Coffee House

Guns and tinsel: Christmas 1940

25 December 2012

12:26 PM

25 December 2012

12:26 PM

White Christmas, a wartime Christmas no1, sold an distinctly American vision of yuletide bliss. The below video shows what Britain was going through a the same time: short Christmas trees being sold, because tall ones could not fit into the air raid shelters. Toy shops still open, selling Spitfires while dust gathers on the models of the Maginot Line forts, which proves so useless against German attack. Church bells were silent that year; if any rang, it would have been a signal that the invader had come.

Watching this video each Christmas has become a tradition chez Nelson. My in-laws grew up in war-torn Czechoslovakia where life was even worse and the defeat of Hitler just meant a new form of oppression – as Anne Applebaum describes so vividly in her brilliant new book, ‘Iron Curtain’. God knows Britain has its problems, but to watch the below film is to remember how lucky we are to be celebrating Christmas in what is – in historical terms – a time of unprecedented health, prosperity – and peace.

Subscribe to The Spectator today for a quality of argument not found in any other publication. Get more Spectator for less – just £12 for 12 issues.

Show comments
  • PWE

    The Spectator has joined the constellation of propagandists for the Westminster village so it is only fitting that its Editor should show us a propaganda film for Christmas.

    The Political Warfare Executive these days has no name and no office but you know it when you see it.

    Multi-culti good, opponents of mass immigration bad.

    EU good, UKIP bad.

    Fraser Nelson, you’re not a patch on Sefton Delmer, who at least did it out of principle and a good cause instead of grubby self interest.

  • Daniel Maris

    I think really that people need to publicise this judgement far more since it kind of neutralises Fraser-Think:

    European Court of Human Rights verdict of February 13th 2003:

    “… the Court found that Sharia was incompatible with the fundamental
    principles of democracy as set forth in the Convention. It considered that
    Sharia, which faithfully reflects the dogmas and divine rules laid down by
    religion, is stable and invariable. Principles such as pluralism in the
    political sphere or the constant evolution of public freedoms have no place in

    Couldn’t be clearer really, could it?

    In future I am going to start and end with that judgement. I suggest everyone else who opposes Sharia does as well.

  • Raman_Indian123

    A nation of pirates for hundreds of years. Such is the glorious history.

    • Daniel Maris

      Unfortunately a lot of people here think rampaging around the world and subjugating other people is something to be proud of. But I don’t. 🙂

  • Raman_Indian123

    Incidentally, the Saviour referred to was a Jew, not a Christian, and England refused to gave most Jews asylum from the Holocaust.

  • Raman_Indian123

    Frankly, it looks like a typical Nazi propaganda film.

  • TomTom

    BTW Fraser as Richard North points out in his new book, the air-raid shelters were ABOVE-ground designed to prevent peiople taking refuge there….it was the public which headed into the Underground and was blocked by the Police on orders from the Home Office. They could have had super large Christmas trees above ground. The film was Propaganda for the US Marketplace because Churchill’s SOLE strategy was to get the USA involved

    • HooksLaw

      Britain needed Anderson Shelters because there was a marked absence of basements in the UK compare with say Germany. For various misguided reasons Anderson ruled out the Tube as a shelter many years before the outbreak of war.

      People did not just use the tube as it lay there. The govt installed additional toilets, canteens and bunks; it concreted over rails it closed lines it installed flood barriers.

      The tube was only used for a relatively small number of people when compared to the total numbers in London.

  • Malfleur

    …and yet the Coalition, apparently supported by the Labour Party, are determined to reduce our military and attack its ancient traditions to the point that the Church of England in the person of the Archbishop of York, though not unfortunately the Archbishop of Canterbury who appears to have been nobbled, has to warn, as he did on 22nd December:

    “These defence cuts need to be done with far, far greater sensitivity
    because we live still in a world that is very fragile and there are
    people out there still, wanting to do harm to… many, many people.

    “To replace professionally trained, full time serving
    soldiers with part-timers, I’m afraid, for me. I don’t think that can be
    the backbone of the British army.”

