Saturday was spent raising money for the Gurkhas at Claymore '07. We did the same last year ( unsurprisingly Claymore '06). This is a wargames convention held in Edinburgh.
It's actually great fun - the people are usually quite large, but unfailingly cheerful and generous.The GWT gets a share of the entrance money and we raise more by selling stuff and collecting cash from the exhibitors and public.
Two things came across really really strongly.
Firstly, most of the men had purses in which they kept their change. Perhaps it's only me that finds this somewhat obsessive as I keep mine in my pocket.
The second was the utter disgust expressed in varying degrees of vehemence about this government's treatment of the Armed Forces and the Gurkhas in particular. Amongst this coterie, Flash and his minions would have been lynched had they shown their faces.
Granted most wargamers are probably ex-forces themselves, but even so, even those who had wandered in from simple curiosity were utterly vituperative about the most recent case of the VC who wanted to come to the UK, and was initially refused because he "didn't have sufficient ties to the UK". It's OK to die for us but not to live here.
I'm reading a book called "Tulipmania" by Anne Goldgar. As the title suggests, it's about Holland in the 17th Century. But the truth of what we think we know about Tulipmania ( country ruined, economy taking years to recover) is not accurate, and the whole thrust of her arguement is to do with government responsibility.
As she says " One of the functions of those in authority is to help to create or enforce a system of values. Communities find themselves at a loss when values are thrown in doubt"
I can't help but feel this is where we are in the UK now. Does anyone really know what the values Flash and his lot espouse? I've no idea, and I don't suppose anyone else does. This very lack of principle is what is undermining what remains of our society.
I have always said we children of the '60s have ruined it for everyone else.We took on authority and respect, and largely overcame it.
What has now happened is that NuLabour ( or Brown Labour as it was referred to in one of the papers today - surely a case for the Race Relations Board) has no repect for the country, its people,institutions or professions. This can only result in decline and degeneration.
Whatever else you may think of the Conservatives, at least they have respect for institutions.