THROUGHOUT the Second World War the Government used propaganda in an attempt to maintain unity, loyalty and confidence, often with victories being emphasised and discussion of defeats kept to a minimum.

Radio broadcasts spoke of key successes, such as the Battle of Britain, to spread positive messages, and they preached about the bravery and determination of people during the Blitz.

Not everything it told the British public was true.

For example, it was told that Germany was being bombed flat but the truth was that, in the early years of the war, most of the ones that the RAF dropped did not fall within five miles of their target.

Likewise, the Government issued wildly exaggerated claims about the numbers of German aircraft that were being shot down in the skies over the UK.

However, it understood that it had to do everything it could to keep up the morale of the public and to get them to believe that their country would win out in the end, however long that took.

How different the situation is today when we are all involved in the battle against the coronavirus.

Far from building up morale many politicians, scientists and parts of the media appear to be doing just the opposite; painting the blackest possible picture instead of grasping at anything that could lift the mood of the country.

Why tell us, as the Prime Minister did, that there may never be a vaccine for this virus? That was the sort of message guaranteed to lower, instead of raising, the spirit of anyone hearing it. During the war the British public was given, week in, week out, morale-boosting messages of hope for a brighter future, even if they were not always totally true, and encouraged by posters proclaiming messages such as “Keep calm and carry on”.

Unfortunately, many decades later, it seems to have changed to “Worry yourself sick about what is going to happen next, and for goodness sake don’t carry on living a life”. Or, “the tunnel is endless and there is no light at the end of it”. Of course, it has got an end, and there is light to be seen but, for some unfathomable reason, those leading us appear reluctant to tell us so, which I find very odd indeed.

Eric Waters