During the ‘Blitz’ of 1940-41, Nazi Germany pounded southern England for eight months. Whole neighborhoods were leveled and tens of thousands of civilians were killed, prompting Winston Churchill to famously declare “We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender…”
The Last Lion’s brave words echo now only in history, because none in power have the minerals to utter them today. Last week the U.K. press and Parliament soiled their nappies after a tabloid reporter flew from Zurich to London with newly-purchased Swiss Army Knives in his pockets. Oh, the humanity!
Mail On Sunday freelance reporter Simon Murphy boarded a flight from Zurich to London after purchasing small Swiss Army Knives at a duty-free shop in the Zurich airport. To make sure his stunt provoked widespread urination, Murphy posed for in-flight photos (gasp!) with the tiny blades extended. It was only by the grace of God that every passenger and crew member aboard was not brutally murdered.
We’re hardly surprised or even disappointed that an exceedingly young British tabloid reporter would pull a stunt like this. I mean, they don’t call it ‘yellow’ journalism because that’s the color of sunshine and flowers, right? It’s the reaction of the rest of the British press, and of Parliament, that’s the real jaw-dropper.
- Tory MP Nick de Bois said: ‘We need to change the rules. You can’t legislate for the state of mind of the individual carrying the knife so why put the temptation in front of someone? A 6cm toughened blade, which you get in a Swiss Army knife, could be lethal in the wrong hands.”
- The Daily Mail ran a photograph of a perfectly-innocuous Victorinox SAK with this caption: “Swiss Army penknives are armed with an array of potentially lethal blades.”
- Cherub-faced tabloid reporter Murphy scowls (ineffectually) in his airplane-toilet selfie while holding not one but (dear God!) three knives, which appear to be Camper or Tinker models. The caption reads: “Blade runner: Mail on Sunday reporter Simon Murphy brandishes the lethal blades in the aeroplane toilet after smuggling them aboard the British Airways flight from Zurich, Switzerland, to London.”
To which I say, if a Victorinox Tinker scares the hell out of you, you’re a wuss. And if a tabloid reporter with a Victorinox Tinker scares the hell out of you, you’re a wuss who needs to up his medication.
It’s worth pointing out that Murphy’s shenanigans didn’t even break the law: EU aviation rules (and almost everyone else’s except for the US and UK) permit pocketknives with blades of 6 cm or less in length. Even our own Directorate Of Transportation Security Theater (aka the TSA) flirted with adopting the EU’s common-sense knife rules, but backed out under hysterical pressure from the flight attendant’s union.
Let’s take one final trip back to 1940: The royal family stayed in their Buckingham Palace residences through the Nazi bombing campaign, and the Queen dismissed calls for her to flee with her daughters: “The children won’t go without me. I won’t leave the King. And the King will never leave.”
The royal family stayed in place, and proved that the British (all of them) used to have balls: big brass ones. It is a tragedy that decades of living in an Orwellian nanny-state have left Britain’s press and politicians as impotent as a slate of Nevada boxing commissioners. The Queen Mother, and the Last Lion, would be ashamed.