JEREMY Paxman is having a good war.
I refer to the First World War, as opposed to the second or indeed third, if all doesn't go to plan and Kim Jong-un survives the CIA's best attempts at assassination by Brylcreem.
The People's Jeremy is scuttling around Britainshire, lecturing the natives on how they lack a First World War-style "sense of duty".
Loading article content
Without wishing to share a trench with the Scottophobic Newsnight presenter, I've sympathy with his perspective. At the same time, it troubles me (reader: "Oh Lordy, doesn't everything?").
According to the insulting, big-nosed broadcaster, modern life is all about the "pursuit of personal pleasure" — hence the low viewing figures for Newsnight. Today, he says, we live our lives "in an atomised fashion".
What, we're right wee? Oh, I see. Well, in that case, Jeremy is spot, as it were, on. For who could deny the existence of this hedonistic atomisation?
On the face of it, this sounds like a bad thing. Hedonism is what we see up town on a Friday and Saturday when people stick the head on things. More widely, a sense of entitlement to self-interested pleasure is particularly evident in much-lauded Scandinavia, where young persons have a reputation for being snotty brats.
It's because they've always had everything and have had nothing to rebel against. But this sort of attitude could work in the world's favour because, associated with it, as a pained Jeremy P points out, is no sense of duty. Thus, unlike the poor sods who marched off to their deaths in the First World War, today's youth, told to fix bayonets and prepare to fend off nuclear attack, would reply: "Naff off."
Mass conflicts like those of the last century are, therefore, unimaginable in the future, says Jeremy. I wouldn't be so sure. Conscription, with the alternative of imprisonment, would settle many people's hash. And I mean "hash" in neither its psychoactive herb nor its corned beef sense.
Before you knew where you were, burdz would be sticking white feathers in your beanie hat and the Daily Mail would be calling for you to be shot, much as it does already.
It's more likely that, ever more, wars will be fought only by specialised armies (ultimately of robots) using weapons of mass destruction. Only wars of liberation in occupied countries would be more hand-to-hand. Much like a Friday or Saturday night up town.