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French snub to the Queen?

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Sunday ExpressOr was it a Downing Street manoeuvre?

There has been much comment and disquiet over the fiasco about the 65th Anniversary of D-Day, for those remaining members of the Normandy Veterans Society in South Tyneside this will be the last ocassion when they travel together to revisit the beaches of Normandy where so many of their fellow brothers in arms fell in the defence of Europe from Nazi tyranny, yet the Queen, the only head of state to have served in uniform in WWll will not be there to represent one of those nations to whom the majority of the French are eternally thankful for their liberation. Instead, the Prime Minister Gordon Brown has taken it upon himself (as though he were a head of state) to represent us in her place.

Veterans gathered in Northern France next weekend will have to make do with saluting an MoD lackey at a memorial parade because the Queen, head of Britain’s armed forces, has not been invited.

Andrew Rosindell MP will ask to be allowed to pose an Urgent Question, demanding to know why the Prime Minister failed to follow protocol.

If Speaker Michael Martin agrees to the move, which is expected to have the backing of the majority of MPs, Mr Brown will be forced to attend the Commons and explain his actions.

“It is shocking and disgraceful that the Queen, who is not only head of state but also head of the British Army, has not been invited to France for such an important event,” said the Tory MP for Romford last night.

“There are two theories as to why this could be: hopeless disorganisation or a deliberate attempt to hog the limelight for himself.

“But I am not going to judge the Prime Minister until he is given an opportunity to explain exactly why and how this has happened.”

So did President Sarkozy, who the Queen entertained with his wife Carla Bruni at Windsor Castle recently, actually send an invitation via Downing Street to reciprocate that hospitality or not? France are claiming that it was up to Downing Street to decide who ought to represent us (which is just another illustration of their ability to surrender when under fire) and critics are claiming that the Brown bunker totally misread the situation and gloriously screwed up on what will probably be the last major event to mark the anniversary of D-Day.

“Normal protocol is for the Prime Minister’s Office to extend an invitation of this type to the Queen. After all, both Mr Sarkozy and Mr Obama are heads of state. Mr Brown is not,” said royal expert Margaret Holder.

Critics have accused Mr Brown of “sitting on the invitation” until it was too late to extend it to royalty.

“I think it is very evident that Mr Brown wanted the focus to be on him, standing with Mr Barack and Mr Sarkozy,” said one MP last night.

“Tony Blair would have basked in the reflected glory of standing side by side with the Queen but Brown feels threatened by this.”

Of course other Heads of State will be there including POTUS Barack Obama who Gordon Brown would love to be photographed next to, yet Obama himself ought to be reminded of the conversation between one of his predecessors and President Charles de Gaulle:

There is a story about a conversation between General de Gaulle, who, as president of the French Republic, telephoned his American counterpart Lyndon B Johnson, to inform him that France had decided to withdraw from the North Atlantic Treaty alliance.

Since its foundation nearly two decades earlier, Nato had had its headquarters in France. Now Nato would have to move.

Furthermore, de Gaulle added, it was his intention that all American service personnel should be removed from French soil.

“Does that include,” Johnson is said to have replied, “those buried in it?”

Just kind of reminds you starkly what these events are all about doesn’t it, and of the over 4500 allies who died on D-Day only 19 of them were French. If further reminder is necessary just go back to this famous Google search about French Military victories.

It seems to me that neither Sarkozy nor Brown will come out of this smelling of roses as both show a scant disregard for history, tradition, or real pride, the thoughts of Phil King, chairman of the Southport and West Lancashire Normandy Veterans Association stick in the mind as being telling and pertinent:

“First it was the Gurkhas, then the D Day veterans. This Government has proven again and again that it has no interest in history, no pride in those who have given or risked their lives to protect it in its time of need, unless there is suddenly media interest.

“As far as I’m concerned, we may have beaten the Nazis, but Mr Brown has proved to be the enemy within.”

Quite – just what is he playing at exchanging the importance an international day of remembrance for a photo opportunity without Her Majesty the Queen present?

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Written by curly

May 31, 2009 at 9:45 am

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