I guess we shouldn’t be surprised – you send a B-grader to represent a country at an international event, you get a B-grade display. Here are the excerpts from the speech delivered by the London Mayor Sadiq Khan at the official commemorations of the start of World War Two, held by the Polish government in Gdansk, the scene of the earliest fighting eighty years ago:
“Are we living through times now similar to the 1930s? Because if you look at the 1930s, what happened – the rise of charismatic leaders using the power of hatred to divide communities and to pick on the other.
“Look at some of the things happening (now) across Europe. People are trying to divide communities using the language of hate, scapegoating people because of their sexual orientation, because of their ethnic origin, because of their faith, or because of who they are.
“Look at the language of Donald Trump and some other leaders who are winning elections across Europe, from Hungary to Poland, to France, to Italy, to the UK. They say Islam and the West are incompatible.
“You see that across Europe, and I say that in respect to my friends in Poland, … you see this in Hungary, you see this in Italy, you see this in France.”
So, essentially, Khan went to Poland on the anniversary of the invasion of Poland by the Nazi Germany and slammed the Polish government.
But not just the Polish government – also the Hungarian government, the Brexit movement in Great Britain, politicians in France (presumably Marine La Pen) and Italy (presumably Matteo Salvini), and of course Donald Trump in the US (by name).
And he did so by essentially comparing them to all to Hitler.
I won’t argue that all those singled out by Khan are paragons of political virtue. But it takes breathtaking arrogance – not to mention historical illiteracy – to use a solemn occasion like this to shit on your hosts and try scoring cheap political points because
Ironically, the Mayor of London’s message to Poland, Europe and the world on the 80th anniversary of the outbreak of World War Two is that things would be so much better for everyone if they just let themselves be ruled by Germany. I know, that’s a bit of a cheap shot since the Germany of today couldn’t be further from the Germany of 1939, but the fact remains that not everyone wants to buy into transnational empires, be they the Nazi-ruled Europe or the super woke European Union. Certainly not everyone wants to – or needs to be – like London, which has always been a universe in itself. And valuing national sovereignty, borders, sensible immigration, integration – and local democracy over distant know-all technocracy – doesn’t make you a fascist. Behaving like Khan, on the other hand, does make you a dick. Or a stone cold loser, like Trump has once said.