An Election (26th May 2019)
by Chris Norris
Time was I clung to the idea
That it was not our style,
That fascist stuff; 'won't happen here,
The folk would run a mile'.
I thought our character showed clear,
Displayed this sceptred isle
As a land free from any fear
That 'hi' might change to 'Heil'.
That seemed to show the world that we're
Not folk you can beguile
By some shift of strategic gear
With new foes to revile,
New 'enemies within' to jeer,
And other ways to trial
The fascist line of yesteryear
On today's rank-and-file.
Think how we raised a wartime cheer
For Winston Churchill while,
Post-war, he'd be out on his ear
And choking on his bile.
We batted back the 'traitor' smear,
Returned it with a smile,
And thought: you types may domineer
But we're the xenophile
World-welcomers whom no frontier
Can henceforth domicile
Within the shit-filled Twittersphere
Where Farage tops the pile.
* * * * *
That's why I took a sanguine view,
Said ours was not the sort
Of country where some newborn crew
Of fascists could import
Old strategies to launch a coup,
Revive the beast we fought
The last time round in World War Two,
And teach what Hitler taught.
But now the fears are coming true,
The lesson's gone for naught,
The bigots and the racists queue
To pay their leaders court,
The tainted tints red, white and blue
Bedeck hate's juggernaut,
And who's to say what we can do
To counter its onslaught?
That's how the Farage movement grew
So fast, and how its short
Though lethal term in office threw
Dark shadow-lines athwart
Those native qualities I knew,
Or made-believe, or thought
Self-evident till I saw through
That 'We're exempt' retort.
For now the truth is out: they too,
Those sober Brits, disport
Themselves in fascist ways and slew
Far right when swine exhort,
When times are hard, when witches'-brew
'Solutions' are most sought,
And when it falls to some last few
Diehards to hold the fort.
Christopher Norris is Distinguished Research Professor in Philosophy at the University of Cardiff. He is the author of more than thirty books on aspects of philosophy, politics, literature, the history of ideas, and music.