I can’t help but pick up on the latest tabloid hysteria, what with millions of examples left strewn across London on a daily basis. It is rubbish, which probably says a lot more about the people who read the stuff and cast it aside for someone else to pick up, before and after work.
Anyway, this entry isn’t about free papers and rubbish, it’s about one particular episode that quite literally screamed up from the gutter about a month ago. You may remember, apparently a soldier had been turned away from a Hotel in Surrey because it was the establishments policy not rent rooms to servicemen.
Oh how the hysteria caught hold! From Talk Sport to Radio 4 and from the Metro to the Sun. Shock horror, the death of respect and the end of decency! What have we come to? Why oh why?! You could just see Jeremy Clarkson spitting with fury over his stupid fucking walnut dashboard. My Brother even rang me up to ask me why, like I had the answer.
The rhetoric still continues to this day, most if it aimed at how servicemen are treated in the USA, the cheap travel and the whooping high fives in the shopping mall. This isn’t the States though, and young working class men in Great Britain join the military to serve in one of the finest armed forces in the history of warfare itself, not to pick up the odd free Chai Latte at Starbucks. There’s more at stake in the military than the trivialities of daily civilian life.
The thing is, there must have been some reason in the past why this decision was made at the Hotel in question. Someone just didn’t pipe up at a meeting on Monday morning and suggest a blanket ban on servicemen based on short hair and a slightly awkward appearance. No, more likely it was a decision based on a culmination of events probably involving alcohol, violence and the Police. Anyone reading this who has served amongst the ordinary ranks will have a good idea of what went on, and are probably smiling at the thought of it. In short, they didn’t behave themselves.
And as any soldier will tell you, not having to behave properly is one of the more enjoyable aspects of service life. But you can’t have it both ways. And it’s precisely the reason that these people are barred from these kinds of places that makes them so successful in their chosen profession. No?
And what of the outraged Daily Mail readers with their rose tinted idea of soldiers as the last great hope of British decency and service? Are they going to throw open the doors of those cherished little B&Bs down in the Cotswolds? Or how about allowing a Platoon from 3 Para to have their Christmas party in the local Crouch End Gastro “Boozer”?
Don’t fancy it? No.
Tabloid newspapers: You lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas.