Thursday, 30 December 2021

Britain, a country where an old General, Nick Carter and an old MP, Peter Bottomley can air old fashioned views on BBC Radio

The Guest Editor of the BBC Radio 4 'Today' programme this morning was the 67 year old General Sir Nick Carter, who as Chief of the Defence Staff, presided over Britain's ignominious scramble out of Afghanistan in August this year, in which thousands of Afghans, who had helped the British were left behind and to a bloody fate at the hands of the conquering Taliban. As a youth, his educational background had been the standard upper class route of a public school for boys, in his case, Winchester College, followed by army officer training at Sandhurst Military Academy. 

One of those interviewed by Mishal Husain on his programme was the 77 year old, Member of Parliament and 'Father of the House of Commons', Sir Peter Bottomley. Like the General, his education had also been based on the standard upper class route of a public school for boys, in his case, Westminster School, followed by his undergraduate studies at Trinity College Cambridge. Mishal had been asking him what advice he would give the Chancellor of the Exchequer, in the light of the predicted massive squeeze on living standards in Britain, predicted for 2022. His reply might have been made by a Liberal MP in the House of Commons, two hundred years ago in 1821, when discussing 'The Paupers'  : 

"Remember 'The Poor', but have the long term interests of the economy as the focus of your work".

At the end of her interview with the General, in which he failed to either explain or apologise for his shortcomings in Afghanistan, Mishal said : "Your successor, Sir Tony Radakin made a speech more generally looking at the Armed Forces, calling for greater diversity than the present situation, with the woefulness of too few women. Do you think you should have done more ?" His reply might have been made by the Head of the Army, seventy years ago, in 1951 : 

"Actually, looking back on it, we did a lot. I was the Head of the Army who removed restrictions on where women could serve in the Army and for that matter in the Armed Forces. No, I think we did a lot. At the end of the day we are in a generational, cultural shift and Admiral Tony Radakin is exactly right to keep the momentum going in all of this". 

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