LETTER: Patriotism versus nationalism

Your letters
Your letters

I am responding to the letters from Messrs Lomas, Laflin and Miller in the context of my letter about Mr Arthur’s Westminster ambitions, UKIP and its policy desert. An issue that remains unanswered by your correspondents.

Firstly, Mr Lomas accuses me of ignoring the tremendous, often ultimate, sacrifices made by previous generations in fighting wars to ensure freedom for all.

Far from it Mr Lomas, I know only too well of such sacrifices; my father and his twin brother both volunteered when they saw the developing tyranny of nationalist Nazi Germany. Both served as RAF Navigators in World War Two. My uncle was shot down and spent time in Stalag Luft III. Both died in their early 60s, due in part to conditions accelerated by their wartime experience. Many of their friends and relatives were killed or injured. My father would have been appalled at the narrow minded bigotry that typifies UKIP and its supporters.

I have been a regular personal attendee at Remembrance Day parades over the last 60 years to acknowledge the courage and sacrifice of those who served their country in the armed services.

But Mr Lomas forgets why the UK went to war in 1939, to protect the sovereign independence of Poland, as a result of its obligations under an international treaty the UK had signed; a treaty that the likes of UKIP with its isolationist stance would probably have never recognised.

World War Two was won by the Allies, not the UK alone. It was a coming together of nations to fight and overthrow Nazi and Axis invasion, aggression and tyranny. Nations whose citizens UKIP would now deny access to the UK.

I am afraid Mr Lomas confuses patriotism with nationalism; when it is nationalism so eloquently advocated by UKIP, seeking scapegoats of minority populations, victimisation of particular races, colours or creeds, which have been the root cause of many wars, most recently in the Middle East, Bosnia and Rwanda.

Contrary to Mr Lomas’ assertion I am a patriot, realist and internationalist. I recognise that the UK’s role and influence in the world is greater through association at an international level through bodies such as the Commonwealth, United Nations, NATO and the European Union.

Although Mr Lomas presumes a lot, my forefathers did include those of Welsh lineage; indeed I also married a Welsh lady. My forbears also included Flemish weavers from my mother’s family who would now be denied access to the UK under UKIP policies.

But he should not confuse devolution and local accountability with the need to address broader global issues on the world stage when the UK’s ability to influence matters such as trade, commerce and environment as a single isolated nation is negligible, when compared with being part of a larger group.

Scrutiny of particular issues should be devolved to the lowest realistic level be it local for issues such as planning, roads and refuse; to national for matters such as health, education, defence and taxation, to international for matters such as world trade, international crime, commerce and environment. Many issues need to be addressed at all levels.

I am grateful to Mr Laflin for pointing out the dangers of one party strangleholds and the need to change UK politics. It is what many of us have been trying to achieve for the last 40 years, long before UKIP appeared on the scene.

But that will only happen if we can change to a proportional voting system to stop the nonsense where 50 per cent of the vote gets 80 per cent of the seats and bring back real accountability in governance.

As for Mr Miller’s assertions, all organisations, including political parties, have to evolve or die like the dinosaurs. UKIP seems to belong to a different, long gone, if lamented by some, age. I am sure he is very proud that UKIP is represented by such outstanding ambassadors and pillars of the community as Stuart Wheeler and Godfrey Bloom with their rather interesting perspectives on women and race.

L.N. PRICE

Smithbarn, Horsham