I’m going out on a limb here, but I’m a little uneasy with the VE Day celebrations planned for next Friday. Something feels wrong to me about flag-waving and celebrating the “winning” of a war in which millions died. A war which sowed the seeds of the breaking up of the British Empire (which ironically, many of those waving flags look back on fondly) and ruined our economy.
I have no issue at all with commemorating the memory of all who were lost, that’s what Remembrance Sunday is for. But can a war ever really be won? Are we really still celebrating the downfall of Nazi Germany 75 years on? The UK and Germany have been allies for a long time now.
I read this post by Seth Godin today. He’s right, the only direction that we can move is forwards and into a future that we have the power to create. Yet in the UK we insist on looking back so much that it’s in this that much of our national identity lies. We are no longer the nation who fought the tyranny of Nazism. It will never again be the 1950’s, which were not the halcyon days many believe them to have been. Johnson is no Churchill. The current COVID-19 pandemic is not a war.
We need a new view of our purpose in the world, our mission as a nation. I don’t know what that is, but it won’t be found in looking back at past “glories”. We need to move forwards together and build a better future.