Wednesday, 21 May 2014
Remember Arnhem. Remember Infratil. Forget Manston.
I’ve recently returned from Holland for some tourism work around Liberation Route Europe – an excellent EU initiative to commemorate the end of WW2 from D-Day to Auschwitz. The tourism trails stretch from Portsmouth, and now Kent, through Arnhem and into Germany and Poland.
And an interesting story by the good folks at In the Footsteps Battlefield Tours was how a colleague used to chivvy along his troops in Afghanistan with the phrase “Remember Arnhem” when the grumbling became excessive.
A battle perhaps remembered more by the Dutch with the John Frost Bridge or Urquhart Airborne Museum and superb Bevridjings Museum with information on not just the astonishing bravery – almost suicide missions – of the Polish airborne troops or USA Waal Crossing – but the Hunger Winter famine after Arnhem narrowly failed.
The resolution of Frost’s troops holding Arnhem Bridge with nothing more than rifles against tanks for days and nights alone and waiting surrounded by their dead and dying friends.
Frost Bridge now.
The Dutch citizens hiding them and treating the wounded and waiting for a liberation that would eventually be secured almost 6 months later by Canadian troops and the final Rhine crossings.
Remember Arnhem indeed.
Thousands of troops killed and 20,000 Dutch citizens dead from famine – for freedom.
Remember Arnhem and the African-style famines that swept Europe after WW2 when you grumble over 0.7% foreign aid or 0.5% EU funding.
Remember Arnhem with 20,000 British pensioners dying from cold each Winter.
In the 21st century.
That's what the British and Poles and Americans and Dutch and Canadians died for.
What must they have thought they were fighting and dying for as they waited for the final assault in the basements of Oosterbeek as they waited in September 1944?
A price paid in blood in advance.
What must they think of the filthy Kiwis of Infratil and the filthy little airfield like Manston. And filthy little councils like TDC polluting their own citizens on the back of the freedoms fought and won.
Filthy little generals like Latchford.
Filthy little MP’s Like Gale.
Filthy little councillors like the Toxic Three and Moores.
Filthy little civil servants like Macgonigal.
Filthy little Judges like Glick QC.
And filthy little racists like UKIP.
And if you vote tomorrow in the EU elections think of Arnhem and a united Europe.
Of course the EU needs reform.
UKIP are not wrong on that. But Little England has never been the way forward for Britain. Next year Britain will celebrate Waterloo when Europeans joined together and that Kent artist Van Gogh’s 125th Anniversary – particularly relevant for Ramsgate where he lived and worked.
Ridiculous NATO bloated offices or the farcical Brussels-Strasbourg shuffle. The refusal of FOI and undemocratic party lists. The failure to implement the UN Millennium Development Goals. These are the worst of the EU.
But Liberation Route Europe reminds us of Europe at its best.
Especially in Kent, given the silence of Dunkirk Day. The silence of DDay. The silence of Channel Dash Day as the pensioners fail us.
And fail to remember.
Fail to repair the memorials.
Fail to keep the graves clean.
Maybe the excellent War Graves Commission should run TDC or Southern Water or Coastguard.
A Sarajevo Shift to the Balkans, and Serbia, Turkey and Russia joining, is in keeping with the original role of the EU to ensure prosperity and freedom.
The EU was formed to prevent more Arnhems.
To secure liberty and prosperity from Manchester to Moscow.
From Kiev to Kwai.
To resolve international problems such as coal and steel originally, and now Pandemics and Climate Change.
A Green vote in the EU election is a step forward – with reform.
Something better than cattle trucks and contamination.
Forget Manston – and Ostend - and its gunrunners and blood diamonds and filthy little council.
But remember filthy little Infratil.
And remember Arnhem and Liberation Route Europe.
Time for Change.