Actor Patrick Stewart, of Star Trek fame, writing in the Guardian.
Though I am convinced that the stay vote will win the day, nevertheless the fact that so many fellow British citizens want to leave Europe is shocking. Standing alone was how we were in 1940.
Why campaign to put us back there? I do not understand this thirst for isolationism. The most potent arguments, politically, economically, socially, urge us to remain. Let this just be a passing insecurity, and let us once more embrace reality, philosophy, common sense and hope for our country.
The odd thing about this piece is that it begins with his shell-shocked father being evacuated from Cherbourg in 1940. For that was when Britain was “standing alone”.
But he seems to have forgotten – or not to know – what we were standing alone against. Britain’s “isolationism” back then grew from this country’s determination not to be incorporated into the European Nazi state. We wanted to retain our freedom, our democracy, our laws, and our customs and culture. And also our philosophy, our common sense, and our hope.
I can only suppose that Patrick Stewart would have welcomed the Nazis to Britain, in order not to be “isolationist”.. And I imagine that he would have mounted “potent arguments” why Britain would be “politically, economically, and socially” better of inside Nazi-unified Europe.
Of course, he would probably also say that there can be no comparison drawn between the EU today, and Nazi Europe of 1940.
I wish he were right. But the EU is just as undemocratic as Nazi Europe. It is organised for top down control of the peoples of Europe by a small elite. And it issues countless instructions and regulations to those peoples. The present occupants of the positions of power in Europe may well be kind-hearted and well-meaning men and women, but if they are ever replaced by less kind-hearted and well-meaning people, there is absolutely no way we can democratically overthrow them, except by armed revolt.
He might also say that there is no possibility of war in contemporary, civilised Europe.
I wish he were right. He seems not to have noticed the gathering clouds of war over eastern Europe, on the borders of Russia, towards which the EU and NATO have rapidly expanded in recent years. He seems not to have heard any of Vladimir Putin’s predictions of war. No surprise, really, given they’re barely reported in the Western media.
He might also say that there’s nothing comparable to Nazi antisemitism active in contemporary, peaceful, tolerant, inclusive, civilised Europe.
I wish he were right. In fact, antisemitism is now rampant in Europe, and many Jews are fleeing from it. And Europe’s 150 million smokers have been turned into a shunned and excluded sub-class through laws enacted by the European parliament. But he probably doesn’t notice them all outside the pubs that once welcomed them, because he probably doesn’t smoke, and he averts his eyes from them as he passes.
Patrick Stewart’s father was no angel, and often beat his mother.
Very occasionally one person would come to our aid – Mrs Dixon, our next-door neighbour, the only person who would stand up to my father. She would throw open the door and stand before him, bosom bursting and her mighty weaver’s forearm raised in his face. “Come on, Alf Stewart,” she would say, “have a go at me.” He never did. He calmed down and went to bed. Now I wish I could take Lizzie Dixon’s big hand in mine and thank her.
So he was glad that someone would defend his mother. But he doesn’t want anyone defending his mother country like his father did.
For Britain right now is back at 1940. It faces the same threats as it did then. It faces being invaded, its laws and customs being swept aside, and its very identity as a nation expunged. And now, as then, we have our own Nazi sympathizers, our own admirers of the emergent Nazi state across the water, against whom we feel almost powerless once again. No less a person than King Edward VIII was a great admirer of Hitler, after all.
It’s probably true that, if we rebuff them once again, we’ll be made to suffer much like we suffered between 1940 and 1945. There will be shortages and queues. There’ll be hunger.
But if we don’t rebuff them, we face extinction as a self-governing nation. And we’ll also most likely face terrible wars, horrific persecutions, slave labour, and worse, after nice, charming Mr Juncker has been replaced by someone not quite so nice, and not quite so charming.
Nobody is campaigning to put us back to 1940, Mr Stewart. We are already there.