The madness of comparing the Brexit Party to the Nazis

Remainers’ fury over that back-turning protest suggests they’re losing the plot.

Brendan O'Neill
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Topics Brexit Politics UK

I fear for the stability of hardcore Remainers. They seem to be losing the plot. They have abandoned all sense of moral perspective. Consider their response to the Brexit Party’s protest in the European Parliament yesterday.

The BP’s MEPs turned their backs as the EU’s ‘national anthem’ started to play. And according to certain Remainers, such antics are akin to Nazism, echoing the behaviour of National Socialists in the Reichstag in the 1930s, and generally proving that Brexit Britain is a dark and scary hellhole vomiting up the worst politicians the world has seen since the darkest days of the mid-20th century.

To which the only reasonable reply is: u ok hun?

This was a perfect example of a furious, spluttering condemnation telling us far more about the person doing the condemning than about the people he or she is condemning. In this case, Remoaners’ shrill and illiterate screech of ‘NAZIS’ at the Brexit Party for staging a political stunt tells us nothing whatsoever about the Brexit Party but loads and loads about the increasingly on-edge Remainer set.

It tells us how distant they now are from people who think differently to them; how bitter and convulsed with fury they have become as democratic politics has dared to go in a direction they disapprove of; and how little they care for historical accuracy and truth.

No sooner had the BP’s 29 MEPs turned their backs on the young people playing Beethoven’s Ode to Joy – imagine such a wonderful, humanistic work being co-opted by the grey technocracy that is the Brussels machine – than observers were thumbing their thesauruses in search of furious adjectives of condemnation.

Former TV journalist turned campaigner against democracy Gavin Esler said the Brexit Party had ‘shamelessly copied the Nazi Party’, on the basis that the Nazis once turned their backs on a Jewish speaker in the Reichstag in 1930. This is mad. The Nazis also published political pamphlets – is everyone who does that a Nazi? They wore uniforms and marched in formation – maybe all armies are fascist? They also overrode the democratic wishes of vast numbers of European people – perhaps Esler and his anti-Brexit, anti-democratic chums in that short-lived outfit Change UK are also secret Nazis? What an infantile game.

It got worse. One journalist said the BP back-turning made her cry. Others said it made them feel ashamed to be British. Britain is a nation known for its fair and honest engagement with the world and now these 29 xenophobic oafs have destroyed that reputation, Remainers cried. The people of Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Libya and Yemen – the ones who are still alive, at least – might beg to differ about that British decency thing.

Everyone shared a photo showing the BP back-turners alongside the Nazi Party back-turners as a kind of sixth-former-level ‘gotcha’ – ‘We knew you were fascists!’. It really is hard to believe that these people think this is a normal form of political debate. One Irish academic shared a Goebbels quote about the Nazis entering parliament as ‘enemies’, as ‘the wolf bursts into the flock’, and the moral infants of the hardcore Remainer set rubbed their chins in unison and said: ‘Yes! Exactly like the Brexit Party. Farage is our Goebbels.’

Everything about this is crazy. And chilling. Let’s get this in perspective. A political party that won more than five million votes in the EU elections in May and which is now the largest party in the EU parliament is not being anti-democratic, far less fascistic, when it engages in protest inside that parliament. On the contrary, it is behaving democratically. It is making a democratic political statement. In this case, that it is wrong, outrageous even, that Britons are still expected to send members to the European Parliament more than three years after we voted to leave the EU. The protest was saying, ‘The UK should not be in this parliament’. Nothing more, nothing less. Nothing hateful, nothing xenophobic, nothing Nazi-esque.

No light was shone on the Brexit Party by yesterday’s fuss and fury, but a great deal was shone on those sections of the Remainer elite that are absolutely committed to thwarting Brexit, and by extension democracy itself. These people are now so ensconced in an opinion-proof, dissent-proof echo chamber that they view everyone outside of that chamber – which is the majority of people – as an alien being, the lowest of the low, an actual Nazi, scum.

