o. History never repeats itself so precisely, but it does move in cycles. Persecution begets freedom until someone thirsts for persecution again, and so it turns. Where once we invited the Windrush generation to help us rebuild a nation our Parliament happily granted them citizenship of, we then became a land that cared so little for them we tried, and perhaps succeeded, in throwing them back out. Today were a country where the Windrushers are good because they worked, while the Eastern Europeans who work harder and for less are bad because there was no money left. No politician made enough effort to point out what little money we had was provided by the immigrants - that because they paid more in than they took out, it was in our financial interest to keep the doors open. And if anyone did say it, no-one heard. It was time to distrust foreigners, and it was an easy political win for anybody who stoked it. Its only easy because its hard for an opponent to dispute a negative (Image: AFP) In that situa
tion telling it like it is becomes saying the unsayable. It turns political correctness, which is fundamentally merely displaying good manners, into unacceptable constriction of thought, and before long what youre saying is what used to be unthinkable. So softer Tories like Amber Rudd float the idea of a state register for migrants, and our only response is a dark remark about sewing an EU star on their sleeves. George Osborne could talk about shirkers bringing the state to its knees and Iain Duncan Smith could claim that cutting the welfare of sick and disabled people by up to 3,500 a year would improve their lot. People in wheelchairs demonstrating outside Parliament can be forcibly removed by police and those who drew a parallel with Nazi programmes which claimed to help the disabled who cost too much to care for by first sterilising, then euthanasing, and finally sending them to the gas chambers were called ridiculous. And it is - IDS did not intend to kill anyone, while Hitler did. But its worth bearing in mind that the 300,000 murders of the mentally and physically impaired that took place in Germany happened despite the fact that Josef Goebbels, Hitlers right-hand man and passionate exponent of the Final Solution, had a badly deformed right leg. Its possible even for one of them to think youre talking about someone else, and so join in enthusiastically. See Jeremy Corbyns Jewish fan club for details. Ive got one? (Image: PA) Sir Alan Sugar tweeted, and deleted , his picture of Corbyn and Hitler. But he posted it presumably to point out that to do nothing about anti-Semitism is to set foot on a road which leads, via a right-turn into blame and a hard left at the concept of homeland, into a cul-de-sac that has nothing but an oven in it. Its always possible to reverse, but Corbyn has found it remarkably hard to locate the gear stick or even the handbrake. He also seems incapable of ejecting Ken Livingstone from the passe
nger seat, even though his directions involve going back to 1933 and taking a wrong turn. And now Coco Chanel, a woman most of us associate with little black dresses and a perfume which was the only thing Marilyn Monroe wore in bed, t urns out to have been a Nazi spy all along. Newly-discovered papers found in the French archives show she was an agent of Nazi intelligence and was sent on missions by Heinrich Himmler himself. She had a lover in the Gestapo and tried to use the grotesque Aryanisation laws to snatch her perfume company back from the Jews she had previously sold it to. Suddenly she doesnt smell as sweet (Image: Getty) But she was also friends with Winston Churchill. Theres a possibility she was a double agent who worked for the Allies, and only agreed to work with the Nazis to free her nephew from a concentration camp. And thats the real problem with Nazis. They didnt have horns. It wasnt even definite for most of those who worked with or for the Reich. Today, the morons in Combat 18 videos are football hooligans and minor criminals with inferiority complexes and a sense of the hard-done-by. The only difference between them and the sadistic staff of the concentration camps is a lack of opportunity. The Nazis didnt just appear, and they never went away. They were always within us. Anti-Semitism was in the heart of Martin Luther when he wrote about evil Jews in the 16th century, and he wrote it down on parchment whereas today people write it on Twitter. As Morrissey should have sung, the more you ignore fascism the closer it gets. It is defeated only in that it is compelled to be quiet for a while, and when the voices begin to whisper its hard to remember where theyre coming from because it seems so reasonable to say we cannot be this nice to everyone or we might run out of niceness. Which is like telling a loved one theres only a finite number of cuddles availa
ble (Image: Getty) So yes, there are Nazis everywhere. Theyre marching in Charlottesville. Theyre getting elected in Germany. Theyve never left power in Italy. Theyre voting for Corbyn with the best of intentions, and any one of us would be as reluctant as he has been to tell our friends that theyre not showing their best side. And - heres the difficult bit - its not new. We spend so much time shouting about what used to be that we dont notice whats before us. This time there is Israel, and Brexit, and fake news which makes it easy to say WELL HITLER WAS A VEGETARIAN, MORRISSEY! while not noticing that his favourite food was liver dumplings. The world is different now to how it was then, but we are still the same. We still listen to The Smiths, still wear Chanel No5, and still pretend that theres someone else to blame. We still have to fight - but its not them. Its us.