‘They suf­fered most but are kind peo­ple’


I HAVE just re­turned from Flan­ders in Bel­gium which had some of the worst of it in the First World War. That’s where the town of Ypres was dev­as­tated.

I lis­tened for any­thing said about Brexit, but there was barely a word. Per­haps Bri­tain no longer mat­ters much across the chan­nel.

I have lit­tle time for the lead­ers of the Peo­ple’s Vote, whose con­tempt is clear for the poor un­for­tu­nates who voted the wrong way. But the sneer­ing xeno­pho­bia of the press and politi­cians of the Leave cam­paign must make other na­tions feel it’s worth los­ing the UK.

Brexiteers like Boris John­son seem as rel­e­vant to the world out there now as the cavalry were fight­ing bat­tles in Flan­ders 100 years ago. There is hardly any­where in Eng­land with peo­ple as help­ful as in An­twerp. I twisted my knee on the stairs in the rail­way sta­tion and could hardly walk. Two gentle­men came to help at once. They were in the sta­tion be­cause they were home­less, but they were gentle­men to me.

I think Bel­gium is a kinder coun­try. Yet in all our remembrance of the First World War they have hardly had a men­tion.

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