it was that “that woman” was allowed to appear on TV. Until then I had never realised what had happened. Both my Gran and her neighbour were separated from their husbands for 6 years during WW2 and didn’t like anyone who they saw as not doing their bit. They also seemed to know what all of the big name actors had done during WW2 so David Niven and Cary Grant were both highly approved of.

    Sorry for going OT but I find this an interesting subject.


  32. Robert S. McNamara says:

    Do you mean the Celtic supporters were applauding our servicepeople’s deaths William? If so, that is truly sickening.


  33. Ross says:

    Very true Mr 1327

    I say above “who am I to judge” but the ancestors I also mention might well wish to slap me about the face for what I say. Stupidly, it hadn’t occurred to me that they might be turning in their graves that some poncy descendant of theirs doesn’t wish to condemn ‘conshies’ – more’s the pity they died nearly 100 years ago; one of them slowly and painfully I learned not long ago. I can’t ask them. Then I think what Henry Allingham or Harry Patch might say but, to be fair, they’d probably not wish to condemn their long deceased peers so long after the event, and understandably so.


  34. Iain says:

    “Do you mean the Celtic supporters were applauding our servicepeople’s deaths William? If so, that is truly sickening.”

    It wasn’t quite like that:



  35. Anonymous says:

    as a former soldier there is nothing wrong with being afraid, scared or frightened, some ppl just cant do the job.

    i wasnt brave enough to say no a few times. Peer pressure is a fucker


  36. George R says:

    “Why has Patriotism become such a dirty word in this country?” (by Leo McKinstry):



  37. David Preiser (USA) says:

    Can’t any of the anti-war types just think of all fallen soldiers as the ultimate victims of the awful warmonger leaders they hate so much, and just pay their respects to them as victims? Or is the political point more important than the value of human life?


  38. archduke says:

    after 20,000 were mown down in a single day at the battle of the somme, it makes you wonder why the entire populace didn’t rebel.

    and the lads who went in battle after THAT fiasco must have been as brave as hell.

    our media turn to wimps when a few hundred die in iraq.

    imagine 20,000 in a single frigging day…


  39. archduke says:

    Do you mean the Celtic supporters were applauding our servicepeople’s deaths William? If so, that is truly sickening.
    Robert S. McNamara | 10.11.08 – 7:34 pm

    yes. and Rangers fans have songs celebrating the death by starvation of 1.5 million Irish…

    goes both ways – and both equally sickening.

    if you want to see the future, you saw it at Croke Park a year or two ago, when God Save the Queen was played for the visiting English rugby team, without a single boo.

    and ended to rapturous applause from an Irish audience.

    the Scots seem to be trapped in a time warp.


  40. Jon says:

    from George R | 10.11.08 – 8:41 pm | link above.

    “There was a classic example of this fashionable disdain for national glory on BBC TV at the weekend when reporter Robert Hall, introducing some archive footage from 1918, said crowds in London could be seen “celebrating the peace agreement”.

    No they weren’t. They were celebrating British victory and the surrender of Germany. But such terms as “British victory” and “German surrender” are despised within the politically correct BBC so, without any regard for the historical truth, the triumph of 1918 had to be presented as some kind of negotiated compromise.”


  41. Stephenb says:

    Re the upper class in WWI – I respect all the past & present UK service men of all classes, but in reply to a comment above, the upper classes lost a greater proportion of their sons than the other classes did. Some families were wiped out.


  42. The Cattle Prod of Destiny says:

    John Bosworth | 10.11.08 – 1:25 pm |
    erm, Pinky and the Brain is a Warner Bros TV production and not from the BBC. It’s part of the ‘Animaniacs’ strand and is actually funny, for a modern cartoon.

    I take it you are pondering when you say that it’s promoting pacifism? 🙂


  43. Devil's Advocate says:

    A minute’s aplause at footie matches has been a fashionable way to honour dead people since George Best’s demise. It’s NOT applauding their deaths. The child shot dead in Liverpool earlier this year (Rees? Apologies if I got that wrong) receieved this honour at an Everton match. Many footballers who have died since Bestie have also received this treatment. I suspect the reason is to drown out the two or three mindless idiots who think it’s funny to whoop during minute silences, but the idea is a celebration of that person’s life.

    In the case of our war dead it’s a somewhat innapropriate sentiment, but it’s not sick, and it surely isn’t BBC bias.


  44. Robert S. McNamara says:

    Well, I’ve read the Times piece and it does indeed look like they applauded in order to mask a contingent of troublemakers.

    archduke, I wasn’t making a comment on the Anglo-Irish history. Despite being English I know practically nothing about it. Please don’t take offense.


  45. Jon says:

    “A minute’s aplause at footie matches has been a fashionable way to honour dead people since George Best’s demise”

    The Great War was hardly a football match!! and the traditional British way of marking respect is through silent contemplation.


  46. George R says:

    “On Remembrance Day, spare a thought for the despicable White Poppy appeal” (by Damian Thompson):



  47. Cockney says:

    Do proceeds of white poppies go to servicemen charities? if so what’s the problem – as long as idiocy generates positive outcomes i’m all for it


  48. Iain says:

    No, money raised from white poppy sales is used to produce “peace-promoting literature” and “promote education for peace”.

    So why not have it at some other time of the year?