    It does not cut any ice with me, Mr. Nelson, that your in-laws “grew up in war-torn Czechoslovakia where life was even worse and the defeat of Hitler just meant a new form of oppression”. Boo-hoo.You yourself cannot draw a cheque on that bank in my town. You confuse islam with a race, you will not denounce its ideology and you consider yourself too far above those who do to contemplate arguing with them or, when they are stitched-up and jailed,to write or publish articles suggesting that all may not be as it should be in their treatment by the political class; you refuse to debate or even write your long-promised article about Neathergate; you have not been prominent in opposing the government and EU’s attack on our military, or the EU’s anti-democratic mission to establish an unaccountable government which dictates our laws and subverts our culture; you have, in sum identified yourself and your magazine with a long train of abuses and usurpations.

    Don’t come the raw prawn with me, sunshine. We are the Czechoslavakians now.

    • Redneck


      I fear you do Mr Nelson a disservice: he may not have debated the Neather situation but has been very quick to support Mr Lennon in his time of need, has he not?

    • HooksLaw

      You say reduce our military – but it is spending a fortune on 2 giant aircraft carriers – bigger by a significant margin than any other ships built for the royal navy and is purchasing a number of planes which are significantly more capable than anything yet built. These ships and planes represent a massive increase in capability and our ability to project power round the world.

      I happen to think these ships are too big and these planes are too powerful for what we really need – they are Labours inheritance. But you cannot ignore them and pretend our military are being run down.

      We also posses a nuclear arsenal capable of wiping out half the world.

      Generally your comments are asinine – but typical of the lunacy espoused by the hysteric headless chicken tendency around here.

      • Colonel Mustard

        Only one of these carriers is due to enter service in 2018, the other being ‘on ice’ pending further decisions about it, presumably in the defence review of 2015. Since by that time Labour will probably be back in power, the financial situation will be worse than dire and Labour have a track record of cancelling advanced defence projects, I don’t believe anything about them is guaranteed.

        Meanwhile, thanks to the foreign aid budget taking precedence there are no aircraft carriers or aircraft to fly from them and the unique operational expertise of carrier operations, hard won, is being lost and will have to be re-learned.

        As a ‘strategy’ the whole thing sucks.

        • Malfleur

          …and Ark Royal recently decommissioned…+2-1 = ?… together with the Royal Navy’s Harrier jump jets…how may actually operational aircraft carriers do we we have at the end of 2012 compared with the start of the year?

          “The company’s Naval Ships unit has been conducting a review of
          operations across its shipbuilding facilities in Portsmouth and on the
          River Clyde in Glasgow (Scotstoun and Govan) as it looks to rationalise the business commensurate with anticipated future workload.
          At least one facility is expected to close, resulting in significant job
          cuts, with the Portsmouth yard seen as most at risk. The attendant
          implications for regional unemployment have seen the issue take on a
          heightened political profile in recent weeks. While Naval Ships’
          yards are currently working on the manufacture of blocks and assemblies for the Royal Navy’s (RN’s) two new Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers, workload tails off dramatically after 2015.”

          “The Royal Navy’s aging Sea King helicopters, which currently provide the fleet’s Airborne Early Warning (AEW) system, will be retired in 2016.And their multi-million-pound replacements could be delayed until 2022 – leaving HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales without aerial coverage as sailors test out the huge vessels….

          A military source said: ‘If the new AEW isn’t there to protect them, we will have built the most expensive sitting ducks ever.’ ”

          …and the Army, according to the Coalition plan outlined in 2010 to be cut by one fifth from 102,000 to 82,000 and supplemented by Dad’s Army; and
          “The UK Ministry of Defence’s …spending was hit harder than all
          other government departments by funding reductions announced on 5
          December in the Autumn Statement of the Chancellor of the Exchequer”.

          All is not lost, however, since if Mr. HooksLaw is wrong, and the Coalition with the apparent support of the Labour Party are indeed as I wrote, “determined to reduce our military”, he is relaxed because he seems to have had a vision of our government, if push comes to shove, fighting wars or “projecting our power” around the world with “a nuclear arsenal capable of wiping out half the world”… Erm…

          Personally. I’ll go with the Archbishop of York.

