Sir: As a proud ex-Wren during World War ll, I heartily endorse your editorial on the Royal Australian Navy. It seems to have lost sight of its primary raison d’etre of being a force to defend the country from aggressors and is concentrating instead on political correctness and so-called gender equality.
When I was working in Signals alongside naval ratings, there was never any suggestion of anything but normal, civilised relations between the sexes and even an underlying gallantry in the ratings’ treatment of young Wrens. We were generously offered “ticklers”, the hand rolled cigarettes they smoked when they ran out of money to buy factory made ones, and we offered ours in return. There was banter and chat, most certainly, but never anything disrespectful that might need a comment from a senior officer. I am at a loss to understand why anything should be different today and so much time and money wasted on protecting anyone from any possible cause for hurt or discomfort.
Let the Navy do the work that it is intended to do!
Sir: You cowards! Especially you, Morten Morland. (Cover cartoon 2nd April). I notice that you avoided using any racial characteristics such as dark skin or long nose, but opted instead for a cheap, safe shot at Celts. (NOT GINGER). You knew that you would be safe from any charges of racism. You would not have dared to put overtly racist phrases on your cover.
You may think that it is humorous to perpetuate the bias against red hair, and not really hurtful to anyone. If you do, you have never been in a school playground or office where taunts such as “Orangutang” or more commonly “Ranga” are used with impunity. Redheads are regularly vilified, to the great amusement of people who would be enraged by the slightest reference to any other form of racism . In fact, black children in schools often use such terminology, to the amusement of teachers. Shame on you perpetuating this bias against innocent children in particular).
Sir: The Dictionary definition of ‘discover’ says, ‘discovery means to make known’ a reasonably benign and uncontroversial description I would have thought. The Dictionary defines ‘invasion’ as ‘to attack for the purpose of subjugation’. This was never the intent or purpose of Captain Cook’s voyages.
What did he discover or ‘make known’? Well one of the really big differences he discovered was that the Hawaiins, he Maorist, the Fijiians, the Papua New Guineans and the Australian Aborigines, all practiced Cannbalism. In Cook’s world this would have given his people the high moral ground and was a huge gap between the two worlds. This difference is rarely mentioned by Historians. Cook ‘discovered’ in the Australian Aborigines, disparate tribes with no written language, no knowledge of any Science, or Inventions, not even the wheel.
No permanent settlements or buildings and a meagre practice of agriculture. There were no tribal leaders with authority to speak on behalf of their people. He bought Civilisation to them, he never Invaded them.
Paradise Island, Qld
Sir: Mr Graham’s allusion to “Maccas Peace Theory” is as ludicrous as its liberal international counterpart. NATO bombed Yugoslavia in 2000, with all parties host to McDonald’s restaurants. India and Pakistan fought the Kargil War over Kashmir, Russia went to war with Georgia in 2008, and Russia annexed Ukraine in 2014. All the aforementioned countries and alliances are home to the golden arches.
I demand that you withdraw your comment regarding Mr Davis being “goose-of-the-week”, he is a gentleman of the highest order.
Sir: James Delingpole will be relieved to hear that not everyone follows the fashion for demanding repatriation of historical treasures (‘Give thanks for the tomb raiders’, 9 April). When presenting my ambassadorial letters of credence to the President of Haiti, René Preval, in 2010, I mentioned in passing that a rare (possibly unique) copy of Haiti’s Declaration of Independence had recently been discovered in our National Archives at Kew. At this point Preval’s foreign minister leaned forward and suggested that Her Majesty’s Government might wish to repatriate the document. Preval laughed at the suggestion. ‘No no, ambassador,’ he said with rueful acknowledgement of Haiti’s troubled past and precarious present; ‘It’s better that you look after it for us.’
HM Ambassador to Haiti (2009–2015)
Sir: Last week (16 April) both The Spectator and Private Eye carried a full-page advertisement for Heathrow Airport extolling its third runway proposal. It consisted of a cartoon front view of an aeroplane, with Cameron wearing captain’s epaulettes, sitting in the right-hand pilot’s seat, while Osborne, with first officer’s epaulettes, sits in the left-hand seat. As any fule kno, the captain normally sits in the left-hand seat on an aeroplane.
A captain does, however, sit in the right-hand seat when, as a training captain, he is teaching his co-pilot to be a commander. Maybe the Heathrow advertising copy-writers got it right after all?