We have heard and read a great deal recently about “fake news” and, as we ought not disappoint our readers, we have decided to report on last month’s press conference in which a president announced his intention this year to use his most powerful missile to put a man on the sun. This news was received in silence, a respectful silence, broken eventually by a foreign journalist brave enough to ask the question in everyone’s mind: “But Mr President, isn’t the sun too hot for that?” To this, at the end of a long silence in which everyone’s blood froze, the president acknowledged the difficulty, but explained, “We shall land at night.”
And now for another piece of “fake news” that was not fake at all. The British Ministry of Defence, asked to arrange the equivalent of a pizza in a pizzeria (or something as simple as that), the ceremonial unveiling of a memorial to those who died in the recent wars in Iraq and in Afghanistan, deemed most of the families of those killed unqualified to attend and allocated only 250 tickets for the few chosen. The excuse given for this blatant disregard for the courtesies owed to bereaved parents, children and siblings, was that the Ministry had left the distribution to organisations that knew the bereaved families. Why this was done, and who was responsible for this gross dereliction of duty, will remain a mystery.
Who in the Ministry exercised control? Who in the Ministry considered the effect of such uncaring behaviour on the morale of the diminishing numbers of serving soldiers?
So what really happened? “Oy, you lot, we’ve got 2,500 tickets for this event, and here’s a list of MoD staff who want to come, so just fill up the empty seats.”??? Pretty much how we were sent into Helmand, isn’t it? Chaotic, unrelated to reality, and no controls.