This cited many of the comments of WWII veterans, as they surveyed what the world they fought so hard for had become, as featured in the book, The Unknown Warriors by Nicholas Pringle.
Here is what a Commando who took part in the disastrous Dieppe raid (4,000 men were lost) thinks of New Labour:
“MORE OF A SHAMBLES THAN SOME OF THE ACTIONS I WAS IN DURING THE WAR”!He added:
“THOSE COMRADES OF MINE WHO NEVER MADE IT BACK WOULD BE APPALLED IF THEY COULD SEE THE WORLD AS IT IS TODAY. THEY WOULD WONDER WHAT HAPPENED TO THE BRAVE NEW WORLD THEY FOUGHT SO DAMNED HARD FOR.”A former Durham Light Infantryman wrote:
“OUR BRITISH CULTURE IS DRAINING AWAY AT AN EVER INCREASING PACE,' 'AND WE ARE ALMOST FORBIDDEN TO MAKE ANY COMMENT.”A widow from Solihull blamed the Thatcher years “when WE STARTED TO LOSE ALL OUR INDUSTRY AND PROFIT BECAME THE ONLY AIM IN LIFE'.
Speaking of her husband, a veteran of Dunkirk and Burma, she said:
“It is 18 years since I lost him and AS I LOOK AROUND PARTS OF BIRMINGHAM TODAY YOU WOULD NEVER KNOW YOU WERE IN ENGLAND… He would have hated it. He also disliked the immoral way things are going. I don't think people are really happy now, for all the modern, easy-living conveniences.A Desert Rat who fought at El Alamein and in Sicily, Italy and Greece added:
I DISAGREE WITH SAME-SEX MARRIAGES… RUBBISH TV PROGRAMMES, SO-CALLED CELEBRITIES AND, MOST OF ALL, UNLIMITED IMMIGRATION. I AM VERY UNHAPPY ABOUT THE WAY THIS COUNTRY IS BEING TRANSFORMED.
I go nowhere after dark. I don't even answer my doorbell then.”
"THIS IS NOT THE COUNTRY I FOUGHT FOR. POLITICAL CORRECTNESS, LACK OF DISCIPLINE, COMPENSATION MADNESS, UNCONTROLLED IMMIGRATION - THE ‘DO-GOODERS’ HAVE A LOT TO ANSWER FOR.”A former 'Land Girl'had this to say:
"In my day, DRUGS WERE UNKNOWN, FAMILIES REMAINED TOGETHER, DIVORCE WAS A RARITY AND CHILDREN FELT SECURE. WE'RE NOW CONTROLLED BY GERMANY AND FRANCE. WHAT A SAD IRONY! WERE OUR SACRIFICES MADE SO HOOLIGANS MAY RUN WILD AND AGGRESSIVE BEHAVIOUR BE ACCEPTED AS THE NORM BY TV INTERVIEWERS AND SOCIETY IN GENERAL?”Here’s the rest of the article:
“Sarah Robinson was just a teenager when World War II broke out. She endured the Blitz, watching for fires during Luftwaffe air raids armed with a bucket of sand. Often she would walk ten miles home from work in the blackout, with bombs falling around her.I grieve for the living too.
As soon as she turned 18, she joined the Royal Navy to do her bit for the war effort. Hers was a small part in a huge, history-making enterprise, and her contribution epitomises her generation's sense of service and sacrifice.
Nearly 400,000 Britons died. Millions more were scarred by the experience, physically and mentally. But WAS IT WORTH IT? Her answer - and the answer of many of her contemporaries, now in their 80s and 90s - is a resounding NO.
THEY DESPISE WHAT HAS BECOME OF THE BRITAIN THEY ONCE FOUGHT TO SAVE. IT'S NOT OUR COUNTRY ANY MORE, THEY SAY, IN SORROW AND ANGER.
Sarah harks back to the days when 'PEOPLE KEPT THE LAWS AND WERE POLITE AND COURTEOUS. WE DIDN'T HAVE MUCH MONEY, BUT WE WERE CONTENTED AND HAPPY. People whistled and sang. There was still the United Kingdom, OUR COUNTRY, WHICH WE HAD FOUGHT FOR, OUR FREEDOM, DEMOCRACY. BUT WHERE IS IT NOW?!'
The feelings of Sarah and others from this most selfless generation about the modern world have been recorded by a Tyneside writer, 33-year-old Nicholas Pringle. Curious about his grandmother's generation and what they did in the war, he decided three years ago to send letters to local newspapers across the country asking for those who lived through the war to write to him with their experiences. He rounded off his request with this question:
'Are you happy with how your country has turned out? What do you think your fallen comrades would have made of life in 21st-century Britain?'
What is extraordinary about the 150 replies he received, which he has now published as a book, is THEIR VEHEMENT INSISTENCE THAT THOSE WHO MADE THE ULTIMATE SACRIFICE IN THE WAR WOULD NOW BE TURNING IN THEIR GRAVES…
'I sing no song for the once-proud country that spawned me,' wrote a sailor who fought the Japanese in the Far East, 'and I wonder why I ever tried.'
'My patriotism has gone out of the window,' said another ex-serviceman.