The chattering class’s branding of Brexiteers – as well as right-wing people, Trump voters and populists in general – as ‘fascists’ or ‘Nazis’ is really a form of dehumanisation. It ‘others’ people completely. It says, ‘These people are beyond political debate and moral reason. They are the same as the worst people in human history.’

It is an entirely intolerant approach to political difference and discussion. In an eye-watering irony, it does the very thing they accuse ‘the new Nazis’ of doing – it others entire groups of people, especially the less well-off people who were more likely than educated, upper-middle-class people to vote for Brexit. It seeks to override the democratic wishes of these Untermensch and re-install the rule of well-educated, well-connected experts.

I would never refer to Remainers as Nazis – because I am not an historical illiterate who thinks anyone who disagrees with me is a fascist – but seriously, if you want to centralise political power in Europe, thwart the largest act of democracy in UK history, put the little people back in their box, and demonise those who disagree with your or protest against you, then you should definitely think twice before calling other people fascists.

Perhaps the worst thing about the ‘Nazi’ screams at the Brexit Party yesterday is the way this normalises the Nazis. This is the most nauseating side-effect of today’s constant use of the ‘fascist’ slur and the never-ending warnings that Europe is sliding back into the 1930s – the fact that it drains away the uniqueness of the Nazi era, the sheer horror of it, and makes it appear as just another political period, not unlike our own. This relativisation of the era of the Holocaust is a crime against historical truth.

Indeed, it is in itself an unwitting, inverse form of Nazi apologism. In making the Nazi era seem mundane, as if it consisted simply of disagreeable politicians executing stunts, as if it was very much like what we face in 2019, the angry elites do Nazism itself a favour by denuding it of its unprecedented evil and making it seem ordinary. They’re whitewashing Nazism, and that is the most unforgivable aspect of their unending hissy fit over the 2016 vote to leave the EU.

Brendan O’Neill is editor of spiked and host of the spiked podcast, The Brendan O’Neill Show. Subscribe to the podcast here. And find Brendan on Instagram: @burntoakboy

Picture by: YouTube.

To enquire about republishing spiked’s content, a right to reply or to request a correction, please contact the managing editor, Viv Regan.

Comments

Amelia Cantor

6th July 2019 at 10:39 am

How true — how very, very true — it is that the truth hurts.

Brexit is an expression of the very same racism, xenophobia, intolerance and hostility to modernity and progress that led to the gas-chambers. No doubt, had they been around in the early 1930s, Spiked would have dismissed any comparisons between the nazis and the murderous antisemitism of the Spanish Inquisition. In the end the nazis turned out to be far worse.

Brexit is the first whiff of something very fetid and very toxic. We need to reverse it and ensure that the forces it has begun to unleash stay where they belong: imprisoned in very deep-buried and very well-sealed ideological prisons.

J MAXWELL

5th July 2019 at 7:13 pm

Fabulously accurate assessment! Spiked-Online has become one of the truly TOP sources of analysis.

Gerard Barry

5th July 2019 at 3:28 pm

“The chattering class’s branding of Brexiteers – as well as right-wing people, Trump voters and populists in general – as ‘fascists’ or ‘Nazis’ is really a form of dehumanisation. It ‘others’ people completely. It says, ‘These people are beyond political debate and moral reason. They are the same as the worst people in human history.’”

This is an excellent observation. The same shit is going on here in Germany where the supposedly “far-right” AfD – and by impliaction their voters – are constantly smeared as being racist, anti-democratic fascists simply because they want Germany to ahve a more sensible, sustainable immigration policy.

Steve Duncan

4th July 2019 at 11:42 pm

Is there another picture from history of non-fascists turning their backs on a parliament? That would be a good counterexample.

Jerry Owen

5th July 2019 at 12:13 pm

Yes.
Leftists as Thatcher’s funeral, as her corpse was driven past them in the streets.

