Thursday, 3 September 2009

Gather around the wireless

We gathered around the wireless (internet) this morning to listen to a replay of Neville Chamberlains famous declaration that Britain is now at war with Germany. As Chamberlain outlines the German failure to comply with their deadline to withdraw from Poland, the fear in his voice is as clear today as it was 70 years ago.

Today we fight on a number of fronts & the slogan 'Not in my name' has become a banner of protest with which I hold some sympathy. To this day, I still can't fathom why we are in Afghanistan.

However, listening to a 70 year old radio broadcast this morning, I felt the swell of pride at a just & noble venture to fight alongside France & liberate the Poles from Nazi occupation. Perhaps Chamberlain was viewed with the same disdain & suspicion as our politicians today, maybe it is just the passing of years which ennobles his words with such gravitas? Churchill is rightly idolised for his later role, & Chamberlain was certainly on the way down, but his tone on this day 70 years ago was as statesmanlike as it is possible to be. Listen to it yourself on www.bbc.co.uk/archive

I wonder about my great-family, huddled aound a real wireless to hear the news. Did my Grandad know that day that he would fly planes? Did his parents realise with a chill that they would lose sons?

All I know is that we have lost a little perspective. In our town where people are mobilised with aggression over the wrong kind of parking meters & housing developments, isn't it time we got our heads up & remembered what Chamberlain led us so reluctantly into?

That's all for today, speak soon

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