Heard about Godwin's Law? Let me introduce you to Page's Law.


Those of you who know me will recognise that I'm hardly a monarchist.

That said, I see nothing unusual about a head of state addressing their nation at a time of national crisis. It would be unprecedented if they didn't.

While I didn't watch Her Majesty's speech yesterday evening I read the text of it later. I understand reading something can give a different imprssion to what a live recording does, but I failed to see how those words generated the kinds of responses I saw on social media.

"First rate", "the best speech you'll hear all year", "not a wrong word throughout", and so on.

While I accept that many people clearly took comfort from it, I'm afraid I have to respectfully disagree.

The Queen invoked World War II and the “painful sense of separation from their loved ones” evacuated children must have felt. “Now, as then, we know, deep down, that it is the right thing to do.” ”We will meet again” she assured us all, channelling Vera Lynn. All that was missing was a picture of Churchill on the mantelpiece behind her.

Personally, I imagine very young children leaving behind families to an uncertain future when Britain's cities were being blitzed, and not knowing when – or if – they would see them again, would be rather more traumatic than, say....well, staying in the house for a few weeks while making phone calls, sending text messages or using the likes of social media, Skype and Zoom to keep in touch. (And yes, I know the evacuations began in early September 1939, but they started in earnest after the Blitz began on 7th September 1940).

I'm not saying this isn't a serious situation - far from it. But does this type of hyperbole help? 

We've all heard of Godwin's Law, and know how true it is - "As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1."

Well, here's Page's Law: "During a time of national crisis in the UK, as the number of speeches from the country's leaders increases, the probability of a comparison involving World War II approaches 1."

It should be perfectly possible to discuss the current situation without invoking memories of World War II for sentimental or nationalistic purposes. It should be, but in practice the urge to appeal to the "World War 2" spirit is too great. 

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