The Aged P

…just toasting and ruminating….

08 August
Comments Off on “Dunkirk” 1958 and 2017….Two Very Different Perspectives

“Dunkirk” 1958 and 2017….Two Very Different Perspectives

Having seen Christopher Nolan’s “Dunkirk” I remembered that way back in my uni days in Leicester at the end of the 50s I had seen a film with the same title starring John Mills and Bernard Lee (actually it was made in 1958). I couldn’t recall much about it but fortunately it’s on Amazon Prime so a day or so later we watched it on Firestick.

Being nearly sixty years old, of course, some aspects of it are a tad dated. It’s in black and white, some of the scenes are obviously studio bound and the women are either cheerful cockneys or very middle class with cut glass accents. However, at 2 hrs 14 mins the director could take a broader brush approach and not only focus on the beaches (actually Camber Sands) but also set the scene by looking at the events which led up to the evacuation

The story was told through the eyes of three individuals. Bernard Lee (who later played M in the Bond films) was a cynical journalist, John Mills a resourceful army corporal and Richard Attenborough an English factory owner making a handsome living off the Army by manufacturing belt buckles.

Unlike the current film the 1958 production showed how during the period of the “phoney war” of the early months, when there was hardly any fighting most civilians felt disconnected from the war. Government and media were complacent and there was a feeling that, in Chamberlain’s fateful words “Hitler had missed the bus”. By the end of the film, as people flocked to welcome and help the soldiers successfully evacuated from Dunkirk the mood had changed. Many more in Britain felt part of the war.

The film also recognised the actions of the rearguard, those soldiers who were ordered to defend the perimeter to the last man and the last bullet in order to protect the men already on the beaches.

The first half of the film followed the civilians as they volunteered to take their small boats across to Dunkirk and John Mills leading his squad through the countryside to the beach. Thereafter the storyline was closer to the 2017 movie with some significant exceptions.

There was a small medical post in a bar by the front staffed by a handful of doctors and orderlies trying their best to cope under extreme pressure. Eventually the chief is sent orders to evacuate the walking wounded to the ships but to leave the most serious cases to await the German forces. Three volunteers are requested to stay behind with the patients and inevitably face being taken as POWs. They decide to draw lots and one of the three to draw the short straw, when asked his name straw gives a very common Jewish name. Nothing is said but the look on his face conveys a solemn message. If the film had been rooted in the First World War there would have no concern at being a Jewish POW. The 2017 production skirted such issues about the Germans… they were just a faceless “enemy” with no hint of darker forces.

In 1958 the film picked up on a moment when a simple service was held on the beach. Most soldiers of that time were not particularly religious but closeness to danger and death often makes men more conscious of their mortality and the scene showed many of the troops kneeling for the Lord’s Prayer. Maybe by 2017 the film makers felt uncomfortable with the notion of men kneeling in prayer….

We also know that on the beaches at the time there was a feeling that the Luftwaffe appeared to be having a free hand in the skies over Dunkirk without much opposition. In fact the RAF was working very hard further inland to deter enemy planes at quite considerable cost. Bur this didn’t stop many of the soldiers feeling angry that the “Brylcreem Boys” of the RAF had let them down. This was picked up in 1958 when John Mills had to step in when a RAF driver who had got them to the beach was threatened by other soldiers. By 2017 this had been airbrushed out.

But the most glaring omission in the recent movie was something picked up in the original film where, sat on the beach, John Mills describes the whole business as a mess and ask how on earth the Germans had managed to drive Britain to the very edge of defeat in such a short time. Bernard Lee blames it firmly on the “never again” reaction to the bloodshed and suffering of the ’14-’18 war. This had encouraged an ostrich like attitude to the rise of Nazi Germany. Lee said, laconically, that Germany had chosen guns before butter while British politicians and the public had chosen the other way around.

How could any film made in 2017, in the midst of the continuous hand-wringing built into the commemoration of the First World War, dare to even suggest that it was the motif of “never again” that had led to the slaughter of even more millions during WW2?

