There's a lot of fuss at the moment about the families of people killed by IRA bombs, who want to sue Libya for contributing to the deaths of their loved ones by supplying the bombers with explosives. Gordon McBroon hasn't helped by first of all refusing to have anything to do with it, and then doing a volte face and offering a special government agency to advise them.
Now we'd be the first to admit that the GOS is a bird of little brain, and often has difficulty with the complexities of modern life. If he weren't such a silly old sod he'd probably know why it's necessary and desirable for the local council to write him threatening letters about leaving his bin out when he's never done so and probably never will. He'd accept quite happily that after more than 40 years of accident-free motoring he's far too stupid to make up his own mind how fast to go on country roads with not a horse, cow, child or tractor in sight. He'd have no trouble at all with the idea that the heat-death of the universe is just around the corner despite the total lack of credible evidence, or that it is only right and proper that followers of a primitive religion should impose their customs and beliefs on the British public or that certain so-called racial groups should be completely exempt from the rules that apply to the rest of us and should be free to set up their encampments in our back gardens any time they like.
See? He's just a stupid old git with no conception of how modern Britain works. He ought to stick to pottering around in the garden shed smoking a pipe, instead of broadcasting his absurd reactionary thoughts on the magical interweb.
So no doubt that's why he has such a problem understanding what is going on in the heads of the bereaved families. It is of course very terrible for them - or was, rather, as they have had quite a number of years to come to terms with their losses. Even so, it must have been rotten, suddenly to lose a son or daughter or husband or wife, a mother perhaps, to be deprived of their company, their support and their love for no good reason at all. That's not a thing you forget, is it, however many years have passed?
So what do you do? You try and make money out of it. You try to turn a profit out of the death of someone you loved and who loved you. You try to turn a dreadful tragedy into a commercial transaction ...
Yes, that makes sense. At least, it probably does to someone who is more au fait with modern society, but the GOS is damned if he can see it. He'd better go out to the shed, pot up a few more begonias or something, and mull it over in his slow old brain.
Then when he's got that sorted out in his head, he can turn his attention to another puzzle. Just where does this end? If you think it's appropriate to seek financial compensation from the people who made the explosives with which someone else killed your son or your mother, wouldn't it also be appropriate to sue, say, Marks & Spencer because they sold the bombers their t-shirts? Or Clark's for manufacturing the shoes the terrorists were wearing when they planted their devices?
Or if that's too far-fetched, try this. Your little boy runs out into the road one day and is flattened by a passing car. Let's face it, you might as well seize the opportunity to turn a fast buck, so who do you sue? Ford, because the car was a Mondeo? Or how about Shell? - they've got loads of money, and it was their petrol that drove the car that killed your child. How about Balfour-Beatty because it was their workmen who laid the tarmac?
For that matter, if you're going to hold accountable every person or every organisation that contributed to a tragic event, what about those who offered friendship or succour to the culprits? The passer-by who smiled at them in the street, the elderly gent who held the door open because they were carrying all those heavy bags full of Semtex, the bar-tender who willingly and with malice aforethought served their lunchtime pints, or the ticket clerk who cheerfully sold them their underground tickets so they could blow themselves up in a tunnel?
You get the point, we hope, however clumsily expressed. Once you start on the compensation trail, the world's your oyster. And why limit yourselves to those directly connected to the outrage? You're surely not telling me that the Roman Catholic Church had nothing to do with forming the mindsets of the IRA bombers, or that they'd still have carried out their attacks if successive British governments had been less obstinate? And if it was the government's fault, who do you sue? The Queen?
And who carries the can for Catholics? God? He must have a bob or two ...
There's just one more thing the GOS doesn't understand. What's all the fuss about over the alleged bomber Megrahi and his premature release (premature meaning, apparently, while he was still breathing)? If he's going to be dead in a few weeks, what the hell difference does it make?
And that, of course, assumes that he was guilty in the first place. Having read this and this, that seems quite a leap of faith in itself.
Still, there you go. Grumpy Old Sod, what the hell does he know? Stupid old bugger.
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