Tory chameleon Grant Shapps (as he styles himself today) has been quick to jump into the controversy around Gary Lineker.
Mr Lineker compared Tory rhetoric about asylum-seekers – who come across the Channel in small boats because the UK’s current government has closed off all their legal routes to seek sanctuary here – with that of the Nazis in 1930s Germany.
Here’s what Shapps had to say about that:
As a Jewish Cabinet minister I need no lessons about 1930s Germany from @GaryLineker. Like Gary, I am hosting refugees in my own home, but unlike Gary, I do not believe it is either right or moral to tolerate criminal gangs trafficking vulnerable people across the channel.
— Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP (@grantshapps) March 8, 2023
Of course the obvious answer to this is to point out that his colleague, Home Secretary Suella ‘De Vil’ Braverman, isn’t targeting the “criminal gangs” at all; she’s persecuting the “vulnerable people” instead. And Shapps is fine with that.
The less obvious answer is to point out that, as a Jewish Cabinet minister, Shapps should be more concerned about the similarity of Braverman’s language to that of UK politicians in the 1930s.
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Here’s Professor Tim Wilson to explain:
When Nazi Germany was persecuting Jews, the UK government “ramped up” laws to prevent adult Jewish people from coming here.
The Kindertransport initiative was laudable, but we should not let it mask the fact that the UK turned its back on those children’s parents and left them to be transported to extermination camps.
The EU and UN conventions on human rights, both of which were created in the 1950s, were set up in acknowledgement of our – and other countries’ – failure to do the right thing.
And now Braverman is turning her back on those conventions because she wants vulnerable people who are fleeing persecution to suffer. It’s the 1930s all over again.
Here’s an example of 1930s rhetoric, pulled at random from Twitter:
What people conveniently forget is that before the war the UK closed it's borders to Jews trying to flee the Nazi terror.
There was the same kind of rhetoric then, from the very same newspapers. pic.twitter.com/50RvVRiDdX
— Malcolm Mair (@Fruich) March 9, 2023
“The way stateless Jews from Germany are pouring in from every port of this country is becoming an outrage. I intend to enforce the law to the fullest.” Was it an “invasion”, of the kind recently described by Braverman?
Sadly the UK’s main opposition party – Labour – is standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the Tories on this issue. In an LBC radio interview, Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper said Gary Lineker was wrong to make his comparison with the 1930s:
Yvette Cooper thinks Gary Lineker was wrong to compare the Government's dehumanising language to that used by Germany in the 30's. Even though a Holocaust survivor confronted Suella Braverman pointed out the same thing.pic.twitter.com/oYW0IiuHHW
— Mukhtar (@I_amMukhtar) March 8, 2023
Perhaps she was covering for her boss, Keir Starmer, whose words in Prime Minister’s Questions harked back to the UK’s political rhetoric of the 1930s:
I’d missed this. I didn’t think so could be shocked by anything @Keir_Starmer said or did, but he said, “They sit in hotels and digs for months on end at taxpayers’ expense.” Think about that, in the context of far-right attacks & racism vs asylum seekers. pic.twitter.com/NyIeuRDuio
— Ben Sellers (@MrBenSellers) March 9, 2023
During the same exchange, Starmer equated Channel migrants with rapists:
Sorry, but what is Keir Starmer doing here other than equating migrants with rapists in the public mind, unintentionally or otherwise? https://t.co/HcifXGe0k5
— Owen Jones (@OwenJones84) March 8, 2023
We should be thanking Mr Lineker for raising the issue of inhumane policies directed at people who are too vulnerable to resist.
But it is clear that we didn’t have to look as far as Nazi Germany to find parallels with the 1930s. Both the government and its opposition are parroting British racists of that time.
They shame us all.
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My understanding is that Hitler only became anti-Semitic after he went to live in Vienna where opportunist politicians used the issue for their own cynical ends.
That is a warning that needs to be heeded.
Just an aside to ‘Tony’s’ comment really – if I recall correctly, it was a Jewish officer who put young Adolf up for an Iron Cross in WW1…
Wasn’t grant s being pursued by the FBI not so. Long ago and they rather dropped it when asked by the cons pity has he would have been jailed
Does any Labour Party member believe honestly that this man and his bunch of pole climbing thugs should run the country? It’s starting to become a very real possibility. Decent left wingers should be horrified. We are all now homeless. Don’t give me Jock the Hats vanity project.