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The British military is now investigating whether stimulants or body building steroids played any part in the July deaths of three Territorial Army Soldiers - Corporal James Dunsby, Lance Corporal Craig Roberts and Trooper Edward Maher -who collapsed while trying out for the Special Air Service in the Welsh Mountains. If true, this would be a very scary development. How long before British soldiers going into action start throwing away ammunition to make more room in their webbing pouches for pills? If folk need pills to get them through the selection test, they’ll probably need them to meet the physical demands of the job as well. And if steroids are involved, then there’s a danger of soldiers suffering from psychotic ‘roid rage. It’s probably not a good idea to give people prone to psychotic episodes weapons. A US Staff Sergeant, Robert Bales, is claiming that steroid use was contributed to him going on a murder spree in Afghanistan which cost 18 people their lives. Of course, I always take the claims made by US defence lawyers with a pinch of salt. Their clients’ actions are always someone else’s fault. The first thing these folks do is blame the victim. When US pilots bombed a Canadian training exercise in Afghanistan in 2002, killing four soldiers and maiming several others, it was claimed that stimulant pills provided to them by the air force were to blame, or even better, the Canadians had opened fire on the US F-18s. The Canadians say that they were unaware that the American planes were even overhead until 500lb bomb hit the ground. But back to the steroids. The shame of what is going on is that there use by British soldiers has more to do with personal vanity than building strength. Perhaps now that soldiers will no longer be dealing with the mind numbing boredom of off-duty life Afghanistan by pumping iron this fad may die out. But sadly I doubt it.

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Two weeks ago I commented on the sacking of two United States Generals as a result of a Taliban attack last year which pretty much put a squadron of Marine Corps Harrier jump jets out of action at Camp Bastion in Afghanistan. I suggested that it was unlikely that any British officers would suffer a similar fate. According to the Independent on Sunday, not only were none of the British officers responsible for overall security at Camp Bastion fired, they have actually been promoted. In the United States military mistakes and incompetence have consequences – even for those high up the food chain who probably had no direct involvement. US President Harry Truman, supreme commander of the US military, had a sign on his desk reading “The Buck Stops Here”. Someone must be to blame for only 50 British soldiers being asked to guard 37 kilometres of perimeter fencing around Camp Bastion. Someone must be accountable for the refusal to put out more wire around the perimeter after the fence had already been breached three times. Someone decided putting British troops in five of the 24 guard towers would be sufficient. When the attack occurred just over a year ago I warned that it was foolish to underestimate the military capabilities of Terry Taliban. It would seem that it was far easier to get into Camp Bastion than I realised and perhaps I’d over-estimated the Taliban’s abilities. I’m puzzled as to whether the British do not accept that bad mistakes were made or whether they just don’t care. The British squaddies risking their lives in Afghanistan and our allies all deserve better.

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I have complained before about the increasing tendency to encourage broadcast journalists to engage in banter between news items. Quite frankly, I don’t care if the weather forecaster has two children. I’m interested in the weather. Full stop. Weather forecaster, if you’re not forecasting the weather, you’re wasting my time. I don’t know if broadcast bosses are encouraging this tendency to spout trivia because it is a cheaper way to fill a programme than actually seeking out real news. I feel sorry for many of the folk involved in the banter because when they go off script they show themselves to be inarticulate, boring, shallow and sometimes rather stupid. Things get worse when they give their ad hoc opinions on news items. I recently heard a presenter on the BBC World Service, oh let’s name names – Razia Iqbal – expressing great satisfaction that four of the six finalists in the Man Booker literary award were women. If that’s not a blatantly sexist comment, I don’t know what is. As far as I am aware, women writers are not at a noticeable disadvantage when it comes to the Man Booker. Suppose all the authors on the shortlist had been men and I said on the radio that that was “just as it should be”. Do you think I’d get to keep my job on the airwaves? Do you think I’d be hounded off of the radio? Sexism and racism are sexism and racism no matter the gender or ethnic background of the source.