          • HooksLaw

            By all means insult reservists – Israel manages quite nicely.

            ‘without air coverage as the test they vessels’? test? Stop joking you are making me laugh.
            The ships are what we inherited – their capability is vast, even though I think its not one we need.. Sold off the Sea Harriers, with their air to air radars.
            Defence spending is still very large – list all the counties which spend more. Your obsessions are infantile. we spend enough and need to do more with the money we do spend. Large chunks of it which are wasted.

            Take a look at how America is slated to reduce its defence spending over the next 10 years.

        • HooksLaw

          The policy is is inherited from Labour. But that is not the point we are stuck with this powerful force and it must be taken in the round with the rest of our defence posture.
          Because both carriers are now going to use the VTOL plane, its likely they will both enter service. Assuming the F35 is not cancelled.

          We are entitled to a foreign policy and if it is successful we should save ourselves the trouble of spilling the blood of our soldiers.

          Go ahead and do all you can to ensure labour are put back in power.

          • Colonel Mustard

            Personally I should hate to do anything to ensure Labour are put back into power. I detest them rather more than I detest the directionless, blue-New Labour wet currently in No.10. At the moment I am thinking more in terms of rebellion than voting for one of two cheeks on a very similar arse because I am really fed up with all of them.

            • barbie

              Oh we agree for once! How nice.

  • Daniel Maris

    I find it a bit odd that you like to watch that film, but find nothing to worry about in the fact that Mohammed is now the most popular boys’ name in the UK. I can’t really put the two together.

    I also wouldn’t say that this age is – for young adults – a time of “unprecedented health” compared with then. Obesity and diabetes are serious problems affecting hundreds of thousands. Hundreds of thousands are addicted to drink or drugs. There has been a huge rise in the number of cases of autism. And a large proportion of the population is dependent on medically prescribed psychoactive drugs to control their depressed mood.

    Or take this from London Healthcare:

    “Recently, there has been a significant increase in certain types of birth
    defects and it is now estimated that 1 in 16 births result in some kind of birth
    defect (these statistics take all birth defects into account, rather than just
    serious birth defects).”

    • HooksLaw

      what is the current life expectancy compared with 100 Years ago?

      • Jez

        I understand and have thought about this.

        But do we have to be eradicated as a society, a culture and a people to gain what we would have anyway if the tidal wave wasn’t ushered in?

        How much genuine good could we positively do to the places we manipulate and plunder, paying off gangsters if we were a strong enough unit to cascade genuine investment to the people and infrastructures that need it in the third world.

        Pardon my French but we’ve been f*cked over. Look around and smell the coffee.

        • HooksLaw

          We are not being eradicated as a culture. This is not the same as saying we should not ignore the idiotic and incompetent socialist immigration policy.

      • Daniel Maris

        The comparison was with 1940 not 1912. From the net:

        “In 1940, life expectancy in the UK was around 70.5 years
        for men and 76 years for women. Life expectancy now is 76.2 years for men and 81.3 for women. ”

        Of course, most deaths were in infancy and childhood. So the difference in life expectancy at age 16 (leaving aside the war) was probably not so different – maybe 3 or 4 years.

        Also, I would like to see the figures for healthy old age. I don’t think mobility in old age has increased that much – we are prolonging, with drugs, a kind of twilight existence in old age, more often than not.

        • TomTom

          My relatives didn’t get to 70.5 they got a white Portland stone headstone instead in GWGC cemeteries

        • HooksLaw

          In fact a study recently has said we are under recording our age span.

          People are healthier, and those that are not are inflicting illness upon themselves by lifestyle choice. Your whole programme to pretend that we are somehow no better off than some past agrarian idyll is cobblers. Where were the holidays to Bangkok in 1940?

      • TomTom


    • Border Boy

      I find your post odd. It’s OK to look back and admire the spirit of Britain in 1940. Maybe it is a world that is past, but it is, none the less, our inheritence.

