Saturday, January 15, 2005

Sieg Heil !

Never in the field of human conflict has so much nonsense been talked by so many about wearing Nazi uniform. Dressing up is a great Britsh tradition, and dressing in Nazi uniform a more recent one. The late Spike Milligan seldom wore anything else during his 'Q' period. I didn't find it funny, but he obviously did.

Many's the time Susan and I would hie down to Bumbleweeds in Cheltenham for our uniforms before re-enacting "The Night Porter", although Susan wished I wouldn't insist on always playing the Charlotte Rampling role.

Most of the people leading the attack are the usual suspects - Indie, Guardian, Mirror, Sun (though generally of the Right, the Sun is anti-monarchy, Murdoch having failed to get any kind of honour for his services to dumbing down. He seems to resent it).

A few who should know better are also joining in. It's like Diana's death all over again, with calls for 'remorse' to be shown.

Listen to the idiot (Realaudio) who wrote to the BBC complaining that the episode showed how out of touch Harry was. I'd say the opposite. He didn't have to order the uniform from Stormfront Supplies, he got it at the local fancy dress shop. "It must be assumed that fancy-dress parties at which people wear Nazi uniforms are common in middle England", as the Guardian says in this fatuous piece. Not just Middle England - every fancy dress shop in the land stocks them. Were there no demand, you wouldn't be able to hire them.

One of the best Dad's Army episodes features the platoon dressed as Nazi soldiers for an exercise. Sergeant Wilson and Private Pike get the officers uniforms as Captain Mainwaring is too fat for them.

Wilson (adjusting collar), "I must say, these uniforms are very smart - they really do something for one".

Pike gets too much into character, hustling 'his' platoon along with cries of 'Raus !'.

The idiot also mentions that his grandparents fought in the war. Yes, but not singlehanded. So did other people's parents and grandparents - like Prince Harry, strangely enough. Our parents and grandparents fought for a land where a free-born Briton could dress up exactly as they wish.

(A digression - in my dissolute days we once held a Bad Taste Party. Most of us simply wore dodgy clothes. I was surprised to see a feisty, charismatic leading light of the Women's Group at the local university, wearing a ripped dress and with what appeared to be red paint on the inside of her thighs. "You said it was a bad taste party", she said. Even twenty years on I'm not sure I can write down what she'd come as.)

Once again Michael Howard leaps in on the wrong side of the argument. While I admire his political bravery as the best Home Secretary of the 20th century, he has a habit these days of hitting the nail squarely on the thumb. Reminds me of Neil Kinnock, of whom I used to remark that if Mrs Thatcher had announced a policy of shooting all first-born children, up would pop Neil to announce that it was, scandalously, proposed to use American bullets, depriving British munitions workers of their livelihood. He never could get to the nub of an issue, and too many times Michael Howard is doing the same thing.

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