I remember back when I was at school and university, there were discussions of the culpability of the German electorate for Nazism, because Hitler (barely) came to power by the ballot box. Essentially, was it reasonable for people to foresee Auschwitz in 1933.
And I do think there is much to be acknowledged. (1) Hitler only squeezed into power. He couldn’t have risen to dominance without the folly and hubris of centrist and leftist politicians, for which the German people cannot be held responsible.
(2) The German people might have elected him, but they weren’t offered the choice again. This indicates that neither he nor they were confident in ongoing support. On the other hand, it could not have been clearer what the Nazis wanted and believed.
Everything you needed to know was there in ‘mein Kampf’. So those votes for Hitler, without which he could not have done what he did, were only capable of being cast because two things were true: (1) voters knew the warnings of what would happen ...
... and either didn’t take them seriously, or didn’t care. Secondly, they didn’t take their vote seriously as a political act with meaningful consequences. They thought democracy was a charade and facade, which is understandable given its ‘figleaf’ role in the Bismarckian Second
... Reich. As I watch Belfast burn and see black alumnae of Cambridge University who have lived in this county since they were 10 years old publicly declare that the home office is about to deport them, I feel the same way. We warned you this would happen. If, in a democracy ...
..you cast a vote despite being warned of dire consequences, against the structure of democracy and the rule of law itself, based on the promises of people clearly extorting your vote from you through devious means, you cannot claim innocence or ignorance of the consequences.
This is decadence. Not ‘decadence’ as some people think of it, as morally corrupting, luxuriant self-indulgence, but decadence of democratic society itself. The corruption of freedom and fairness though the engineering of resentment, hatred and poverty.
In summary, I don’t think you can corrupt a democracy without corrupting the electorate first. You need to convince them of their powerlessness, especially when pitted against lesser humans, the benefits cheat, the immigrant, even the corrupt ‘Establishment’.
Once you have convinced them that their vote is useful only as a protest and nothing more, you stoke their desperation through Austerity, make them as fearful of the future as they are resentful of their neighbours. Then why not cast that useless vote to smash everything up?
... After all, it can’t really do any harm, and maybe it will shake things up and make people take notice. And there. Look how quickly and simply it has been achieved: the corruption and decadence of democracy itself. So there is your answer. Those Germans who voted Nazi ...
... did so despite seeing Brownshirt violence and listening to their opponents warn of the consequences, and they didn’t care and they didn’t believe the warnings. But that couldn’t have happened without supine opposition from politicians, without rank cynicism ...
... from all elements of civil society. And the same is true of Brexit. Where we are now was never an inevitable consequence of the vote. Some sort of reasonable, light, compromise Brexit was possible right up until May imposed the ‘Red Lines’. But it was always a likely path ...
... one we warned about again and again until we were blue in the face without being heeded once, as the cynics who had grasped power unjustly knew it could be taken away unless they rushed to make their victory irreversible. And that is how we ended up here.
And yes, OF COURSE a burnt out bus in Belfast isn’t Treblinka. And a deportation to the Netherlands isn’t a one way trip in a cattle truck to a gas chamber. Believe me, I am not trivialising what happened then by suggesting it is happening again right now. Quite the opposite...
... lI am saying that you need to heed the warning. That each of these things is a single step on the thousand-mile journey to those unparalleled extremes. On its own, incomparable, but as part of a matrix of indicators, a warning about how far and how bad things can get.

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More from @marshall_proEU

5 Dec 20
I’m so angry about this ‘haute Remain is responsible for hard Brexit’ bullshit. When I stood for Parliament in 2017, I stood in hustings and said ‘Brexit is happening. We demand the Government deliver on the promise of no down-side, and the Opposition hold them accountable’.
Neither of those things happened. For four years, the Governments of May and Johnson have at best negotiated in bad faith and at worst actively pursued no deal. They gaslight us constantly that this is ‘the will of the people’, when anyone not insane or punch drunk can see that
... for what it is, the ERG’s Reichstag Fire. As for the Opposition, the decision of Jeremy Corbyn not to hold the government accountable for five years was catastrophically damaging. It handed the role of opposition to hard nationalists within and without the Tory Party.
Read 24 tweets
26 Mar 20
Never has anyone complained about aggressive questioning of the other side. Nothing could be more sinister than this attempt to undermine journalistic scrutiny and accountability. It is quite simply how democracies work. This bullshit will be drip-fed to us to soften us.
Notice how it’s all the journalist’s fault for asking the question? Not the politician’s for failing to answer clearly, and honestly. Same applies to Opposition: how dare the Opposition question the government at a time like this? It’s political point-scoring.
The entire logic of our free and democratic system relies on a loyal opposition having not just the right, but the responsibility to oppose, for by doing so, they provide the whetstone for effective government, which is otherwise dulled by inefficiency or corruption.
Read 6 tweets
27 Dec 19
Cast your mind back to the Vox Pops done in the days after the Brexit result. Remember those people who were jubilant because it meant we “could get rid of them now”. Get rid of the ‘Muslims’. And the ‘scroungers’ and the ‘bogus asylum seekers’. Think about those people.
Why did they think what they did? Why do they still think it now? Because no-one, not one peron with authority in politics or journalism has stood up for the benefits of immigration or multiculturalism since 2005 at the very latest.
I choose 2005, because it marked the departure of the Tories under Michael Howard for their ‘you don’t have to be racist to vote Tory, but it helps’ campaign under Amanda Platell and Lynton Crosby. Hardcore Australian white nationalism thought dead in this country since the 70’s.
Read 11 tweets
17 Sep 19
Here’s why the @LibDems and @RenewParty are right to favour revoking Art. 50 before a People’s Vote. Those advocating doing it the other way around are making two major mistakes THREAD.
The first mistake is the more unforgivable, and that is failing to learn the lesson of last time. This is the error Cameron made after the Scottish referendum. That mistake is the assumption that revoke would win. This is related to the second mistake....
...and that is the degree of damage already done to the public sphere in this country, including to democracy itself. It is becoming increasingly clear that it would be impossible to hold a free and fair vote. Referendums are inherently damaging to U.K. representative democracy.
Read 10 tweets
6 Aug 19
The "no-go" zones of London are part of the right-wing mythology to make Londoners strange people, who would rather live in a crime-ridden "Londonistan" than in "true" Britain. It helps alienate us both as a suspect "metropolitan elite" and cosmopolitan "citizens of nowhere".
Every time Farage says "metropolitan elite" and Hopkins says "Sadiq Khan's London", they're saying the same thing: Londoners are not "really" British, and are either a feral, criminal underclass, or a subversive, decadent elite. The false image of "no-go zones" is part of that.
What could feed the "Europe is fallen" narrative better than to say that her citizens and agents of the state literally cannot enter areas effectively annexed by criminals and / or immigrants? It's a total fiction, but like all fake news, ruthlessly effective.
Read 7 tweets
2 Aug 19
Something has occurred to me about all the Bunting Britain ‘blitz spirit’, Dunkirk nonsense about the memory of the war, now that generation is passing. Three of my grandparents served, and the other was maimed as a munitions worker. Obviously, I’m full of regret now ... 1/n
that they are all gone that I didn’t interview them relentlessly about it. One grandmother’s career lifted off as a very young woman, taking her into the Civil Service and transforming her life. One grandfather was a Royal Engineer in North Africa and Europe. 2/n
But for all that, the first-hand knowledge they imparted was little. True, I was very young, but one common experience everyone will tell you is how difficult they all found it to talk about. How little they said, especially to young children. 3/n
Read 16 tweets

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