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Back in 1950 when Mustang fighter-bombers napalmed the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders in Korea, United States air force commanders freely admitted they would have lost their jobs if the attack had been on American troops. The Americans are still prepared to sack generals when things go wrong. Two US Marine generals have just been bowler-hatted over the Taliban attack at Camp Bastion in Afghanistan just over a year ago which saw six Harrier jets destroyed and the commander of the Marine Corps squadron that operated them killed. Camp Bastion is basically a British base. One of the mistakes the US generals carried the can for was trusting the British to protect the base. I don’t recall any British generals losing their jobs over this sorry affair. It turns out that the Americans had already carried out a review following an earlier incident and warned both their own commanders on the ground and their British colleagues about security short-comings at Camp Bastion. Despite this, 13 of the 24 watch towers at Bastion were unmanned at the time of the attack. That includes the tower closest to the point where the Taliban commandos got onto the base. That section of the perimeter was manned by soldiers from Tonga. If British troops, instead of two Americans, had died in the attack, I wonder if a senior British officer would have bowler-hatted. Hindsight is always 20/20 and no-one ever plays a perfect game. Everyone makes mistakes. The blame may well lie high up in the chain of command with whoever allocated insufficient troops to defend the perimeter at Camp Bastion. But I can’t help feeling that the American reaction to events there suggests they take these matters seriously and don’t regard their career military as a glorified  job creation scheme for public school boys.

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I wonder what’s going to happen when it comes to the nuclear submarine base at Faslane if Scotland does vote for independence. The Scottish National Party has made it clear they want no truck with nuclear weapons. Setting aside the debate over the real value of possessing a nuclear deterrent, an independent Scotland could not afford its own nuclear navy. And sharing one with the rump of the United Kingdom would mean the English would have effective control of it. Few independent countries would want another national calling the shots, literally, like that. Actually, I’m not sure the present-day UK does have an actual independent nuclear deterrent. The missiles are American and I just have a nagging doubt as to whether the United States would really surrender complete control of those missiles. Would one nation really trust another with that kind of mega-death capability? I think without US approval, we’re talking about Failure to Launch when it comes to those missiles. Which brings me back to Faslane. It all depends what the Americans want. I’ve got a feeling that an independent Scottish government would have its arm twisted in allowing the English (sorry Wales and Northern Ireland but you’re going to have next to no say in these matters) to keep the base. It would be a Sovereign base similar to those that the Cypriots agreed to when the Brits granted the Mediterranean island independence in the 1960s but wanted to keep its military presence there.

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I guess as long grannies have their own air forces, the grandkids will get to play with the helicopters. It’s The Queen who puts the “Royal” in Royal Air Force; though I’m not sure she actually pays for the aircraft. Anyway, I guess the price of the “Royal” brand is that if one of her grandkids wants to be a chopper-jockey, then the British tax payer should pick up the full tab for the heir to the throne’s training, regardless of whether he fulfills his entire contract. Most of Her Majesty’s subjects might find themselves having to guarantee before beginning their taxpayer-funded helicopter pilot training that they would put in at least six years on the job. Otherwise, the poor subject might find themselves being asked to repay part of the cost of their training. A deal is, after all, a deal. So, if someone agreed to spend six years flying military helicopters and then left after three; and it cost  £800,000 to train that person, then they would owe £400,000. Wrong. Not if the air force is “Royal” and your granny is the Queen, one of the richest women in world. I am sure if one of the Duke of Cambridge's RAF fitters decided to walk off the job before fulfilling his or her contract, the Ministry of Defence would take the same relaxed attitude to the repayment of training costs. To those who have, shall be given more. Your Taxes at Work. Rejoice.

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I heard a reporter from the BBC World Service, Rob Broomby, announcing he was going to the Barr-Ass Market to quiz folks on their attitude to Scottish Independence. I couldn’t help by wonder where this exotic market might be. It turned out that he was he was going to The Barras in Glasgow. I’ve said it before, but I’m happy to say it again; proper pronunciation in the electronic media is as important as spelling in print media. Mispronouncing names shows a disgusting, nay disgraceful, contempt for both the people who live or have business in the place in question and the listener. It’s like saying “I don’t care how you peasants say the name of where you live, I’m from the BBC and I’ll say it anyway I bally-well choose.” It may seem ironic that someone so guilty of cultural imperialism would be attempting to get to grips with the issue of Scottish Independence. But it is not just Scots who are treated with contempt by the Home Counties Broadcasting Service. I remember the first result in the last British General Election was declared in Houghton le Spring near Sunderland. The cream of the BBC’s journalistic talent insisted on pronouncing the name “Howton”, when it’s actually “Hawtan”. I wonder how long a reporter who insisted on repeatedly calling the self-proclaimed Mother of Parliaments “Wast-meen-star” would last at the BBC. I can only imagine that the BBC’s Pronunciation Unit has been closed down. While I didn’t expect Mr Broomby to mimic some inhabitants of Scotland’s biggest city by pronouncing it “Glesga”, neither did I expect him to make one of the city’s institutions sound like a Middle Eastern souk. Mr Broomby, if you should read this; please note I took the trouble to find out how you spell your name.

