In his speech to the House of Commons on 20th August 1940, paying tribute to the RAF for their heroic defence during the Battle of Britain which was still raging over the skies of England, Churchill uttered the words that encapsulated the feelings of all when he said, ‘Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few. The day that became known as Battle of Britain day, the 15 September 1940, was the day on which the RAF delivered what proved to be a decisive victory in that Battle, and ultimately lead to an Allied victory in the Second World War.
I know what follows may offend some, but the RAF were fighting for many things, one of which was a way of life that allowed for differing views. So on the anniversary of Battle of Britain day, the 15th September 2022, I think his words need updating, to more accurately describe the seemingly improbable events of the last week. ” Never in this nations history has so much been talked about so little by so few.”
Someone died. People are upset. Arrangements have been made for her funeral. More involved than is usually the case but what is a circumstance without the pomp? I’ve been absolutely staggered by the coverage from the broadcasters, as they cloak their increasingly fatuous comments with a facade of emotion that indicates a need to be seen to be expressing it lest they are deemed disrespectful by others. Worse, they have assumed the mantle of telling people that because the death of someone few have ever met is an important thing, that due deference should be given, and only they can show us how we ought behave. It’s the idea that everyone feels exactly the same thing, to exactly the same degree and therefore needs exactly the same help to do so.
Worse still, is the presumption that this is a perfectly normal response to something which in truth affects only those closet the dead woman but which is nevertheless elevated to something akin to a national tragedy, a notion that the media both promote and encourage. I don’t doubt that many people feel genuine sorrow over her death, but I doubt I’m alone in feeling nothing about it either. Actually, that’s not true. I do feel something. A confusing combination of alienation, cynicism, and disdain.
Alienation because the images of the crowds lining the streets along which her coffin passed were possessed with something I don’t have. Disdain for them having it and cynicism about the medias motives for the feeding of it.