In the Mail this week, Gordon Brown wrote about 'our debt of dignity to the war generation'. But the truth that emerges from these letters is that THE SURVIVORS OF THAT WAR GENERATION HAVE NOTHING BUT CONTEMPT FOR HIS GOVERNMENT. They feel, in a word that leaps out time and time again, 'BETRAYED’…
Nor can David Cameron take any comfort from the elderly. His 'hug a hoodie' advice was scorned by a generation of brave men and women now too scared, they say, to leave their homes at night. Immigration tops the list of complaints.
'PEOPLE COME HERE, GET EVERYTHING THEY ASK, FOR FREE, LAUGHING AT OUR EXPENSE,' was a typical observation.
'We old people struggle on pensions, not knowing how to make ends meet. If I had my time again, would we fight as before? Need you ask?'
MANY WRITERS ARE BEWILDERED AND OVERWHELMED BY A MULTICULTURAL BRITAIN THAT, THEY SAY BITTERLY, THEY WERE NEVER CONSULTED ABOUT NOR FEEL COMFORTABLE WITH.
'OUR COUNTRY HAS BEEN GIVEN AWAY TO FOREIGNERS WHILE WE, THE GENERATION WHO FOUGHT FOR FREEDOM, ARE HAVING TO SELL OUR HOMES FOR CARE AND ARE BEING REFUSED MEDICAL SERVICES BECAUSE INCOMERS COME FIRST.'
But then POLITICAL CORRECTNESS IS ANOTHER THING THEY TAKE STRONG ISSUE WITH, ALONG WITH POLITICIANS GENERALLY - 'LIARS, INCOMPETENTS AND SELF-AGGRANDISING CHARLATANS' (WITH THE REVEALING EXCEPTION OF ENOCH POWELL).
The loss of British sovereignty to the European Union caused almost as much distress.
'NEARLY ALL VETERANS WANT BRITAIN TO LEAVE THE EU,' wrote one.
Frank, a merchant navy sailor, thought of those who gave their lives 'for King and country', ONLY FOR BRITAIN TO BECOME 'AN OFFSHORE ISLAND OF A EUROPE WHERE FRANCE AND GERMANY HOLD SWAY. IRONIC, ISN'T IT?'
As a group, THEY FEEL FURIOUS AT NOT BEING ABLE TO SPEAK THEIR MINDS. THEY SEE THE LACK OF DEBATE AND THE DAMNING OF DISSENTERS AS RACISTS OR LITTLE ENGLANDERS AS DEEPLY UPSETTING AFFRONTS TO FREEDOM OF SPEECH…
It is the fundamental change in society's values which they find hardest to come to terms with.
BRING BACK BIRCHING AND HANGING, the sanctions they grew up with, they say. Put more bobbies back on the beat.
'WE WERE RIGIDLY TAUGHT GOOD MANNERS AND RESPECT FOR OLDER PEOPLE,' said a wartime WAAF, 'but the nanny state has ruined all that. Television programmes are full of violence and obscene language. THIS LAND OF HOPE AND GLORY IS IN REALITY A LAND OF YOBS, DRUG ADDICTS, DRUNKARD YOUTHS AND TEENAGE MOTHERS WHO THINK THEY ARE OWED ALL FOR NOTHING.'
Aged 85, she has little wish to go on living.
A crofter's son from Scotland who served on the Arctic convoys taking supplies to Russia found the immediate post-war years hard.
'In those days we had no welfare support from any source. It was as though WE HAD SERVED OUR COUNTRY TO THE FULL AND WERE THEN FORGOTTEN. However, we were very resilient and determined to make a go of it, and many of us, including myself, succeeded. How TIMES HAVE CHANGED NOW, WITH THE COUNTLESS MANY CLAMOURING TO GET WELFARE BENEFITS FOR THE ASKING.'
A medic who made it through Dunkirk and D-Day thought THE FALLEN WOULD BE APPALLED BY THE LACK OF MANNERS IN MODERN LIFE AND THE WORSHIP OF CELEBRITIES, PLUS 'THE PATENT DISHONESTY OF POLITICIANS'…
A grandmother, the widow of a Royal Marine who took part in the D-Day landings, felt the National Health Service had descended into chaos but… just being alive was a bonus. 'Although I hate what is happening to our country, I am so happy to be here, grumbling, but remembering better, happier days,' she wrote.
But one of the bitterest complaints of the veterans was that THEIR TRENCHANT VIEWS ON MANY OF THE MATTERS AIRED HERE WERE CONSTANTLY IGNORED BY THOSE IN AUTHORITY. THEIR LETTERS OF COMPLAINT TO COUNCILLORS AND MPS WENT UNANSWERED. IT WAS AS IF THEY DIDN'T MATTER, EXCEPT WHEN WHEELED OUT FOR THE RITUALS OF REMEMBRANCE DAY…
The overall impression any reader of the letters gets is that THIS GENERATION FEEL UNHEARD, UNWANTED AND UNIMPORTANT…
They may be deemed beyond their sell-by date… but, by their deeds of 60-plus years ago, they have won the right to be listened to and their disillusionment noted with respect.
In one letter in this collection, an RAF mechanic quoted a poem about comrades who fell in battle:
'I mourned them then, But now surviving IN A WORLD, INDIFFERENT TO THEIR HOPES AND DREAMS, I GRIEVE MORE FOR THE LIVING’.”
We want our country back, don't we? If you want it too, ladies and gentlemen, you’re going to have to stop voting for those who stole it!
It’s as simple as that.