PIERS MORGAN: Why Captain Tom’s humility, kindness and resolution utterly shames the repulsive greed, selfishness, narcissism of entitled attention-seeking twerps like the Beckhams, Meghan and Harry
‘Daddy, what did YOU do in the Great War?’ screamed the famous recruitment posters across Britain during World War I.
This was the first time British civilians had been asked to enlist in large numbers to fight alongside regular professional armed forces.
And the recruitment campaign, featuring young children sitting on their father’s knee after the war was over asking a very simple question, was a deliberately brutal, emotion-charged, guilt-inducing assault on an individual’s conscience.
No man wanted to be the guy who had to reply: ‘Nothing, kids, I stayed at home and did nothing.’
Millions of men signed up as a result, answering the call to duty, and Britain and our allies eventually prevailed.
Captain Tom Moore, the magnificent 99-year-old WW2 veteran who has been pounding laps of his garden to raise cash for the NHS
Ironically, in this new world war with coronavirus, most of us are being asked to do what people then were shamed into NOT doing – stay at home and do nothing.
That’s literally all the vast majority of us have to put ourselves through to help defeat the deadly enemy, COVID-19, as our heroic health workers do all the heavy fighting in hospitals and care homes at huge personal risk to themselves and their families.
Of course, some are doing a little bit more than just sitting at home.
Take Captain Tom Moore, the magnificent 99-year-old WW2 veteran who has been pounding laps of his garden to raise cash for the NHS.
This humble, charming, gracious, sincere, determined and thoroughly decent man has touched the hearts of the country, and the wider world, with his extraordinary desire to ‘give back’ to the health system that saved his own life.
Meghan and Harry (pictured) got to Hollywood to relaunch their careers as full-time celebrities only to find the whole world shutting down due to a pandemic
He’s being showered with praise, and tributes, and doubtless great honours and awards will flow too.
The Prime Minister called him, Dame Vera Lynn (‘My heroine’ he told me today, after she flew over and sang for him and his fellow troops in Burma during WW2) wrote to him, and England cricket captain Joe Root – a fellow Yorkshireman – called and sent him his World Cup winning shirt to say thank you.
But Captain Tom didn’t ask for any of this and seems constantly amazed and embarrassed by all the global attention his astounding fund-raising – currently £27 million and rising fast – has attracted.
He just wanted to do his bit for his country, and in particular to help all those battling on the frontline against this awful virus that has so far taken at least 80 lives of health and care workers in the UK.
Captain Tom seems constantly amazed and embarrassed by all the global attention his astounding fund-raising – currently £27 million and rising fast – has attracted
Captain Moore was posted to India where he fought in the Arakan Campaign of 1942 to 1943 during the Second World War
Captain Tom won’t be around for future generations of his family to ask him what he did in the war on Coronavirus, but he won’t have to – because everyone else will tell them.
By stark contrast to this wonderful man’s attitude and commitment, the Coronavirus War has also brought out the very worst in far richer and more privileged people.
Take for example, Victoria Beckham.
She and her husband David popped up on Lady Gaga’s excellent One World version of Live Aid last night to speak of their deep gratitude to all health workers.
They’ve also posted a series of videos of themselves applauding the same workers.
Yet when it’s come to doing THEIR bit for their country, what did the Beckhams do?
It turns out they decided to fleece the British taxpayer of money that should be going to support the NHS, that’s what.
David and Victoria Beckham during the One World broadcast, celebrating health workers on the front line of the coronavirus pandemic
Yes, arguably the most famous couple in Britain, worth a combined £335 million, decided to furlough staff at Victoria’s failing VB fashion company so that the Government has to fork out £2500 each a month for at least 30 people.
(I include David in this decision because he has repeatedly intervened to financially bankroll his wife’s business due to heavy losses it continues to incur, so is clearly a partner in all Victoria’s big decisions regarding it).
That works out at £75,000 a month, which is way less than the Beckhams will earn in interest alone on their vast wealth during the period of this furloughing.
But that is £75,000 a month that could and should be going to the NHS who so desperately need more Personal Protection Equipment.
This decision comes several weeks after it was revealed the Beckhams have recently splashed out £17 million on a new penthouse apartment in Miami, and after they posed with a £2000 bottle of wine they were drinking for dinner.
Arguably the most famous couple in Britain, worth a combined £335 million, decided to furlough staff at Victoria’s failing VB fashion company
So, this is a hugely rich couple who can easily afford to continue paying a few dozen employees through this tough time.
Instead, they’ve decided to take taxpayer money that is desperately needed elsewhere.
It’s a perfectly legal move, but it’s also a perfectly immoral one.
