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Now that Paul Nuttalls of the UKIPs is in charge he is beginning to come under some scrutiny. The initial story, discovered by eagle eyed Labour researchers, was his view that the NHS should be privatised. However, now a far more unsettling story has emerged courtesy of barrister and historian David Renton – Paul Nuttall is apparently a fan of the notoriously anti-semitic David Irving.
The story originates from his days at college, when Renton taught history to the then 23 year old Nuttall from 1999-2000. Renton recalls teaching a module on the history of fascism in Italy and Germany to which Nuttall signed up. He describes Nuttall as bright but cynical, with wider interests than his peers and a stronger personality.
The issue came when they were set an essay on Hitler’s “Final Solution.” The essay was focused on the primary causes behind the Holocaust, be it Hitler’s antisemitism or other economic and societal factors. Nuttall’s answer shoe-horned in two references by David Irving. The quotes were not necessarily related to the essay topic, instead one focused on the Hungarian uprising, but one was undoubtedly sinister. In discussing Weimar Germany, Irving exaggerates the extent of anti-semitism before implying it was deserved.
For clarification, David Irving is a disgraced historian. The period in question comes shortly after his libel trial and he was, and is, regarded as an “unpleasant, racist crank who is beyond the pale.” The libel trial in question showed him as deliberately misrepresenting information to promote Holocaust denial. The court found that Irving was an active Holocaust denier, antisemitic, and racist who “for his own ideological reasons persistently and deliberately misrepresented and manipulated historical evidence”.
This is the man that Nuttall quoted, provocatively and out of context, in academic work. Renton recalls this as a unique experience in his time teaching. He describes in detail the troubled circumstances he’s worked in in areas like Tower Hamlets but singles out Nuttall’s essay because it appeared to contain the suggestion that “the Jews deserved it.” Whilst Nuttall never went quite so far, he included quotes that did.
Renton proceeded to challenge Nuttall on the topic and received a tearful denial. He blamed his girlfriend for downloading the Irving references and claimed it had never been his intention to offend. Never allowing his own judgement to come in to question, Nuttall attempted to entirely evade blame. As Renton put it: “like smug, arrogant, people everywhere he was most comfortable in a small bubble where no-one could disagree with him.”
Oddly, this actually gives Nuttall something in common with Nigel Farage. During Farage’s days at Dulwich college, several teachers expressed concerns about his fascist views. This culminated in a letter to the Deputy Head from an English teacher expressing concern after Farage was made a prefect.
The issue with figures like Nuttall and Farage is that they veil their racism behind a seemingly acceptable exterior. It was never their intention to imply Jews deserved the Holocaust. It was never their intention to imply refugees were all rapists. They just say it and hope that people get it right. It would be a dog whistle, except you normally can’t hear a dog whistle.