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How do you recognise a third or fourth rate country? Well, perhaps claiming territory where the inhabitants want nothing to do with you is one clue. Things seem to have gone quiet over Gibraltar and Spain’s outrageous claims of sovereignty. If proximity was good grounds for annexing territory, I guess Canada would have seized St. Pierre and Miquelon years ago. The islands lie just off Canada’s Atlantic shores but remain thoroughly French. And everyone seems happy to leave it at that. But if the Spanish, or their sad cousins in Argentina, were involved, I guess things would be different. The people of Gibraltar and the Falkand Islands have both made it clear they have no desire to come under Hispanic rule. And as long as the British taxpayer is prepared to indulge them or they change their mind, then I guess they should remain out of the clutches of Hispanic imperialism. And just how good is Spain’s claim over Gibraltar? The Rock has been British for longer than it was Spanish. It was part of what is now Morocco from 711 until 1462 when it was conquered by the Spanish. It was signed over to the British in 1713. Do the maths senor! And on the subject of North Africa; just when are the Spanish going to abandon their remaining enclaves on the Moroccan coast, the so-called plazas de soberanía? Claiming places where you’re not wanted is to enter some very murky waters. And of course, the wishes of the local people are not always paramount. Military and political reality meant that although Hong Kong island was ceded by treaty to Britain forever in 1842 when the 99-year lease on New Territories on the Chinese mainland expired in 1997, the whole caboodle and its worried population was turned over to the People’s Republic.

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Would you be prepared to die in order to overthrow the Assad regime in Syria? Would you be prepared to risk your children or other family members dying if that would end the civil war in Syria? Politicians in the West seemed to be very casual when it comes to some form of military intervention in Syria. They seem to believe that “surgical” air  strikes in which only Syrians die will somehow result in Assad throwing up his hands and retreating into exile. The UK Parliament recently stepped back from the abyss but the Cameron Government may still find a way to intervene.  The fact that Assad has managed to remain in power surely suggests that the issues in Syria are far from clear-cut. Recent intervention in Arab countries has not gone well. Most now accept that life for the majority of Iraqis was actually safer before the 2003 invasion. The intervention was botched. The Libyans repaid the Western powers for their air support during the overthrow of Ghaddafi by smashing up the Commonwealth War Cemeteries and murdering the US ambassador. I don’t recall any reports that the perpetrators of anti-western acts have been punished. Libya has become a fiefdom of war lords. While there was no armed intervention in Egypt, there can be little doubt that Hosni Mubarak would not have been overthrown without the approval of Western governments. Now we see those same governments tacitly approving a military coup against a government which, by prevailing standards in the world, was democratically elected. The only way that the desired outcome, from the West’s point of view, can be assured in Syria is to put boots on the ground. And boots on the ground mean body-bags on the plane home. There is also the possibility of “terrorist” attacks on home ground. Western politicians should not be talking about starting something they don’t have the guts to finish.

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Police forces often try to sell the public on their use of electric stun guns by claiming that they are an alternative to shooting people. It’s not true. The stun guns are an alternative to subduing someone by taking a truncheon to them. In a situation in which an officer’s life really is in imminent danger, a stun gun cannot be trusted. Most rely on firing tiny hooks attached to thread-thin wires connecting them to the stun gun. If one of the hooks doesn’t hook, the electronic circuit is not completed and the stun charge doesn’t flow. Another problem with an electronic stun gun is that sometimes they just make their target more agitated – especially if the target is on drugs. Sometimes people die after being stunned. Now,I think most people would prefer to have a stun gun used on them to having their skull fractured or their arm broken with a police baton. That’s why I’m a little puzzled as to why stun guns are sold to the public as an alternative to the police use of firearms. Don’t get me wrong; I’m all for the police having as many options as possible when it comes to tools for dealing with violent incidents. But I’d rather they were upfront and honest about what they are doing.

