1/20 This is a Christmas message to my wonderful pro-European friends, especially but not exclusively #FPBE. This is a difficult time for our movement, as it is at last confirmed that the UK will be leaving the EU customs union and single market in a few days time.
2/20 Maybe you are feeling demoralised. Maybe like me you acutely feel the pain of having your European citizenship and identity stolen from you in an act of naked vandalism. Maybe you feel that a hole has been torn in your heart that will never be repaired.
3/20 At this time, it would be easy to rant about the economic lunacy of cutting ourselves off from our nearest, biggest market, or about huge losses that we will suffer in excluding ourselves from EU projects like Erasmus, Galileo and REACH. But that can wait for another day.
3/20 Instead I ask you, my friends, to reflect on the history of a continent wracked by war, and some of the lessons we can and must learn from it.
4/20 In the summer of 1914 the nations of Europe rushed towards conflict, their governments knowing that this would lead to vast suffering. They were jeered on by nationalist warmongers. They did not want to fight but lacked the courage to call a halt to this march of folly.
5/20 After the war started, between December 24th-26th of that year, a spontaneous truce broke out across the Western front trenches, as British soldiers responded to German carol singing. The two sides fraternised and, according to some accounts, played football.
6/20 So ask yourself which side of history are you on? The side of nationalists who sought and welcomed conflict with their neighbours (and their descendents who think its a great jape to threaten France with gunboats) or the footballers of no man's land in 1914?
7/20 In the 1920s and 30s, German nationalists achieved power democratically by promising to make Germany great again, take back control by revoking international treaties (they organised a rigged referendum on leaving League of Nations) and keeping out foreigners (spooky, huh?).
8/20 As we all know, this led to a war in which an estimated 75 millions died. Britain and its allies in Russia and America were reluctant to fight; they were forced to arms by the threat to the international order. We achieved a great victory but at vast human and economic cost.
9/20 Afterwards, with our allies, we poured huge resources into restoring peaceful, liberal democratic government to Germany. We helped rebuild the shattered infrastructure and also German institutions including its once great universities.
10/20 So ask yourself which side of history are you on? Those who saw international relations as a zero-sum game in which a country can only be great by dominating and beating others, or the rebuilders?
11/20 The German nationalists believed that lying was a legitimate method of gaining and maintaining control over the population. They said they represented the 'will of the people' and that anyone who disagreed with the government therefore did not belong to the people.
12/20 So ask yourself which side of history are you on? Are you on the side of the liars or the truth tellers? Do you see truth as a virtue or a hinderance? And do you think that the people can have many wills or just one?
13/20 In the wake of WW2 attrocities, politicians from Britain (Churchill), France (Mitterrand) and Germany (Adenauer) proposed a European Convention on Human Rights. British conservative lawyer and politician David Maxwell-Fyfe (below) led the drafting of it.
14/20 So ask yourself which side of history are you on? Those who are now telling us that we have no need for a Convention on Human Rights or those who learned its necessity by the experience of war?
15/20 After the war, Germany was divided into the democratic west and the authoritarian (and undemocratic) German Democratic Republic in the east. In 1961 the government of GDR built the Berlin Wall to stop their citizens from travelling and to limit their opportunities abroad.
16/20 In November 1989, following spontaneous, largely peaceful uprisings throughout eastern Europe, the people on both sides of the wall joined together and tore it down. I vividly remember this wonderful moment in European history.
17/20 Again, ask yourself which side of history are you on? The side of those who want to build barriers and limit the opportunities of citizens or the side that wants to tear down the barriers between the peoples of Europe?
18/20 If, like me, you are on the side of those who want cooperation not conflict between nations, that values truth over lies, that respects human rights (and wants violators to be accountable) and who would tear down barriers rather than build them, DO NOT BE DISHEARTENED.
19/20 I beseech you to remember at this difficult moment that you are on the right side of history.

I love you all - especially the many #FPBE supporters who, over the past five years, I have come to admire for your courage, tenacity and resilience against taunts and insults.
20/20 You are heroes, in my estimation. Allow nothing that has happened to change your values or your determination to fight for them.

