Sunday 14 April 2019

Today's News About Nazis

Every day's news is dominated by the Nazis in our era, which was not at all the case in my 1970s adolescence. 

I just went to Google News and see that there are almost 150 entries for the word 'Nazis' in the last 24 hours, whereas there are fewer than 100 for 'Trump'.

The post-war history of the 'Western world', it is clear, is a meditation on the Nazis. 

This is not so in the Second (ex-Communist) or Third Worlds. In India, so I read, Hitler is rather admired. He fought against England, after all.

In England, on the other hand, people who want to be ruled by foreigners are considered patriots. 

Those who don't are very possibly, even probably Nazis. In fact, Nazi often isn't a strong enough word.

But in the strange world of political correctness being a Nazi is unforgivable but making an unwarranted accusation of Nazism against a person with protected status can be almost as bad.

It depends on who makes the accusation and against whom. Who whom, as Lenin who invented political correctness put it.

Calling Mrs Anna Soubry a Nazi is unacceptable, especially if you are a white man shouting at her in the street, because she is pro-EU. Even the fact that she was a middle-class white Tory MP did not make it all right. Anyway, she was a woman. 

Likening the EU to the Nazis is even more certainly not all right - not according to Labour politician David Lammy - but he thought it was all right when he compared the European Reform Group of (Brexiteer) Tories to the Nazis, as he did in a speech recently. Nigel Farage is regularly accused of being a Nazi but the ERG are not thought such fair game, at least not by an MP.

However, when asked by Andrew Marr on his TV show this morning if this was acceptable Mr Lammy replied, 

"Andrew, I would say that wasn’t strong enough." 

He went on: 
"In 1938, there were allies who hatched a plan for Hitler to annex part of Czechoslovakia and Churchill said ‘no’ and he stood alone. We must not appease. We’re in a situation now — and let me just be clear, I’m an ethnic minority — we have in the ERG in Jacob Rees-Mogg, someone who is happy to put onto his webpage the horrible, racist, the AfD party — a party that is Islamophobic and on the far right of the German system.

“They are happy to use the phrase Grand Wizard — KKK is what it evokes to me when I think of that phrase and the Deep South. I’m sorry, but very, very seriously, of course we should not appease that.”
“We do know that Boris Johnson is with Steve Bannon, who is a white supremacist. We do know that there are links between Viktor Orbán, Salvini and others. I’m not backing off on this. Never will I back off on this on behalf of my constituents. And the BBC should not allow this extreme hard-right fascism to flourish. I don’t care how elected they were, so was the far right in Germany."
“They are often elected, often giving a cover for the thugs on the ground. I’m afraid when people are experiencing rising hate and extremism in this country, we must not concede ground, we must fight it and call it out for what it is. What kind of country are we going to be like if these people are running it? What kind of country are we going to be like when we head into a leadership race and some of them get their hands on the levers of the country. Where will this stop, Andrew? It may be that you will be fine in that country, but many of my constituents will not and that’s why I stand firm.” 
“Ask Boris Johnson why he’s hanging out with Steve Bannon. Ask him that question. I don’t care how outraged they are, I think that will be a minority if they have any sense because British soldiers died fighting this thuggery and extremism. Here we are in 2019 and people are bringing it into the mainstream for their own political advantage. Absolutely not, absolutely not — we can’t have it.”
I wonder if he knows that when he was Prime Minister in 1955 Churchill suggested to his cabinet
"Keep England White - that would be a good election slogan."
I doubt it. He is not well read.

Churchill, whatever else he was, was not a demagogue. Lammy is. I suppose he is a sort of populist or would be, were he popular. 

To Charlotte Gill in The Sunday Telegraph I owe the information that he appeared on the TV general knowledge quiz show  Mastermind to answer “Henry VII” when asked which monarch succeeded Henry VIII, and “Marie Antoinette” when asked to name a female scientist whose name began with Marie. She asks why we should be taking history lessons from this man. 

It's a good question.

Another is how did he get to Harvard Law School and enter the bar?

All the reasons all the authors gave down all the ages for not letting the ignorant and unread have power were right.


  1. Well, sure. It's a way of de humanizing and ending the conversation if you allow it. The goal is to not allow it. I participate in this all the time on line and in person. I live in an ultra progressive left coast college town USA. Several weeks ago during a trail run, I confronted a woman who did not keep her dog leashed per city law after the out of control dog ran up on me. The discussion was not about following the law, trail courtesy or even being a good neighbor, her position was that as a white middle aged male I hate WOMEN and was a NAZI. I laughed and laughed and thanked her for confirming my opinion of her as a self entitled nit wit.

    1. The origins of this Nazi obsession need investigating by historians. We in any case should all try to drop it. I too play along when say England is in some ways becoming fascist in the sense of Mussolini's definition: 'everything for the state, nothing outside the state.' It pains me when people on the right complain, understandably, about anti-white racism rather than take apart the obsessive need to find racists under the bed.

  2. This morning 'Nazi' has between 250 and 300 entries in the last 24 hours in Google News.

  3. "In England, on the other hand, people who want to be ruled by foreigners are considered patriots." Isn't that plainly fake news? can yoi throw in a a reasonable exampe of people 1. wanting to be ruled by foreigners and 2. being considered patriots. How many cases of that you've encountered? I think this is behind the Nazi epitet you are refering to, It's a methaphor for bulshiters and liers among other attributes, exageratting or making up stuff to push their arguments through, but still a methaphor, you know?! Similarylu, again similary if you catch my drift, with Nazi propaganda a century ago. Yes, is wasn't exactly a century ago, you got me

    1. There are many very good arguments for the EU but it does mean each member state being ruled by foreigners, obviously. That is the point of it. Wanting to be in the EU is perfectly patriotic and considered as such. Some people - quite a lot - consider wanting to leave as racist. I have known several such people, all intelligent. One - when I said to him more than ten years ago that I didn't like our country being ruled by foreigners - replied 'Isn't that racist?'

  4. From a historian's perspective, it's fascinating how a very period-specific phenomenon of the National Socialist movement in Germany keeps on being resurrected as a universal demon-in-the-wings, just waiting to pounce unless we adopt x politics.
    The persistence of this trope also evinces a distinct lack of faith in popular politics where the people must be shepherded, lest their *natural* instinct for wickedness produce universal ruin.