Leg Iron talks of respect. It’s a word that is bandied about a great deal these days; we must respect others, we must respect their beliefs and so on (usually conflated with causing offence). Well, actually, no, I don’t and I fail to see why I should. Like Leg Iron, I come form a generation that was taught at an early age to respect our elders and to respect authority. However, it didn’t take me long to realise that people I was supposed to respect didn’t deserve it.

In my early twenties I joined the Naval Reserve. It was a taster to see if I really did want to join the real thing full time. It was just as well, really, as I soon learned that I don’t respond too well to people giving me orders –  particularly when those orders are for no other reason than to instill discipline rather than for a specific purpose. I am capable of exercising self discipline. I am capable of following rules. I do not need petty dictatorial and downright silly little men in peaked caps insisting that, say, a sink needs cleaning again because there is a drip in it. That doesn’t garner my respect, it earns my deep and undying contempt. We were told at we must respect the Queen’s commission, no matter how big a fool is wearing the uniform, that’s why we salute. We are saluting the uniform, not the man wearing it. For me that was a moot point. Military life clearly wasn’t for me. I’m too pugnacious, too independently minded and don’t do orders. So I left. I never did pursue that career as a Navy pilot.

Likewise, when I see people being accused of being in contempt of court, my reaction is all too often that the courts are deserving of contempt. Respect has to be earned, it is not a gift given freely –  or, at least, it shouldn’t be. I do not expect people to automatically respect me, just as I do not expect them to respect my views or beliefs. Likewise, I do not expect them to demand that I respect theirs. I will always respect and defend robustly, peoples’ right to freely hold their beliefs and opinions and to voice them openly, no matter how much I may disagree with them, but I do not have to respect the opinions themselves and will not be coerced into assuming a patina of such.

Consequently, my attitude towards authority –  whether it is the police, the local council, Westminster or some jobsworth employed by these organisations or the politicians and bureaucrats at the helm, is pretty much the same across the board; contempt, unless or until they demonstrate that they are worthy of something better. It’s been a long wait and I’m not holding my breath.

They might have Authoritah, for now, but they will never have respect.

Not mine, anyway.

Mine neither.


  1. The way I look at – the office deserves respect, not the holder. Maybe some cognitive dissonance in there but it helped me cope with bad officers and SNCOs when I was in the army. I apply it to the office of PM and even the police.

    I don’t extend that to idiotic positions like Civil Enforcement Officers, private security offices and others who seem to think a hi-vis vest gives them some divine right to be feared.

    That doesn’t extend to religion or other groups of the self appointed righteous.

  2. They earn your disrespect while occupying positions paid for with your money obtained through a process indistinguishable from robbery – theft with violence or the threat of violence.

    Time they started to earn their keep instead of stealing it and then they might start to earn respect.

    Solution: stop paying taxes.

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