Those of you, dear readers, who know anything about the British military will recognise the title of this post as an order to march off in a particular formation.
It seems, after this week’s European elections, the body politic is about to march to the right, and probably with enough unison so as to appear in formation. In France the election was ‘won’ by the far right National Front, in Britain by the UK Independence Party (UKIP) and across the other states (with the exception of Greece) similar progress, if you can call it that, was made by other nationalist groups. It is all frighteningly familiar, reminiscent of the pre-1933 rise of the Nazi party in Germany. Hitler, and the Nazis, rose to power in a staggeringly short time against a background of unemployment and depression, of a feeling resentment of the impotence engendered by the Treaty of Versailles. In Germany they fed off this and blamed the jews, whereas we are less specific – blaming our economic and social ills on a generalised “immigrant” population. I have this cartoon image in my head of the figure of UKIP Brittania, with her union flag shield, in long flowing classical robes, the hem of which is protecting the less savoury trolls of fascism, anti-semitism and xenophobia. In UK we have just returned MEPs with only one third of the electorate actually voting: UKIP polled 28% of the 35% who voted. I am truly worried that we may sleep walk into a situation where only 10% of the electorate democratically elect a trojan horse whose hidden cargo will not liberate, but imprison, us. Or worse. Look at what is happening in Ukraine just now. Prince Charles has raised a few hackles by, allegedly, comparing the actions of V. Putin with A. Hitler. I think he’s right, and PC isn’t the most left-wing person on the planet. V. Putin is happy to let the so-called pro-Russian militias, separatists, destabilise Ukraine by commiting violent or murderous acts while keeping his hands clean. If he invades (further – already having annexed Crimea) he will claim that he is acting to prevent bloodshed, to protect the ethnic Russians, in Eastern Ukraine. Anyone remember the Sudetenland?
We had a UKIP leaflet through the door which mentioned the word “immigration” several times but was curiously silent on other issues. You have only to hear the statements of British electors, on behalf of UKIP, saying things like ” immigration is out of control, we want our country back” to know UKIP is getting its message across by tapping into a strong undercurrent of racism. As the weeks go by to the next UK general election I fully expect to see Clegg, Milliband and Cameron all trying to Out-UKIP UKIP and there are plenty of right-wingers in the Conservative Party who will feel emboldened and encouraged to think their time has come. I am reminded of the following, from Rev. Martin Niemoller, speaking about the rise of Nazism in pre-war Germany:
First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out–
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out–
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out–
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me–and there was no one left to speak for me.
To that list you can add travellers, gays, lesbians and transgender persons, Indians and Pakistanis (in fact any easily identified immigrant minority), liberal thinkers, CND (who must be against the Army – Help for Heroes) anti-frackers, and so on. Wake up and vote with your head, but above all VOTE.