LibLink: Christine Jardine: EU remembers UK’s WWII stand and would take us back

In her Scotsman column this week, Christine Jardine tackled Brexit and, in particular, a speech by Dutch social liberal party D66’s new leader, Rob Jetten, in the UK Parliament. His words showed the bond between this country and our European family.

Listening to him reminded me of why I have always cherished what some dismiss as the ‘European Project’ as he likened our relationship with the EU to the biblical tale of the Prodigal Son.

Although I’m not religious, I do remember the story from school. A wrestless son demands his inheritance to leave his family and make his own way in the world.

What Jetten used it to illustrate was the strength of familial feeling towards us on the continent, and the hope that we will yet again exhibit our traditional ability to grasp success from failure.

In the midst of the current disputes, some might question that feeling, but Jetten was insistent.

We have, he reminded us, been an integral part of that EU family for 45 years, a relationship built on international pain and British resolution.

Yes, the Dutch too pin the need for the EU on our joint experiences in the first half of the 20th century and especially: “… Britain’s heroic stand in 1940 and 1941.”

“It was,” he said, “in Britain that our Government and resistance movement sought and found refuge. There are few Dutch cities and towns which do not enshrine memories of British bravery.”

And, talking about more recent times, he described “Britain’s cultural magnetism” as collapsing an already minimal distance between our countries.

The  moral of the story is that the EU would have us back because it values our relationship.

So, what should happen next?

It’s a hope that was reflected this weekend in the descent of countless thousands of Britons on London to call for a People’s Vote, a chance to say whether the product of this Tory-induced debacle is what anyone, both remain or leave supporter, actually wants.

I’m as aware as anyone that we still do not know what that final end product will look like. Ridiculous isn’t it? We are more than two years on from the vote, already passed the point at which we had been told it would all be settled and signed, but still completely in the darkness about our nation’s, our children’s, our own future.

It’s time for ministers to knuckle down and get some answers.

But whatever happens, if a deal is reached or not, they must remember that democracy did not end on 24 June 2016. And increasingly, as the weekend showed, the public are the ones shouting loudest for that final say. A vote on the deal itself.

You can read the whole article here.


* Newshound: bringing you the best Lib Dem commentary published in print or online.

Read more by .
This entry was posted in News.


  • It is very nice to hear. It doesn’t and has never answered the question about what the EU wants to be. Until that question is truthfully answered brexit will always be lurking. I have no wish for a European state, in my eyes that what the EU is going to have to be… Monetary union has to end with political union. Until the Libdema send someone to Brussels and gets answer for that question we will have an population trapped in this division of destruction

  • Laurence Cox 27th Oct '18 - 2:06pm

    Joachim Ronneberg, the Norwegian Resistance fighter, who died earlier this week at the age of 99 spoke of why he started talking to young people about his wartime experiences in the 1970s after many years of keeping silent about them: “Those growing up today need to understand that we must always be ready to fight for peace and freedom,” he said.

    We need to remember that exiting from Brexit is not just about doing the right thing for the UK; it is also ensuring that our friends in countries like the Netherlands have the UK to speak on their side against the right-wing populism that is sweeping across the EU.

  • And what are Farage and Co Lawrence if not right wing populalists? The “we are leaving the EU to stand against right wing populalists” is even less beliveable than unicorns or faries, truely a desperate grasping at straws.

  • @frankie: I think you have misunderstood what Laurence actually said. He was arguing for exiting from Brexit and for solidarity against right-wing populism, not in support of leaving the EU.

  • Sean,
    You can’t leave the field of play and shout instructions through the changing room window and expect to be treated seriously. After we have left what we think and what we shout will be best treated as an irrelevance and worst a source of mirth but what it won’t be seen as is worth taking on board. We voted to become irrelevant, you might not like that particular consequence but consequence it is.

  • Lawrence I must apologise for implying you where a merry Brexiteer. I can only say in partial mitigation that I have recently been assailed by the fallacy that we must leave the EU to escape the horrors of the Far Right while glossing over the fact that Farage and Co are hand in hand with the Far Right and under their current leader UKIP don’t even pretend to be otherwise. I’m future perhaps read twice post more slowly should be my motto.

  • Frankie,
    It seems from your reference to leaving the field of play, etc, that you have mistakenly assumed that I must be a Brexiteer – which, for the record, I am definitely not!

  • Catherine Jane Crosland 28th Oct '18 - 9:19am

    The comparison with the Prodigal Son seems rather a poor analogy in a number of ways.
    The younger son in the parable asks for his inheritance in advance, and his father gives him what he asks for. There is no mention of the father making any protest or reproach.
    If the EU was actually the father in the parable, there would be no need for any negotiations – the EU would just give the UK whatever it asked for, even if it was the best deal ever!
    The son then proceeds to move to a far away country, where he fritters away his inheritance on loose living. Presumably it is because of the extravagance and loose living that he has come to be known as the “prodigal”. I don’t think the parable is meant to suggest that it is wrong for an adult son to wish to leave home or seek to be independent.
    When he finally returns home (the money having run out), his father runs to meet him, calls to his servants to dress the son in “the best robe”, and place a ring on his finger, and throws a lavish party for him, “killing the fattened calf”. None of which the father has ever done for the elder son, who never left home, and who is now understandably resentful.
    Well I expect the EU would have us back, but do we really suppose that it would be on such generous terms that the nations that had never left the EU (the elder brother) would be filled with jealousy?
    It should be noted that this wouldn’t be much of a story if the younger son had just considered leaving, then changed his mind. He actually leaves, and although the timescale isn’t clear, it is probably a number of years before he returns. Perhaps he needed to leave, to appreciate home. If he had never left, he might have been forever resentful, wondering what might have been. Perhaps the UK needs to leave, to appreciate the EU and finally decide to return? Or perhaps that will turn out to be a poor analogy too?

