Supporting troops needn’t mean backing war
It’s embarrassment, isn’t it? That’s the only explanation. It’s good old-fashioned British horror of anything that might provoke any kind of controversy, any public display of untoward emotion.
That’s why the local authorities of this country have displayed such glacial indifference to the 13,000 servicemen returning this autumn – hundreds of them grievously injured – from the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan.
That’s why the Chief of the General Staff, Sir Richard Dannatt, was driven to his sad complaint last week.
That’s why there will be no parties or treats for men and women who have given so much.
That’s why no one is laying on a parade. It’s nothing to do with our so-called stiff upper lip, or dislike of show. Don’t give me that guff.
This is a nation awash with cheap sentimentality, a nation that went into an ecstasy of mourning for the death of the Princess of Wales, and which is still far more interested – to judge by the news coverage – in the fate of one four-year-old girl than in the losses and injuries now being sustained by the entire Armed Forces.
But when British politicians, local and national, try to imagine any public act of thanksgiving for military sacrifice, they go into a kind of swoon.