As if the milking of alleged wartime spirit - being evoked among people who, sadly, were not actually there when it happened - could not get any more blatant, the Brexit Party has just held a rally during which Oberscheissenführer Nigel “Thirsty” Farage entered the arena to the sound of air-raid sirens. That’s the kind of sirens that warned the civilian population of towns and cities across the UK that they were about to be bombed.
Squeaky descent into 1930s fascism finger up the bum time
Some cities could summon up anti-aircraft guns, although these would at best merely deter Hermann Göring’s finest. Only rarely did the carpet of “flak” manage to pot one of the German aircraft. Smaller towns and cities were not so fortunate: Midlands and Northern conurbations like Derby, Coventry, and yes, Crewe (where what is now the Bentley factory built thousands of Rolls-Royce Merlin aero engines) had little defence.
You'll have to speak up, I'm a bit Mutt and Jeff
Anywhere with extensive rail infrastructure, aircraft production facilities, engineering works, port facilities and communications networks was a prime target. Worse, around 60,000 civilians - innocent people not participating in the fighting - lost their lives. Bombing accuracy was poor, whoever dropped the projectiles. Often the attackers would just loose off their payload without identifying their target.
That is what Mr Thirsty and his pals are evoking. It did not impress James Melville: “Just look at the state of the Farage / Brexit Party rally (with air raid sirens). Britain is in an era of demagogue populism and xenophobia. There are parallels with the early 1930’s Weimar Republic. We forget the tragic lessons of history at our peril”.
Kerry-Anne Mendoza of The Canary was equally unimpressed. “Nigel Farage entering the Brexit Party venue, to air raid sirens. Air. Raid. Sirens. Their take on WW2 seems to be: ‘Remember the good old days of global bloodshed, Holocaust and rations? Let’s make Britain great again!’ That’s the wrong take guys!”
Brendan May was concerned: “Final proof, if it were needed, that the #BrexitParty thinks we are actually at war with the rest of Europe. Farage comes on to the sound of air raid sirens. These people are deeply ill”. And Mary Heywood added “Dear God! What sick person decided it would be a good idea to include air raid sirens! I can only conclude it was Farage himself, which proves he IS sick - in the head! My heart rate went up hearing those sounds, as I remember sirens like that from just after the war, practising!”
Mark Priestley wasn’t happy, either. “The video from the Farage intro was disturbing. People waving glow sticks to the sound of air-raid sirens. Clearly a proto-fascist movement, taking lessons from Trump re the big rallies, simplistic negative messages etc”. Another Tweeter concluded “Looked like the Nuremberg rally. Air raid sirens, torches, one-man messiah cult. Careful what you wish for. These people won’t stop with EU citizens. There will be more breaking point posters”. Disturbing. Very disturbing.
And Elly Davis summed it up: “How appropriate. Air raid sirens warn of an approaching enemy - then enter stage left Farage”. Remember Michael Rosen’s prescient words: “Fascism arrives as your friend … It will restore your honour … make you feel proud”.
That’s what the Brexit Party promises. But in reality it is the enemy. Of all of us.
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