Blitz inquiry: The Luftwaffe acted alone

Last updated at 09:44 12 May 2006

Following yesterday's report on the 2005 terrorist attacks, this column couldn't help wondering what would have happened if the Intelligence and Security Committee had been asked to investigate the Blitz — and how the story might have been reported today.

The official inquiry into the London bombings has blamed "lack of resources" and concluded that the carnage was the work of individuals acting alone.

No connection was found between the attacks on the capital on September 7, 1940, and the 57 consecutive days of bombing which followed.

Although the ringleader, Reichs-marshall Hermann Goering, had been under surveillance for some time, he dropped off the radar a month earlier due to more pressing priorities.

While Goering is known to have been in Germany during the summer of 1940, it proved impossible to establish any concrete links between him and Adolf Hitler, the spiritual leader of the Nazis.

No one is blamed in the report, which says more resources may have prevented the 30,000 deaths and 50,000 serious injuries during the Blitz, which also hit "landmark" targets including St Paul's Cathedral.

At the time of the first raid, Britain's front-line defences consisted mainly of the Walmington-on-Sea Home Guard, armed only with carving knives tied to broom handles.

There was no specific or credible evidence of the September 7 plot, which is why it was not unreasonable to downgrade the threat warning level to 'Don't Panic' shortly before the attacks.

The committee also decided that there was no direct connection between the Government's foreign policy and the attacks.

However, critics say that those responsible were radicalised by British aggression in Europe.

They point to the invasion of Dunkirk without a League of Nations mandate and the bombing of Berlin one month earlier, which inflamed the volatile Nazi street.

The BBC has obtained previously unseen footage of the 950 aircraft taking off from German air bases on September 7. All were manned by young men with no previous history of political activism.

They are believed to have volunteered to become bombers after viewing propaganda films circulating in radical bier-kellers in Hamburg and Berlin. It is now thought that they went on to attend training camps in the German countryside to prepare them for their deadly mission.

What made them all decide to strap themselves in to Luftwaffe bombers and detonate their devices over London on exactly the same day is unclear.

The Home Secretary said there was no viable intelligence to suggest that they had any intention of attacking the United Kingdom.

Nor has it been able to establish the direct involvement of Herr Hitler, who has been under surveillance by British security services since a rally in Nuremberg in 1934 and is suspected of ordering terrorist attacks across Europe, including Poland, Czechoslovakia, Belgium, Holland, France and the Sudetenland.

GCHQ also listened in to broadcasts from Germany by Lord Haw-Haw, calling on Britain to surrender, but concluded that an attack on this country was highly unlikely.

The Home Secretary insisted that these were security lapses, not security failures, and said there will be no resignations over the September 7 attacks, largely because the identity of the head of the British Secret Service is so secret that no one actually knows who he is.

He said that the best way to beat the bombers was to win the battle for hearts and minds by reaching out to the overwhelming majority of peace-loving Nazis.

At least Hezza bought his own jag

He still doesn't get it, does he? In his first interview since the chipolata incident, Two Jags has attacked his critics as "snobs".

Nothing to do with his own behaviour, you understand, it's all down to class.

Two Jags justifies keeping all the perks of office, without actually having a proper job, by comparing himself to his Tory predecessor, Michael Heseltine.

Tarzan accused Two Jags of being a "lager lout" and said he should be forced to give up his 214-acre, grace-and-favour estate at Dorneywood.

Two Jags barked back: "Heseltine already has a big house in the country and perhaps others in other parts of the world. I have one house and one car. I am getting the perks, but I'm getting no more than others got."

He's missing the point. Heseltine might be a spiv, but he bought his own big house — he never used Dorneywood. He also supplied his own Jag and his own chauffeur out of his own pocket.

But when Prescott became Deputy Prime Minister and discovered that all he was entitled to was a Rover or a Vauxhall, he spat the dummy and bawled that what was good enough for Heseltine was good enough for him and if he didn't get one he would scream and scream until he was sick.

To shut him up, Blair gave in and Prescott got a shiny new Jag to go alongside his own battered old XJ6. And that's how I came up with the nickname Two Jags.

Alan Clark, a proper snob if ever there was, once sneered that Heseltine was the sort of man who bought his own furniture. Prescott doesn't even buy his own petrol, but he's obsessed with status and behaves like Henry VIII. The fact is, Two Jags is the biggest snob of all.

Why does Ruth want to 'root out' decent folk?

It's the language which gives them away. Ruth Krankie's promise to "root out" evil Nimbys strips bare her hatred of the people who pay her wages.

The new Communities Secretary says she is determined to press ahead with Two Jags' wicked scheme to concrete over the gardens of Middle England and make it almost impossible for existing residents to veto "social housing".

What a revealing choice of words. I can only assume her thornproof knickers were giving her gyp.

You "root out" terrorists. You "root out" criminals. You don't "root out" decent folk who have worked their fingers to the bone to pay a crippling mortgage on their own patch of green-and-pleasant and object to Stalinist bureaucrats trying to dump a cheap-and-nasty block of flats in their back garden.

The sooner this vindictive government is rooted out, the better.

The sauce of all our ills

There's been widespread outrage over the transfer of HP Sauce production to Holland, with the loss of 125 jobs.

The HP bottle, with its iconic Houses of Parliament label, has been a British institution for more than 100 years.

Pity there wasn't so much of a fuss when the real Houses of Parliament transferred our sovereignty to Brussels, with the loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs in traditional industries such as fishing and law-making.

It seems some British institutions are more sacred than others.

A couple of weeks after the Siege of Stansted, I invented a spoof game show called Asylum! Hijack An Airliner And Win A Council House.

It's been doing the rounds on the internet ever since. One columnist even downloaded it and reprinted it, passing it off as all her own work.

It was meant to be a joke.

Now, six years on, a judge has decided that the Afghan hijackers involved in the Stansted siege can stay in Britain, living on benefits in council houses in west London.

You couldn't make it up.

The traffic Taliban insist that speed cameras aren't there to raise money, they're there to save lives. So why was trucker Cliff Glendenning taken to court for allegedly warning other drivers to slow down before they could be caught in a speed trap? Surely he was doing the police a favour.

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