Sunday 16 June 2013

Royal Progress

First the bad news, there was no invitation to Trooping The Colour this weekend at The  Horseguards in London.  Not even the offer of a seat on the sidelines or even to be squeezed in the plebian standing enclosure with David Cameron, his lady Samantha and a huddle of G8 people representing our once great status.  The lads on the square done good but unlike the G8 they knew what they were doing.

As CO (community organiser) of the Ragged Rabble of Redundant Skivers my unit of mob handed slouching disorganised ancients should have been there if only on diversity duty.  Shuffling past the salute waving our bus passes as ID and pulling our shopping trolleys we would have made a true statement of the state of the national defences.

It appears that the Treasury have pointed out that our Army now has more horses than tanks, said to be 227.  This is not a call to have more tanks, it means less horses, said to number over 500, entirely for ceremonial duties and the provision of eco friendly compost for the squaddies' allotments.  Lurching from long forgotten neurones in my head came the memory of tank counting.

One of my jobs was to keep track of the Divisional tanks, a lot more than 227, to let the War Box know how good we were if the Soviets decided that the provocation they were getting from GCHQ was too much.  On our signals capers we called it "making the blighters jump" although the B word then used is now incorrect.  Normally, of the tanks we had despite substantial numbers of mechanics to hand there were always quite a number not operational.

So of our present 227, give or take one or two that fell into ditches, the actual number available for effective use will be rather less.  My guess is around 180.  So it is arguable that the number of effective and available horses we have, on the evidence of Trooping The Colour is much greater. 

Once I suggested that horses might be easier and more useful to deal with but was told firmly not to say anything like that to the War Box or The Treasury would get to know and we would not have any tanks at all.  It has taken a long time but it is good to know the government has come round to my thinking at last.

The other gripe is again the omission of my name from the latest Honours list.  In truth I have never ruined a bank to the cost of the taxpayers, presided over a multi-billion spending fiasco, lobbied hard to benefit some wealthy cronies, paid a small fortune into party funds or politicians pockets or devised some lunatic flagship scheme that will take decades to fulfil and eventually cost twenty times more than it should.  It is clear, I have just not been trying hard enough.

Lastly, someone has at last got round to realising that Prince William has an extended ancestry, in this case someone from the Sub Continent and the old Raj of India turns up.  In the generation in question the potential number of ancestors is 128 and in his case the actual will be rather less because of the intermarriage of the Royal elements from his father's family.  From his mother, Princess Diana and great grandmother, the Queen Mum, it is another story.

At this at least and sometimes before the 128 level almost anyone can have someone popping up that is not expected, sometimes a happy find, sometimes not if it conflicts with a sense of identity or moral or religious stance.  As the potential figure doubles at each generation back then more and more people in places ever wider and with very different lives and beliefs are in the genes.   

In Prince William's case one is a family called Bagshawe, seemingly once Derbyshire peasants who did well out of lead mining.  This may or may not be welcome, they were a rough lot.  It was Richard Brinsley Sheridan who said that his ancestors may be very good kind of folks but not people who he would invite to dinner.  He was contemporary and associated with the great writer, Edmund Burke.  Burke was related to the Roche family, ancestors of Prince William.

Funny things families, as most of us know.

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