The 1958 “Dunkirk” came from another country. Almost every adult involved with the film would have been impacted by the 1940 evacuation. Many would have actually had experienced WW2 as soldiers or civilians. Even younger folk like myself would have had memories of family in uniform and stories about the Blitz. But now there is very little connection with those experiences at first hand.

Both films have their strengths and weaknesses. Both are, on balance, artistically sound. But both are also of their moment – and if you want to get closer to how people felt at the time then “Dunkirk” 1958 wins hands down.

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29 July
Comments Off on DUNKIRK – THE BATTLE OF THE PERIMETER

DUNKIRK – THE BATTLE OF THE PERIMETER

One thing not included in Dunkirk was the fact that an Anglo French rearguard held back German forces for long enough to ensure the evacuation from the beaches could take place at all. It meant that the retreat was not a rout. As the Duke of Wellington is alleged to have once said. “Any fool can win a battle but the best generals know when to retreat and when they do it they do it damned well”

Valuable time was gained from Hitler’s inexplicable ‘halt order’, which suspended the panzers’ advance for 2-3 crucial days, whilst the German tank forces were replenished. This gave the Allies the opportunity to set up strongpoints in key towns and villages such as Lille, La Bassée, St Venant, Festubert, La Paradis, Steenbecque, Hazebrouck, Cassel, Wormhout, Bergues, Ypres, Noordschote, Dixmuide, Veurne and Nieuwpoort. These strongpoints were manned by experienced troops of the British 2nd division and a variety of scratch units. For the most part, their orders were simple: ‘Fight to the last man and the last round’. The heroic sacrifice of these rearguard units and of the French 1st Army at Lille, allowed the bulk of the BEF and two French divisions to escape up the rapidly-shrinking corridor to Dunkirk

Read more

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29 July
Comments Off on DUNKIRK – THE FILM

DUNKIRK – THE FILM

Just saw Dunkirk….a brilliant film and a serious attempt to portray an event that has become deeply embedded in the British folk memory of WW2.
It’s also an unusual war film in the sense that dialogue is minimal and the emphasis is almost entirely on the visual. There are also very few “heroics”, indeed much of the film is understated and almost passive. There are bursts of violence but also a lot of the “waiting around” that often characterises military life.
Episodes of courage occur but we also see the panic and confusion that war films tend to underplay.
It’s also a film about men…there are a few women but they are peripheral to the narrative and very much in the background. A few decades ago there would have been the compulsory “love interest” of either wives at home or nurses aboard but moviemaking seems to be growing up.
Men die but there is very little blood or dismemberment. In fact the dead are just “there” either to be stepped over or pushed aside.
You do leave the cinema, however, grateful that that over 330,000 of these soldiers escaped to fight another day and, even more that you weren’t a man born in Britain between 1900 and 1922……

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11 May
Comments Off on Facebook Feminists Quite Happy To Call Theresa May The C Word…

Facebook Feminists Quite Happy To Call Theresa May The C Word…

Am I the only person whose Facebook timeline has uncovered posts from apparently well educated, middle class women (usually in their late 20s/early 30s) who regularly proclaim their feminist purity by railing against male misogyny yet who quite happily call Theresa May a b**** or a c***?  These are women who would prickle with resentment if you called them “love” or complimented them on the way they dressed. If you called them the c or b word they would go full metal discrimination. They stoutly defend Diane Abbott against any criticism by swiftly playing the sexist card yet they quite happily fling those words around when pontificating about the Conservative leader and do not smack any wrists when their male friends resort to similar name calling in the threads to their posts.

There is not a peep of protest.

Why?

It’s because the target of their ire is a) a right wing politician and b) she appears to be winning. Hence sisterhood goes out of the window and the claws are unleashed.

It happened to Margaret Thatcher and it also happened to Sarah Palin (even though she didn’t win)

If one were cruel it could be put down to hypocrisy. But since that sin is endemic on the left perhaps it is best filed under bad manners……

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10 May
Comments Off on Marie Le Pen Is Not Finished – She Has Only Just Begun…..

