Monday, 25 July 2011
Britain is no country for sad old men who once fought for it in the Second World War and now think they have lost it
Nicholas Pringle, a 33-year old Tyneside writer was curious about his Grandmother's generation and what they did in the Second World War and 3 years ago sent letters to local newspapers across the country asking for those who lived through the War to write to him with their experiences.
He rounded off his request with this question: 'Are you happy with how your country has turned out? What do you think your fallen comrades would have made of life in 21st century Britain?'
The 150 replies he received he published as a book and their message was that those who made the ultimate sacrifice in the War would now be turning in their graves.
There was the occasional bright spot - one veteran describes Britain as 'still the best country in the world' - but the overall tone is one of profound disillusionment.
A sailor who fought the Japanese in the Far East said :
'I sing no song for the once-proud country that spawned me and I wonder why I ever tried.'
Another ex-serviceman :
'My patriotism has gone out of the window.'
Another said :
'We old people struggle on pensions, not knowing how to make ends meet. If I had my time again, would we fight as before? Need you ask?'
So what are the fears of these old men which I repeat but do not share ? :
* 'This Land of Hope and Glory is just a land of yobs and drunks'
* 'People come here, get everything they ask, for free, laughing at our expense,'
* Politicians were generally 'liars, incompetents and self-aggrandising charlatans'
* 'Our British culture is draining away at an ever increasing pace and we are almost forbidden to make any comment.'
* 'If you see youngsters doing something they shouldn't and you say anything, you just get a mouthful of foul language.'
In one letter in the collection, a Royal Air Force mechanic quoted a poem about comrades who fell in battle:
'I mourned them then,
But now surviving in a world,
Indifferent to their hopes and dreams,
I grieve more for the living.'