One of the advantages of middle age (maturity as we old geezers prefer to call it) is that one gains insights into oneself, little bits and bobs of self-knowledge make themselves apparent. A slightly disturbing one of these reared its head today as I was reading a couple of political speeches. I have become a geek, someone who actually reads such dreck; worse, I have become a hopelessly naive geek, as I actually expected a politician, in public, to speak the truth. I must be halfway to my second adolescence (ouch, zits again) if I can entertain such an absurdly stupid notion.
The speeches were by TEBAF (The Ever Blessed and Fragrant) Margot Wallstrom, Vice President and Commissioner of the European Union. One she gave at Terezin on the 60th anniversary of that concentration camp's liberation was reported in The Daily Telegraph thusly:A senior European Commissioner marked VE Day yesterday by accusing Eurosceptics of risking a return to the Holocaust by clinging to "nationalistic pride".
That really does sound just a little extreme even for Margot with her constitutional referenda to win so I had a look at the actual text of the speech. No, quite obviously she doesn't actually say that those who don't like the Constitution want to whip the Jews, Gypsies and gays through the camps again but she did make these points:We also came to this terrible point in our history through nationalistic pride and greed, and through international rivalry for wealth and power. It was precisely to put an end to such rivalry that the European Union was born - the first ever supranational organisation in which sovereign nations voluntarily share their sovereignty.
Yet there are those today who want to scrap the supranational idea. They want the European Union to go back to the old purely inter-governmental way of doing things.
I say those people should come to Terezin and see where that old road leads.
So no, Margot did not come right out and accuse Eurosceptics of being proto-Nazis but she came pretty close to claiming that the only thing between Europe and a re-run of the holocaust is an acceptance of the new Constitution. Quite obviously reasonable people can disagree on the subject of European integration but that is a near insane allegation.
I agree. But perhaps "near" insane is too delicately put. What planet do people like Margot Wallstrom come from?
UPDATE: Victor Davis Hanson has some important words about the WWII revisionism that seems to be so popular today.