Marvin Jones

4th July 2019 at 2:06 pm

People like Gavin Essler, because of the limited intellect and vocabulary, resort to abuse and use the only few words they have access to. I know, I know that he was a TV presenter and news reader, but for the BBC, which exposes his ignorance. By the way, is he the only member in that group of imbeciles, left? Some remoaners wept, and some were ashamed to be British, saying we were a nation of honest truthful people. Just like our spineless remain MPs who have treated 17.4 million people like ignorant and stupid peasants who were too dumb to be given a choice. Honest and honourable? my arse.

Joe Public

4th July 2019 at 11:50 am

Nazism ended in 1945. There are no more Nazis. Meanwhile, the current political situation does give a little hope to that minority, who would like to stoke racial tensions, promote new forms of intolerance, encourage divisions, that they might have a dispropotionate effect in the public sphere. I’m all for taking those people aside and… Explaining to them why they are prejudiced and why I don’t think anyone else should be convinced by anti-semitic conspiracy theories, white identity politics, or whatever other franken-theories they’re cooking up.

As for the EU and its allies, they do not have a monopoly on morality – no matter what their PR says. Their attempts to smear the little ol’ Brexit Party – which is simply about getting democracy in the UK for all its citizens, Jewish people included – with the blood of the millions of murdered peoples of Poland, Estonia, France, Germany, etc, etc, make quite sure of that.

James Clow

3rd July 2019 at 11:57 pm

“democratic politics has dared to go in a direction they disapprove of”. Are you misusing the word democratic the same way they misuse the word Nazi? It sounds like it. The reason I say this is because the UK isn’t really a democracy if these stats and definitions hold any weight at notademocracy.uk. Where is there any accountability? People claim that there is accountability in being able to vote out a government after 5 years, but that is not accountability, that is just not renewing a contract. Though it’s even worse than that because there is no real legally binding contract. How many people do we hear complain that our political parties deceived them or backtracked on promises after winning an election? Yet somehow with Brexit, we magically had some kind of utopian democratic purity with noble Heroic pro brexit truthful politicians on one side and nasty authoritarian deceivers on the remain side? There was a vast amount of BS on both sides pre referendum, same as any bunch of politicians trying to sell something at any time we get a vote. I know more folks that have moved from Remain to pro Brexit than I have Brexit to Remain, but the fact that there is change at all tells me that we have one too many telepaths on both sides making claims about what people think, rather than a means and opportunity for everyone to say what they want themselves, now, tomorrow, the day after etc. Surely this would be what creates accountability? Lie to me today, fine, tomorrow my vote goes elsewhere and you don’t get what you want. But this is not what many of the the more vocal pro-Brexit side seem to want. No support for a second referendum, even though it could have demonstrated and created more solidarity seems like scoring a moral own goal by trying to dictate when democracy should be available to people.

Jerry Owen

4th July 2019 at 7:33 am

How does a second referendum create more solidarity ?

Tim Hare

3rd July 2019 at 11:54 pm

Where would we be without the Nazis? How could we ever determine levels of offensive behaviour without such a definitive benchmark as the Nazis have given us?

Why not just explain why the behaviour is offensive or irrational or unreasonable without resorting to comparisons with the Nazis? Are we all so stupid that we have to have these infantile comparisons made for us so that we can know how bad the behaviour is? It is a sign of a patronising attitude when you have to draw on the Nazis to make your point.

Jules Hardiman

3rd July 2019 at 9:11 pm

Personally I think they missed a trick. Instead of turning their backs, they should have taken their lead from ‘I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue’ and sung the words of ‘I am a cider drinker’ to the tune of ‘Ode to Joy’.
It fits perfectly and shows how absurd having a anthem is for something that is not a state.

Heather Wolf

3rd July 2019 at 9:08 pm

They have weaponised sulking, because they still cannot accept, after three years, that they’ve been outwitted by those whom they think of as their educational and social inferiors.

Jonnie Henly

3rd July 2019 at 8:17 pm

“I would never refer to Remainers as Nazis”

Many Brexiters do, without a shread of condemnation from you ever Brendan.