  • nigel hunter 28th Oct '18 - 10:41am

    One scenario is that we leave. The referendum is honoured. We then see how it hits us. May ( or who ever is in charge) then does a U turn and campaigns to return to the EU. We will be welcomed but not with the deal we have now The EU will not want to make the ‘prodigal eldest’ ,the 27, jealous. In or out of the EU we will take a hit. It will be like Oliver going to Mr Bumble cap in hand ‘Please Sir can we rejoin?’ The alternative is to be ‘free’ and take our chances with the World full of wolves.. I note that Japan has a trade deal with the EU. One that DYSON can make full use of. The benefits will not come to the UK .

  • Of course there are bonds between the people of the U.K. and the people of the Netherlands. These ties were of course cemented in war. The ties will be there regardless of what politicians do.
    It is up to everyone to make sure that those ties are not forgotten.
    Strangely enough there are also ties between the U.K. and Germany. In many ways we have similar histories, The people that is rather than the politicians. In the nineteenth century the biggest number of emigrants to the US was from Ireland, followed by Germany and then the rest of the UK. It is easy to forget in remembering the history we were taught at school that there were real people carrying out the orders of their leaders – and it is these people who in all countries of the world that we should acknowledge as our friends.

  • Peter Martin 29th Oct '18 - 11:03am

    @ Lawrence,

    “…..speak on their side he right-wing populism that is sweeping across the EU.”

    Yes we can all speak out about it but what about looking at the reasons why it’s happening? Is speaking going to do much good?

    If the economic conditions aren’t good in the EU, and the UK has been and still is in the EU, there’s going to be a problem with right wing populism. At one time I would have said a populism of the right or of the left but the left have pretty much proved to be a spent force in the EU generally.

  • Peter Martin 29th Oct '18 - 11:16am

    I don’t remember anything from my Sunday school days about long pseudo- negotiations between the father and the son along the lines that the son had to accept that the family was a rules based organisation which couldn’t be changed just because he was leaving. Plus he could only leave if paid 39 pieces of silver in advance.

    Or that he could only sell his goods to the remaining family according to the rules of the family which he would have no say in.

    Or that if he ever wanted to set foot again on family property he would be required to apply for and pay for a visa?

  • Peter Martin 29th Oct '18 - 11:51am

    “It will be like Oliver going to Mr Bumble cap in hand ‘Please Sir can we rejoin?’ ”

    As far as I remember Oliver was rather like Italy and said “Please Sir , I want some more!”

    Mr Bumble exploded with rage and said “More? You’re not getting 2.4% or anything like it! Think yourself lucky that we’ve seen fit to allow 0.8%”

    I don’t remember Oliver ever being too keen to apply for re-admission once he had left the workhouse.

  • While I accept much if not all of the text of this report, the headline is as close to Fake News as it is possible to be.

    “EU remembers UK’s WWII stand and would take us back” – Most people in the EU were not alive to remember the UK’s WWII stand!!

    The truth is much closer to “The leader of one party in what is probably the most pro-British country in the EU would support taking us back.”

    We have to stop this incessant ‘Whistling in the wind’ and face up to the facts. The Tories are taking us out of Europe and have totally alienated most of the EU member states in the process. Labour are looking forward to it because they can blame the Cons for the mess and they think they can get into power as a result. The Nats are looking forward to it because they can blame the Cons for the mess and they think they can get Independence as a result. The EU, particularly the Germans, the French and the bureaucracy, will see one nation that was a thorn in their march to ever closer union disappearing off stage right.

    The Lib Dems seem to think that Humpty Dumpty can just be put together again and everything will be all hunky dory once more.

    Rejoining is simply not on the EU agenda. It is not on their reserve agenda. It is not even on the reserve, reserve wish list.

    Either we stop Brexit or we condemn our country to catastrophe.

  • Peter Hirst 29th Oct '18 - 4:07pm

    It would be obviously better if we never left but if we do then the campaign to rejoin will start the next day. It would only be a matter of time before we do so. However, the effort and lost opportunities and economic effects while we are out will be nothing short of scandalous.

Post a Comment

Lib Dem Voice welcomes comments from everyone but we ask you to be polite, to be on topic and to be who you say you are. You can read our comments policy in full here. Please respect it and all readers of the site.

If you are a member of the party, you can have the Lib Dem Logo appear next to your comments to show this. You must be registered for our forum and can then login on this public site with the same username and password.

To have your photo next to your comment please signup your email address with Gravatar.

Your email is never published. Required fields are marked *

Please complete the name of this site, Liberal Democrat ...?


Recent Comments

    No recent comment found.