In fact, just as it was when big football clubs like Liverpool and Spurs announced they were doing the same (decisions they were shamed into reversing), it’s hard to think of a more selfish, shameless, greedy or exploitative decision or a more disgustingly hypocritical one given how keen the Beckhams have been to show us all how much they care about the NHS.
Elsewhere, in Hollywood, up pop another pair of narcissistic chancers in the form of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
They, you may recall (though January seems so long ago now) walked out on the Royal Family and Britain in a blaze of indignant self-aggrandising bullsh*t because they couldn’t cope with mundane duty in return for all the palaces and servants – or being held to account by the media for their relentless revolting hypocrisy over things like climate change.
We were told they wanted a ‘quieter, more private life’, especially for their young son Archie.
So naturally, they’ve washed up in Beverly Hills, the paparazzi epicentre of the world, where they’re living in a palatial home (who’s paying for it this time?) and from where they announced their new organisation to save the world would be called Archewell, named after the son they want to keep private.
Of course, their timing was spectacularly bad.
Meghan and Harry got to Hollywood to relaunch their careers as full-time celebrities only to find the whole world shutting down due to a pandemic.
For a pair of obsessively self-regarding attention-seekers, this was the worse- case scenario: nobody would either hear about them for months on end, or care.
And to compound their misery, the other senior royals back home in Britain, led by the Queen and the Cambridges, have been doing their duty in a quietly, stoically magnificent way.
Even Prince Philip came out of retirement today to pay tribute to those fighting the virus.
So, with chilling predictability, up sprang Meghan and Harry this week in designer face masks, delivering food to the needy in Beverly Hills – all conveniently captured on camera.
And last night, they decided this was a good time to launch yet another front in their pathetic ongoing war with the media.
In a statement of breathtakingly haughty arrogance, they announced they were banning four British newspapers from their lives, including the Daily Mail.
They made one of their usual rambling, poorly-written, whiny assaults on how awful the tabloids are, and got their new Hollywood PR firm Sunshine Sachs to send it – don’t laugh at the back… – to the world’s media.
‘That’ll show ‘em!’ they clearly thought to themselves, as they sat back in their luxurious mansion to wait for the inevitable applause and attention they’ve been missing for so long.
Only, all it showed us was what a repellent pair of preening tone-deaf little twerps they really are.
Even more disgracefully, Prince Harry accused the British media of exaggerating the scale of this Coronavirus crisis.
How the f*ck does he know how bad it is from his Hollywood hideaway – did he call his father, who caught the virus?
It’s almost impossible to exaggerate how bad this crisis is; it’s by far the worst thing any of us born after World War 2 have ever known, causing unimaginable relentless horror and grief, and affecting all our lives in a way we couldn’t have comprehended a few months ago.
Lives are being destroyed, jobs are being destroyed, whole economies are being destroyed, and everything we took for granted has been taken away.
Yet we’re supposed to think this is all some whipped-up hysteria by the media?
I won’t take such ill-informed lectures from a massively privileged man who quit his family and his country to pursue a vacuous new life of pampered self-indulgence in the world’s most shallow and media-frenzied city.
Nor will I take any orders about how I can or should behave as a journalist from a pair of spoiled little brats who contrary to their statement are still spending millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money on British royal protection squad officers.
Imagine thinking the middle of a global pandemic is the right moment to declare another war on the media?
Imagine being so deluded that you think anyone gives a sh*t about your bruised egos when so many health workers are being slaughtered on the frontline of this war?
Imagine being so dumb that you think the public right now have even one ounce of interest or concern in how you’re portrayed by newspapers?
This morning, the Sussexes’ released private text messages between them and Meghan’s father Thomas as part of their ongoing legal battle with him and the Mail on Sunday. Do they not understand how appallingly self-absorbed this looks as thousands of families are losing loved ones to Coronavirus and can’t even see them as they die?
But then like the Beckhams, it’s sadly, pathetically clear that all the Susssexes care about is themselves.
They live in a me-me-me bubble that doesn’t allow for anything more important, like the worst global pandemic in a century, to interfere with their self-promotion.
I’ve made no secret of my dislike of both couples, because I see right through them, and this Coronavirus war has exposed them for the grasping ego-driven selfish charlatans I assumed them to be.
When their grandkids sit on their knees, and ask ‘Mummy, Daddy, what did YOU do in the Great Coronavirus War?’, the Beckhams will be forced to reply: ‘We spent taxpayer money that should have gone to nurses’, and the Sussexes will be forced to reply: ‘We moaned about our own beastly media coverage.’
Meanwhile, Captain Moore quietly got on with pounding his garden and raising tens of millions of pounds for those on the frontline.
HE is what we should all aspire to be.
THEY are what we should all aspire not to be.
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