Fun read. Top rant from Jezza with some great home truths scattered throughout.
Jeremy Clarkson: Where’s our Dunkirk spirit? Indoors, moaning that the sea’s a bit choppy and the boat smells
In the late spring of 1940, more than a third of a million lantern-jawed soldiers of the British Expeditionary Force were lined up on the border between France and Belgium, each with a pocketful of Woodbines and a plan. They’d give Jerry a whiff of Sten and then they’d go home for tea and medals.
Instead, they did quite a lot of fleeing and panicking, and when they reached Dunkirk, still fleeing and panicking, it really did look as though virtually the entire British Army would be captured before the war had even got going.
These were grim times, so Winston Churchill sanctioned something called Operation Dynamo, which called for anyone with a boat to sail over the Channel and pick up as many soldiers as they could.
We all know what happened next, and we all like to think that in similarly dire circumstances we, as a people, would stiffen our lips, hoist our sails and do exactly the same as our grandads did. But I seriously doubt that.
If Churchill made his plea to the nation today, it would be followed by an incredulous-looking Jon Snow on Channel 4 News saying, “Do you know what the public-school-educated drunk is suggesting now?” And then we’d have Diane Abbott saying that the mission would cost eleven and a million and thirty thousand pounds, before we cut to a series of vox pops in which a collection of people in tracksuits made working-class noises about how t’ bloody Tories shouldn’t have invaded Poland in t’ first place.
I wish I was joking, but you have only to look at the reaction to every single development in the pandemic to see that I’m not.
We have a vaccine. That’s tremendous news. Let’s get down to Oxford straight away and employ an army of greased eunuchs to carry the scientists who developed it quickly through the torchlit streets on golden sedan chairs. No, on second thoughts, let’s not. Instead, let’s wonder if this vaccine will turn us into Stormtroopers or Borg or White Walkers, and then let’s break into the lab where it was developed and free the animals it was tested on.
Seriously, taking to the pages of social media to complain that the vaccine was tested on stoats is like the people of 1940 taking to the streets of Ramsgate to hurl abuse at the people who went to Dunkirk because their motor launches caused so much climate change.
Then there’s the roll-out. We’re behind Israel because it has four national health services that compete with one another for patients. But, that said, we are miles ahead of France and Italy and even Germany. This country is doing a bloody good job, but will anyone say that? Nope. Instead, all we get is cynics saying: “Ha. You want to inject 14 million people by the spring. Not even Frank Lucas* managed to do that many.”
There was an old lady on the news last week complaining that she’d had to wait in the cold for her jab and that there’d been too many steps and ramps in the vaccination centre. I couldn’t believe it. Scientists had developed something that would save her life. The workers of the country had paid for it. And all she could do was moan. If I’d been the interviewer, I’d have wheeled her into the river.
Which brings me on to Fulham football club. Unlike millions of people who are stuck at home, with no job to do and no social life, these footballists are allowed to meet up with their mates and do what they love once or twice a week. But when their fixture against Spurs was moved with just two days’ notice, they whined like stuck pigs. I’d have pushed them into the river as well.
Along with Marcus Rashford. But only because he plays for Manchester United. On the food front, I think his fight is noble and well judged, and I agree that some shameless profiteering is going on. But I am fed up to the back teeth of the whingeing this story unleashed.
We live in a country where children from less well-off families are entitled to free lunches when they are at home. Yippee. But instead of celebrating that fact, and concentrating on making sure the food they get is not half an ounce of mould and a dead dog, I heard a woman on the news the other day demanding that she be given £30 to provide lunch for her child. Thirty quid? Where’s she going to take him? Fortnum & Mason?
Another said it was no good providing actual food for her kid and she wanted a voucher instead. Presumably so that she could exchange it at the supermarket for fags and scratchcards.
And don’t get me started on teachers, because, as far as I can tell, instead of working out how they will educate their pupils in these troubled times, every single one of them is to be found on the news every night, with his laptop at the wrong angle and a terrible painting in the background, saying that Boris Johnson should buy every child in the land an iPad and that no teacher should have to work again, ever.
The fact is that life, for 98% of the population right now, is pretty bloody awful. And for the other 2% it’s worse because they’ve died. I get it. No one wants to sit at home all day. No one wants to wait in the cold for a vaccine and then find that it’s been cancelled because the delivery lorry is stuck in the snow. And, yes, we’d all like to go to the Caribbean next month, but we can’t.
In the olden days, a British person would have dealt with these trials by going outside to help push the stuck vaccine delivery lorry. But not any more. Now, we’re more likely to storm out of the tent in a sulk of shuddering shoulders and tears, saying: “I am just going outside and may be some time — and if you don’t like it, you can all eff off. And I want a free laptop.”