Enjoy Christmas, recharge your batteries and then return to fight even harder as we must.


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More from @RichardBentall

6 Dec
1/ This is a completely dishonest account of the events that led us to this point, but (I will give Barrister's Horse this) cleverly crafted. At each stage, the pathway is misrepresented to blame remainers for the catastrophe that is about to be inflicted on the UK by leavers.
2/ For example, in tweet 5 we are told that the Benn Bill was 'allegedly' drawn up by EU lawyers. Nice conspiracy theory. Which EU lawyers?

What is the argument against the content of the bill (none presented that I can see)?
3/ In tweet 6 the issues surrounding prorogation are completely misrepresented. It was a deliberatey antidemocratic attempt to suppress Parliamentary debate on the most important issue of the age and found illegal by the Supreme Court (but, hey, Barister's Horse knows better?).
Read 14 tweets
5 Dec
1/4 At this point in the Brexit process, when we remainers can only wait in horror, like passengers in a bus with defective breaks that is hurtling towards a cliff, it’s important to remember three simple but utterly fundamental truths.
2/4 Truth #1: The only possible way of maintaining our economy, our individual rights, peace in Ireland, our global reputation and the Union was to stay in the single market and customs union.
3/4 Truth #2: We could have stayed in the SM and CU while leaving the EU (and possibly had more control over fishing), although there would be some small (to my mind trivial in the scheme of things) sacrifices over sovereignty.
Read 5 tweets
11 Sep
So here is where we are now:

Johnson has told the world he intends to break international law and jeopardise the GFA while, at the same time, Herr Führage is literally trying to organize malitas to patrol our beaches while demanding that the WA must be completely repudiated. 1/
Meanwhile, EU Parliament says that it will veto UK FTA if Johnson does not back down, and the Americans are saying no trade deal with them if GFA is jeopardised. The twin effects will be economically and politically catastrophic. /2
Johnson is in zugzwang but I doubt whether he can face up to the humiliation of backing down or that many Tories will have the balls to stand up to him or Führage and his neofascist mobs. They will whine but ultimately comply. /3
Read 10 tweets
10 Sep
Brexit is a cult beyond reason; more like a religion than a serious policy initiative. To see that this is true, it just has to be noted that in Brexitier ideology EVERYTHING is the EXACT OPPOSITE to what it is claimed to be. EVERYTHING! 1/
For example, Brexitiers claim to be for free trade, and to achieve this they are imposing massive and expensive trade barriers with our nearest and biggest trading partners. These will increase costs of imports/exports and intoduce delays, wrecking just-in-time production. 2/
(I've been trying to find a historical precedent for this. the only one I know of is the tariffs imposed by the Smoot-Hawley Tariff act of 1930 in the USA, which are thought to have contributed to the Great Depression. Let me know if you think of any other precedents.) 3/
Read 13 tweets
6 Sep
Yesterday, Sept 5th, I gave the first political speech of my life - about the threat of fascism in Britain today - at the 3.5% meeting on the steps of St George's Hall, Liverpool. This is what I said. 1/13
Yesterday, Sept 5th, I gave the first political speech of my life - about the threat of fascism in Britain today - at the 3.5% meeting on the steps of St George's Hall, Liverpool. This is what I said. 2/13
Yesterday, Sept 5th, I gave the first political speech of my life - about the threat of fascism in Britain today - at the 3.5% meeting on the steps of St George's Hall, Liverpool. This is what I said. 3/13
Read 15 tweets
28 Jun
So I've been thinking about @SebastianEPayne's account of @michaelgove's Ditchley lecture last night. Gove, you'll recall, was described as a Maoist by David Cameron.
On the surface, Gove seems to be making some decent points - get more (especially scientific) expertise into the civil service (quite a change of tune) and stand up for the 'forgotten man' (not sure of he cares about forgotten women) who voted to leave in 2016.
He grandiosely compares this project to FDR's New Deal. But Cameron was right - it's pure Maoism. He and Cummings (I suspect Johnson is just along for the ride) want to tear everything down and get us to Year Zero.
Read 10 tweets

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