Eine Kleine Nichtmusik

Witty and pertinent observations on matters of great significance OR Incoherent jottings on total irrelevancies OR Something else altogether OR All of the above

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Chacun a son Scout

I didn't like the tone of this Daily Mail article (well, duh), nor of the many comments attached to it. A few observations, guys:

Being required to eat vegetarian food is not an abrogation of one's human rights (and these are the people who moan about others' "victim culture" and "political correctness"!) .

The provision of choice was no part of Baden-Powell's scouting vision: you got sausages, or bread, or whatever, or you went hungry. Now you get omelettes or ratatouille, or you go hungry. Deal with it.

One of the bravest regiments in the history of the British Army is the Gurkhas, most of whom were (are) vegetarian. And now you don't need them to die for you, being vegetarian is suddenly a bad thing?

WTF has any of this to do with Health & Safety? Vegetarian food is a matter of cultural sensibilities; the lack of camp fires a matter of the National Trust not wanting their nature reserve burned down by the Scouts (again). To the imbecile who suggested that if the NT wouldn't allow fires the Scouts should go elsewhere: I think the point (not that you would recognise a point if you saw one) is that Brownsea Island is where the Scouts began, and this is their centenary. I'm sure that Baden-Powell, in his illustrious military career, would have recognised situations where the lighting of fires was inadvisable. Why can't you?

And regarding risk assessments and the supposedly risk-averse nature of modern living: by all means kid yourselves that if Baden-Powell and his comrades had had modern Kevlar body armour and helmets available to them in Mafeking they would have chosen not to wear them. Baden-Powell was a soldier, and a soldier's duty (other things being equal) is to live to fight another day. Risk is OK for a soldier: unnecessary risk is simply stupid, which B-P was anything but.

If you don't like the sensible, multi-cultural, movement into which the Scouts have evolved, go and join the Hitler Youth.

On re-reading my ninth edition (1918) of Scouting For Boys, I don't think Baden-Powell would have had much time for all these armchair complainers. Scouts do as they're told without moaning. Compare and contrast..... Oh, and those of you complaining about the way your country is going to the dogs: don't imagine that the ultra-patriotic B-P would have wasted any time on you.

Thanks to Osama for the link.

From B-P himself, in Scouting For Boys (9th ed., 1918):

And you will many of you be inclined to belong to Conservative or Liberal or Labour or other parties, whichever your father or friends belong to. I should not, if I were you. I should hear what each party has to say. If you listen to one party you will certainly agree that that is the only right one, the rest must all be wrong. But if you go and listen to another you will find that after all that one is quite right, and the first one wrong.

The thing is to listen to them all, and don't be persuaded by any particular one. And then be a man, make up your mind and decide for yourself which you think is best for the country and future of the Empire - not for some twopenny-halfpenny little local question - and vote for that one so long as it works the right way, namely, for the good of the country.

I couldn't argue with that.


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