Mirror columnist Paul Routledge says it is a scandal how David Cameron and his cronies are set on selling or destroying everything which helped rebuild Britain
“Seventy years ago on Friday, British and Allied troops stormed the beaches of Normandy to liberate Europe from Nazi tyranny.
I struggle to comprehend what it must have been like, because if you weren’t there you can’t really know.
The deafening roar of artillery, the murky waters of the Channel, the withering enemy fire, the young man next to you cut down by a bullet. It must have been a living hell.
But it had to be done.
It had to be done to free Europe, the continent where democracy was born, from the ‘Nar-zizz’, as Churchill called them, with supreme contempt.
This truly was their finest hour. These men risked everything to give us all a better world.
And for those like me who were born during the war, this is a moment for serious reflection, to think about their sacrifice and what we have now.
I was a seven-month-old baby on D-Day. My dad was in the Middle East with the RAF. I didn’t see him for the first time until I was nearly three years old.
That wasn’t so unusual. Everything, including family life, was given up for the war effort. You didn’t get any counselling for being a casual victim of Fascism.
But what those soldiers did that day was to give us our tomorrow. In the heat of battle, they made possible a decent society at home and a Europe without war.
No more war. Can I say that again? No more war.
No more Germans killing Frenchmen. No mad Mussolini’s in Italy.
A continent at peace, working together. That is the whole point of the European Union. For me, that’s what it’s all about.
For all its imperfections, the European Union is infinitely preferable to a crazy conglomeration of warring nation states. Nobody gets killed by daft regulations about straight cucumbers.
So, what is our inheritance from D-Day?
Those servicemen who fought for our country and our way of life, voted in their millions for Major Clement Attlee, Churchill’s quiet-spoken deputy, who had worked in the East End of London and knew about poverty and the tribulations endured by working class people.
That 1945 Labour Government laid the foundations of decent Britain, a land fit for returning heroes. A National Health Service, giving everyone – no matter how poor – the right to a healthy life. Established in the teeth of Tory hostility. A welfare state, ditto.
Coal mines run for the country, not foreign money. Railways for the people, not profiteers. Water, gas and electricity run for the public not Chinese investors. Secondary education for all, virtually full employment.
How easy it is to forget what was achieved in post-war UK. And what has happened to that legacy, the country bequeathed to us by those D-Day heroes?
It has been squandered by the politicians. The swinish Tories who know the price of everything and the value of nothing, and their Lib Dem lapdogs – and the weak, stupid con men of New Labour like Tony Blair.
They have dismantled the society that was fought for 70 years ago.
They are taking the welfare state and NHS apart brick by brick. They sold our water and our energy supplies to the highest foreign bidder. They would privatise the very air we breathe if they could find a buyer.
If you’d asked Tommy Atkins as he plunged into the biting cold surf on June 6, 1944, “Will you lay down your life so the Japanese can take over our car industry?”, I think the answer would have been unprintable in a family newspaper.
But that’s what we’ve got.
A nation sold down the river by Tories and their allies. A country in which the nastiest thing they can say about Labour is that it’s not “business-friendly”.
Hang on a minute. How about being worker-friendly? Did those brave lads lay down their lives to create a society of zero-hours contracts?
Was their sacrifice made to line the pockets of fatcat City filth, bankers, hedge fund managers and private investment company bosses?
No, no, a thousand times no.
On this day of remembrance, we must hold fast to the values of decency, patriotism and mutuality that rebuilt our country after the war – and continue the fight against the true enemy within.
It is in fraudulent occupation of 10 Downing Street.”
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