      • Daniel Maris

        I don’t find anything odd in looking back at 1940, at a time when our nation was in peril, and feeling inspired by the courage of our response. In fact I draw inspiration from that. Which is not to say that you can ever return to such a time. Of course we are where we are, and the country had changed in many and various ways. But change is not the same as fragmentation.

    • Fraser Nelson

      Daniel, I’m no historian but from memory the guys obsessing about racial purity and baby names were the ones we were fighting…

      • Jez

        Nice defense mechanism. Concerned about the blatant ever increasing replacement of the culture you have ironically taken time to shown a film about and then loosely compare them to the utter extremes of human excess.

        Say the word: ‘Nazi.’

        You’re better than this Fraser.

        • Richard

          But, Jez, Fraser does point out an irony that should at least give you pause, doesn’t he?

          If the sense of loss you feel isn’t based on some sort of idea of cultural purity, then what is it based on? What exactly is it that you feel has been replaced? After all, the period leading up to World War Two was scarcely a period of great social cohesion and consensus.

          • Jez

            Bucking the global economic depression by the mid to late 1930’s I think is probably one thing to counter the orthodox commentary regards just how utterly socially redundant we were until the country faced utter transformation.

            There’s loads more too. Just pick up a book printed before 1968-ish.

            You’ll be astounded I’m sure……. or burn it, condemning whoever gave you as a heretic.

          • Daniel Maris

            Talking about cultural “purity” is a clever way of trying to wrongfoot people concerned about mass immigration. The correct analogy here is not purity of substance but a connected network. In the 1930s there was a debate going on about public policy between people like Stanley Baldwin, George Orwell, Winston Churchill, Harry Pollitt, HG Wells and all the other leading figures, and the population at large could follow it. The nation could speak to itself. There was a connected network.

            That is what has been lost in London already. There are no common terms of debate about human welfare, legal rights and so on. Many communities in London think in terms of concepts like “honour”, “clan”, “Sharia”, or political movements in the “homeland”, that have no meaning for people from what was the majority culture. Even where the culture is quite close, language can be a significant barrier. It is very common in London for whole workforces to be drawn from particular countries e.g. Poland or Lithuania.

            If you feel “relaxed” about that, then that’s your privilege. But people tend to feel less relaxed when it impacts on them personally – in their local school or hospital, in their work or in local residential area.

            • Richard

              I’m not trying to wrongfoot you, and I agree that the levels of immigration in the last sixty years have posed great social challenges, which, like most challenges, bear down more heavily on the poor. I agree too that we have not been good at finding ways of talking about these challenges. ‘We’ – that is, the consensus-forming media – have been rightly concerned to avoid racism and the stirring up of fear and hostility, but have been inhibited by those concerns when it comes to talking about the problems posed by a newly multicultural society. The strength of that inhibition is in large part a legacy of the World War Two experience, I would guess, and a very honourable one. That’s why I think one has to acknowledge that there is a real dilemma for people with liberal values (that’s who I really meant by ‘we’) in judging how to oppose the authoritarianism of ‘the sharia movement’ without beginning to become something similar ourselves. The dilemma was always there in respect of Nazism too.

              Yes, the challenge is indeed to find ‘common terms of debate’, and it’s a tough challenge, requiring constant negotiation. But I’m not so pessimistic, partly because I really cannot see any feasible scenario in which what you seem to fear most – the takeover of the whole culture and the legal system by a particular minority – could come to pass. How could that happen? The majority culture enjoys its freedoms too much, for better and worse.

              Do I feel ‘relaxed’ about our current multicultural society? Not exactly – but I do find the degree of successful integration that Britain has achieved very moving, and entirely in the best British traditions.

              • Richard

                And – though it is probably impossible to say this without sounding pious – I do think it is enriching and enlightening to live alongside people from different cultures, and meet them, and do the difficult work of negotiating common terms of debate. That’s better than turning inwards – especially in a world characterised more than ever by global networks of economic and ecological interdependence. Because we are more multicultural, children now probably do get a better education about other cultures and how the whole world works than my generation did. That’s reason for optimism.

