Geoffrey Boycott’s TV rant that a no deal Brexit would not matter because “we’ve fought two world wars and we came out on top” has prompted a Twitter backlash.
The cricket commentator was a guest on Good Morning Britain, but despite impressing show host Piers Morgan with his rousing speech on Brexit, viewers were quick to point out that he hadn’t actually fought in either war, and that both were disastrous in terms of the numbers of casualties they caused.
Giving his views on a no deal scenario, Boycott said: “Great Britain - the United Kingdom - we as a people, if we don’t have a deal with Europe then it’ll collapse, it’ll be terrible.
“No it won’t, we fought two world wars and we came out on top. Why? Because of the spirit and determination of the British people. That is what the British people do.
“That water around our island has saved us from all kinds of things throughout history because we’re a strong people.
“We’ll survive. We’ve got India queuing up to do deals, we’ve got America, our best friend, queuing up to do a deal, and there’s plenty of others, we haven’t even talked about China, 1.3 billion.
“So let’s hang on, we’re not totally dependent on 300 million people in Europe.”
Host Morgan was suitably impressed, saying: “Geoffrey, that’s one of the greatest mission statements I’ve heard probably since the era of Churchill.”
Good Morning Britain even tweeted: “Can we just give Geoffrey Boycott the keys to No 10, please?”
The tweet on the official @GMB account has since been deleted after a prompt backlash from followers.
But viewers were less easily won over, pointing out that the former cricketer had not fought in any wars, they had actually been won with an enormous amount of help from other nations, and they were catastrophic for the people taking part.
One person tweeted: “England did NOT win WW1 or WW2. They were on the wining side. It was not England/Britain/Great Britain/UK's win. Many other countries helped as did many forces within occupied land. Without the Channel its doubtful England, Wales & Scotland would have remained unoccupied.”
Another added: “Not only did he not fight in the last war, he had all the benefits of the post war settlement of which the EU is it’s shining crown. Guess who won’t live to see the chaos of his decision either?”
Historian Dan Snow added a link to his previous Twiiter thread which had explained why it wasn’t accurate to say that Great Britain had won the Second World War.
Someone else weighing in on the debate added: “Sad when people come out with this kind of talk. We are not at war with our neighbours but this rhetoric inflamed violence.”