Don’t be ambushed by the D Day opportunists

By Searchlight Team


We are reflecting, exactly 80 years after the events, on the D Day landings. And sighing in exasperation at the efforts of tinpot populists to make some cheap political capital out of the anniversary, moaning that children and young adults are unaware of the history of D Day.

Of course, D Day should be remembered. More than 150,000 Allied troops were ferried to the beaches or parachuted in behind the Axis front lines. Thousands of them died right there, in that action, and thousands more as the invasion pushed inland and headed for Germany.

Of course we should not forget those men, or the 200,000 naval personnel who got the troops to the beaches and then tirelessly provided a relentless covering barrage from offshore. It was a massive undertaking, and it was bloody, and the free world should continue to be grateful.

But we should also remember that this was one element in a six- or seven-year war (many would argue that it started in 1938). And the most important thing to teach in schools is where that war came from.

Take the tale back to World War I, or the Franco-Prussian War if you must. But look long and hard at events between 1918 and 1939, with the barely opposed rise of fascism as it slowly and inexorably marched towards the death camps. Because this is what we should be thinking when we say ’Never again’.

Moments in the war will always have a resonance, be they Dunkirk, Narvik, El Alamein, the ’Cockleshell’ raid, the Atlantic convoys, the Dambusters, the resistance of Malta … the list goes on. Take your pick. But never mistake these moments for what the war was about in the first place – a stand, albeit a belated one, against the march of fascism.

Do not heed the bleating of shabby populists when they complain, as they are doing, that young people today don’t even know what ’D Day’ means. This is childish pre-election prattle designed to conjure up cartoonish images of ’Giving Jerry a bloody nose’ and suchlike.

What matters is not whether people born 50, 60 and 70 years after the events can tell you by rote the date of D Day. It is whether they have been given the tools to understand that the Hitlers and Mussolinis should not be allowed to rise again.

And most of all, that their admirers should not be allowed to flourish here, in these islands that for a terrifying moment stood almost alone against the fascists.

Damn them for their impudence!

One response on “Don’t be ambushed by the D Day opportunists

  1. Squire Tun-Toff

    Hear, Hear. Double Damn these repulsive opportunists!

    Last year, UKIP got D-Day totally mixed up with Dunkirk – Both involved boats and the Channel, but.

    UKIP declared it would Stop The Boats with a risible floating barrier in the busiest seaway of all, the Channel. This had first been proposed, purely as a joke, by Simon Harris but UKIP nicked it as official policy –

    How could this befall a ‘Party’ whose de facto leader, not the naive eye-candy he keeps luring in, is a Sailor trained in the Royal Navy?? Someone reading his boasts could be forgiven for concluding he was a distinguished hero, with service in both the Falklands, and the Afgan War.

    Truth be different. The Falklands War ended before his fourth birthday. The part he played in landlocked Afghanistan was anchored in safe harbour nearly a thousand miles distant. Almost all his other service was in “ships” made from stone or brick, ie Shore Establishments. His role was not as a real sailor, but as a Stores Accountant, a pen-pushing clerk “often at grave peril, but only from Tipp-Ex splashes or bent Staples”. Worse still, embellishment of his naval rank – he never got higher than the equivalent of Corporal, second from the lowest – Rear Admiral, my arse, more like Leading Paperclip.

    I do not drive but a year back I took a long rail journey down to where he was a parliamentary by-candidate, in order to confront him at Hustings and put his feet to the fire. Should have guessed – the coward was a No Show.

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