Yes, I said it. Fascism. Not the alt-right. What the fuck does that mean? The alternative to what? It's not an alternative to standard conservative right-wing politics, it is going further than it. It is fascism. I wish we could ctrl-alt-del that term out of existence. People dislike the term fascism, you see. For some reason, can't think why, it reminds people of Hitler, and no political movement likes to be associated with Hitler even when he should be their idol. Hitler is so internationally reviled across the West that identifying with him is a bit of a faux pas. So, they call themselves the alt-right, and they act all affronted when you call them fascists, or snerk about Godwin's Law, and somehow they go on.
The greatest divisions in society are religion, ethnicity, and perhaps most importantly, class. Everyone likes to think they are a slightly higher class than they are, to give them a comfortable feeling of superiority. This can manifest in many different ways - from doing the odd shop at Marks and Spencer, to trying to get children into the better schools, to judging single parents, to generally hating immigrant workers. Fascism loves it. Fascism wants everyone in their place, and holds a hand out to the aggrieved and lacking in social mobility, and it says "This is all their fault". They can be the poor, the sick, the foreign, those of different faith. This is what Hitler excelled at - he told Germany that it's severe economic distress was not caused by poor government and war reparations, but by Jews, disabled people and gypsies. Switch out Jews for Muslims and gypsies for Eastern Europeans, and doesn't that sound familiar to UKIP and others rhetoric?
We have struggled economically as a nation since the banking collapses of 2009 onward, although our economy is one of the strongest in the world. We bailed out the foolish banks with public money. Ever since, we have been suffering under austerity budgets that cut and cut and cut. It is not the rich who particularly feel the brunt of this, because they are protected both by status and wealth. It is the Average Joe. It is you. It is me.
The NHS, an institution founded on socialism and the need to reward a ravaged nation with security, has been cut and cut and cut since the banking collapse. The Conservative government are destroying it, on purpose, because it is absolutely contrary to their ideology. But the news stories are about requiring passports at point of treatment to prevent health tourism. The people believe that the NHS is failing because of overdemand, not underbudgeting. The people believe that it is immigrants taking the NHS away, not a concentrated effort by the incumbent government to rid themselves of an outdated, unwieldy and expensive edifice. And 'the people' buy into this, because they aren't immigrants. They might go to the doctors every time they have a sniffle. They might have four months worth of unused medication in a cupboard for a rainy day. They might go to A+E after yet another punch up on a Friday night. But it's those damn immigrants ruining the NHS.
By the same logic, that idiot woman on Question Time who voted Conservative and was shocked when her benefits were cut. Surely only OTHER PEOPLE will suffer from cuts? The undeserving poor? The foreign? Not...normal people? Not, to quote the government's favourite phrase, hardworking people? Our government has no issue with insidiously implicating that the Others are to blame for all its problems, be they the chronically sick, the chronically underemployed. Muslims, immigrants or refugees.
And so fascism extends its greasy paw across Europe and the USA, promising results where centrist governments have not been seen as a success. Fascism promises that the immigrants and the Muslims will be dealt with, and the common man will rise again, and our country will be great again. Doesn't matter which country, they all promise the same thing: Take Our Country Back. Make America Great Again. Au Nom Du Peuple. Österreich Zuerst. Ein Reich, Ein Volk, Ein Führer.
But we only have to look at the example of 1930s Germany and Italy to know what happens when Fascists are democratically elected. Democracy goes down the pan. The poor stay poor. The rich stay rich. Civil rights are eroded or dispensed with altogether. Immigrants 'disappear', but this does not magically improve working lives. Religious dissent is not tolerated, regardless of what religion is adopted nationally. The only way out of poverty is through military service. Class is not eradicated, but entrenched even further. There is no social mobility.
It vexes me when the lower social classes adopt fascism as a cause. I can understand it among the wealthy - after all, fascism was very popular in Britain prior to the outbreak of World War II, primarily because the rich missed their servants and didn't like all these upstarts being independent. But the lower social classes, and that's the majority of my readership, are deluding themselves if they think that going further right will benefit them in the slightest. Balls to the alt-right. Balls to fascism. Recognise it. Shun it.