                • Daniel Maris

                  Here we go…the assumption that you’re the only person who has ever been exposed to another culture. I’ve no problem with our country welcoming people from all around the world. I’m got friends, colleagues and family from all around the world. I think we can benefit from cultural phenomena like Buddhism, Hinduism – personally speaking I like seeing the full variety of humanity, in terms of physical appearance, around me in London, where I live. That’s why I haven’t moved out. So, I am afraid you have nothing to teach me.

                  I am talking here about a totalitarian ideology. This country belongs to the people who live in it, we shouldn’t have to “negotiate” with people who subscribe to ideas like different classes of citizenship, oppression of women, and polygamy.

                • Richard

                  I think I’ve already clearly agreed with you on that last point, but I’ll say again that I believe there should be absolutely no concessions that result in anyone becoming a second-class citizen. The dilemma is how to be firm in one’s opposition to this without demonising a minority and arousing hostility to them. There is sometimes a fine line between these two things.

                  If I sounded as if I was presuming to teach you something, then I’m sorry. I knew I would sound pious, but no one was mentioning the cultural benefits of immigration and a multicultural society – by which I do not mean a society in which cultures do not criticise each other, but one in which they debate freely and with goodwill. Defensive fear is the enemy of that goodwill.

                • Daniel Maris

                  Well I suppose we only disagree then on tactics, not on strategy. I would say that your “fearful defensiveness” is far more the enemy of goodwill and anti-totalitarianism than my “defensive fear”.

                • Richard

                  Fair enough. Put like that, both approaches sound a bit bleak, don’t they?

              • Daniel Maris

                You ask “how could that happen”?

                Well I am not saying this WILL happen, but there is nothing unreasonable
                in the following scenario as a result of past and present mass
                immigration policies:

                1. The Muslim population continues to grow
                at the same rate it did between 2000 and 2010 (50% in one decade). That
                will give you a population percentage of about 22% in 2050 – around 15
                million. You think that’s “unlikely” perhaps – well the 50% growth was
                the reality over the last decade, so I don’t think you can rule it out,
                especially as our EU borders are not under our control.

                2. In
                the interim a party such as Respect is formed to represent, principally,
                Muslim voters and captures about 30-50 seats in the House of Commons. Unlikely? Well we know a party like Respect can win seats.

                The Respect-style party holds the balance of power in parliament and is
                able to extract concessions on opening up the country to further
                immigration above and beyond existing minimal controls (remember – they
                are allowing 400-500,000 non-citizens into the country on a long term
                basis every year). The Respect-style party is also able to extract
                concessions on local application of religious law in areas with majority
                Muslim population. We begin to see Sharia begin to be enacted on the streets in our
                major cities: women must dress modestly, the call to prayer is allowed, there must be no sale of alcohol near Mosques etc.

                4. Meanwhile the non-Muslim population begins to
                emigrate in increasing numbers. External immigration is already (2012) high: around 250,000 every year. There is nothing implausible in it rising to 1 million per annum under the pressure of events, including the deterioration in the quality of life resulting from population pressure. The country could easily lose 10 million non-Muslims in a decade under that scenario. In two decades that would be 20 million. Impossible? Well you say why it is impossible.

                5. Meanwhile, also, immigration from all around the globe has been
                continuing. So we end up with a situation where there is a tripartite
                structure: a rapidly decreasing majority culture population (mostly
                English speaking and loosely anchored in Christian or secular culture); a rapidly increasing Muslim population (not a monolith of course but forming a distinct identity); and a wide range of new immigrant communities – not united and generally not that well integrated with the majority culture (due to linguistic and religious differences and rules against outmarriage).

                Put that altogether and I think you have a scenario under which Sharia might triumph. I am not saying it is inevitable, but it is much more likely when people talk about “dilemmas” and try to paint opponents of Sharia as racists, authoritarians, Nazis, nostalgia-merchants and all the rest. Everyone who is a target under Sharia should unite to oppose it.

          • Malfleur

            The Nazis were not focused on cultural purity, but on racial purity. Plenty of Jews in Germany and Austria were fully “assimilated” and yet…

            What is in game in England today involves both a deliberate and a random watering-down threatening a dissolution of British culture in the broadest sense, brazenly called “multi-culturalism”,which ,if successful, will effect and quite possibly impose a reverse-assimilation into the largest, most aggressive cultural group.

