“… it is the genteel, middle-class, soft-Left, hand-wringing antisemitism — the kind that wouldn’t dream of saying anything crass or extreme — that has been legitimised, has become high-status opinion even, on the streets of London.”
He was a fat bloke with a swastika tattooed on his beer belly and a teardrop inked beneath his eye. Let’s call him the cartoon fascist. The Guardian describes another: “a Port Vale fan supping a can of Stella Artois.” There were several hundred of them on Saturday, boorishly shouting “En-ger-land” around the Cenotaph. Easy to spot, easy to despise. And I do.
But, in an upside-down kind of way, the far-Left loves these types, because it helps them re-assert a comforting narrative about who the bad guys are and who the good guys are — they themselves falling squarely into the latter category. When I grew up, being anti-fascist used to be all about confronting angry, skinhead racists — thugs who would beat up black and brown people on the streets and throw disgusting insults around. Even when they tried to assume a sort of respectability to win elections — an unconvincing camouflage of cheap shirt and tie — you could still smell the fascism on them. But they haven’t won an election in this country for years. We are not fooled. The BNP collapsed in 2010. Good riddance.
Such is the power of the cartoon fascist though, that he invites complacency; he allows “good people” to look in the mirror and believe they aren’t antisemitic. They chortle away at that Mitchell and Webb sketch of two SS officers asking “Are we the baddies?” thinking it refers to someone else.
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