5 October 2015 (Monday) - Stuff
I woke in a cold sweat at 5.30am this morning following a nightmare in which a seldom-used reactivation clause had been invoked recalling me back to active duty in the Scout Association. I was required to oversee a Scout trip to America for which I was struggling in vain to acquire twenty thousand American dollars at incredibly short notice.
I hoped toast and coffee would calm my nerves. As I scoffed brekkie I watched "Dad's Army". The SkyPlus box has started recording it again now that it is not recording the same episode of Doctor Who from two different channels at the same time.
In today's episode it came to light that Private Godfrey had been a conscienscious objector during the First World War. For those of my loyal readers who are unaware of the term, a "conscienscious objector" is one who refused milatary service because they had qualms about going out to kill someone with whom they have no personal grievance purely because the current government says they should.
That got me thinking for much of the day. Nowadays such objection would be accepted without question. However I can remember a conversation with my grandfather (many years ago) when I had similar reservations myself should I ever be (hypothetically) called up for military service. Could I actually shoot someone?
Grandad said that when he was called up and sent out to kill (lots of) Japanese soldiers very few people actually thought about the morality of going out and shooting the enemy. You just did as you were told. It was the done thing. Not joining up was seen as cowardice, and people were ostracised for it.
Being a conscienscious objector took some serious moral courage back then.
I wonder if I would have acutally been brave enough to have said no to the draft (had it ever happened)
As I drove to work the radio was interviewing the author of a biography of Margaret Thatcher which will be published tomorrow. Like her or loathe her, she certainly made her mark on the nation. The chap being interviewed was making great show of how much respect Margaret Thatcher had for the Queen, and how the Queen in turn respected Mrs T. I wondered if this was some attempt to re-write history; at the time it was widely reported that both had little love for the other.
There was then nostalgia for her legacy and how the Conservative Party is now claiming to be the party of the working people. There was also talk of how Lord Adonis has resigned the Labour whip to head up a new Government initiative on something or other. I don't remember what it was; the details are trivial. The important thing is that a Conservative government are involving a Labour politician in a senior position. The Prime Minister has chosen who he sees as the best man for the job. If this is a sign of things to come then things are looking up for British politics.
And (realistically) it is the only way that the Labour party will get any sniff of policy-making all the time Jeremy Corbyn is their leader.
There was also a lot of talk about how supermarkets now (by law) have to charge for carrier bags. It is something of a rip-off really. Supermarkets have obviously factored the cost of their carrier bags into their prices already. Effectively we as consumers are now paying for the same thing twice. Morrisons in Canterbury this morning had big signs up effectively apologising for having to charge, and saying that all the money raised would go to charity.
It struck me that in Morrisons it wasn't really being enforced. You could easily not pay for the bags.
The whole idea is (supposedly) to encourage recycling. The obvious thing to have done was to have outlawed non-recyclable or non biodegradable bags.
I got to work; did my bit, then came home again. I do that. As I arrived home the neighbours who aren't a *serious* cause for concern were looking out of the window with their baby. I waved and pulled faced and got smiles from baby. I collected "Furry Face TM" for his walk and he had a woofing fit at them. I wish he wouldn't. There are not many people he doesn't like. It is such a shame he has taken such a visceral dislike to the neighbours we get on with...