Magazine article The Spectator

Prole Position

Magazine article The Spectator

Prole Position

Article excerpt

High life


Why, when those of us who actually fought the Germans in 1939-45 have long buried the hatchet, must our tabloid newspapers incite British yobs to hate them?' asks Lord Deedes in the Daily Telegraph. Well, that's an easy one, dear Bill. Proletarian values, for one, which are the same as Murdochian standards and morals, championed by men and women of almost cartoonish crudeness and vulgarity, the socalled British tabloid journalists of today.

Ironically, just after the England-Germany football match, my friend Charlie Glass and I watched The Blue Max, a golden oldie about a German squadron during the first world war. In the film, a workingclass German soldier manages to be sent to flying school after two years in the trenches and eventually joins up with lots of vons, aristocratic Prussian flyers who see jousting in the sky as a form of sport rather than combat. Eager for fame and glory - 20 confirmed kills earns one the Blue Max, the highest decoration the Fatherland can bestow - the prole shoots down a defenceless British pilot whose gunner is dead. His squadron-leader is appalled. 'This is not warfare,' he tells the oik. 'It's murder.' 'Just like the yobs we saw fighting in the streets,' said Charlie.

I know it's only a film, but that's how I've always understood warfare, as well as sport, to be. A couple of days later, England's numero uno gossip columnist, Nigel Dempster, arrived at Rougemont from BadenBaden. 'Were the Germans pissed off?' I asked him. 'Not only did I not hear a word against England,' he told me, 'four people came up and congratulated me for the English victory.' Yes, but Nigel was attending a race meeting in Baden-Baden, full of well-born and gracious Germans. In fact, one of the British commentators said to him how surprised he was to see so many well-mannered people.

Par for the course. Society today, especially in Britain, is shaped by the lowest standards of decency and by the nastiest people. With the fall of socialism, the progressive forces have placed most of their chips on the undermining of morality, and woe to those who believe in such tired-out values as fair play and magnanimity in victory. This is the Murdoch era, a crazy, over-hyped celebrity culture, with our entertainment so debased we now regard beauty as offensive.

Mind you, what puzzles me is the jingoism of the scummy tabloids against Germany on one hand, and their willingness to go along with Blair's surrender to the new class of international bureaucrat - as in the EU - on the other. …

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