brexit, Liverpool Echo

Brexit and the Blitz: the good old days that really weren’t

SO FAR I have resisted writing about Brexit, a subject which for many is about as welcome as the norovirus and just as messy.

Let’s face it, it’s a tricky enough topic among friends let alone strangers particularly if you’re unsure which side of the line people sit. One word out of place and that’s you off a Christmas list for life.

But this week I have found myself shouting at the telly too many times to ignore the madness.

You see I’ve detected an unpleasant shiver of anticipation among some Brexiters of late; a gleeful girding of loins ahead of the catastrophe that a no-deal Brexit will bring. And it’s all deeply unpleasant.

Incredibly as it seems, there are those who appear to be actually looking forward to the chaos of March 29, seeing it as a way for the nation to test its collective mettle.

After all, we haven’t enjoyed a proper battle in decades. Brexit is a great opportunity to bait Johnny Foreigner across the Channel, engage in a tussle and damn the hardship.

Food shortages? Rubbish piling up on the streets? Lack of medicines? Civil unrest?

Pah! The thinking among these crazy fools seems to be “we’ve lived through a war and we’ll survive”.

Except “we” haven’t lived through a war.

It was our parents and grandparents who endured it. It was they who put up with the bombs falling and the lack of food, the enforced separation of families and the constant fear of a telegram with the worst possible news arriving at the door.  

To invoke that kind of suffering – other people’s suffering – and fetishise it as something to which to aspire is deeply offensive and shockingly flawed. 

I’ve heard a great deal too about the “Blitz spirit”, this idea that in the darkest of times Brits pull together – usually with the aid of a nice cup of tea and a jam sandwich.

But here’s the thing. The Blitz wasn’t a great jolly jape. It was awful.

Tens of thousands of people died, homes and lives and businesses were destroyed and people suffered for years afterwards.

It was terrifying and unrelenting and far from bringing people together in many instances it tore communities apart. In some cities crimes such as looting – even from the bodies of the dead – and theft flourished. Black marketeers took advantage of the situation and of the most vulnerable. The blackout was the pick-pocket’s best friend and prostitution went through the roof.

Yes, there was courage and stoicism.

But there was also hardship and loss. Society, while not exactly collapsing, was placed under the most incredible strain.

Why would anyone but a dogmatic fool crave that again?

And here’s the rub. We went to war in 1939 and suffered as we did to stop a Nazi invasion.  

Here in 2019 we have people in charge who want suffering just to prove a point.

A WORK colleague has a theory our phones are listening in to what we say.

He tested this by explaining to a friend over a pint – with the phone on the table – about how he had forgotten to buy dog food and would need to call into a shop on the way home. 

He’s never owned a dog yet, sure enough the next day, his social media feed had adverts on it for dog food.

Intrigued, I conducted my own experiment, telling a chum on a night out about my wish to visit Japan.

Two days later – nothing. No holiday ads had targeted me.

But then the same mate phoned to ask whether I’d had a look at the fashion website she’d told me about – did I want the details again? 

And then I realised. I didn’t need the details. It had been the first post in my Facebook feed that morning.

Coincidence or technological spying?  Either way it’s spooky.

PAUL McCartney has been awarded a gold Blue Peter badge for services to song-writing.

As someone who never got her hands on one – despite years of trying – I’m unimpressed. 

He might have written Eleanor Rigby but can he make a nice picture out of gluing bits of pasta to a piece of card?

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