‘Captain Tom’ has died and I can see already that this is going to be another of those ‘Death of Princess Di’ moments.
Yet again, the United Kingdom will be divided between those who think the death is of almost unimaginable significance – and those who wonder why so much fuss is being made about the demise, in this case, of a charming gent at the impressive age of 100.
Captain Tom Moore, for those who’ve somehow managed to avoid the MSM’s endless coverage of his adventures, was an elderly war veteran who rose to prominence last year when he decided to raise money for charity by walking up and down his garden on his zimmer frame. He initially aimed to walk 250 metres a day, till he had reached his 2.5 kilometer (1.5 mile) target. But then he kept going and so caught the public imagination that he ended up raising nearly £33 million for charity.
Among the many honours showered upon him were: a knighthood; a personal letter on his 100th birthday from the Queen, together with 150,000 cards from well-wishers; a flypast by a Hurricane and a Spitfire from the Battle of Britain memorial flight; a number one single (duetting with Michael Ball); a train, a bus, a police dog, a horse and a powerboat named after him; a Blue Peter gold badge; a place in the Guinness Book of Records; several TV documentaries; the honorary Colonelship of the Army Foundation College; the captainship of the England football team’s ‘Lionheart’ squad, presented by David Beckham…
Not a bad set of achievements for a centenarian and, of course, it made a great ‘gift that goes on giving’ feel-good story for the MSM to promote endlessly. But the story had a darker side too – which, of course, none of the politicians and media influencers now ostentatiously mourning the news of Captain Tom’s death will admit.
The darker side is, of course, that through absolutely no fault of his own, Captain Tom became an unwitting instrument of state propaganda. He fitted the bill perfectly. Not only was his chosen charity one called NHS Charities Together, but he had served as an officer in World War II, mainly as a tank and motorcycle instructor.
This served the government and media propaganda machine in two vital ways. First, it enhanced the narrative that the National Health Service, like Captain Tom himself, was a national treasure — so important, heroic and well-loved that it was worth sacrificing the economy for and that its survival should be the single overriding goal of the government’s coronavirus policy.
Second, it fed another heavily-promoted aspect of the pandemic: that this is Britain’s greatest challenge since the Second World War and all the suffering and sacrifice and deprivation we have experienced will be worth it in the end because, just like Captain Tom’s generation, we’ll rise to the occasion and beat this bug just like we beat Tojo, Mussolini and Hitler.
Neither of these heavily promoted propaganda myths bears any relationship with reality. The National Health Service — the organisation, not the individual doctors and nurses — is inefficient, stupidly expensive, absolutely rubbish at planning and procurement, secretive, disorganised, top-heavy, politicised, arrogant, complacent, sclerotic, devious and dishonest. If only it could be broken up and privatised. But it won’t be, because it has suited both the government and its compliant stooges in the bought-and-paid-for mainstream media to promote the lie that this bloated socialistic legacy of the early post-war era is an ornament to the nation and the envy of the world.
As for the persistently implied Second World War comparison — that is utter nonsense too and an insult to the unimaginable suffering that killed millions in conditions of squalid misery, terrifying violence, and barbaric genocide during that conflict worldwide. There is no comparison in deaths, nor is this remotely like the sheer terror from the estimated 12,000 tons of bombs the Germans obligingly dropped on London between 1941 and 1945.
Again, this is not to belittle Captain Tom’s achievements or impugn his integrity. He was clearly a thoroughly decent chap, motivated by the best of intentions. Which is more than you could say for the people in government and media who so ruthlessly exploited him for their cynical propaganda purposes.