Warren Clarke, the accomplished English character actor, passed away on 12 November 2014. Clarke was only 67, and died peacefully in his sleep, leaving a legacy of diverse performances. He starred alongside Malcolm McDowell in A Clockwork Orange (1971), Stanley Kubrick's controversial film about youth delinquency. Clarke played one of the 'ulraviolent' gang of 'droogs', nicknamed 'Dim'. He also enjoyed success in many more mainstream roles, from Coronation Street and Dalziel and Pascoe to Clint Eastwood's Firefox (1982). His hangdog features and gruff Northern persona were ideal for his sinister role as corrupt police chief Bill Malloy in Channel 4's adaptation of David Peace's searing Red Riding series.
Nigel Farage, leader of the UK Independence Party, delivered the annual Tom Olson Lecture at St Bride's Church in London, hours before Armistice Day. He used the occasion to offer a sweeping 'what if' alternative history for the 1914-18 'Great War'. His hypothesis was that an even longer war, extending into 1919, would have prompted Germany's unconditional surrender, pre-empting the Treaty of Versailles, and its punitive reparations conditions that led to German economic collapse in the 1920s, and the rise of Nazism. Farage claimed the November 11 1918 armistice was "the biggest mistake of the entire 20th century".
He went on: “We should have pursued the war for a further six weeks. Yes, the last six weeks of the war cost us 100,000 casualties, and I’m prepared to accept that a further six weeks of war might have cost us another 100,000. But had we forced them into unconditional surrender, Herr Hitler would never have got his political army off the ground. He couldn’t have claimed Germany had been stabbed in the back by the politicians in Berlin".
An obvious flaw with this scenario is that blaming the Weimar Republic's politicians for military defeat was amongst the least of Hitler's poisonous delusions. Far more repugnant were his assertions that the entire Jewish race was to blame for Germany's predicament, and his lunatic anti-semitism would not have been altered one iota had German defeat happened in 1918, 1919 or much later.
It is hardly surprising that Farage rants about battlefield outcomes but ignores the racism and xenophobia that were infinitely more fundamental to Hitler's inexorable rise. UKIP recently struck a deal in the European Parliament with a far-right, Holocaust-denying Polish MEP Janusz Korwin-Mikke.
In A Clockwork Orange, Malcolm McDowell's character is forced to watch a stream of nightmarish images to 'cleanse' him of his psychopathic tendencies. Were this fantasy scene ever to be replicated, for being so blasé about the hypothetic sacrifices of 100,000 more British soldiers, Farage would be forced to watch 100,000 mothers opening the telegrams about their sons' deaths.