The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #95050 Message #1849489
Posted By: Greg B
03-Oct-06 - 03:40 PM
Thread Name: Ewan MacColl - coward or traitor?
Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl - coward or traitor?
Don, I'm aware that there were COs in WW2, and I have
to say that I admire the tenacity of holding on to
such an ideal when Fritz has just slipped a blockbuster
down your mum's chimbly pot.
I just don't believe that our old pal Ewan was one of
I think that he was a CO, where CO stands for 'Cantankerous
Objector.' If you review his body of political work, what
you see is someone who has a serious problem with authority
(unless it was his) and who is suspicious of government
in all of its forms, and who finds hierarchical systems
(of which he wasn't in charge) distasteful. He also was
one of those who was a bit of an absolutist, the sort
that was given to paint in rather broad strokes. It would
not surprise me that, as a younger man, he might have
persuaded himself that he could 'never support a government
which...' even in the matter of the common defense.
A friend of mine, really a fine Republican fellow, was
none the less given a general discharge from the US Army
in the post-Vietnam era because he had a 'personality
unsuited to military service.' Meaning he essentially just
couldn't get the particulars of soldiering right, to the
point where having him around was more of a pain in the
arse than discharging him. He was just unable to conform.
It was a rather protracted AWOL which precipitated that
So it may have been with Jimmy Miller.
One other thought comes to mind; it's clear that Jimmy Miller
re-invented himself as Ewan MacColl. How do we know that this
one isn't a case of 'I wasn't fired, I quit!' This was certainly
an individual who didn't like being told what to do and when
to do it, or for other people to be in charge of his life and
fate. And he cultivated a bit of an anti-establishment image.
Perhaps this was part of it.
This would explain why he wasn't prosecuted (or perhaps he was
and just didn't discuss it) for desertion. It may have been just
a long AWOL which was the culmination of a series of events which
caused the British Army to believe that keeping Jimmy Miller
around would be a special favor to Adolf.