Jerry Owen

3rd July 2019 at 10:14 pm

Some good examples from some politician and media types please little Jonnie

Joe Reed

3rd July 2019 at 7:35 pm

Ha ha ha ha Spiked are moderating comments. Oh my sides!!

Steve Gray

3rd July 2019 at 7:00 pm

Nazism ended in 1945. There are no more Nazis. Meanwhile, the current political situation does give a little hope to that minority, who would like to stoke racial tensions, promote new forms of intolerance, encourage divisions, that they might have a dispropotionate effect in the public sphere. I’m all for taking those people aside and… Explaining to them why they are prejudiced and why I don’t think anyone else should be convinced by anti-semitic conspiracy theories, white identity politics, or whatever other franken-theories they’re cooking up.

Meanwhile, the EU and its allies do not have a monopoly on morality. Their attempts to smear the little ol’ Brexit Party – which is simply about getting democracy in the UK for all its citizens, Jewish people included – with the blood of the millions of murdered peoples of Poland, Estonia, France, Germany, etc, etc, make quite sure of that.

Jonnie Henly

3rd July 2019 at 5:55 pm

“This was a perfect example of a furious, spluttering condemnation telling us far more about the person doing the condemning than about the people he or she is condemning”

A perfect example of basically every single Brendan article ever.

Joe Reed

3rd July 2019 at 7:17 pm

Quite. Spiked articles are generally an exercise in projection. It’s always everyone else who’s a self-righteous snowflake, never Brendan or Ella with their ludicrous hysterics about the Stalinist left infringing their free speech. Usually, this just means that someone has had the temerity to disagree with them.

I used to quite like Spiked. While I didn’t agree with everything, it offered a fresh perspective on things and skewered some of the hypocrisies of the left (of which there are some), but since Brexit it’s joined the mental club. There’s no excuse for getting behind a nasty little cult of political thugs and profiteers and condemning anyone with any misgivings about them as a ‘Remoaner’.

The worst thing about them is that they get off on their own indignation. If there weren’t any campus wets to moan about, these people would be lost. They are in fact exactly what they accuse SJWs of being: professional victims and whingebags. Besides which rendan, your politics are an increasingly cranky combination of Marxism and Randian libertarianism and you write the same really boring, cliche-ridden article over and over again. You’re not a revolutionary, just another jaded hack-of-a-certain age jerking off to your own copy at the arse end of capitalism.

Jerry Owen

3rd July 2019 at 7:22 pm

Little Jonnie
And Brendan is right as ever. So what’s your gripe ?

Jonnie Henly

3rd July 2019 at 8:09 pm

My gripe is that once again, Brendan is talking BS.

Hypocritical, unsubstantiated BS.

mister wallace

4th July 2019 at 12:21 am

And yet here you are reading each and every one of them so you can whinge and bitch. Mr O’Neill does live in your cerebral cortex does he not? Show us he is the winner. Oh and don’t forget some good examples from some politician and media types please little Jonnie of Brexiteers calling Remoaners Nazis. That should keep you occupied for a while.