            • TomTom

              No the Nazis were focused on survival of the Volk as the populations of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire exploded and threatened to dilute the culture. Israel faces a similar problem

              • Malfleur

                But surely the connotations of the “Volk” are clearly racial rather than cultural? What Nelson is trying on is the old game of confusing race with culture.

                Nelson is trying to shut down debate on the attacks on our culture by tarring the debate with the racist brush; i.e. if you try to debate the cultural crisis over the last 20 years brought about by the policies of the political class, which includes Nelson,you are no better than a Nazi racist. This is his pretext for running from a debate on Neathergate and for dismissing the EDL. It is a form of intellectual cowardice.

        • TomTom

          Reductio ad Hitlerum

        • TomTom

          Actually German newsreels of the same period were probably better propaganda. Hitler comments in mein Kampf on the superiority of British propaganda in WW1 over German efforts and these films were propaganda made by Charles Hasse with rationed film stock for the Ministry of Information for the US market………………..

      • Daniel Maris

        The Sharia movement is not a race.

        But perhaps you should draw up a checklist of the characteristics of the Nazi movement:

        1. Anti-semitic.

        2. Anti-Christian.

        3. Anti-democratic.

        4. Seeks to turn non-adherents into second class citizens.

        5. Dedicated to global struggle until the ideology dominates the planet.

        6. Demands complete and utter fanatical adherence from its followers.

        7. Sees no distinction between personal and public life in society.

        8. Considers public lying for the sake of the movement to be acceptable.

        9. Oppresses women and seeks to confine their role to home-making.

        10. Places high value on martial spirit.

        Once having drawn up the checklist, you can compare and contrast can’t you?

        Let’s not forget the Jews have been virtually eliminated in the Middle East, excepting Israel. The Christian communities are rapidly going the same way. There’s your proof I would say that the bigotry doesn’t reside in democrats who fear the Sharia movement’s influence.

        • Richard

          But one would have to add:

          11. Whips up and exploits a feeling of fear about the supposed threat posed by an ethnic and cultural minority, and turns that fear into the movement’s ruling passion

          And that’s the dilemma that liberal values have when facing what you call ‘the sharia movement’. One thing in which the British have taken justified pride throughout my lifetime – World War Two is our defining myth here – is a rejection of traditions of intolerance. We are, rightly, terribly wary of any tendency to see minorities and newcomers as threats. The lessons from history about where that leads are hideous. I agree with you that demands for some sort of legal accommodation of sharia in our system must be resisted, but we must be equally concerned not to exaggerate the danger these demands represent.

          • Daniel Maris

            Only an idiot would think we are going to move to Sharia law tomorrow.

            But I think the Sharia movement has to be seen in the bigger context of continuing mass immigration which is undermining the “we” you so blithely talk about. There are a hundred “we”s now – each with different home languages, listening to their own music, watching their own satellite TV stations and following their own religious or political beliefs.

            You have to have some historical understanding not just about intolerance towards minorities but also about how nations can be changed culturally, socially and economically.

            I do fear that mass immigration is storing up huge social and political problems. We are beginning to see this in all sorts of ways e.g. the housing crisis in London, the pressure on the health and educational services, and the huge amount of youth unemployment.

            I don’t think we can absorb 400-500,000 newcomers each year successfully.

            At some stage I think we will see the danger of mass emigration building up.

            I don’t like being pessimistic about my country. It’s not my default position at all. But I live in London, and I am afraid that’s the reality. Outside the tiny metropolitan elite, there is very little integration going on.

        • TomTom

          Apart from (1) you describe Soviet Communism and not (1) because Communism was a Jewish Secular Religion and the USSR the embodiment of the dream

      • Malfleur

        You are correct; you are no historian.

