Back in the early days of the Second World War, Winston Churchill, the man who led this great country through the biggest crisis it has ever had to face, said in one of his speeches: ‘We will not flag or fail. We will go on to the end. We will defend our island whatever the cost may be. We will never surrender.’
I then read in the national newspapers that the security people who seem to run this country nowadays have made up the cowardly phrase: ‘Run, hide, tell.’
I really could not believe it. I thought some gutless wonder was making it up.
Can you imagine Churchill even contemplating saying something of this nature? No, I thought not.
Was the phrase made up by people who are incapable of seeing any good in their own country?
Of course, had this phrase been aimed at the terrorists: ‘Run, hide. Tell all your mates ’cos we’re coming to get ya’ then it would have been totally different. But it wasn’t, was it?
It was not long after this country stood alone after the fall of France that the world knew the truth of what the British were all about.
The ordinary men and women who faced terrifying daily bombing proved to the world what quality people we had back then.
I cannot even contemplate my own parents, their parents, and their brothers and sisters running and hiding from their Portsmouth homes. Of course, they took shelter, but that is a completely different matter.
I worked in London for 30 years, the last 10 in operations and control of South West Trains at Waterloo.
Several times there were security and terrorist alerts and IRA bombings, but the last thing my colleagues thought about was running away from duty even if we had been ordered to.
We were, perhaps, a little apprehensive but, apart from one person who shall remain nameless, we remained at our desks to answer the hundreds of phone calls we received from train crews and other workers.
No, it was not as bad as what Hitler threw at the earlier generation, trying to blitz them into surrendering, but it was bad enough.
There was a case some weeks ago of a car crash in London and, as people do, they went to help the driver and the person who was injured.
The police later arrived and started shouting and yelling ‘Run, hide.’ That caused more panic than any accident ever did.
If there was a car crash on Eastern Road, Portsmouth, can you imagine someone shouting at the drivers in the queue of traffic: ‘Run, hide.’ Most of the Pompey boys I know would shout ‘Help, assist’ and face the consequences later, not do a runner.
It is about time the security bods realised to whom they are aiming their silly, cowardly phrases.
•Do you know what I find amazing about children today compared to when I was a nipper? It’s how far ahead of the game they are.
There’s no comparison between me and today’s youngsters.
Like most in the 1950s, I did not start school until I was five. I imagine I could not read until I was well over six.
My granddaughter Verity, not yet six, can read, count to 20 in French, read the basics of music and swim a width of Chichester swimming pool. She says all her mates can do the same. Don’t get me started on their use of computers and how to work a DVD machine!
I wouldn’t dare insult the teaching abilities of teachers in the days of post-war austerity when the three Rs were the curriculum they had to work to.
But one thing about that time though, social graces. Our teachers were addressed as Miss and Sir. We also stood if the headmaster or headmistress entered the classroom. Perhaps some modern ways are not all for the best?