WE need to put these jingoistic Brexiteers right on their warped interpretation of wartime Britain.

With their mythology of a Second World War heyday, their summoning of the Dunkirk spirit and a “fighting them on the beaches” attitude in dealing with what they regard as their EU enemy, they even want to hijack our recent history. All of this in a desperate attempt to justify the self-sabotage of Brexit and the self-destruction of Britain’s global status.

These Brexiteers talk about freedom and sovereignty versus subjugation and a loss of control under Europe, they conjure images of the plucky Brit facing down foreign foes, refusing to retreat on their Brexit red lines, or waving “the white flag”, as arch anti-EU journalist and author Leo McKinstry put it in his article in the Express the other day.

He described Dunkirk as “a milestone in our national salvation”. It was an important evacuation and saved many British lives, but it seems strange to mythologise a retreat at such an early stage in the conflict. Understandable for Churchill perhaps at the darkest hour, but for McKinstry at almost 80 years’ distance?

McKinstry writes of present-day institutions filled with loathing for our past when in fact it is respect for the past and the horror of war that initiated the European project in the first place. His article is a triumph of nonsense, a travesty of historical truth, and a bare-faced call-out to the xenophobes and angry anti-immigration lobby who grow in confidence every day. Just look at what happened to Tory MP, Anna Soubry this week. We live in terrifying times but it’s a terror of our own making, fuelled and stoked by this kind of isolationist nostalgia.

Brexit is in fact about looking inward, about individualism, division and narrow self-interest – for the few, not the many – the very antithesis of wartime and post-war Britain and how we evolved in the face of horror, death and destruction on a worldwide scale.

Out of this terrible situation, out of the devastation of the Second World War, the British people chose hope and solidarity and a shared belief in creating a more equal and fair society. They chose to be part of something bigger than themselves, for the greater good of not just the UK, but the nations of the world.

The welfare state, education reform, social housing and, of course, our treasured NHS, are all a result of our collective choice to make things better, to improve opportunity for all, to lay the foundations for more co-operative culture in the UK.

The Brexiteers want the exact opposite of this – they want to do away with regulations that protect workers’ rights and pensions, to toss aside vital protections and safety measures on food standards and medicines, to privatise huge swathes of the NHS, to push aside measures that safeguard us from corruption and greed. As for the environment, you’d better hope the Chinese are going to build accommodation on the dark side of the moon because the earth itself certainly wouldn’t survive these self-centred Brexit chancers and plunderers.

The Tory party has already been doing this of course, taking apart bit by bit all that was set in motion by post-war Britain – just look at the devastating effects of their austerity policies, their insidious dismantlement of the NHS, their education cutbacks, job losses, pensions slashed and delayed, the undignified and draconian welfare changes.

The United Nations, of which the UK is a founding member, has condemned this Tory Government’s austerity measures as a knowing and deliberate violation of human rights on a grand scale. How did we go from being part of an enormously important post-war peace project, an international organisation set up to maintain security, encourage and develop goodwill among nations and promote social progress, better living standards and human rights, to being on the brink of Brexit devastation and the polar opposite of these important aspirations?

It’s not “a loathing for our past”, as McKinstry put it, that has led us to chaos at Westminster and the breakdown in our relationship with Europe. It’s the petty project of the hard right-wing and opportunistic sections of the Tory party that have taken us to this point in time, hand in hand with the likes of the shadowy European Research Group, the so-called charity cum Conservative think tank the Institute for Economic Affairs, not to mention far-right extremist and puppet master, Steve Bannon and his transatlantic trainees, Nigel Farage and Aaron Banks, the erstwhile Cambridge Analytica, and the Vote Leave campaign group.

All are allowed to spin their webs of deceit on the British public without accountability, while holding all the cards in parliament due to a hopeless and directionless Opposition led by Jeremy Corbyn.

Beveridge and Bevan must be spinning in their graves to think of how a socialist leader of their Labour Party could have washed his hands of challenging Brexit and therefore the UK Government’s austerity measures. There’s nothing left wing about allowing the right wing to wrestle control of our country’s future.

Perhaps it’s time to remind the Brexiteers that their Second World War hero, and our esteemed former Prime Minister Winston Churchill, was in fact pro-European and knew all too well the value of nurturing our relationship with our friends across the Channel. Another uncomfortable truth for the blinkered Brexiteers. Another myth debunked. What more will it take to topple this corrupt house of cards?