If It Quacks Like A Duck
Posted on February 10th, 2018
by Rab Bruce’s Spider
Godwin’s Law asserts that, the longer an online discussion continues, the more likely someone is to make reference to Adolf Hitler or the Nazis in relation to the views of their protagonists. However, awareness of this law does tend to make many people reluctant to resort to this tactic. This is because it is often viewed as a lazy rhetorical device and suggests that the person making the comparison has run out of arguments.
But somebody needs to draw some comparisons when viewing the current trends in British politics. Ever since WW2 ended, people in Britain have wondered how on earth a creature like Adolf Hitler could rise to power in Germany in the 1930s. To which the response must be, “Take a look around you."
Now, I’m not saying any of our current political leaders are Nazis, even though at least one MP allegedly has a security guard who likes to dress up in Nazi uniform. That, however, could be an image taken out of context, or it could be a Photoshop job, so let’s not get carried away.
But we cannot deny the similarities simply because accusing anyone of being a Nazi is a very unpleasant thing to do. Those who support Scottish independence should know that well enough since we have often been accused of being Nazis. This naturally makes us reluctant to make the same accusation.
But we should not forget that Fascism comes in many guises. Hitler’s version of it was the worst seen in Europe, but it was not the only version. Mussolini was the first to embrace Fascism and was actually regarded as the leading European Fascist at one stage.
The problem with Fascism is that, although we can generally recognise it, it is notoriously difficult to define. But there are general features we can associate with this belief system. Fascism tends to be extremely nationalistic, xenophobic and militaristic. It employs intimidation, promotes the use of “othering" to inflame hatred of minority groups, and is very keen on shutting down any dissent.
Of course, the same can be said for extreme versions of Communism, since extremists of all sorts tend to display similar tendencies, but there is no doubt that we are seeing many of these things in the UK today, and that they are allied to the views of Right Wing politicians.
It is scary, although few people seem concerned. The media are doing their best to normalise Right Wing political views and to promote those who espouse those views. Brexit is steaming ahead even though there is growing evidence that a majority of the public now oppose it. We are seeing violent scuffles at political speaking events, threats from Government to crack down on what it sees as abuse even though existing laws can easily serve to prosecute people who issue threats or act in an intimidating or violent manner.
In more mainstream politics, we have seen the UK Government pay lip service to Devolution but ignore it in practice when pushing through its Repeal Bill. We have seen statements of intent to involve the devolved Parliaments in discussion, and then witnessed the UK Government completely ignore the Scottish and Welsh Governments. When challenged, they either refuse to answer or issue bland apologies, excuses and warning threats. All of this is backed by a media who constantly tell us how things are going wrong in Scotland and that only the UK can put things right. We are bombarded with messages telling us that it is the uncertainty of another IndyRef which is causing all the problems, but that Brexit is a great opportunity. It’s as if Orwell’s Ministry of Truth were in charge.
So, to be clear, I’m not accusing anyone in UK politics of being a Nazi, but I am saying that far too many of them, backed by the media, are displaying Fascist attitudes. And each time they get away with saying or doing something outrageous, it only inspires them towards taking the next step.
Disabled people are dying, the homeless are dying, child poverty is on the increase, life expectancy is falling, the NHS in England is in danger of imploding, people who have spent their entire lives in the UK are being deported on the flimsiest of excuses, the UK is selling billions of pounds of armaments to stoke wars in the Middle East, and Union Flags proliferate in every walk of life.
What can we do to prevent this becoming even worse? In truth, not a great deal. We have seen in the past week or so that even massive demonstrations are not reported by the State broadcaster in order to keep the majority of the public ignorant of what is going on. Demonstrations are great as a way of expressing opinion, but they won’t stop the politicians. The only thing that will stop them is voting them out. The problem there is that it may already be too late, since Brexit will have become a reality before another UK General Election is held. And we know that English voters tend to vote Tory no matter what happens as a consequence. With the wealth and power of the media and the rich elite behind them, the Tories are able to influence public opinion by playing on people’s fears and blaming foreigners for all the ills people see around them.
Scotland may yet have a chance to escape this madness. But, if we do, we need to make absolutely sure that we take advantage by using our votes wisely, because we’ll only get one chance.