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Meesa gonna kill you!

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Sunday, June 18, 2017

The Blitz

North Sea oil and the Blitz | Podcast | History Extra

"It gave them, it gave them a kind of freedom that they never had before. You know you saw this in sexual freedoms, all sorts of sexual freedoms that people, you know partly it was because people didn't know if they were going to live so they tried different things, but partly also you know people were away from home, there was something that grew up, this idea of the sort of wartime marriage where the husbands were away, wives were still at home, men from other areas were around. So people picked up, came together and actually lived sort of marriages... it was understood that it was only last for the duration of the war...

After the war the government tried very very hard to get women back into the home. Away from the workplace. You know to get, to get women's clothes changed completely. Women wearing trousers, they had jobs to do. They had practical clothes. After the war the government was desperately trying to bring in feminine fashions again...

Do you remember that, the Twitter joke trial a few years ago? Where somebody was you know he put up a tweet about bombing Nottingham Airport because his flight had been canceled. It was clearly a joke and and he was prosecuted under this new crime. Well, I remember reading an article in one of the newspapers saying that: you know, we become soft and back during the war you know when we were keeping calm and carrying on, you know we wouldn't have prosecuted, we would have been much tougher about this kind of thing and it would never have happened.

And then going through a local newspaper in Oxford I found an absolutely analogous case. I found a man where they brought in the regulation, one of these regulations they brought of causing alarm and despondency. You could be convicted in a magistrate's court of causing alarm and despondency if you made statements that affected people, affected someone. So this man had, he had been electricity meter reader, he'd gone into a house, he'd started making jokes as probably millions of people around the country were making about the Nazis, about the Nazis coming in, about Ribbentrop being made king if the Nazis came here, about all sorts of things like that. You know they weren't very funny jokes but nor was you know I'm going to blow up Nottingham airport...

They found him guilty and they fined him for causing alarm or despondency. Alarm and despondency... we've got to be careful about making lazy judgments about the past. It was a complicated time. In many ways more like our own time than we would even imagine because people are people and that will never change...

The eighteen, nineteen year old boy at University College Oxford who went mad with a Lee Enfield rifle and started shooting fellow students in the quad. You know we think of this as a modern American campus thing, the Columbine shootings. And here it was happening in nineteen forty in England and in Oxford.

You know I found a lot of gun crime was taking place I mean that was very interesting to me. You know people had guns. The home guard had guns. The troops were coming home on leave, they were carrying their guns and when people had guns when the country had guns you know people, mostly young men used them. Just like it happens in America now... when you put excitable young men, give excitable young men guns they will use them. And so we went through our own period of high gun crime. A bit like you know is always in the news in America"
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