Put that in your pipe and smoke it…
I know how Anna Soubry feels
Leavers have been called Nazis for two-and-a-half years and nobody came to our defense.
I felt a new emotion yesterday: empathy with the Conservative MP and arch-Remainer Anna Soubry. In response to protesters on College Green who were chanting ‘Soubry is a Nazi!’ as she was being interviewed by the BBC, Soubry said: ‘I do object to being called a Nazi.’ And I knew just how she felt. Many Leave voters will have. Because for two-and-a-half years we have been similarly libelled as Nazis, branded by everyone from Prince Charles to the Archbishop of Canterbury to broadsheet columnists as racist, xenophobic cretins whose self-destructive vote to leave the EU has resuscitated the ‘fascist tradition’ (in the archbishop’s words).
So we know how you feel, Ms Soubry. And we know it isn’t nice. To be denounced as fascistic simply because you hold a political opinion that others do not like is horrible and demeaning. I am glad it has only happened to you a couple of times, whereas for us Leavers it has felt like a daily occurrence. There it is, day in, day out, in the mutterings of Remain-leaning politicians, in the bilious output of Lord Adonis (leaving the EU is comparable to ‘appeasement in the 1930s’, he said), in the increasingly frenzied claims made by sections the academy (Brexit is the ‘harbinger of a return to the 1930s’, professors insist) – time and again that ugly slur that says the 17.4million who voted for Brexit either have Nazi leanings or certainly helped to bring about a Nazi-like climate.
But here’s a question, a question that demands an answer from all of those who are up in arms about the horrible ‘Nazi’ chants made at Ms Soubry yesterday. People like Norman Smith of the BBC, for example, who asked: ‘Is this what it’s come to… Nazi taunts?’ The question is this: why are you only now offended by Nazi taunts? Where was your outrage during the ceaseless, background noise of Nazi taunts against Leave voters over the past two-and-a-half years? Why do gruff blokes shouting ‘Nazi’ at Anna Soubry offend you more than bishops and princes of the realm and well-educated columnists effectively doing the same to ordinary voters, though of course in expertly crafted speeches and pristinely worded newspaper columns rather than in rough bellowing from a public green?