Mhairi Black, the UK’s youngest MP, has slammed Theresa May’s government in an important message about the rise of fascistic policies in Britain.
Writing in The National, Black says she has “never been more horrified or afraid of the rhetoric coming from the Conservative Government as I have this past week”.
Black also condemns the newspaper headlines and the way that media outlets have portrayed the Conservative Party:
To read the headlines of the major British newspapers felt like I had awoken in some dystopian, V for Vendetta-esque society. The Conservative Party’s mask as ‘a party of the common people’ has slipped to reveal the xenophobic, often racist, nationalist, ugly face beneath.
The National, as reported in The Canary, was the one paper which gave May the headline she deserved after her speech at the Conservative Party conference. While other papers crowed about “May’s play for the centre ground” (or, at the more extreme end, “We’re coming after you”), The National labelled the essence of her policies as “Disgusting, xenophobic, repellent” on its front page.
It was referring to, among other things, plans for companies to list their foreign workers. As Black writes:
We see the headlines that Amber Rudd and her cronies are attacking businesses over their willingness to hire ‘foreigners’, even going as far as to say that businesses must list all foreign workers. There have also been worrying reports that schools are now listing and logging the nationalities of all their ‘foreign’ pupils. What’s next? Making them wear a badge or carry documentation so they are easily identified?
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And she cites the militarisation of schools as another worrying sign of where this country is headed:
Even more concerning is the fact that Michael Fallon has announced he will launch 150 new cadet units attached to state schools and claims this militarisation will, “instil British values”.
Black doesn’t pull any punches in comparing the Conservative Party conference to Nazi Germany:
The Conservative Party’s conference has unleashed ugly and downright scary rhetoric that I was brought up to believe was to be left in the past. I am not exaggerating when I say that the policies being brought forward are reminiscent of early 1930s Nazi Germany.
But she is also keen to differentiate between the right-wing “nationalism” displayed by current politicians, and independence for Scotland that she and her SNP colleagues desire:
I myself have never identified with the word ‘nationalist’ and if I am honest, the thing that irritates me most is that I am automatically labelled as such purely because I am in the SNP.
She continues, later in the article:
The only ‘nationalism’ I can see is from the British elites and right-wing political groups. The only racism that I can see is coming from politicians scapegoating ‘foreigners’ for the genuine difficulties so many communities in the UK are facing precisely at the hands of the Tories and their obsession with austerity. Does it sound familiar? History is littered with the establishment, the elites and the rich abusing and exploiting society and the individuals in it and then pointing the finger of blame at foreigners.
The article finishes with Martin Niemoller’s famous poem:
First they came for the Jews.
But I did not speak out because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for the Communists.
But I did not speak out because I was not a Communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists.
But I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Catholics.
But I did not speak up because I was a Protestant.
Then they came for me.
And by that time there was no one left to speak out for me.
Nazi Germany comparisons may seem like hysterical rhetoric. But when MPs start telling us that “we are entering incredibly scary times” and LBC presenter James O’Brien starts comparing the Home Secretary’s conference to speech to Hitler’s Mein Kampf, then it’s time to start listening.
As Editor-in-Chief of The Canary, Kerry-Anne Mendoza, wrote last week:
Is Amber Rudd building labour camps and gas chambers? No. But she is laying the political and social foundations that set Germany on course for disaster in the 1930s. She is telling impoverished, desperate people that the fault of their circumstances can be pinned on these interlopers – the migrant, the refugee, the student.
These are “incredibly scary times”, and Black is giving us all a wake-up call. We all need to listen – and act to stop this ugliness before it digs its claws any even deeper into our everyday language, society, and communities.
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