Jonathan Fryer

William Wallace’s World View

Posted by jonathanfryer on Thursday, 18th October, 2012

‘We in Britain are stuck in the narrative of June 1940,’ (Lord) William Wallace declared at a meeting of Putney Liberal Democrats this evening. ‘At the Remembrance Day celebrations, for example, there is a “we are in it alone” mentality.’ Some on the right of the Conservative Party, including Daniel Hannan MEP, would like to see the UK become a form of Switzerland and right-wing historians like Andrew Roberts and Niall Ferguson are championing a narrative of Empire, while the Daily Mail and Daily Telegraph pour out anti-European sentiments. ‘We need to shift our narrative on Europe,’ William said. ‘We have got to engage with and challenge the world view of the Conservatives.’ He has just been appointed to an advisory board on the 2014 centenary Commemoration of the start of World War I, and I stressed in the Q&A that as the European elections will fall in the run-up to that commemoration we should put across the message that the so-called Great War was disaster, a masssive failure on the part of the European powers to solve their differences diplomatically, with the result that millions of lives were sacrificed for nothing. ‘Never again’ was a popular refrain in the 1920s, though the polarisation of Communism and Fascism in the 1930s led inexorably to renewed conflict and destruction. The EU rightly won the Nobel Peace Prize recently for its role in bringing and sustaining peace in Europe. This is a message we Liberal Democrats should trumpet, as others won’t, and we only have 18 months or so to undermine the eurosceptics’ narrative.

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