Monday, April 09, 2007
There seem to be two arguments in favour of allowing the 15 sailors to sell their stories. The first, most lucidly advanced by a friend of mine, Andy McNab, is that it allows the Ministry of Defence to control the publicity. This may justify letting them tell their stories, but not sell them. As members of the armed forces, they might be expected to do the right thing for their country - including press interviews exposing her enemies - without any expectation of reward. The second argument - just advanced by an annoyingly noisy man on BBC Breakfast - is that senior army figures have written books and, therefore, profited from their service, so why not these guys? But the point here is that these sailors are selling their stories while serving and, indeed, in the midst of a very active confrontation with a cold enemy that might quickly become a hot one. Yet the MoD has said it has decided to suspend its usual rules in the light of 'exceptional circumstances'. On the whole, I think Janet Daley has got this right; this decision is yet a further example of Blair's inane obession with headlines and celebrity. And I don't seem to have been that far wrong when I suggested that a game of Big Brother would play some part in this grim debacle. The awful thing is that President Shabby Anagram has got just what he wanted - an exposure of the decadent West.
Posted by Bryan Appleyard at 6:19 am