Nazi Comparisons And The Filthification of Political Discourse: PMQs Today mdi-fullscreen

When you’ve got your opponents pencilling in a little moustache under your nose and calling you a fascist, you really don’t want to help them out by saying you want to put them all into concentration camps. Don’t play into their hands by saying you want to break all their shop windows, execute their leaders and burn their parliament building down.

Rishi caused an early excitement on the benches opposite him by telling the SNP they couldn’t make their trains run in time. Not quite the same, you think? Insufficient totalitarian mania? Absence of genocidal energy? It’s only a matter of degree for the Left. In their discourse, Hitler started out as a One Nation Conservative, took an aggressive line on emigration, invaded Poland. The trajectory is, in three words, ineluctable. 

It may be that under Lineker’s leadership that they are winning the argument. That a larger part of the country than we might wish feel that the “small boats” in the Channel are the moral equivalent of the “little ships” of Dunkirk. That the traffickers running their fabulously profitable operations are so many Schindlers. The Left are very much better at this than the Right.

Does “The Left” still include the LOTO?

Keir ‘Storming’ Starmer went on a lightning raid of his own in PMQs. He is blitzing out of his ideological homeland in order to circumvent the Maginot Line the Tories are sheltering behind. He attacked them, daringly, on a far-flung flank. “Last summer, the Prime Minister said he wanted to protect free speech,” (Labour: Ah!) “And put a stop to No Platforming.” (Labour: Ah! Ah!) “So, how concerned was he by last week’s campaign by Tory MPs to cancel a broadcaster?”

The Labour leader is dressing himself in the uniform of the enemy. This isn’t as unusual as it should be: the Tories have been doing it for years – spending like socialists, dictating like communists. But whether Keir can pull off such a daring impersonation – “I Was Tony’s Double – remains to be seen. Especially as Rishi has rather got there first.

But to return to the football. We must remember that Gary Lineker – who seems a nice person, if a little dim – was clearly guilty of further polluting the political discourse – filthified as it already is.

He had also been humiliated over the weekend by seeing his flagship programme soar in the ratings as soon as he was banned from presenting it. Keir rubbed that in, unwittingly, no doubt. He baited the “snowflake MPs” opposite. “The sight of them howling with rage over a tweet. Signing letters in their dozens. Desperately trying to cancel a football highlights show.” In the subtext: “something as insignificant as that.”

Rishi returned fire using a couple of Labour front benchers who had criticised Lineker’s Nazi comparisons, and Keir came back with: “He doesn’t understand you can disagree with what somebody says but still defend their right to say it.”

Rosie Duffield – the Labour MP vilified and abused for saying that women don’t have penises – must have taken heart at these words. But then, she is characterised as “literally Hitler” in the circles Keir moves in. Will Keir himself survive this move to the centre ground? Under the new rules, isn’t the One Nation idea just a forerunner of Ein Volk, Ein Reich?

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