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Freedoms and values do not come from a cracker

2015/1/4 — 7:30

Do not let a British person tell you Hong Kong's fight for genuine universal suffrage is hopeless because it can't be won.

Besides the blatantly obvious moral obligation Britain has to make sure that One Country Two Systems is not reduced into meaningless communist doggrel, Britons have more than just faint historical similarity to the seemingly insurmountable struggle Hong Konger's are currently engaged in against the CCP.

If faced with such a remark, given that it's the festive season, a quick retort of, "Well, where the hell did Britain's freedoms come from, a cracker?" May suffice as this question in itself would probably stump many British people. But for the sake of those that know, but may have forgotten, or for the education of those that never knew, here's a quick trip into British history. For if you're a Hong Konger, it seems to me that no person who genuinely prides themselves on being British could fail to be drawn to your David & Goliath fight to defend rights and freedoms from an all powerful tyrannical entity.

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So here's some canned history, I will try to keep it brief.

Firstly, at the start of World War Two (WW2) Britain was generally rubbish. We'd never really had a huge army to begin with, and what army we had by the start of the war was greatly depleted of professional human resources due to the killing fields of WW1. Lots of the officers and NCO's that should have naturally risen up the ranks were simply dead years ago. Due to a long list of reasons, by 1940 the lion's share of the British army had been routed to the shores of Dunkirk. Whatever army we did have had now left all of its best weapons to the Germans. Fortunately, Britain did have a decent navy that managed to evacuate hundreds of thousands of soldiers back to the white shores of Blighty, but it was just about as big a defeat as any country would ever want to experience.

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Most of Europe was lost to the Nazis and it looked like nothing would stop them from soon over running Britain too. It was certainly dark times and no one expected Britain to put up more than token resistance. The fight was just too damn big and Britain had neither an army or resources to hold off the incredibly powerful Nazi war-machine. Even the US cashed in its chips for Britain. Roosevelt certainly didn't want to see Britain fall, but he wasn't about to send ships loaded with arms to the UK to have them quickly fall into the hands of the Nazis. Britain was on its own. There was no calvary coming to the rescue.

Britain would have to face a powerful and undefeated enemy alone.

For people who do know their history, we could talk about the Polish or the French Republic here etc here, but like I said at the start, this is a canned version of history and for all intents and purposes, Britain was the last redoubt of western, liberal democracy left that wasn't under Nazi occupation.

And here's the key point that's relevant to Hong Kong - everyone expected Britain to keel over at the start of WW2 and give-up given the enormity of the task and the power of the foe in front of them. But that didn't happen, instead, just like Hong Konger's in 2014, they rose to the challenge and said,

No, we stand for human dignity, democracy and freedom for all, we may well be defeated standing up for our values, but at least we will try. We will not be intimidated or bullied by a powerful foe that is clearly unjust. We will fight, even if the fight is hopeless. Better to die with hope than live with no hope. This is the essence of the Dunkirk Spirit that got Britain through The War.

Let us be clear here before I carry on further, Hong Kong is not the UK, it's considerably smaller. So for sure they're not comparable in many ways. We're in the middle of a political revolution, not a war, but the idea of fighting a fight that everyone believes is un-winnable is the point I'm driving at. Hong Kong's very own Dunkirk Spirit. Nearly all is lost, but still we will fight on.

Winston Churchill encapsulated the entire mood of the country in his now infamous speech, We Will Fight Them On The Beaches.

From the utter depths of despair, Britain actually dragged itself up from the bottom and went on to become a key player in the ultimate defeat of the Nazis and architect of the World Order we have lived under for almost seventy years.

Every Briton relates to this emotion of being the underdog and fighting the good-fight against a malign and merciless enemy. So, the answer to the question posed at the start of this piece is, No, the freedoms and values that British people enjoy today did not come from a cracker. They came from fighting a fight no one ever thought they could win. Many people paid dearly for the freedoms people in Europe and the UK now have. It didn't come free and it wasn't easy. It was altogether the hardest path to take, but it was the right path.

So, Hong Kongers, let no Briton, who truly cherishes their identity, forged from their proud history say to you, "You know you can't win this fight right, so you may swell take what you can get from China?" Instead, remind them of their own proud history, and how they swell-up with pride at hearing the voice of Winston Churchill, then remind them that today the values of all free thinking people of the World are once again under threat and if as a Briton they can't stand shoulder to shoulder with you, then like the British 70 years prior, you are brave enough to do it alone and lead the way!

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