There were pretty much two types of people in Britain this morning. Those who intend to roll up their sleeves, resigned to battle for the political result they want to see – and those on the verge of disconnecting the phone, the internet, suspending their social media profiles, and possibly emigrating to the moon. I sympathise. I really do.
However, within the space of 24 hours, The Daily Mail have already shown exactly why this battle will be so very important.
Yesterday I wrote at length concerning the threat Theresa May and her party pose to liberty and democracy in Britain today. I pleaded with parties/supporters on the left (and let’s face it, the Galactic Empire are on the left compared to this government) to put their differences aside, and to form an alliance – as a matter of urgency.
Our Prime Minister – who behaves more like she’s presiding over a war cabinet – persists with the thinly veiled yarn she wants to “unite the country”. That the Conservatives want to bring the UK together. And yet the real voice of the Tory institution, the real ‘man behind the curtain’ in Britain today – the editor of The Daily Mail, Paul Dacre – has already come out swinging. Gunning for absolutely anybody who would challenge their steam-rollered status quo.
The Beginner’s Guide To Fascism
Far from attempting to heal divisions, the inflammatory tabloid chose to use similar language and rhetoric used by far-right terrorist and nationalist Thomas Mair: the brutal killer who murdered MP Jo Cox last year, days before the Brexit referendum. A man who gave his name to the court as “death to traitors”. “Death to traitors/crush the saboteurs”. Both terms could come from the very same ‘Beginner’s Guide to Fascist Rhetoric’ handbook. As of course did The Daily Mail‘s infamous “Enemies of the People” headline last year, when senior judges incurred the paper’s wrath for simply attempting to do their job – seeing that the rules and processes of our representative democracy were observed.
The fact the tabloid insists on continuing to spew out militant and divisive headlines, confident its mewling aggression will be backed by swathes of British society, should be an alarm bell of epic proportions – to absolutely any one with an iota of forethought.
Such slogans are what you’d expect to hear and see in the opening half-hour of a dystopian action film, shortly before all the innocent people are rounded up and sent to concentration camps. Which may sound laughably alarmist at this stage, but whereas the process can take place within minutes in a film or TV drama, in real life the process is more staggered and gradual. THIS is how it begins, make no mistake.
And if you think that’s crazy, ask yourself how you think such a situation would in fact initially manifest?
It’s not just The Daily Mail
This casual use of authoritarian/fascist language is seeping out into the mainstream. Even those who once seemed impartial or reasonably balanced now use this oppressive ‘war-like’ rhetoric, quite flippantly.
This morning I almost crashed the car listening to the radio. Nick Ferrari speaking on LBC casually stated to one of his sycophant callers that “remoaners” should be treated the same way as the man who was violently ejected from a United Airlines flight in the US:
Cannot believe I just heard @NickFerrariLBC say that "remoaners" should be treated like the ejected passenger on United Airlines. APPALLING
— Alex McNamara (@Alex_McNamara) April 19, 2017
I couldn’t believe my ears. “We should be able to grab them and drag them out by the scruff of their neck” he said. Nick Ferrari was quite literally suggesting (and potentially inciting) that anyone who objects to Theresa May’s bullying and dictatorial behaviour should be publicly humiliated and physically abused. Dragged out in front of the ‘desirables’ with broken teeth, bleeding and barely conscious.
I really cannot think of a more disturbing, insidious remark. And from Nick Ferrari of all people, who’s about as vanilla as you get. Begrudgingly, he then quipped: “I’m not sure that sort of thing is allowed though. More’s the pity.”
I’m not sure anyone even batted an eyelid.
That, unbelievably, is where we are right now.
The abuse of free speech
This stuff is way beyond insulting nicknames, like “remoaner” and “snowflake”. We should all expect a degree of ribbing from our opposition – we’re British after all, that’s what we do. But this language is subliminal, malign, and it’s deliberately fueling hostility among an already divided populace. It unquestionably incites potentially criminal and oppressive behaviour towards one particular group in society. That is terrifying.
I’m all for free-speech; censorship is to be despised. “Though I disagree with what you say, I defend to the death your right to say it.” I also happen to strongly believe it was the ebullient finger-wagging of ‘political correctness’ in Britain that unleashed such an entrenched right-wing backlash in 2016. But where do you draw the line? Is it right that the most widely read newspapers in Britain should be allowed to filter their unmitigated malevolence and animosity down to just about everyone?
Pornography and smut are on the top shelf. But you can pick up the ‘Bible of Hate’ outside every shop, every petrol station, every cafe, and in every waiting-room across the land. An arguably bizarre mix of priorities. Fascism resides in every corner of Britain, hiding in plain sight. Now it’s so close to coming out proudly and emerging victorious, it can taste it.
An outright Tory win will guarantee it.
Become An Evolve Politics Subscriber
Your subscriptions go directly into paying our writers a standard fee for every article they produce. So if you want to help us stay truly independent, please think about subscribing. We literally couldn’t function without the support of our fantastic readers.Subscribe
Or a One-Off Donation to Evolve Politics
If you don’t want to subscribe, but still want to contribute to our project, you can make a one-off donation via the donate button below. All your donations go directly to our writers for their work in exposing injustice, inequality and unfairness.Donate