Sound the retreat

No one knows what will happen as a result of Brexit, least of all me. But because I’ve lived in England and travelled extensively in the former United Kingdom, I do know why Britons voted to leave. Just as an individual’s strength can also be that person’s weakness, so too with island residents. As Britain proved during the Second World War, they can be resilient and resolute. But they can also be revisionist historians and fail to remember that others came to their help.

Worst at this failure of memory are the educated twits today who should know better but are disdainful of Canada, passing us off as one of the Dominions, a former colony, with no real status. In so doing they forget that Canada declared war in 1939 against Germany independently of Britain, had two infantry divisions stationed in England by 1940 and trained thousands of Commonwealth pilots. The 1st Canadian Paratroop Battalion was among the first Allied troops to land in France just after midnight on D-Day, June 6, 1944. After the war was over, we welcomed 48,000 war brides and 22,000 dependents, most of whom were from Britain. There are now one million descendants in Canada from those unions.

As for Britain’s membership in the European Union, other nations always saw them as mere guests, not full-blown members. Britain has always been a ship anchored off shore rather than a part of Europe. They are, after all, an island society, by nature wary of foreigners. When my late wife and I went to live in England we felt like we were going home; both our fathers had been born there. No such luck. Friendships were impossible to forge with the natives. The best friends we made were a Greek couple who’d been driven out of Egypt in 1956.

Look what the Brits did to Winston Churchill after the war; they turned against very the man who’d saved them. They are so stuck on themselves they can’t see the purpose, the humanity or the rightness of accepting “the other.” I love the history, the scenery, the language, and the traditions of the English. As for the people, go ahead, retreat back onto your little island if you like. You’re not much good beyond the warbling white cliffs of Dover, anyway.


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