The headline for this posting is taken from one of my ‘favourite’ films, namely “The Four Feathers”, but also from the first version, filmed in 1939 by Alexander Korda, and of course the most Un-politically correct of the seven versions filmed! The Sudanese army fighting for the Mahdi were depicted as foolish fanatics, but they were after all fighting for their country and their leader, who was an ascetic religious figure descended, so he claimed, from their prophet Mohammed!
I did a project some time back at the National Gallery. While doing this contract, I met up with a few old-time characters from the P.S.A., which stands for the Public Services Administration, the body which used to carry out all of the repairs on publicly-owned and Government buildings. Really nice guys, very friendly and helpful. Now, the attitude to Security at the National Gallery was very lax, with up to thirty percent of the alarm switches and controls not working at any time! There was a beautifully engraved glass control desk, with all the areas literally picked out on the display, but, as I noticed, a hell of a number of switches were in the ‘out-of-use’ position because they just weren’t working!
We were talking about everything and nothing, and they happened to mention that they used to look after Lancaster House, the main conference venue for the Foreign Office, and I asked if that was where the famous conference was held where the Rhodesians were sold down the river, and everything was handed over to Mugabe and his buddies in Zanu P.F. The elder of the P.S.A. guys nodded at me, and said, “Course they were sold out, and the British Government was the ones who were doing the selling!!” He told me that every room in the centre was ‘bugged’, literally monitored by hidden microphones and tape-recorders, with the wiring actually built into the walls, and the sensitive microphones could pick up every word which was uttered! The hotel rooms and facities used by the White rhodesian delagation were also heavily monitored! A summary of the Rhodesian delegations stance on just about everything was delivered to the black ‘nationalist’ hotels, so that the Zanu Patriotic Front people knew exactly how and where the Rhodesian Government werte heading on any topic. The advantage this information must have given the black guys is inestimable; but just think of it as a game of poker, but a game whereby you already know the strength of every other player’s hands before they start betting!
So now we know that the British Government, led in those days by Margaret Thatcher, advised the black communist nationalist group led by Mugabe, so that they were able to counter every item laid down by the Smith and Muzorewa delegations. After the constitutional conference, the new High Commissioner, Lord Soames, went to Salisbury (now Harare) with strict instructions from Thatcher, “Get rid of this difficult bunch, let the Mugabe bunch in, and let’s get shot of the whole issue!” so we can now see that Robert Mugabe is, for once, telling the truth, it was down to the Brits to get them into power, and everything that has happened since, from the farmland grab to the ballot rigging, is all down to….Who? The bloody British Government!
I am, and always have been, a firm fan of Margaret (now Baroness) Thatcher, but on this particular item, as with many of the decisions taken since by both Tory and NuLabour Administrations, I feel that the outcome was to betray the inhabitants of that unfortunate and unhappy country, delivering them, as it did, into the tender arms of a megalomaniac despot, whose governance has been the ruination of that once prosperous and beautiful country!