Several readers drew my attention to a remarkable (in a bad way) article in the Left’s favourite paper, the garudain [sic!]. It has the title “Dunkirk reveals the spirit that has driven Brexit: humiliation”, written by one of their columnists, Rafael Behr.
In this article, the writer connects Dunkirk – in the news because of the remarkable film of the same name by Christopher Nolan which has just been released – with both our entry into the EU and Brexit, under the overarching theme of national humiliation and shame.
Yes, you read this right: Dunkirk was a humiliating defeat, a national shame. This shame and humiliation has eaten into our national consciousness to such an extent that we humiliated ourselves even further and joined the EU in 1973.
The mental acrobatics to see shame and humiliation in joining the EU and now in voting for Brexit is something I, for one, am incapable of comprehending, but then I’m not a lefty intellectual.
Let’s look at some of the points raised:
According to the author Dunkirk was not, as our grandparents and parents and the contemporary media all the way up to Churchill would have us believe, a show of spirit and resistance, of ‘fighting them on the beaches’ – no: it was a military catastrophe, a humiliating retreat which does not deserve praise at all.
I find it fascinating that a left-wing columnist so totally blanks out the fact that we were fighting the actual, original fascists at that time. It would seem that we were too militaristic to even have participated … so: letting ourselves be overrun by Hitler was apparently to be preferred, because that would have been … peaceful …? What the Left simply cannot forgive is that, in the face of the military disaster which led to Dunkirk:
“the Dunkirk spirit became an emblem of national character – a metaphor for plucky survival against insuperable odds, and a benchmark for resilience.”
Good grief – resilience? Plucky survival? That’s horrible to Lefties’ ears who disdain everything and everyone that is not a ‘victim’. It’s of course par for the course that “mend and make do” is referred to in a snide undertone, but the underlying argument insinuates that the Left and by extension the EU would have loved us if we had done as the French did: let ourselves be overrun by Hitler, have a ‘Vichy Britain’ with some aristocratic Quislings: that’s true victimhood, so much better than plucky resilience!
But far worse is this:
“The roots of modern Euroscepticism go deep – probably as far as adventurous historians want to excavate, through the sediment of 20th-century world wars, beyond the crust of Waterloo and the Spanish Armada, into the roiling magma where nationhood is forged.”
Nationhood – the bugbear of the Left! How embarrassed they are by it, how they denigrate it with that comparison of it’s being forged in ‘roiling magma’ – something primeval, unclean, to be despised! This refers of course to Magna Carta, that monumental document which was signed roughly 600 year before Waterloo, 800 year before the present day.
No – the Left’s heroic, pristine heights beckon where unclean nationhood, where ‘nation states’ have been done away with. Such bloody stuff like the Armada and Waterloo are best kept buried deeply ‘under sediments’: history, for the Left, is unnecessary if not downright dangerous to mention.
Here’s another strange point: for the Left, France, both Vichy France and post-war France, always gets a pass. De Gaulle is perfectly fine talking about “La Patrie” – probably because the Left doesn’t speak French and doesn’t get that ‘La Patrie’ stands for the nation, for nationhood, the thing which they so abhor when it happens to be British.
Furthermore, the Left and the Remoaners, especially the continental ones, keep going on about the British Empire: colonies bad, bad, bad – so poor, post-colonial Britain deserves to suffer for her past grandeur. To me, that sounds more like post-colonial sour grapes, especially since the Left conveniently forgets that France had nearly as large a colonial empire as Great Britain – and is still heavily militarily involved in some of her former colonies, never mind also having more foreign dependencies than the UK. But then again fairness, especially in arguments, has never been important for the Left.
One other observation on the question of ‘humiliating’ retreats: it is astonishing that those who deplore the ‘militaristic spirit’ are the same who secretly admire it when displayed by the enemy, in this case fascist Germany. Rather than retreating in ‘humiliation’, these soldiers ought to have fought to the death, or perhaps just given up, insinuates the author. However, Sun Tzu said:
“He who knows when he can fight and when he cannot, will be victorious.”
Even the author of that article concedes (with gritted teeth, one supposes) that the invasion of Normandy four years later wiped out that ‘humiliation’. It is his secret why the Dunkirk ‘humiliation’ allegedly still ‘infects’ our British psyche …
Since Mr Behr dares to mention Waterloo, I really have to point out that the 1st Duke of Wellington was a master of the retreat during the Peninsular War – which he won. Without that victory, Napoleon would not have abdicated, and Waterloo only happened because the European statesmen were too feeble to ban him to St Helena in the first place.
It is all of a piece: France and Germany cannot and never will forgive us for saving them from tyranny. They were and still are too frightened of us. They believe their hour has now finally come to punish us through Brexit – something the British Left devoutly hopes for.
I leave you with one final quote from this remarkable (in a bad way!) article:
“The seeds of Brexit were thus sown with the foundations of EU membership.”
Goodness gracious me! He actually writes that there would not have been a Brexit if we hadn’t joined the EU? Well I never … ! Who’d have thought ….!
If you want one, just one, perfect indication of the woolly thinking applauded by the intellectual Left, this is it!