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Battles for Britain...

Remembrance of the rancid Scottish referendum (a battle for Britain?) and the real Battle of Britain came on much the same day, leading me to the sour and raddled realization that quite a large part of the Scottish population seems to have a rose-tinted and romanticized view of a 'revolution' that never was (you lost the vote and the Conservatives are in power, remember that) and much of the British population has the lack of judgement necessary to elect a Labour Party leader who thinks printing money would allow us to pack up our troubles in our old kitbag, smile, smile, smile...

And spend our way out of trouble.

Any politician who thinks that is feasible policy should quietly be escorted to the tactfully-termed Rest and Recuperation Home for Socialist Nutters (please tug your forelock to the statue of Tony Benn on the way in) and never let near a lever of power again in his or her life. People's Quantitative Easing will never work and shouldn't even be tried, as any half-decent economist will tell you.

But instead the great British public has placed Jeremy Corbyn in a position where he could possibly become Prime Minister of Great Britain.

That's really stupid.

But worse than stupidity is small-minded ignorance.

While I don't believe in blind patriotism and/or jingoism, or have unswerving support for the armed forces (atrocities happen, military operations sometimes fail idiotically), this was a service specifically remembering a pivotal moment in history where Britain really did stand alone against Hitler's fascist menace. Where only a very thin blue line of RAF pilots barely out of their teens was the only thing defending us from a German invasion of Britain and even possible Nazi victory in World War II.

I found out this week that the Hawker Hurricane had a design flaw - there was no protection for the pilot if the fuel tank in the forward fuselage combusted.

Although many of the Few most likely started out with the belief that it wouldn't happen to them, the mounting casualties and emptying bunks soon showed them otherwise. I wouldn't be surprised if some threw up with fear when they heard the dread ring of the phone summoning the squadron to scramble, sometimes several times a day. Outnumbered, they knew they might not come back, and in their darkest moments must have realized that, shot down and trapped in their cockpits, they could fry alive during the long fall to earth.

Anyone willing to go up against the enemy and up against such odds day after day knowing what could happen deserves a bit of respect, and I'll sing along with that.

Air Chief Marshal Hugh Dowding deserves more than a few words of respect, too. If he hadn't managed RAF Fighter Command and its pilots so brilliantly during the summer and autumn of 1940, Britain might have lost this pivotal battle anyway, and with it the democratic freedom to make stupid decisions.

But I bet a few small-minded Scottish separatists think that's all ancient English history, and nothing to do with modern times.

Funny thing about history, it's never as straightforward as stupid people suppose.

I drafted this blog at Carole's Milk Bar in Moffat on 20th September, within five days of both anniversaries and about fifty yards from an RAF care home I'd noticed some years ago. And when I'd finished I took a closer look at the place.

There was a blue plaque on the front door, which announced without fanfare that Hugh Dowding had been born there on 24th April 1882.

I hadn't known.

Formerly St. Ninian's School, it was restored, renamed and reopened as Dowding House in 1987-1988. And if it hadn't been for Hugh Dowding himself, born in Moffat but working relentlessly with people from every part of the British Isles and beyond to stop Hitler, there might not now even be a United Kingdom for Scottish separatists or Labour left-wingers to sneer at or try to tear down.

James Christie is the author of Dear Miss Landau. He was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome, a mild form of autism, at the age of 37 in 2002. He lives in the Scottish Borders.

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