        • TomTom

          Glasgow has a poor teaching of teaching as evidenced by Gordon Brown and Fraser Nelson

      • TomTom

        Yes Fraser, fighting for Danzig

      • Rockin Ron

        Fraser, I think you would find plenty of people at that time in this country who would have wholeheartedly supported Nazi doctrines. The mood for appeasement was strong and it was mainly due to the stubborn nature of Churchill and his supporters that this country stood up and fought. Please don’t think it was just the nasty Germans who wanted to dispense with the Jews, put into practice eugenics and promote an Ayran vision of the future. That spirit was evident in this county too. But then, you didn’t live through it, so how could you know? The alternative vision of what this country could have looked like had the appeasers had their way is given in C J Sansom’s latest book – Dominion. Fiction of course, but it could so easily have been fact.

        Incidentally, the film is interesting in showing how to construct and orderly and considered narrative, something nearly beyond the instant reaction ‘journalists’ of the current era.

    • HooksLaw

      A large proportion? A nice example of hyperbole.
      The point it it can affect anybody at some point – but that it not the
      same as saying it is affecting this number at the same time. And it is not to say that such instances are different now than in previous ages since only now are we diagnosing it.

      Pill popping ha increased, its easy to prescribe, but cases of depression have declined.
      ‘The number of patients newly diagnosed with depression by GPs in the UK
      in the 11 years from 1993 to 2004 declined by 25 per cent’

      Autism? ‘Increasing’ in the USA too.
      ‘Some of the increase is due to the way children are identified,
      diagnosed …. increases are explained partly by greater awareness by doctors,
      teachers, and parents’

      You will find it is ‘increasing’ in Australia too. Probably elsewhere.
      ‘It is not clear whether autism itself is on the rise, or whether better diagnosis is inflating the figures.’

      So what is your point. Well whatever it is its based on ignorance.

      • Daniel Maris

        I would be very surprised if your quoted reduction in depression hasn’t been engineered through early medication of anxiety. From the BBC website:

        “Antidepressant use has been growing rapidly for decades. In 1991, English
        pharmacies handed over nine million items. In 2001, it was 24.3 million. Now the number has grown to 46.7 million prescriptions issued – a 9.1% rise on the previous year.” In Blackpool they issue more prescriptions per annum than there are patients. According to Fraser this is all indicative of “unprecedented health”.

        My point is that Fraser with his Panglossian approach is blandly ignoring the serious health issues we face today, and is perhaps shielded from them in his everyday life, as these health issues tend to be concentrated among the poor, the poorly educated and immigrant groups.Diabetes for instance is far more common among recent arrivals in this country.

        I am staring reality in the face. You seem to be averting your eyes.

        • HooksLaw

          Its lower diagnosis. Over prescribing might well be a problem but nthat was not your argument.

          The serious health issue we face today is that today we can cure people whereas previously they would have died without remark. health care is a bottomless pit which we are doing ouir best to cope with at the moment.

          Diabetes is a lifestyle problem.
          ‘The higher prevalence of diabetes among Indians and African Caribbeans may have resulted from observed changes in diet, particularly increased consumption of higher-fat meals, when migrating to the U.K., rather than genetic factors,’

          I think your comment ‘shielded from them in his everyday life’ is particularly crass.

          • Daniel Maris

            Why crass? No doubt Fraser can tell us if he mixes much with the obese, diabetics, drug addicts or the mentally ill. I don’t much myself but I am probably more exposed to them than he. I was simply making the point that if you tended to mix with only the healthy eating, gym-attending metropolitan elite and their offspring, you won’t really know what’s going on with the health of our population.

  • Jez

    A culture gone, demonised by a vicious minority, the onslaught perpetuated by an educated class of useful idiots.


    • Richard

      This is a moving film. But what exactly is it that you and Daniel Maris feel has been lost since then? What part of culture? One thing that strikes me is the withdrawal from the land – the way that, even as late as 1940, it can seem typical for children to be playing in woods and around haystacks. Our children are now estranged from their wild and rural landscapes, and prevented from roaming freely, and that is an intense sadness to me. But that isn’t what you meant, I don’t think.

      • Malfleur

        I would say as late as 1955-60, may be even a bit later. Lacrimae rerum.

