Friday, 3 April 2020

Coronavirus fascism

The Coronavirus Act 2020 was passed into law on the 25th of March. The House of Commons approved the legislation without scrutiny or division. Having done so, the House voted for its own indefinite suspension (actually, it voted for recess until the 21st of April, but the recall is subject to it being deemed to be safe). And this is how easily fascism is instituted.

The Coronavirus Act contains two clauses that are of particular significance. They are tucked away in Part 2 Section 90 of the Act. The first states that a national authority may by regulation alter the expiry date. The second states that a national authority may by regulation alter any power. A national authority is a minister of the Crown. These two clauses provide the government with the power to do anything, for ever. The Coronavirus Act 2020 is our Enabling Act 1933.

In the space of a few weeks, the government has ended jury trials, abrogated the right to assembly, cancelled elections, curtailed the right to family life, ended freedom of movement within the country, restricted the right to freedom of expression, given the police arbitrary powers to arrest and detain, and provided itself with the power to control or prohibit any economic activity. The Coronavirus Act provides the legal fig leaf for these draconian measures and lays the basis for further, and unlimited, violations of our rights and liberties.

It is shocking to think that fascism could be implemented so easily and with so little opposition. The corporate media, far from attempting to hold the state to account, has been leading the call for ever more draconian measures. Piers Morgan, using ITV's Good Morning Britain, has emotively demanded, day after day, ever more restrictions on our liberties. Hardly a voice of scepticism, let alone dissent, has been heard on the platforms of the corporate media. Notable exceptions have been Peter Hitchens, using his blog at the Mail and Lord Sumption in an interview on the BBC Radio 4's World at One.

The lack of challenge from the corporate media is hardly surprising. However, that so many in the alternative media have supported this lurch to fascism is seriously depressing. It appears that the simple tactic of frighten the people and then offer a solution has worked like magic. Whilst many people may be sceptical (as can be seen on websites such as OffGuardian or the Blogmire), the lack of a platform for critical voices, the speed of the changes, the apparent unanimity of authority figures, the atomisation of the public imposed by social distancing, and fear of the unknown, has ensured that there is no organised opposition.

This is a significant difference between the introduction of fascism in Germany in 1933 and the introduction of fascism here in 2020. In Germany there was considerable organised opposition, from communists, socialists and trade unionists. Here there is nothing more than the isolated voices of individuals, who are either ignored or insulted. Their arguments and concerns are treated as acts of betrayal; they are construed as traitors and monsters; as mad, bad and dangerous. They are construed as idiots, who the authorities should treat harshly. Just as the Gestapo did not need to search for dissidents because ordinary Germans informed on their friends and neighbours, their colleagues and family, so now ordinary people are informing on anyone they suspect of not following the constantly changing, ever more draconian rules.

Everyone points to Nazi Germany and says we should learn the lesson of history, but apparently very few learnt that Hitler introduced fascism by parliamentary, legal means by offering a solution to exaggerated hysterical fears.

1 comment:

  1. Succinct, and a voice of reason. Thank you! Have shared this with others.