DOMINIC LAWSON: Brexit a threat to peace in Europe! Why can’t the BBC Remoaners accept the war is over?
The day the UK became fully self-governing again, January 1, 2021, was for many millions of Britons a reason to celebrate. But you wouldn’t have picked that up from our national broadcaster. The BBC’s reports were unrelievedly apprehensive.
And it provided a platform for Frankie Boyle — you know, the comedian who likes to poke fun at people with Down’s Syndrome — to declare on his own New Year special: ‘Having Brexit at the end of a year like this is like finding cancer has spread to the walls of your house.’ Nice.
But no broadcaster has been as hysterically doom-laden as Dan Snow, presenter of various history programmes. On January 1, he tweeted: ’75 years ago, after history’s bloodiest war, with its genocide and unimaginable brutality, a generation of survivors tried to prevent future war by building institutions to curb assertions of national sovereignty. The UK forged that. Now we help to dismantle it. Brexit is a tragedy.’
No broadcaster has been as hysterically doom-laden as Dan Snow (pictured), presenter of various history programmes
Snow’s Twitter handle is @thehistoryguy. But he seems to have little grasp of the subject, in this matter.
The idea that peace in Europe has been guaranteed by the European Union — formerly the European Economic Community — is a familiar nonsense. David Cameron was rightly ridiculed when, during the 2016 referendum campaign, he warned that a vote to leave would put at risk ‘peace on our continent’.
The BBC’s reports provided a platform for Frankie Boyle — you know, the comedian who likes to poke fun at people with Down’s Syndrome — to declare on his own New Year special: ‘Having Brexit at the end of a year like this is like finding cancer has spread to the walls of your house’
Yes, one reason for the founding of the European Coal and Steel Community in 1951 (the forerunner of the Common Market) was to forge closer economic and political links between Germany and France, which had fought three wars against each other in the previous three quarters of a century. But does anyone seriously suggest that Britain’s leaving the EU will tempt Germany to send tanks rolling across the French border?
In fact, the UK is increasing its financial and military commitment to keeping the peace in Europe through our membership of Nato — the organisation that protects European borders from being crossed by hostile powers.
Actually, Dan Snow, like many fanatical proponents of European political integration, doesn’t like those borders much. In an interview last year he said: ‘In 200 years’ time, do I think that there will be states called Belgium, and the Netherlands, and Luxembourg and Britain? I think I probably don’t, really. That will cause a democratic deficit, but what’s the alternative?’
The alternative, Dan, is those countries still existing. Britons fought in Europe 75 years ago precisely to maintain nations’ right to independence, not least those countries that Snow lists. It was for democracy, not to create the ‘democratic deficit’ about which Snow is so insouciant.
Perhaps he should travel to Estonia, a country seized by the Soviet Union when Stalin and Hitler carved up Europe into their respective spheres of interests. Following Vladimir Putin’s annexation of predominantly Russian-speaking parts of Ukraine, Estonia feared the Russian president would use the fact that there is a large Russian community within its territory to mount a similar operation.
David Cameron was rightly ridiculed when, during the 2016 referendum campaign, he warned that a vote to leave would put at risk ‘peace on our continent’
Nato moved to protect the Estonian border — and the bulk of that battlegroup is provided by the British Army. This has nothing whatever to do with the EU, and our leaving the EU has not the slightest relevance to it.
There was one occasion since 1945 when Europe was faced with full-scale war, and acts of genocide were carried out. That was during the break-up of the former Yugoslavia in 1991. The Luxembourg foreign minister, Jacques Poos, declared that the EU would take the lead in sorting out the conflict: ‘This is the hour of Europe, not the hour of the Americans.’
It was a hollow boast. It was only Nato, with U.S. stealth bombers and fighters, that prevented further massacres by the Serbian military and their leaders, who have since faced justice in The Hague.
Following Vladimir Putin’s annexation of predominantly Russian-speaking parts of Ukraine, Estonia feared the Russian president would use the fact that there is a large Russian community within its territory to mount a similar operation
Aside from Nato, the other organisation established in the 1940s to ensure a more peaceful world was the United Nations, which also supplies, through its independent member nations, operations to keep formerly warring factions apart in various trouble spots.
Despite what Dan Snow seems to imply, Britain’s membership of the UN’s permanent security council is in no way linked to our erstwhile membership of the EU.
It was, in fact, absurd that the EU was in 2011 awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. The committee judging the awards might as well have given the EU the Nobel economics prize for launching the single European currency. And if the EU itself does break up, that ill-judged venture will be the most likely cause: not our entirely peaceful departure.
Farage should have quit while he was ahead
Now that we are fully out of the EU, what will Nigel Farage do with his Brexit Party? Actually, we don’t need to ask, because the man himself has told us. In November, he applied to the Electoral Commission to have the party renamed Reform UK.
And its main aim? Mr Farage set that out, too, declaring it would campaign to end the mandatory social restrictions imposed by the Government to suppress Covid-19.
He said Reform UK was fully behind ‘the Great Barrington Declaration’, which advocated a policy of herd immunity through infection, while somehow ‘shielding’ those thought most vulnerable from all the younger folk who were going to get the disease.
‘That way, we build immunity in the population,’ he wrote. The policy of intermittent lockdowns, he scoffed, ‘is all about playing for time, in the hope that a vaccine miraculously comes along’.
Now that we are fully out of the EU, what will Nigel Farage do with his Brexit Party? Actually, we don’t need to ask, because the man himself has told us
That was published on November 1. Nine days later, Sir John Bell of the Government’s vaccine taskforce had his ‘Yes, yes, yes!’ moment on the BBC when the final results of the Pfizer vaccine tests came through, showing 95 per cent efficacy.
Farage also claimed that ‘suicides are soaring’ as a result of the lockdowns. This, too, was rubbish. Again, just days after Farage wrote that, the Government adviser on suicide prevention, Professor Louis Appleby, declared: ‘Today, we’re releasing suicide data for 2020 covering several parts of England. The month by month figures are reassuring: there has been no rise in suicide following lockdown.’
Farage went on to argue that Tory policy had condemned to misery ’88-year-old ladies who cannot see their relatives and naturally wonder: what is the point of life?’ Not only are those old ladies now being given the vaccinations Farage couldn’t even imagine, his own preferred policy of letting the virus rip and ‘shielding the vulnerable’ would have isolated the elderly from their families even more.
In November, he applied to the Electoral Commission to have the party renamed Reform UK
The most puzzling aspect is that in mid-March Farage had eloquently criticised the Government for flirting with a ‘herd immunity’ strategy, before changing course: ‘I found myself feeling more depressed than I had been in my adult life by the words of the chief scientific adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance. He said that 60 per cent of the UK population needed to get Covid-19 to establish herd immunity.
‘I worked out pretty quickly,’ Farage continued, ‘that this tactic would trigger in the region of 400,000 deaths. Since then, I am pleased to say the Government policy has changed. Downing Street has recognised that a rapid spread of Covid-19 would overwhelm the NHS. The penny has dropped.’
Odd that Farage should have turned around 180 degrees, in precisely the wrong direction and with the worst possible timing. This political gambler should have quit while he was ahead.
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