Marie Le Pen Is Not Finished – She Has Only Just Begun…..

The media and the punditocracy were having orgasms last weekend over the defeat of Marie Le Pen in the French Presidential election. “Crushed”, “landslide” were just two of the words used in celebration of her loss. Consigning MLP to the dustbin of history the hacks went on to gush over Emmanuel Macron, the young former Rothschild banker/civil servant who had “come from nowhere” to win the presidency.

Come from nowhere….lol….

Nobody “comes from nowhere” to win like that. Once it was clear that the traditional parties were persona non grata the French and EU political elites needed a package to sell to shore up their interests in the face of Le Pen’s nationalist and anti globalist rhetoric and the young photogenic former socialist banker fitted the bill perfectly.

What the media have failed to grasp is the fact that Le Pen knew that victory was very much a long shot. Her eyes have always been on 2022. What she needed from 2017 was legitimacy – and that she has gained in spades, firstly by coming a close second in the preliminary round despite having zero support from the official French media. Then, and this is of even greater significance, she gained the support of  over a third of those who voted. In other words a sizeable chunk of the electorate wanted her to lead France. This is something her father (and founder of the Front National) could never achieve. In 2002 Jean-Marie Le Pen won just 4.5m votes in the presidential run off – his daughter gained 11m. She did well with younger voters and women and easily outmatched Macron amongst the working class.

Marine Le Pen has broken out of the core rump of the FN faithful and become a major political figure and could lay claim to the mantle of the leader of the opposition to the Macron administration

She will now capitalise on this by restructuring and rebranding the FN into a broader political movement that can still sell the FN’s seductive fusion of right wing nationalism with left wing social policy but without the old vichyite trappings that always held her father back.

She reacted to her defeat with grace and dignity but vowed to carry on

I will be at the head of this fight to gather together all of those who choose France first.

For those who hope to think that Marine Le Pen is finished – she has only just begun….

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28 February
Comments Off on It’s A Bit Rich For Nigel Farage To Dump On Paul Nuttall’s Failure To Win Stoke

It’s A Bit Rich For Nigel Farage To Dump On Paul Nuttall’s Failure To Win Stoke

It’s now clear that Paul Nuttall made a mistake in allowing himself to be hyped into the Stoke by election, partly by the media and also by Farage/Banks. (Remember that Nigel has never had the cojones to be a candidate in a by election) Paul  should have brushed off the “frit” nonsense and let a local face stand – the result would then have been seen in a different light. At present May is riding a Brexit wave because she is not perceived as a con man like Cameron…which is why the Tories did well in Stoke. What everyone seems to conveniently forget is that Nigel lost at Thanet in 2015 for a similar reason – Tories were nervous about the possibility of a Miliband/Sturgeon majority in the Commons so UKIP were not able to siphon off those crucial votes and Nigel lost by a much larger margin than John Bickley did in the Heywood by election in 2014

Paul’s task is to rebuild the party from the mess left by two years of civil war so that it is ready for the next opportunity. Political energy should be concentrated on the target areas and educating the electorate, using the 2015 manifesto as a framework for policy. Selling this should be a collegiate task using as many voices as possible. This was a disappointment not a defeat. Hysterical overstatements should be avoided. Additionally it should be recalled that Nigel has tried to become an MP several times and always failed  so his implied criticism of Paul was not only untimely but also a tad laughable……..

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02 February
Comments Off on We’re Leaving The EU And Britain’s Best Days Are Yet To Come……

We’re Leaving The EU And Britain’s Best Days Are Yet To Come……

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DAVID Davis has vowed that Britain’s “best days are yet to come” as he laid out the Government’s White Paper on Brexit.

The Brexit Secretary told MPs this afternoon said that our vote to leave the EU was a “vote of confidence in the UK’s ability to succeed”.

