It has become rather fashionable in Europe to criticise Britain as being the country which has turned its back on the old continent. It is quite understandable really, the Brexit vote sent out a strong message that Britain wanted to take its bat home. It was the British ambassador to Spain, Simon Manley, who underlined the fact last year that Britain was leaving the European Union and not Europe. I have often been told by Spanish colleagues and friends that Britain doesn’t sit easily at the European table. And to some extent they are right. But without raising the Union Jack and bursting into Land of Hope and Glory so favoured by the Brexiteers and certain sections of the Conservative Party, recent history shows that Britain has done more than its fair share for Europe and it should always have a place at the top table.
The movie world has a fantastic way of transforming events to the silver screen from history which could be described as being relevant today. Case in point is the new film, The Darkest Hour, which is based around the early weeks of the premiership of one Winston Spencer Churchill. Gary Oldham is superb as the man who has been dubbed the Greatest Briton. The early months of Churchill’s stint as wartime prime minister have been pretty well documented by Hollywood: the Dunkirk evacuation of thousands of French and British troops and of course the Battle of Britain which ended Hitler’s dream of invasion. But The Darkest Hour, as its name suggests, shows how close Britain came to thinking about a peace treaty with Hitler which would have left the continent in the hands of the Nazis. The fact that Churchill, with the backing of the British people, elected to stand and fight rather than accept peace terms is a clear indicator that Britain does care very much about Europe and its people. The EU is one thing, Europe is another.
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