Jerry Owen

3rd July 2019 at 5:46 pm

Perhaps those on the left when they have stopped their faux crying, could answer this question .. Were those protesters that turned their backs at Thatchers funeral as her corpse passed by in a coffin Nazis ? No, they weren’t .
The word Nazi, like Islamophobe , racist, sexist , mysogynist will not become meaningless because they already are. The left wore out the word racist etcetera, the word Nazi is now also worn out. JRM a Nazi for God’s sake !
What will come when words have lost their meanings, when the left can no longer make capital out of verbal condemnation, or cow people into submission because we aren’t falling for it ? Violence, that is next ( and present ) , as they are now doing so with impunity. The attack on Ngo a good example, a guess as to what is to come next is acid shaking now endorsed by the media ( albeit a pretend joke , but we know better ).
Turning your back is a tried and tested form of protesting, in fact it has Oriental overtones, it is a peaceful way to protest. far more civilized than milkshaking I would wager.
The Germans historical obsession with power and control is well documented , we see it in action in the here and now also.. Burning the EU flag to carry a three year prison sentence ( in the pipeline ) an EU army, an EU anthem. There are none so blind that will not see, it astonishes me.
The Remainers are a noisy powerful minority, we must never forget that. 17.4 million voted leave , the BP was the biggest party in the EU elections, if we were Nazis we would have stormed parliament, we haven’t. We still, after all the deceit pushed our way by the remoaner elites still play it by the rules ( they don’t ) . How can you not be given the utmost respect for sticking with a ‘democracy’ that doesn’t serve the voter ? How much more respect can you have for a parliament that doesn’t deserve any respect whatsoever ?
We ‘leavers’ are a shining example of democracy in action , we are a beacon of democratic protest in action that the rest of the world should follow with admiration. To see the protesters in Hong Kong flying the Union Flag was very symbolic, it shows just how important our democracy is here in Britain, it’s great heritage that traversed the world , and it shows just how hard we must try to protect it from the post democratic European elites that wish to sweep it away for a post democratic society.

Hana Jinks

3rd July 2019 at 5:08 pm

Fine account.

Winston Stanley

3rd July 2019 at 5:03 pm

Putting all the nonsense aside, obviously the Brexit Party MEPs have no allegiance to the EU, they are not there to keep their heads down or to fit in, and they expressed that in a protest. Big deal, get over it. The EU has given itself the trappings of a national state, where MEPs show allegiance, here by standing for an anthem. The Brexit party wants no part of that.

States like to do that sort of thing. It is outrageous that British MPs are still obliged to make an oath to the monarchy before they can take their seats. “I (name of Member) do solemnly, sincerely, and truly declare and affirm, that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, her heirs and successors, according to law.” Many of us have zero allegiance to the monarchy and, far from wishing to perpetuate that institution, would like to see it gone ASAP. All of the British parties go along with that nonsense – and what integrity does that show as the first act of an MP? Only SInn Fein is honest enough to say, no way. They would not sit at Westminster anyway because they deny that the British parliament has any rightful jurisdiction in Ireland.

Which raises the question of why the BP turned up at the Euro parliament at all? Why not do a Sinn Fein and abstain entirely? Presumably they have their reasons.

quaybored

3rd July 2019 at 5:20 pm

Absolutely. What total and utter hypocrites. Just like UKIP. How dare they draw salaries and – ugh! – CLAIM EXPENSES from an institution which has no rightful jurisdiction in any part of the UK.

Marvin Jones

4th July 2019 at 2:08 pm

It is because of EU laws and rules you thicko!

Jerry Owen

3rd July 2019 at 7:25 pm

Publicity.

Joe Reed

3rd July 2019 at 7:32 pm

Cash.

Phil Ford

3rd July 2019 at 9:54 pm

I guess the money is a good incentive to get on the train to Brussels or Strasbourg, but I suspect that for most of them the chance to ‘get inside the belly of the beast’ – to see the EU from within – is too great an opportunity to miss out on. Personally, I think they should be there – all the better for them to report back their findings. Who knows, perhaps one or two of them will have their heads turned and ‘go native’… it’s a possibility.

Winston Stanley

8th July 2019 at 8:36 pm

QB has worked it out. We are always at our most vulnerable when we “feel” inclined to agree and to submit with the status quo, to even turn up. The capitalist state knows that and it uses it against us to the utmost. And the end result of that conformism is that you were long gone. Just a worker coughing in the mines for the bankers and smart uniforms. Sinn Fein always knew that, hopefully they still do or we really are all f/d.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A99XkkaxZn0

Winston Stanley

8th July 2019 at 9:13 pm

Winston Stanley

8th July 2019 at 10:08 pm

The British state shall never conquer us.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WwM8pCAynbM

Alex Ander

3rd July 2019 at 4:00 pm

I personally find the entire thing childish and tedious. Even as a Brexit advocate I found the back-turning “incident” to be ill-judged – and it’s needs to be called out for what it is: embarrassing and shameful and sending the wrong message – we’re not turning our backs on the EU – we’re leaving the EU but in a way that stills permits a meaningful and beneficial future relationship.

