A QUESTION – what is a ‘fascist’? Someone who doesn’t like foreigners generally? Brown or black people? In Hitler’s context, Jews?
In modern Britain, is a fascist someone mouthing off from the far right (whatever that actually is), throwing Nazi salutes with a skinhead haircut, screaming bile about the burkha on a day off from following their football club when their idea of a happy ending is giving someone a good kicking?
I’m posing this as a serious question, because it’s something which goes to the root of what I think is the biggest challenge facing Britain – and western democracy – in general.
Freedom of speech in the United Kingdom is a nostalgic notion which sits alongside black and white photos of the old Dewsbury bus station, Caddie’s ice cream parlour or – if you want to widen the analogy – of Swinging Sixties London, the battles for a voice of minorities by people like gay campaigner Peter Tatchell. Of times when there were righteous battles for equality to be fought.
It reflects on a time when we were able to properly debate, to argue, to engage in intellectual combat – even to insult! – without fear of being silenced.
I got in one of those furiously angry social media sessions (angry for them, fun for me) last week with a bunch of snowflake Remoaners, people who I’d like to characterise mostly as never having done a proper day’s work in their life.
They can quote you every human and civil right they and their sweethearts demand, every cause they’d like others to pay for, but they couldn’t dig a bloody hole in their back garden if you gave them a spade and held a gun to their head (and boy, do I really like that idea).
I threw at them an expression I believe needs to gain greater leverage – left-wing fascists.
They found this as absurd as saying ‘a mild vindaloo curry’ or ‘that pleasant and charismatic Scottish lady Nicola Sturgeon’.
Wow, did I get a ration! Because of course fascists are Nazis, Oswald Mosley’s Blackshirts, and their modern descendants in this country are the National Front, the British National Party (who were never clever enough to have such aspirations) and, gradually, everyone and anyone who disagrees with the received wisdom of ‘the liberal left’.
That’s the liberal, authoritarian left. The left which a century ago fought valiantly for the equal rights of every human being,
The left whose elevation of every human right (except today those of the common, non-political man and woman) has become not just a position, but a diktat.
That progress, still accelerating, illustrates how simply, without much resistance, every non-socialist/Marxist gathering of people from the real NF nutters all the way to the harmless, mildly patriotic UKIP have been painted into one convenient corner.
Concerned over immigration? Hater, racist … ergo fascist.
Says who? Says this self-anointed, unquestionable, great authority on the new reality – the ‘liberal left’. Or as I prefer, the real fascists.
At our great universities, groundbreaking left-wing, feminist icons like Germaine Greer are banned from setting foot on the campus, let alone speaking on them, because they might hold a view that could feasibly discomfit a ‘vulnerable minority’.
Does this ‘vulnerable minority’ object? Do they really feel threatened by simple words and opinions?
Who knows? He/she/it doesn’t have to, because the ‘liberal left’ is fighting him/her/confused.com’s corner before bothering to find out what the battle’s even about. Joke about a minority? Shriek! Fascist!
What started off as a righteous fight for equality based on colour, gender and workers’ employment conditions has been transformed into a philosophy of moral superiority of everyone and anyone who was ever called a name, by anyone and everyone who might have called it.
In short, the bullied have become the bullies.
People might see the justice in that, but for one thing – the ‘bullied’ actually aren’t.
This isn’t a victim’s campaign. It’s an industry of imagined offence-taking against the world by a talentless generation of people like Unite leader Len McClusky, racist hypocrite Diane Abbott, all the way down to thousands of puerile student union gobshites who, to their delight, have found that when they shout and stomp their feet, authority retreats.
They have mobilised the mob, and are clenching their iron fist. Very flower power.
It’s the Kirklees Council syndrome, epitomised by the regime of now cast-off Chief Executive Adrian Lythgo, who presided over a collapsing and disgraced Social Services department and managed for years to cover-up the institutional criminality of Dewsbury’s Muslim mafia.
Today if you’re not of that modern left-wing establishment, you’re de facto far right. Fascist – so come on folks, define fascism for me.
What do you really know about it, apart from the label that Mussolini, Franco and Hitler adopted?
The Italian dictator at least had some call on the Latin etymology of ‘fasces’ to describe his political movement. Its ancient symbol was a tied bundle of rods. As one rod it’s easily broken, as a bundle, unbreakable – a movement of one people with one common cause.
It swiftly symbolised authoritarian rule, but isn’t that what we now face?
Quite apart from the familiar historical political labels, why can’t fascists be of what we call the political left?
By definition they are a group, a mass. They act in an authoritarian manner with one will, one voice. They brook no argument let alone debate. Dissenting ideas are crushed, dissenting voices silenced.
From university campuses to the Labour Party and its bullies in the shadows – I give you the far left. Fascists.
WE CARRY today on page 10 a report about a community group meeting hosted by the Indian Muslim Welfare Society at the al Hikmah centre in Batley.
All very multi-cultural, all very cohesive and happy-smiley. It’s nice to be able to be bearers of positive community efforts.
But within an hour of editing that press release I got a phone call from a high profile ‘Muslim’ journalist (he’s turned atheist) puzzled by his recent visit to the centre.
He’s researching a book and visited the al-Hikmah, assistant and camera to hand, only to find himself accosted by a senior IMWS figure who physically threatened him while demanding to know his business.
He wondered what he might have stumbled upon. A shame he couldn’t see me smiling, but the answer was quite simple – he’d stumbled on nothing.
Just the complex hypocrisy of a skin deep PR operation papering over a culture struggling under 1400 years of prejudice.
THIS time last year I was in Brussels, a city still shellshocked by the terror attacks it (and France) had been recently stunned by. I went for a walk in the purportedly jihadi enclave of Molenbeek. It all seemed very ordinary. Certainly less threatening than some parts of Dewsbury I’d prefer to avoid after dark.
On the way home I visited the Menin Gate memorial in Ypres and was stunned to my boots. We really, really don’t know loss. The professional Westminster flower-layers need to go walk around that noble, dignified, immense testament to senseless waste of human life.
Can I invite you to read the afeature in today’s paper on page 12, marking the death 100 years ago this coming Monday of modest Dewsbury man Private Horace Waller VC, of the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry.
It’s a simple commemoration of one of those hundreds of thousands of ‘lions led by lambs’ and I found it incredibly moving in its simplicity. Make sure you read to the end because Horace Waller was far, far from Dewsbury’s – or any community’s – isolated hero.
Weigh that statistic against the histrionics we have witnessed in recent weeks.