Yesterday, four million Britons voted for the most racist and xenophobic party to have emerged in the UK for decades. I am guessing not many of them will be giving much thought to the citizens of other European countries who today are also celebrating the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War in Europe.
Perhaps for most UKIP supporters, if they think about it at all, it has become simply Our War. But it wasn’t just Our War of course. People across Europe died so that yesterday we could choose our own government. As our country embraces the politics of fear, and battens down our hatches against foreign incursions, we seem to be forgetting our recent European history.
On Wednesday, a hard-working colleague confided that he and his partner, both originally from Southern European countries, felt hurt by the increasingly anti-European rhetoric that became the lingua franca of the build-up to the election. I think my French mother, who died in 2011, would also have been shocked. She and her family took refuge in Sussex at the start of the war. It meant that they survived, where twenty two members of the family did not, and were deported to concentration camps.
We share a common humanity. We turn our backs on our neighbours and on those in need at our peril.