Moving on to the Lib Dem wallies and their crass t-shirt – the sheer irony of wearing t-shirt of protest inside the actual EU church they’d come to worship at is baffling! Their assault on democracy is a separate issue altogether…

British politics is a sheer embarrassment and a farce at the moment. In quite literally every direction you look in each of the UK parties you see a litany of issues ranging from buffoon-esq squabbling and in-fighting, to serious institutional racism and bullying, to threats to run the country in to the ground to prevent no-deal coupled with project fear. What a laughing stock the country is becoming!

And I fully agree – the debasing and normalising of the term “Nazi” is the real crime here – a real insult to those that are still alive today and who were caught up in the genuine horrors and atrocities of the second world war Nazi regime…

gershwin gentile

3rd July 2019 at 3:58 pm

Whenever I hear of the word Nazi being used in this way, I’m instantly transported back (I’m going a bit Alistair Cooke here) to when I used to listen to Bill Hicks, the Southern patter comic.

“He’s a Hitler!”

Neil McCaughan

3rd July 2019 at 3:56 pm

Mr O’Neill does remainers a grave disservice.

There are people in Islington literally at their wit’s end with worry about the future availability of camembert. The spectre of super-gonorrhoea stalks the better ladies’ colleges, while estate agents in the leafier suburbs sob themselves to sleep at the thought of what might happen, and all because of people in somewhere called Sunderland. Can Mr O’Neill spare no sympathy or understanding for the sort of people Emily Thornberry might invite to a supper party, no fellow feeling for poets and statesmen like Rory Stewart?

Obviously anyone who doesn’t bob and curtsey to the wholly beneficent EU is literally Hitler, and a Nazi, and probably hoards plastic drinking straws too.

Hana Jinks

3rd July 2019 at 5:14 pm

Tone it down a bit if you don’t mind. I’m never, ever gonna be able to unsee that mental picture of Thornberry entertaining her friends.

Jerry Owen

3rd July 2019 at 5:53 pm

Neil.
Don’t forget that people won’t get their coffee at Pret anymore . And those big 4×4’s need a lot of Poles to wash them !
But worst of all , what ever will we do without Belgian sperm ?

Jonnie Henly

3rd July 2019 at 5:56 pm

It must be weird to have your head rammed so far in the sand that yojre convinced everyone who dares to disagrees with you lives in one part of London.

It’s a small world I guess.

Jerry Owen

3rd July 2019 at 7:30 pm

Little Jonnie
It’s certainly a small brain you have!
London is indicative of a remain stronghold. London is the seat if power. I know this is a grown up site for adults but do try to keep up !

Jonnie Henly

3rd July 2019 at 8:15 pm

And that Jerry is where you expose the simplicity and childishness of your worldviews. There are many remain strongholds that London is not indicative of in any way shape or form.

The world doesn’t match up to your stupid stereotypes. Time for you to grow up and join the real world!

Winston Stanley

3rd July 2019 at 9:03 pm

That exchange reminds me of a funny movie that I saw the other night.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QVemkmX7iWE

Jerry Owen

3rd July 2019 at 10:21 pm

Little Jonnie .
You are a boreish pedant . You know full well what is meant in this article and you know full well what it says is correct. Try to formulate an argument for once if possible.

Jerry Owen

5th July 2019 at 8:54 am

Little Jonnie
London voted ‘remain’ London is typical ‘remainer’ territory just like other cities that voted ‘remain’ . A city voting remain is indicative .. of a remain voting City.

Joe Reed

3rd July 2019 at 7:22 pm

The great irony is that the camembert-scoffing, knowledge economy bourgies of Islington will be fine; the residents of Sundeland who actually voted leave will be fucked however.

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