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A lot of people ask me about the referendum on Scottish independence due to be held next year. What I think isn’t important compared with what the United States government thinks. Only the most naive can think that the Americans don’t have an interest in the result. Scotland has two things of great import to the United States – oil and a nuclear weapons base. Now that the US is supposedly heading for oil self-sufficiency, thanks to the controversial “fracking” extraction process, oil may not be as key an interest as it once was but is still important. The Britain’s nuclear warheads are carried on American Trident missiles. The British independent nuclear deterrent is not really that independent. I’ve often wondered what kind of safeguard the Americans have to prevent the British using their missiles to launch a nuclear attack that they didn’t approve of. Now it is very very unlikely that the British poodle would do that, but Scottish independence could be a game-changer.  Governments do not like uncertainty, instability, or wild cards. American influence on next year's vote has so far remained subtle and unobtrusive. The Americans are not stupid and they will recognise that overt interference could tip the balance of the Scottish independence vote against their perceived interests. Perhaps they are still waiting to see if intervention is necessary. But if they do decide their interests are threatened, I for one will be very surprised if they don’t do something. Perhaps something very subtle but very effective.

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Even as a kid I was shorter than average. As everyone hit puberty, the difference in height between me and my friends went from around an inch to an average of three or four inches. Being short means people will try to pick on you. I’d been told by some adult in the family was that if you let someone push you around, soon more people will push around and your life would become a misery. So, I didn’t let people push me around; and if things escalated to violence, so be it. Consequently, I was often on the bill at the after-school fights at the back of the slaughter-house next to the school. Sometimes there would three or four bouts on the card, matching kids of roughly the same age. The Big Kids usually made sure no-one was given such a beating that they became vegetables. There was only one rule – no kicking. If one kid tried to kick another, the crowd would break the fight up and the would-be kicker might even be the subject of some crowd justice. That rule took a beating when Kung-Fu started to be seen on TV. But the reality of things is that unless you know what you’re doing, kicking an upright opponent isn’t easy. At high school I fought a guy who rotated his fists like John Wayne in the Quiet Man. He was a lot taller than me and had a way longer reach. His quaint and apparently old fashioned fighting style was working well for him. I was getting the worst of the encounter until he had me against a wall and tried to deliver a one-two combination to the head. I ducked and he broke his fists on bricks. Advantage Cowan. Oh, my point is that if I had the skill to have kicked the guy when he was giving me the punching, I would have. What I want to know, is am I imagining a golden age of playground violence where the Kid Code prevented serious and lasting injury?

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Newspaper reports would have us believe that the British Army may soon have to stop training. Apparently, a lot of their equipment is dangerous and may contravene Health and Safety regulations. Yes indeed, it is only a matter of time until a carelessly placed pinkie finger is cut off by the moving bolt mechanism of a machine gun. And all those tanks racing around with inadequate rear-view mirrors – an accident waiting to happen. Now, it’s not unknown for the newspapers to exaggerate a little for the sake of a story. British readers may remember all the stories about supposedly crazy EEC regulations that dictated how much curve there could be in a banana and similar flights of fancy. The stories about the British Army were triggered by a Welsh coroner’s comments regarding the deaths of two part-time soldiers from suspected heatstroke during the final selection tests for the Special Air Service. The coroner, Louise Hunt, suggested that the deaths of Edward Maher and Craig Roberts’s may have involved a violation of Section Two of the Human Rights Act. Last month, Britain’s Supreme Court ruled the Government had a duty to ensure soldiers’ human rights were protected, even in the heat of battle. Being a soldier is inherently dangerous. It used to be that the British Army lost more men during training exercises in Germany in a given year than it did in Northern Ireland. There may well be questions to be asked about the selection march that claimed the lives of the two men and saw four other suspected heat casualties. Everyone knows that the candidates will often push themselves harder than they should and maybe someone should have pulled these guys out. I don’t think anyone wants to go back to the days when officers and N.C.O.’s could get away with acts of incredible negligence by hiding behind Crown Immunity. But perhaps things are swinging too far the other way. Maybe soon the only battles the British Army will be allowed to fight will be in courts of law.

* James Dunsby, a third part-time soldier trying out for the SAS at the same time as Maher and Roberts died after this was blog entry was written.