 

The train out of the EU has now left the station with the Remoaners still sobbing in the last carriage while casting a wistful eye towards the massed ranks of faceless EU bureaucrats still gloweringon the platform.

Of course the Guardian/BBC EUphiles will still maintain their doomsday chorus of sniping and sneering but, Gina Miller notwithstanding, our destination of an independent Britain where we and we alone decide on our laws is coming nearer

BREXIT DAY WILL BE MARCH 9  

Theresa May has set a target date of launching the formal Brexit process on March 9.

The Government is pushing its EU Bill through Parliament by March 7, which would allow the Prime Minister to trigger Article 50 at a summit of European leaders on March 9 and 10.

Ministers told the House of Lords yesterday that it hopes to have the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill approved by March 7.

The following day – March 8 – is the Budget, before Mrs May travels to Brussels for the long-awaited Brexit showdown with her EU counterparts.

The PM has promised to trigger Article 50, the formal mechanism for quitting the EU, by the end of March.

 We’re on our way!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

 

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01 February
Comments Off on Don Surber Dissects US Media/Pundit Fail Over Trump

Don Surber Dissects US Media/Pundit Fail Over Trump

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With all the current huffing and puffing and virtue signalling (and sheer lying) cascading from the US and UK media over President Trump’s Executive Order on Immigration, Don Surber’s “Trump The Press” (available both in the USA and UK) offers a timely antidote to their hysterical rantings and distortions.

It’s a must read, not only for US pundits and hacks but also for their fellow scribblers here in the UK who mostly copy/paste them…(yes. including you DailyTelegraph) Mr Surber records some of the most embarrassing quotes from almost every big league American political commentator from both left and right who, imprisoned by their own bias and arrogance, failed to use those time honoured ancient journalistic skills of wearing out shoe leather to find out why millions of ordinary Americans were ignoring their advice.

If some of the sneering, contempt and sheer bias seems familiar this side of the pond it is because there are echoes here of the same failings from our own UK “experts” over the Brexit campaign.

Written with sardonic humour this is nevertheless a massive indictment of a profession that, though still dining out on Watergate, is, in essence, seeking approval by looking into the mirror.

BTW – I didn’t steal this from the review on Amazon UK….it was my review!!!!

Surber on experts and pundits

james fallows

wilson

….and, of course, the highly regarded Chris Cillizza

cillizza

cillizza 2

Meanwhile, from giants of the right…

b eck

erick erickson

But the quote I loved the best because it is so true not just in America but here in Britain

die

On the surface a book that will make you smile at the cluelessness of these professionals – but, on reflection, also a tragedy when you realise it is also a sorry tale illustrating a collapse of integrity.

Buy the whole book – you’ll enjoy it…..

 

 

 

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24 November
Comments Off on No Need For A New Pro EU, LibDem Green Platform, Mr Blair – The BBC Is Already Doing It

No Need For A New Pro EU, LibDem Green Platform, Mr Blair – The BBC Is Already Doing It

According to Guido Tony Blair has finally grasped that a return to front line politics is a definite no no

 I can’t come into front-line politics. There’s just too much hostility, and also there are elements of the media who would literally move to destroy mode if I tried to do that

But he is still convinced he has his finger on the pulse of the British people

Blair says there are millions of “politically homeless” people in Britain

You don’t have to be a genius, of course, to realise his idea of the politically homeless does not refer to the Sunderlands and Dudleys and those millions of other working class voters who used the referendum to give a V sign to all the great and the good.

