By Jack Meredith- @politicalwelshy
“We all want to help one another. Human beings are like that. We want to live by each other’s happiness – not by each other’s misery. We don’t want to hate and despise one another. In this world, there is room for everyone. And the good earth is rich and can provide for everyone. The way of life can be free and beautiful, but we have lost the way”~ Charlie Chaplin, from “The Great Dictator”, 1940.
This was Chaplin’s first speaking role, after years of being a silent movie star. It focuses on the plight of the Jewish people in the face of fascism, with a fascist regime headed up by Hynkel, the leader of the fictional land of Tomainia. The premise for the majority highlights the humanity of the Jewish people, compared to the buffoonery and selfishness of the ruling fascists.
The film’s closing speech, partly quoted above is regarded as one of the best speeches in film history, a call for peace and anti-fascism at a time when fascism was rife across Europe.
It is a shame, then, that this speech is more applicable to the modern-day UK than ever.
SNP MP Mhairi Black recently spoke in parliament, where she stated that we must be aware of the country’s move towards “the f-word” – fascism.
I am inclined to agree:
- Asylum seekers are being deported to Rwanda. The Human Rights Act is set to be scrapped. The rights to freely vote and protest have been infringed.
- DWP civil servants have been given police-like powers to deliver fines upon suspected benefit cheats, no matter whether the person in question has been found to break the law.
- The electoral commission is no longer independent and will be brought under government control.
- Trans people are not protected under the conversion therapy ban.
- The Prime Minister, despite having broken the law during the Covid lockdown period, remains in power.
- The Culture Secretary is selling-off Channel 4, on the grounds of “being too high a cost for the taxpayer”, despite not knowing that Channel 4 doesn’t receive public funding.
- The Home Secretary wants to reform the Official Secrets Act, to imprison journalists for up to 14 years for “embarrassing the government”.
These only cover some of the worrying decisions made by the current Conservative government – this rap sheet can stretch back 12 years.
I would disagree with Mhairi Black on one point though: we are not sleepwalking into fascism. We are welcoming it with open arms.
Whenever we say “never again”, we are supposed to mean it.
Instead, it’s become a meaningless phrase that we throw about on social media, along with a load of hashtags that are only included to differentiate ourselves as “one of the good ones”.
It is our duty to stand against fascism.
Let’s do it.