The image of Britain standing in world wars against German domination has fed Euroscepticism in the UK. Yes, German Ambassador, Dr Peter Ammon has a good point.
Being 57 years old, I can see the root cause of a degree of Euroscepticism in my generation and the one above me. Please treat this observation as its intended. Its not hostile. There’s no way I’m saying that there is something inherently bad about everyone who watched TV or the movies in the 60s and 70s.
Many of the most wonderful films of my childhood are war stories. Great drama and daring acts captured our imaginations in grainy black and white. Often the theme has the undertones of David and Goliath, where huge odds are overcome to escape peril. Danger on all sides as charismatic British actors portrayed heroic characters winning out. I’ll just list a few classic movies that come to mind: The Flight of the Phoenix (1965), The Hill (1965), The Great Escape (1963), Ice Cold in Alex (1958) and A Matter of Life and Death (1946). Love them all.
That was the setting. The Sunday afternoon TV matinee movie was watched by many. There wasn’t the proliferation of choice that the media present now. No wonder many British people see the world through a prism of 20th century history.
Even wider than that, several of my Secondary School teachers revelled in telling stories of their war time experiences. As children and young adults, we lapped up those stories even if they did generate occasional humour. We would mock and mimic repeated tales in the manner of Monty Python. It wasn’t being disrespectful. It was a sense that the past and the modern world were inevitably in a tense battle for the future. The future that we were to be a part of.
So, why am I not a Leaver? I was too young to vote this the first referendum that took us into the Common Market. That said, as a 15-year-old I was acutely aware of the debate. In the West Country farming community, where I grew-up, it was a regular topic of conversation. Local Conservatives were campaigning to stay in Europe.
From the day I left school, there’s been a European context to my further education and work. I’ve been fortnuate to travel. If I add it all up, over 40 years, and put the pros and cons on a set of scales they tip soundly in favour of being a part of the European Union. Those scales tip that way whether I weigh-up facts or emotions. Both my head and heart are convinced that Brexit is a dead end. Let’s hope more and more people see it that way this year.