In 1970, on holiday in Dublin, I bought a magazine entitled, I think, “This Week”.
It had a cover story on the “Official IRA” and promised one the “Provisionals” the following week.
It quoted Cathal Goulding, Chief of Staff of the “Officials” saying that Britain’s “Special Air Services” (SAS) were deployed in the North.
It was the first I had read or heard of that body of those ACTIONMEN OF ILL-WILL, though I had listened to the BBC all my life and read British daily and Sunday papers for the previous six years.
It was another 10 years before the SAS featured on British TV and captured British Headlines, They didn’t compete as Celebrity Chefs, or in Strictly Come Dancing, nor were they depicted in Nativity Scenes, not even as Herod’s special agents.
But all that changed when they stormed the Iranian Embassy, rescued some hostages, and shot some armed hostage takers. THE TIMES reported that they had singled out an unarmed hostage taker and shot him, and carried an Editorial displaying a raised eyebrow at such a Gibraltar-like extrajudicial execution. But I don’t recall the paper following the matter up by either admitting it had been blundered like someone at Balaclava, or let down the Balaclava Clad Boy’s Own Super-Heroes by giving their Game away.
Editors have been denied Knighthoods for telling the truth. And Knights of the Realm have been hanged for it Think Casement. And Julian Assange has been falsely accused of rape, forced to seek asylum, banged up untried for years in British prisons and awaits up to 175 years in American prison for exposing the low crimes and misdemeanours of the most vociferous champions of open government and freedom of expression.
Visit any Garden Centre, or National Trust property in England, and you are sure to find books on the SAS and other such celebrities.But I have never come across in 57 years in England, a single publication dealing with the League of Nations.
Britain was one of the founders of the League in 1920 and a signature to its Covenant which it reneged on facilitating Japan’s seizure of Manchuria, Mussolini’s Rape of Abyssinia, and other crimes. In fact Britain profited by that rape, because that Knight of the Bath. dubbed by George V in 1923, paid canal fees for passage through Suez for troops and equipment. France was equally cynical. The Second World War and other wars could not have happened if Britain and France had honoured their signatures to the League’s Covenant. Eamon de Valeras. as President of the League’s Council and later of its General Assembly, insisted in vain that all Members honoured their signatures, and was prepared to commit Irish Troops to co-operate with others to protect members from attack and to enforce effective sanctions on aggressors.
I am told that in Abyssinia there is a Christian Church whose roof is painted, as is Rome’s Cistine Chapel to represent Heaven, and that high among the Saints depicted is Eamon de Valera. At the time Pope Pius XI and the Italian Hierarchy, clergy and nuns supported Mussolini with prayers and worldly riches in his Imperial adventure, and Fine Gael and the Blue Shirts condemned de Valera for not siding with Catholic Italy. Winston Churchill praised Mussolini as a Great Roman.
Anyway I was for 16 years a Librarian in the London Borough of Haringey and never located any publication on the League of Nations.
It was while working in Haringey I first heard of Andy McNab. A young fellow virtually dragging his knuckles across the floor asked in an unintelligible grunt for “Bravo 2 Zero” McNab’s first of many bestsellers celebrating the SAS.
An ex-pupil of Gordonstoun, which shared with the late Sir Jimmy Savile, a significant input into the outlook of the Parachute Regiment’s olonel-in_Chief and Heir to the Throne, Charles, Prince of Wales, pleaded in Court that he had been inspired by a reading of “Bravo 2 Zero” into killing a man who had done him no harm.
Apparently Arabs had been the enemy in the book, and he had picked on a taximan who happened to be a Muslim. As it happens I have worked and socialised with Moslems of many nations and had dentistry and medical treatment from them. I don’t think I’ve known any Arabs. Many Arabs are Catholics.
There appear to be many in Britain, even among Members of Parliament with military Interests whom one can fairly classify as IQ 2 Zero.
And their Irish imitators seem to have taken over the Irish media,