Kevin Myers: Mountbatten -- a vile psycho killed by thugs
THE IRA did a couple of enormous favours to Lord Louis Mountbatten when they blew his boat apart in 1979, killing him, an old lady, and two young lads.
A brace of octogenarians and a couple of schoolboys: quite a bag. Firstly, the IRA gave Mountbatten the almost perfect death -- instant and without any pain, doing what he loved most of all; messing around in boats. What this vile man really deserved was to die in his own filth, which fate, of course, the IRA spared him. And secondly, his death ensured that he would remain an icon of imperturbable British heroism, instead of finally getting the reputation that he deserved; of being a vain, egotistical, inept, brutal and deceitful psychopath.
These modest reflections came to mind as I watched yet another inane televisual celebration of war-time mythology, Wednesday's BBC2 programme about the canoe-borne commando raid on Bordeaux in December 1942. It was presented by Paddy Ashdown, the former Lib-Dem leader, who has turned himself into a living parody: the bluff and sage old warrior.