13.4.41

No real news at all about either Greece or Libya…Of the two papers I was able to procure today, the Sunday Pictorial was blackly defeatist and the Sunday Express not much less so. Yesterday’s Evening Standard has an article by “Our Military Correspondent”… which was even more so. All this suggests that the newspapers may be receiving bad news which they are not allowed to pass on…God knows it is all a ghastly mess. The one thing that is perhaps encouraging is that all the military experts are convinced that our intervention in Greece is disastrous, and the military experts are always wrong.

When the campaign in the Near East is settled one way or the other, and the situation is in some way stabilised, I shall discontinue this diary. It covers the period between Hitler’s spring campaigns of 1940 and 1941. Some time within the next month or two a new military and political phase must begin. The first six months of this diary covered the quasi-revolutionary period following on the disaster in France. Now we are evidently in for another period of disaster, but of a different kind, less intelligible to ordinary people and not necessarily producing any corresponding political improvement. Looking back to the early part of this diary, I see how my political predictions have been falsified, and yet, as it were, the revolutionary changes that I expected are happening, but in slow motion. I made an entry, I see, implying that private advertisements would have disappeared from the walls within a year. They haven’t, of course – that disgusting Famel Cough Syrup advert, is still plastered all over the place, also He’s Twice the Man on Worthington and Somebody’s Mother isn’t Using Persil – but they are far fewer, and the government posters far more numerous. Connolly said once that intellectuals tend to be right about the direction of events but wrong about their tempo, which is very true. [1]

Registering on Saturday, with the 38 group, I was appalled to see what a scrubby-looking lot they were. A thing that strikes one when one sees a group like this, picked out simply by date of birth, is how much more rapidly the working classes age. They don’t, however, live less long, or only a few years less long, than the middle class. But they have an enormous middle age, stretching from thirty to sixty.

[1] Connolly not only said but wrote this: ‘For the weak point in the judgment of intellectuals is that they tend to be right about the course of events, but wrong about their tempo’ (Comment, Horizon, September 1940, p. 83). Peter Davison

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2 Responses to 13.4.41

  1. Barry Larking says:

    “When the campaign in the Near East is settled …”

    Before it was ‘settled’, Near East and Middle East Commands were unified and Near East dropped out of usage. I believe these terms were originally employed by British shipping companies.

    The ‘military experts’ were not wrong this time. The ‘Pendulum War’ was about to begin.

  2. Pingback: links for 2011-04-13 « Charlottesville Words

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