‘Pale stones and epitaphs, Mourning bells and half-mast flags, In the cemetery where they fell’1
Seventy-five years ago, our troops, supported by the Americans, landed in Normandy establishing a ‘second-front’ to rid occupied Europe of the tyranny of right-wing extremists.
One of the post -war developments was the establishment of the Common Market in 1957, part of the intent was to ensure that there would be no one European country seeking to dominate the continent.
Ironically, 75-years later we have right-wing extremists coming to the fore, desperate to take the country out of what was the Common Market.
Their influences have manifested itself in many different ways, for example the predictable yobbish behaviour of English football ‘fans’ in Portugal this week.
This culture has become troublingly distinctive to the English national team and it would, frankly, be ludicrous not to link it to the specific type of nationalism that has come to the fore in the country.
You can hear mentions of Brexit in so many of their chants; some fans are even refusing to go in the EU queue for passport control in the airport.
the Conservatives who are queuing up to see who can be the most extreme
And the rhetoric coming from prospective leaders of the Conservative party is not helping. As this column predicted the rise of the Brexit Party has both emboldened and put fear into the Conservatives who are queuing up to see who can be the most extreme.
Without doubt the high point, which is really a very low-point is Dominic Raab, who suggested he could be prepared to suspend sitting [Parliament] in order to force through a no-deal Brexit against the wishes of MPs.
‘Kollaps, Unsre Irrfahrten, zerstören die Städte’2
Raabs stupidity, which is not unreminiscent of the Enabling Act (1) used by the Nazi in 1933, was bought on when Downing Street said it expects parliament to be sitting when the new prime minister is announced in late July, after Labour and some Tories raised concerns that the government was trying to avoid a test of its new leader’s ability to command a majority.
suspend sitting [Parliament] in order to force through a no-deal Brexit
The statement means the new prime minister is likely to face a swift challenge from Labour to prove they have the support of the House of Commons.
Raab’s idea has, quite correctly, caused outrage across the political spectrum, with John Bercow, the Speaker of the House of Commons, saying no Conservative prime minister would be able to pursue such an option. ‘That is simply not going to happen. It is just so blindingly obvious that it almost doesn’t need to be stated, but apparently, it does and therefore I have done,’ he told MPs.
Other prospective Tory leaders are equally concerned by Raab’s suggestion:
- Matt Hancock, called for all his rivals to rule out the possibility, arguing it undermined parliamentary democracy and risked a general election.
- Sajid Javid, ‘I’m not into this proroguing parliament rubbish. It’s a complete nonsense. It’s anti-democratic and anti-British.’
- Andrea Leadsom and Johnson also said they would not pursue such an option in order to take the UK out of the EU without a deal on 31st October.
In addition, Sajid Javid has said the Conservative party risks choosing a new leader who would seek to exploit national divisions in the style of Donald Trump.
Editorial comment; does he mean Boris Johnson?
He did; speaking at an event organised by the integration-focused think-tank British Future, the home secretary responded to a discussion about the US president’s state visit by noting the increased prevalence across some nations of politicians ‘deciding that one way to get votes is to appeal to division, to get people angry’.
Javid said: ‘I do think there’s a decision we face as Conservatives: what kind of party do we want to be? Do we want to be a party that appeals broadly, to the whole country, a one-nation party that tries to bring people together, or do we want to go down the route of division? For me it has to be the former.
they come to our aid, but only when it suits them
And, what of President Trump? Well, he, his ego, his hair (which is beyond preposterous), and entourage flew into London this week for a State visit, and then onto Normandy for the D-Day celebrations. I couldn’t help but wonder if he was weighing-up the possibilities of an amphibious landing in China next.
He spoke of our special relationship, what he meant was we jump when they tell us, and, that a trade deal could be signed anytime, needless to say it will only benefit the US. But we mustn’t be churlish they are our allies; they come to our aid, but only when it suits them, e.g.
- World War 1, they entered in 1917, 3-yrs after the start, and only because German submarine warfare led to the loss of US lives
- World War 2, they entered in 1942, 3-yrs after the start, because the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbour and then, rather stupidly, Germany declared was on the US
- Suez, they were nowhere to be seen leaving us on our own
- Falklands War, no support
- Gulf War 1 and 2, we came running as soon as they clicked their fingers
And to any who say, ‘ah yes, but they funded WW2 with ‘Lend Lease’’, yes, but not for nothing as is well documented in D E Moggridge’s biography ‘Kanes’.
By 1945 and the Bretton Woods Conference, we were well and truly bankrupt and in enormous debt to our ally, perhaps the saying, ‘Beware of Greeks bearing gifts’ should be amended to, Beware of American Presidents bearing gifts?
And, lastly to the Brexit Party, there seemingly meteoric rise continues, in yesterday’s Peterborough by-election Labour held the seat with 31% of the vote, down 17.2%, the Brexit party were second with 28.9% (+28.9%), the Conservatives 21.4% (-25.5%), and Lib Dem 12.3% (+8.9%).
It’s hard to argue with Farage’s comment, it’s a massive result for them; he added: ‘Here’s the important thing – eight weeks ago today the Brexit party launched. And I think what you’ve seen from this result last night is that British politics has fundamentally changed. It’s no longer just two parties contesting.’
British politics has fundamentally changed. It’s no longer just two parties contesting
Farage said the relatively high Conservative vote was the key factor: ‘There are now seats like this, over the country, where voters are going to start to realise that if you vote Conservative you’re going to finish up with a Corbyn government. Once that gets through we’ll begin to see tactical voting.’
So, we end where we started, saluting the soldiers that gave up their lives freeing Europe from tyranny, and we have potential PM’s suggesting we implement one of our own’.
‘To the depths of the ocean where all hopes sank, searching for you’3
Have a good weekend!
- The Enabling Act of 1933, formally titled Gesetz zur Behebung der Not von Volk und Reich, was an amendment passed on 23rd March 1933 to the Weimar Constitution that gave the German Cabinet — in effect, Chancellor Adolf Hitler — the power to enact laws without the involvement of the Reichstag.
OK lyric spotters – it’s another cracking trio and possibly Philip’s most difficult to date; I can declare that I didn’t trouble the scorer despite being able to sing along with the first once I’d been reminded – which was a treat for the rather beery chap next to me on the rattler.
Triple, yes, triple points on offer for the second track this week – fiendishly difficult, but well worth exploring.
1 First off the rank is what Philip describes as ‘a minor hit from a very minor band’ – but it’s a goodie – B-Movie with ‘Remembrance Day’
2 Next could reference us leaving on ‘WTF terms’: Einstürzende Neubauten is an ‘experimental’ group formed in West Berlin in 1980, and apparently still experimenting away. The band’s name translates as ‘collapsing new buildings’ and this track is called ‘Kollaps’, which trans… you’d get the gist of it; his chosen lyric means ‘our wanderings destroy the cities’. Don’t shoot the messenger.
3 Rather splendid service restored with our last – an old favourite in Joy Division, this time with ‘Shadowlands’; excellent, enjoy!
Philip is a great believer in meritocracy, and in the belief that if you want something enough you can make it happen. These beliefs were formed in his formative years, of the late 1970s and 80s