Nick Cohen

Fascism is alive in Britain – on both the left and the right

Fascism is alive in Britain – on both the left and the right
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At the time of writing, no one knows the result of Britain’s European Union referendum. But everyone has learned in the hardest manner imaginable that Britain has a fascist movement.

A real fascist movement, that is. Not what students with incontinent tongues call 'fascism', which turns out to be the beliefs of anyone who disagrees with them. But actual fascism that legitimises racial hatred, conspiracy theory, ethnic cleansing and the assassination of left-wing politicians.

Since the murder of Jo Cox we have learned another truth, which ought to be uncontroversial but is everywhere resisted. The far right and the far left are essentially the same. For all their voluble differences, for all that they claim to oppose each other, what unites is more important that what divides them.

The larger armies of camp followers and apologists, who woozily trawl in their wake, never quite joining the real extremists but never quite condemning them either, have as much in common and are as pernicious. For they suck all honesty and principle out of public life, until all that is left is to choose your side, and you pick your hypocrisy.

I'll take my tribe first. Leftwingers use 'fascist' as their worst insult and say they believe in human rights and even women's rights. But they will drop all that baggage if it encumbers them in the fight against their real enemy: the West's conservatives.

Perhaps one day a historian will calculate the damage they have caused. My rough estimate includes doing little or nothing to fight misogyny, homophobia and anti-Semitism in western immigrant communities, and endorsing the conspiratorial apologias of radical Islam by holding that the West must be the 'root cause' of a global wave of violence and oppression.

Right wingers can denounce them so loudly and expertly one can make the mistake of believing that they, at least, are true anti-fascists; dependable men and women, who will defend liberal freedoms against all comers.

Not so. The worst of the right will excuse and explain away white fascism with the same sleaziness that the worst of the left excuses Islamo-fascism. There is the same direct line from the voices on social media screaming of a 'false flag operation' through to the journalists whose first and only thought is to say that the alleged killer of Jo Cox was a mentally ill loner of no real significance, through to Nigel Farage, the Jeremy Corbyn of the right, whose response is not shock that an English politician could be assassinated on a Yorkshire street but to say

What we’re seeing here is the Prime Minister and Remain campaign trying to conflate the actions of one crazed individual with the motives of half of Britain who think we should get back control of our borders and do it sensibly.

Yeah, right just like the British and American governments use Islamist terrorism as a welcome excuse to steal our civil liberties.

One day a historian will be able to calculate the consequences of the right's belief that there's nothing to worry about apart from the actions of those odd 'crazed individuals,' who like, hurricanes in Hertford, Hereford and Hampshire, hardly ever happen. My rough guide would include the pretence that anti-Muslim bigotry and violence does not exist, and that whites are always the victims and never the victimisers. With Farage we see what we see so often on the left. His real enemy is the democratic opposition to his plan to leave the European Union. Whatever ugliness abounds on his side of the argument, or in the ranks of his movement, must be ignored so he can concentrate on the only task that matters to him.

Left and right see themselves as opposites. Yet they excuse fanatics with ideologies, which with a slight twitch here, and a slight move of emphasis there, are all but identical. If any good is to come from the murder of Jo Cox, perhaps it will teach that lesson to the few who are willing to learn.

After the arrest of her alleged killer, the Guardian reported that the Southern Poverty Law Center, which monitors US fascism in all its guises, had published receipts that appeared to show that the suspect

bought, among other books, a manual on how to make a homemade pistol from the National Alliance. The receipts, some of which date back to the 1990s, showed he spent more than $620 (£436) on literature from the group, which advocates the creation of an all-white homeland and the eradication of Jewish people.

Among the alleged purchases was a work called Improvised Munitions and Ich Kämpfe, an illustrated handbook issued to members of the Nazi party in 1942.

The National Alliance did not deny that it might have supplied such goods, but said that it had not been involved in the crime.

It then issued a statement, which showed the merger of far left and far right to perfection. I urge Spectator readers, who go along with Farage, as loudly as I would urge Observer readers, who go along with Corbyn, to read and re-read it, and think about the implications for them and the disgraceful men they follow.

We were totally unfamiliar with Jo Cox until the news stories about her tragic end came to our attention. The National Alliance is politically neither pro-Labour Party nor anti-Labour Party, disagreeing with that party on many but far from all issues, and welcoming that party’s increasingly critical stance toward Jewish and Zionist power in recent years. We recently republished an essay suggesting that racially-conscious Whites in Britain should join the Labour Party.

Indeed it did. And in the process illustrated the essential unity of all extremists. The British left is now so corrupted it will tolerate a leader whose propaganda work for Iranian television and endorsement of Hizzbollah and Hamas has led to him adopting the prejudices of the religious far right. The white far right looks on and nods with approval for the prejudices of the religious far right are its prejudices too.

If we do not quite have a Hitler-Stalin pact moment upon us, when all 'isms are wasms', we can at least see an outline of a future where all varieties of totalitarianism and totalitarian apologetics merge into one.