Past, present & future
Mark Twain was undoubtedly wise, but has often been credited for something he didn’t say. Anyway if he did say this, then I believe he was correct.
History doesn’t repeat, but it often rhymes.
Things you shouldn’t do
When I began my career in 1987 I underwent sales training. One of the more useful things taught to me was that if you ever wanted to make an efficient, speedy sale, never ever mention Religion or Politics. Because you had a 50/50 chance of offending someone. There are few subjects that polarise us so much. We are in one camp or the other, unable to objectively just sit on the fence.
My job now isn’t in sales any more. I look after a huge amount of money that makes up individuals precious life savings. It’s even more important for me to remain objective and never “bet the farm” based on my individual beliefs. After all, no-one holds a monopoly on knowledge.
Whilst researching what was likely to be the aftermath of Article 50 being fired off by Teresa May next week, I came across something rather interesting.
Squadron Leader Roger Bushell
Roger is the first from the left in the photo above wearing number six. One of Bushell’s passions and talents was skiing: in the early 1930s he was declared the fastest Briton in the male downhill category. He even had a black run named after him in St. Moritz, Switzerland, in recognition of the fact that he had set the fastest time for the run. I mention that only because I’m off there skiing for the first time in a couple of weeks time. More importantly…
In the spring of 1943, Bushell masterminded a plot for a major escape from Stalag Luft III. Being held in the north compound where British airmen were housed, Bushell as commander of the escape committee channelled the escape effort into probing for weaknesses and looking for opportunities. Falling back on his legal background to represent his scheme, Bushell called a meeting of the escape committee in the camp and not only shocked those present with its scope, but injected into every man a passionate determination to put every energy into the escape. He declared,
“Everyone here in this room is living on borrowed time. By rights we should all be dead! The only reason that God allowed us this extra ration of life is so we can make life hell for the Hun… In North Compound we are concentrating our efforts on completing and escaping through one master tunnel. No private-enterprise tunnels allowed. Three bloody deep, bloody long tunnels will be dug – Tom, Dick and Harry. One will succeed!”
On the evening of 24 March, after months of preparation, 200 officers prepared to escape. But things did not go as planned, with only 76 officers managing to get clear of the camp.
Yes, 72 years to the day “The Great Escape” started. I still love the 1963 Film based on the incident, it was a childhood Christmas TV staple starring:
- Steve McQueen
- James Garner
- Richard Attenborough
- James Donald
- Charles Bronson
- Donald Pleasence
- James Coburn
- David McCallum
In this world of political correctness and threats from Right Wing extremists across Europe and the World, I probably shouldn’t have mentioned the huge coincidence that “Escaping from the shackles of Europe” brings to my mind. But it does make you wonder whether the symbolism of that event played some part in the timing of invoking Article 50. I’m sure many commentators other than myself will draw parallels.
Of course The Great Escape didn’t end well. Only 3 actually made it to freedom and 50 escapees were executed under a direct order from Adolf Hitler. Entertaining as the coincidence is, we must never forget one of the reasons why Mainland Europe has remained conflict free.
29th March 2017
More importantly here’s what I think will happen immediately after Teresa May invokes Article 50. …….
The French need to wait for the result of the French Election on 7th May. Then the Germans go to the polls on 24th September. Both European powerhouses therefore are otherwise occupied to start with, trying to protect the status quo. Plus there is the little issue of £60 billion that we have been told we need to settle before we can sit down to negotiate things. So I believe as usual, next Thursday will follow next Wednesday across the world generally. It’s going to be a long turbulent summer though. As ever we will remain vigilant.
Escape from Stalag Luft 112B
I grew up watching Monty Python’s Flying Circus which led to a few TV off-shoots like Fawlty Towers and Ripping Yarns. Here’s what I have been reminded of through all this. Michael Palin is a National Treasure and Roy Kinnear, born in Wigan, is just so funny. Have a good weekend. Take 8 minutes out and enjoy.