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Write about politics and race, apparently. After the mammoth comment-a-thon, I spent a couple of days pondering. And came to the conclusion that, for me, no amount of evidence of systematic sidelining of the white working class could get me to think more favourably of anyone who votes extreme right. I just can’t have sympathy for anyone, or any group of people, that thinks casting a vote for a political party with division at its heart will help them. This is the politics of the me-first generation, me-above-all-others. Sod what happens to you, I only care about me and mine.
One of the depressing things about doing a degree in History is you get to see how people don’t change. You can take any time period and understand the decisions that were made once you remember that humanity – as a general rule – always looks out for number one. This is why I’ve never believed that a political system which relies upon governance by the populace can work in anything bigger than a commune – ultimately, people will start screwing each other over in order to get more for themselves.
People are shitheads.
And sometimes I think the sooner we all drown, fry and starve the better. Which is why I burn all my waste in the back garden using a patio heater powered by biofuels grown in a former rice paddy in Thailand.
Thing is, this isn’t new. I was flicking through one of my books yesterday and, at the risk of having Godwin’s Law invoked at me, came across this passage about the rise of the NSDAP in Weimar Germany:
"There are times – they mark the danger point for a political system – when politicians can no longer communicate, when they stop understanding the language of the people they are supposed to be representing… Hitler had the advantage of being undamaged by participation in unpopular governments… He could speak in language more and more Germans understood – the language of bitter protest at a discredited system, the language of national renewal and rebirth."
(Hitler 1889-1936: Hubris, Ian Kershaw)
But the Nazis were around at a time without all-encompassing mass media, they were talking to people less educated than we are (the bulk vote came from the German countryside, not the towns) and their attitude towards the Jews was, at that point, also one of expulsion rather than mass extermination. How can anyone justify putting a little cross next to the BNP or National Front when they live in an age with a media that, while stoking up fear, also has no problem pointing out the far right for the scumbags that they are? When we all grew up with knowledge of the Holocaust and the terrible ramifications of racial politics? Ignorance of the consequences of the rise of the far right cannot be pleaded. Not today. Not by anyone. Unless you’re only looking out for yourself, and you want someone else to blame and to suffer, and you don’t care what happens to them because nobody else matters except you and yours.
And if that’s true, and if that’s you, then I despise you.