Clearly he means people like him – pro EU, metropolitan, internationally minded, virtue signaling and well salaried members of the chattering classes….Blairite, Lib Dem and oh so Green

dinner-party-1

So he intends to work behind the scenes, using his wealth and contacts to help  build a platform for these folk to exchange ideas and share a vision and comfort each other through the post referendum, post Trump dark days

Problem is there already exists a ready made platform for such people that is also run by them – and it’s taxpayer funded…

The BBC……

 

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08 September
Comments Off on Diane James Was Very Briefly UKIP Leader

Diane James Was Very Briefly UKIP Leader

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Plenty of coverage of the Labour leadership contest in the media – but very little about the UKIP leadership election – which Peter Preston at the Guardian finds rather odd considering

Ukip scored 3,881,099 votes in the 2015 general election. More than the Lib Dems and SNP put together. Its current poll rating, even leaderless in the lee of Theresa, mostly hovers in the 14% region. Last June, at Brexit time, it was five or six points higher than that. Without Ukip, Remain would have won. Editorialists talked obsessively, post-referendum, about the disaffected white legions of the north and Midlands in revolt against London’s elite. Yet where is that newfound extra-metropolitan fascination when Ukip makes its own top choices?

Of course this could be down to the fact that our media gurus, permanently ensconced in their North London bubble have little understanding and even less sympathy with the party and its supporters. Maybe they assume (or hope) that, with Nigel Farage slipping into the background and Brexit won, UKIP will just go away

John Harris, also in the Guardian, has a word of caution for his fellow hacks…

At which point, a few corrective thoughts. First, whatever the state of Ukip’s internal affairs, the state of politics in both Europe and the US suggests that as economies and societies continue to fragment, and the mainstream seems to have no clear answers, the new rightwing populism is going be with us for some time to come.

Second, given that the referendum happened only two months ago, it is worth at least briefly reflecting on the part Ukip played in the outcome. With a solitary MP and a flimsy activist base, it still played a huge role in embedding the connection between most of Britain’s ills and the EU, and thereby carrying its cause from the margins of politics to its very centre. Here is an example of postmodern politics from which people on the left would do well to learn. Moreover, the people responsible are hardly likely to simply disappear.

Which is why it is absolutely essential for the future of UKIP that the next leader should be Diane James. She is the only candidate who has a national media profile, who comes across as cool, calm and collected whenever she is on TV or radio but is also rock solid on core UKIP values – and tough enough to bring some order and discipline into the organisational mess that currently fractures the party (and infuriates the grassroots….)

Remember the Eastleigh by-election when the media were shocked that UKIP came so close to winning A LIB Dem seat that Cameron had hoped to bag for the Tories?

There was a time when Ukip candidates were noted for their flakiness and eccentricity, but James, a healthcare executive and a councillor in Surrey, has come over as mainstream and professional. The Guardian’s John Harris said she was a smart, apparently unflappable operator who you might easily mistake for an A-list Tory candidate

Diane James certainly made an impression on me. For quite a while I had found myself in sympathy with UKIP on many issues but the quality of its leadership cadre before 2013 left much to be desired. Diane changed my perception of the party. As a new member I attended the 2013 party conference and discovered that quite a few other new faces felt the same way. Talking now to ordinary members it appears to me that at the grassroots level she remains very popular.

However there is some evidence that amongst the old guard, the pre 2010 folk, she is perceived by some as “not quite one of us”, rather aloof and unwilling to socialise. Some of these are keyboard warriors who, I suspect, preferred the old days of obscurity and isolation when they could play out their fantasies of worldwide conspiracies far away from the media spotlight.

If you want to go back to those times then Diane James is not your candidate. But if you want UKIP to tack on another 2/3m votes to the 4m of 2015 – and thus break into parliament – then she is the leader who can do it.

UPDATE..21/11/16

So what do I know….lol….it wasn’t to be. Pity.

“At a high profile public event in Cambridge last week, I was asked why I had not completed the process to become Leader of UKIP? I had little option, but to give the truthful response that, although nominated Leader by popular vote in the membership, I found that I had no support within the executive and thus no ability to carry forward the policies on which I had campaigned.

“My decision to retire from the election process and not complete it was very difficult personally and professionally, given that UKIP has dominated my life and all my efforts for over 5 years. In recent weeks, my relationship with the Party has been increasingly difficult and | feel it is now time to move on. | wish the Party well for the future under new leadership.”

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