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I think it was Second World War German general Erwin Rommel who said that the main difference between the British and American armies in North Africa was that the Americans were prepared to learn from their mistakes and learn their lessons quickly.  A new book of essays written by retired senior officers about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan suggests nothing has changed. The book had originally included essays by some still-serving officers but these were suppressed on the orders of the Ministry of Defence. Based on an article about the book, I haven’t been able to get my hands on a copy, it would seem that valuable lessons that should have been learned in Iraq about preparedness and equipment were ignored in Afghanistan. Instead the British leadership insisted to its American allies that it had nothing to learn from them about counter-insurgency. This was despite the Americans finally getting their act together in Iraq while the British leadership were still making fools of themselves, and Britain, in Basra. The lessons of Northern Ireland, particularly when it comes to what are now known as Forward Operating Bases, do not appear to have been learned either. It would appear that in the higher echelons of the British Army attempts to discuss or debate “lessons learned” or even “lessons that should be learned” are not encouraged. It does not do to the rock the boat. Two of Britain’s top generals in the Second World War, Bernard Montgomery and William Slim, were both a little unorthodox. They were only given their heads because Britain was in real trouble. Sadly, most British generals were more in the mould of the Second World War’s Harold Alexander, or Oliver Leese; who was sent out to Burma to be Slim's boss despite his own less than impressive performance in Italy. Today’s British generals have more in common with Alexander and Leese than Montgomery and Slim. What is it going to take before British soldiers get the leadership they deserve?

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I noticed in the discussion of the future of the Faslane nuclear submarine base on the Clyde if Scots were vote "yes" in the independence referendum next year that it was suggested that the base's presence makes Scotland safer. My mind went back to a crazy day at the Glasgow Herald in late 1981. The news desk got a tip that US sailors at the Holy Loch nuclear submarine base were running around in protective suits and there was a major nuclear weapons accident alert going on. That led to some questions about what a nuclear warhead detonation in the Faslane or Holy Loch areas would mean for Glasgow. The answers were not pretty or reassuring. You could call it a wake-up call as regards something to which most Scots did not give a lot of thought. It turned out that something had gone wrong while handling one of the US subs with nuclear missiles at Holy Loch. I don't know if it was ever determined that a crane operator had indeed, as was suggested, dropped a Poseidon missile while his lever-handling skills were impaired by a narcotic substance. Dropping a missile onto, literally, the deck could have resulted in conventional explosive used to trigger the warhead detonating. And that could apparently have led to a nasty little nuclear death-cloud blowing over central Scotland. The Americans did a pretty good job of hushing the whole thing up and refused to say whether there was nuclear warhead on the missile at the time. But if there wasn't - why all the guys running around in protective suits? My point is that the scare brought home the fact that one of the mostly densely populated areas of western Europe was playing host to two of the most dangerous military bases on the planet. It would be hard to argue that day in 1981 that the presence of the Holy Loch and Faslane bases was making Scotland safer. And we're not even talking about a targeted strike by the nation's enemies. Anyway, that's my tuppence-worth.

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Be careful what you joke about. Last week I said I thought it was unlikely we would ever see a British Army unit called the Queen’s Own Hackers. I was discussing the British military’s attempt to grab a slice of budgetary pie when it comes to cyber-warfare. Well, it turns out though it’s unlikely to be called the Queen’s Own Hackers, the Army is looking at establishing a cyber-warfare unit. The Army is looking at attracting Information Technology experts into the Territorial Army. And as they are likely to have spent more of their time in front of a computer than playing football and stuff like that, fitness standards will be relaxed. The scheme is part of a government plan to double the size of the T.A. while slashing the number of full-time professional soldiers by 20%. Another leg Britain’s cyber-warfare strategy involves teaming up with industry. The privatisation of defence is really working out for the Americans; they would really like to get their hands on private contractor turned whistle-blower Edward Snowden. Yes, in the 21st Century Britain’s defence is a natural candidate for privatisation, out-sourcing and part-time work. It has worked for electricity, gas, water, railways, coal, steel, and telephones; hasn’t it? Successive British governments in the 1920s and 1930s decided defence, and the Army in particular, was a luxury in times of austerity. Some would argue that Hitler would never have invaded Poland in 1939 if the British Army had been a credible force.

