Peter Rhodes on flying bombs, sexy Spitfires and what do they mean by 'peaceful'?
“No prison for peaceful protest” declared the banners waved at Scotland Yard by Just Stop Oil supporters denouncing the jailing of fellow activists. Many were said to be students. You can't help wondering what they are studying. Not plain English, I guess.
Any dictionary will tell you that “peaceful” means calm, placid, serene, tranquil or quiet and free from disturbance. It does not describe blockading roads, smashing works of art or spray-painting buildings. A more fitting banner would read: “No prison for criminal damage, disrupting the lives of others and being a total p***” but I can't see it catching on.
Meanwhile in the rubble of Gaza, Hamas is somehow still lobbing missiles into Israel. But this should not make us assume that this war will rage on for ever. Missiles, far less visible than armoured divisions, are sometimes the last signs of defiance by a beaten enemy. In 1945 the last German V1 “doodlebug” flying bombs and V2 ballistic missiles struck England at the end of March. By that time Germany was in ruins, Hitler was only a month away from killing himself and the war would soon be over. Maybe this war will wind down in the same way.