Sunday 22 April 2018

Ruth Dudley Edwards: A triumphant year when we were finally cured of Anglophobia

By rejecting tribalism we now recognise our special bond with Britain, writes Ruth Dudley Edwards

Ruth Dudley Edwards

Ruth Dudley Edwards

I learned last weekend that I had a Nazi past. Visiting Owen, my big brother, he rocked me with the revelation that at the age of two I had marched into the kitchen performing what I explained was a German salute. This had been taught to me by Grandmother Edwards (nee McInerney), who lived upstairs.

Granny was a fascist, who had a photograph of Hitler at the bottom of her bed, but since by then he had lost the war and was long dead, she had demonstrated rare sensitivity by teaching me the word 'German' rather than 'Nazi'. In the ensuing uproar -- for my parents did not share Grandmother's politics -- I learned this salute was not the way to win hearts and minds, and my ensuing re-education was so successful that by seven I was quizzing her critically about the Holocaust. She explained that it was the invention of British propaganda.

Grandmother's Anglophobia was -- on the face of it -- puzzling. Not only had she worked happily in London as a nurse for many years, but she had married (or pretended to -- that's a story for another day) a gentle, intelligent, English Methodist who obediently emigrated to Dublin.

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