        • Richard


      • Harold Angryperson

        Not sure that I agree – this film shows a highly idealised vision of Britain. In reality the connection to the land had been lost nearly a century earlier. The population in 1939 was actually even more urbanised than now, with many big city children never having seen a live cow or sheep for example – read the memoirs of any evacuee about the culture shock they encountered to see what I mean. Before the post war expansion out into new towns and the like playing in woods and fields was the preserve of a lucky minority of youngsters, for the majority it was cobbled backstreets.

        • Daniel Maris

          Yes, I am not buying into an idealised view of Britain 1940. Read Disraeli’s Sybil for a good introduction to the realities of post-industrial revolution Britain.

          • Colonel Mustard

            That idealised view of Britain is no more deceptive than the idealised view of modern Britain, where things are “so much better” and the progressives would have us believe we all live in a “vibrant”, multi-cultural, street-partying, group-hug and group think Utopia of equality and fairness.

            Having lived through both I know which idealised deception I prefer.

        • Robert Castlereagh

          In those days Britain had moral fibre before we were infested by the welfare mentality foisted on us by the mob who ruled us in 1948.
          IDS to his credit is trying to get us back to a responsible society if he were not thwarted by cretins called LibDems a thousand times worse than the post WW2 Socialists

        • Richard

          That’s interesting, and I’m sure you’re right to an extent, but what is new is the loss of the freedom of children to go out without adults. I grew up in near-central London, but my friends and I cycled and took the train out into Kent from the age of ten or eleven. It was quite normal to do that in the 60s and 70s. So I think you overstate the case as well. In the North, the mountains and moors are visible from many city centres and didn’t seem out of reach at all, as much literature shows. What is new is that children don’t venture out.

        • Colonel Mustard

          There speaks the voice of urban prejudice and the view seen from an urban perspective. Ignore the Victorian-built schools and their children in even the smallest villages, thriving into the 1960s. You think the rural countryside was denuded of children? Really? How quaint. Or is it revisionism that seeks to deny the essentially rural quality of childhood throughout the shires that the new breed of metro-trendies seem to hate so much?

      • Daniel Maris

        I made no comment about a sense of loss in relation to the film and I wouldn’t couch the debate in those terms. I would couch the debate in terms of how do you relate to totalitarian ideologies. Do you always confront them, expose them and fight them every inch of the way? Or do you appease them or affect a sophisticated indifference?

        How might you think George Orwell would react to a movement that wanted to introduce a system of law which treated women, Jews, Christians and Hindus as second class citizens? How do you react to such a movement Richard? Do you condemn it or appease it?

        • Richard

          i would condemn it. Add atheists, agnostics, apostates and minority sexualities to the list. There can be no doubt about that. Any system that creates legal categories of second-class citizens must be rejected without compromise. Nothing I have said suggests otherwise.

          • Daniel Maris

            You might condemn it in theory but in practice you refer to Nazis whipping up and exploiting a ” feeling of fear about the supposed threat posed by an ethnic and cultural minority” and say there is a “dilemma” for people in dealing with the Sharia movement. That sounds like appeasement to me – and the “dilemma” is precisely what the Sharia movement is always very keen to play up.

            In my view there is no dilemma at all. The fact the Sharia movement’s political agenda is cloaked in religion and is espoused mainly (but not exclusively) by an ethnic minority is neither here nor there.

            You need to look at things the right way up. The Sharia movement has no qualms at all about espousing ideas that would turn 90% of the population into second class citizens. There is no dilemma. Just oppose those ideas and any policies that facilitate the spread or implementation of those ideas.

      • John Smith

        As late as 1940’s, right up to end of 1950’s and beyond . .

    • Colonel Mustard

      The vicious (and cowardly) minority and their useful idiots personified by the minority of down arrows your comment has attracted.

    • Raman_Indian123

      Britain has got more humane and tolerant with every step it has taken away from Christianity. Britain changed plenty of countries in ways they did not choose. Why then should it not be changed itself without its choice?

      • Colonel Mustard

        Rubbish. Hate filled and hate fuelled rubbish too.

  • Austin Barry

    There is something plangent and melancholic about this film, a sense of loss which dare not speak its name.