...a blog by Richard Flowers

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Day 2616: Harry-ed


For you, Harry, the war is over.

So it turns out that the former Ginger-pop Prince has been out on the front line, doing his job as a soldier.

I have MIXED FEELINGS. On the one fluffy foot, it's good that he has found a job to do that he is both good at and enjoying. On the other fluffy foot, that job is killing people (which, I admit, is a bit typical of his ancestors) and it's a shame that ANYONE has to have THAT as their job.

What I DON'T understand is why all the news coverage?

What is it with all the "specially extended" TV bulletins, rolling coverage on News 24 (with Kiefer Sutherland), hold-the-front-page pictures and in-depth pull-out supplements?

Relatively unskilled young man decides to be brave and put his life on the line for his country. This story happens to be told a thousand times over. Admittedly, relatively few of his comrades in arms will have a billionaire of German extraction for their granny, and it's nice that he can afford all the kit, but really there ought to be no story here.

And in fact there WAS no story for the whole of the ten weeks when no one had noticed that Harry Wales was off plane-spotting. The world did not fall to bits because one young bloke was not to be spotted spilling out of any London nightclubs. Nor, for that matter, did the war come to a sudden and dramatic end thanks to his presence. He was, and IS, just another soldier.

That makes him very, very special and yet no more than anyone else serving the cause of peace and freedom against the Taliban.

(Yes, obviously the conflict there is MUCH more complicated, and it is ever so hard to describe Mr Hamid Kharzi and his government as "the good guys", much less the warlords who control sixty percent of the country, but anyone like the Taliban who terrorize women, blow up ancient pieces of art, hang television sets, ban playing music and execute gay daddies definitely count as "the bad guys"!)

Of course there is a PR WIN in this for almost everyone. The army gets a good story of old-fashioned bravery; the Royals get to look like they matter; the BBC gets loads of lovely pictures of a nice looking young man in exotic surroundings… even Mr Harry gets to look good, though that was hardly likely to have been his first thought. Still, "Playboy Prince" to "One of Our Boys" never did his uncle any harm either.

Mind you, a CONSTITUTIONAL Monarchy is pretty much REQUIRED to be one big PR stunt. Which makes it all the more ironic that they have felt that they have to pull the chap in question out. Still, probably not such a good-news-all-round story if he gets himself exploded into smithereens!

It is TERRIBLY sad that Mr Harry does not want to come home to England though, sad that he is more at home in continuous peril of being exploded than he is in what really IS our very green and awfully pleasant land. I suppose that the choice is between being a part of something where you can feel worthwhile and being chased in and out of cover by a pack of reptiles with powerful telescopic sights. Hang on, WHICH one is Afghanistan again?

To be honest, dispatching the entirety of the world's paparazzi to the Afghan steppe might do us all a favour. No, NOT because they might all get shot – I am SHOCKED at the suggestion! But if Hello and OK and Bella were all full of what Afghanistan REALLY looked like, instead of girls on stilettos, then we might really really do something about it.


For You, Toshiba, the War is Over! (slight reprise).

No comments: