That alphabet soup of Astroturf lobby groups and their talking heads are a regular fixture on our airwaves. But how credible are these people? After the failure of the IEA to understand how the EU and its member states negotiate trade deals, we have the so-called Taxpayers Alliance and its alleged campaign manager Chloe Westley.
After European Parliament Brexit Coordinator Guy Verhofsdadt told “When there was no European Union, there was authoritarianism, despotism, fascism and nazism in Europe. It is through the European Union that we can live in peace and democracy!” Ms Westley waded in. “As an Australian, I will not allow you write my countrymen, nor the contribution of British, American and Commonwealth allies, out of history. It is through the sacrifices that those soldiers made that you can live in peace in democracy”.
Er, the EU came after the war, Chloe. No-one is writing anyone out of anything by pointing out the EU’s contribution to peace in the region. Jessica Simor tried to steer her to a more informed position: “No one is writing Australia's contribution out of history. Millions of people from all over the world including Australia and Russia fought the Nazis. Post-war, the ECSC, then EC created a system that allowed peace & liberty to thrive & Germany and France to be reconciled”. It didn’t do her much good, though.
Ms Westley had also gone after Verhofstadt telling “Today is International Day of #Peace & this year we also celebrate 70 ys of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. As Europeans, we must remember how peace is an essential achievement of the EU. Once we fought, now we talk. Let's together remember that united we are stronger”.
“'Peace is an essential achievement of the EU'. Hmm. Must have missed the history lesson where they explained how a trading bloc defeated the Nazis” she sneered, managing to miss that Verhofstadt was talking about maintaining peace, not fighting. Jessica Simor once again tried valiantly to put her straight. “Chloe, I'm afraid you missed all history lessons on the formation of the EU, which derived from the ECSC and EC. Churchill's 1945 speech is a good place to start”. Indeed. So what happened then?
As if you need to ask. Ms Westley just blundered on. “Oh wow, lots of people are quite upset that I dared to challenge the EU's assertion that they defeated the Nazis/Fascism are the sole defenders of peace in Europe”. The EU did not make that assertion. But do go on. “I supposed peace in Europe had nothing to do with the 87K Indian soldiers who lost their lives, nor the 380K Britons, 39K Australians, 400K Americans, millions of Russians, nor any other soldier who died. It was the EU who single-handedly defeated the Nazis!”
La la la, fingers in ears, Chloe can’t hear you. And she wasn’t finished. “And of course, NATO (and America's generosity in funding a large proportion even though many EU countries fail to foot the bill) is of no consequence. It's all the EU. The EU are the saviors of world!” NATO for keeping the Soviet bloc out, EU for maintaining internal peace.
Jessica Simor was by this time totally exasperated. “Chloe stop it - you are being crazy. I keep telling you the EEC did not exist before 1958 & the EU only from 1992. You are looking mad! Obviously the EU did not defeat Hitler - it did not exist !!! Why do you keep on with this nonsense? Is someone making you send these tweets?” That has to come in the category of “you might wish to say that, I couldn’t possibly comment”.
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