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I see the British military is making a bid to get share of the spending on protecting the country from cyber-attack. I suppose the rationale is that it answers to the Ministry of Defence and it wants to defend the British against cyber-attack. I think it was Estonia or Latvia that was subject to a cyber-attack a couple of years back and in these days of computerisation, a lot of infrastructure and communications were knocked out. Now I’m not denying there are a lot of very smart people in the British military. Both the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force depend on highly skilled technicians. So to a lesser extent does the Army. But the cutting edge for the Army is still young blokes who like, as a female Canadian armoured car turret gunner told me; like camping, shooting and heavy machinery. That kind of bloke is not usually that good with computers. And to be honest, the Navy and Air Force’s electronics expertise is not quite what is required to kibosh a cyber-attack either. The military’s interest in cyber-attack is down to money. Somehow I don’t think we are going to see a new unit called the 1st Queen’s Own Hackers at time soon. But generals, admirals and air marshals do want a share of the financial pie. The real wars that these guys fight are not in the Gulf or Afghanistan:-  they are in the carpeted corridors of Whitehall. The culture of Britain’s military does not encourage, or reward, out-of-the-box thinking. And it’s just that kind of thinking that’s going to fend off a cyber-attack. Or launching one. This kind of work is probably better done by a civilian agency.

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Batang Kali - Again and Again
Now the Red Chinese are using the British cover-up of the 1948 Batang Kali Massacre in Malaya as a stick to beat modern-day Brits with. The presentation of a 10,000 name petition in Kuala Lumpur requesting an apology for the murder of 24 ethnic-Chinese by the Scots Guards made headlines in the People’s Daily. A spokesman for the British High Commissioner in the Malaysian capital said “what happened” to the civilians at Batang Kali was “deeply regrettable” without saying what did happen at Batang Kali. The British authorities have still to admit that the claim that the men were shot while trying to escape was, and is, a lie. Pressure from Malaysia for the British to come clean continues to grow and the arrogant insistence on continuing the cover-up is harming relations between the two countries. Last year the High Court in London cast serious doubt on the official, cover-up, version of events but declined to order a public inquiry. Lawyers in Britain acting for the families which lost members in the massacre are planning to appeal that decision. The lawyers have offered to withdraw the appeal if the British apologise for the massacre; fund a memorial to those killed and pay “modest reparations” to the families. As far as I know the British authorities have ignored the offer. The decision to pay compensation to Kenyans who claim they were tortured and mistreated during the Mau Mau terror campaign has boosted calls for the British Government to do the right thing when it comes to Batang Kali. Again I ask, who is the Government protecting here? I seriously doubt if it is the squaddies of the Scots Guards, several of whom admitted in the 1970s that there had been a massacre.

See Batang Kali Revisited

 

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The Canadians appear to go as gaga over an English accent as the Americans do, if television advertising is anything to do by. Posh English accents are preferable but any English accent will do. It’s not just national advertising campaigns. A local car dealership’s advert here in Edmonton now has an English voice-over. For some reason, Americans and Canadians associate English accents with intelligence and sophistication. If a Scottish accent is used, it is often for comic effect and is usually associated with an offensive stereotype. Actually, there’s an advert running for grass seed with a Scottish guy in it that’s not objectionable. I seem to remember there was a time when British companies used to locate their call centres in Scotland because their surveys showed that a Scottish accent was suggestive of integrity. I’ve got a feeling those call centre jobs have been moved offshore.

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What’s the Difference?
So, the British Government has apologised for torturing Kenyans in the 1950s and is even going to pay compensation to those victims who are still alive. I wonder if this paves the way for an end to the cover-up of the 1948 Batang Kali Massacre in Malaya. I doubt it. The British Government continues to maintain that the 24 ethnic Chinese men killed by the Scots Guards were shot while trying to escape – despite the testimony of both Guardsmen and Malayan witnesses. The Mau Mau in Kenya killed far more fellow blacks than the whites. The slayings were often barbaric. I wouldn’t be surprised if some of those now receiving British compensation and an apology are murderers. Torture is seldom, if ever, acceptable. It often backfires on the perpetrators. A British High Court judge rejected British Government claims that the Kenyan Government, as the successor administration to the colonial regime, should compensate the victims,  as “dishonourable”. The same argument is advanced by the British Government in the case of the Batang Kali Massacre, which it claims is a matter for the Malayasian Government to deal with. What baffles me is the differences between the way the British Government has dealt with the two countries. Something very wrong happened at Batang Kali. The British Government is getting away with sweeping it under the carpet. Some would argue that this is all ancient history and it is best to let sleeping dogs lie. That’s not true. Until the Government comes clean, Batang Kali will remain a stick with which to beat Britain’s international reputation. To let sleeping dogs lie is to not only condone what happened but to be complicit.

See Batang Kali Revisited

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