Commies are getting a good press

Lefties are somehow assumed to be doing things for idealistic reasons, and for the collective good, and their high motives excuse their appalling solutions. That is why the servants of communist tyranny get sympathetic obits, and modern British girls wear CCCP T-shirts, and that is why a Labour Government can enact a series of authoritarian measures that a Conservative government could not contemplate
Why do these mass-murdering commies get such a good press? It is not given to us to know whither the Almighty has dispatched the soul of Melita Norwood, who died quietly last week in Bexleyheath at 93. Whether she is reading her obits from above or below, I reckon she will be pretty pleased. There she is, sniffing a rose, or smiling with hair-clipped innocence, like some author of wholesome books for children. Her deeds are reported in the affectionate tones that obituarists reserve for the practitioners of some romantic but moribund faith. She might be the last speaker of old Cornish, or the last person to have consecrated her life to proving that Stonehenge was built by spacemen as an observatory for the study of worms. As it happens, she was "the most important British female spy ever recruited by the KGB". From the 1930s she used her position as a secretary at the British Non-Ferrous Metals Research Association to pass ever more vital atom secrets to Stalin's Soviet Union. In other words, she was a tool for one of the most murderous regimes ever seen, and continued blissfully betraying this country throughout the Cold War, and, as she later admitted, in full knowledge of Stalin's slaughter. File after file she shovelled to her KGB handlers, to the point where she is credited by some with accelerating Russia's acquisition of nuclear weapons by two years. She was only unmasked in 1999, thanks to the testimony of a Soviet defector; and after a brief hubbub it was decided by the then home secretary, Jack Straw (himself a former Trot), that at 87 she was too old to prosecute. I do not quarrel with that decision, but there is something in the eirenic tone of her valedictions that reminds me of the amazing indulgence we show - now that communism is meant to be dead - to commies, socialists and Lefty tyrants of all kinds. Cycling through London, I check out the words on people's T-shirts, and I was amused the other day to see the letters CCCP on someone's chest. Yup, folks, that's what the fashion-conscious British youth is wearing, a celebration of the great doomed Soviet experiment of 1917-90. Remind me: who was the greater mass murderer, Stalin or Hitler? Well, Stalin is thought to have been responsible for about 50 million deaths, and Hitler for a mere 25 million. What Hitler did in his concentration camps was equalled if not exceeded in foulness by the Soviet gulags, forced starvation and pogroms. What makes the achievements of communist Russia so special and different, that you can simper around in a CCCP T-shirt, while anyone demented enough to wear anything commemorating the Third Reich would be speedily banged away under the 1986 Public Order Act? Just to prove my theory that commie tyranny was still chic, I sent a Spectator assistant to Camden Lock market, and she returned shining-eyed, with tales of hammer and sickle T-shirts, and laden with badges of the foremost commie creeps of history. There was a badge of Lenin - good old Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov. He was responsible for killing about five million people, but a Lenin badge is obviously cool, as cool as hanging out and showing your midriff in the new chain of vodka bars called "Soviet". She had a badge of Castro. Charismatic old Fidel. Yours to pin to your nipple for only £1.99. Now will someone explain the moral difference between enthusiasm for Fidel Castro and enthusiasm for Augusto Pinochet? Both are appalling Latin American dictators. Both have bad human rights records. Both have had their misdeeds winked at, one way or another, by Uncle Sam. Tell me, O ye coolers and groovers, why is it OK to wear a badge with Fidel on it, but very much not OK to wear a badge showing Pinochet? There is only one man in Britain who might even consider wearing a Pinochet badge on his lapel, and that is Norman Lamont, and much as I admire Norman I would not describe him as cool. Even more extraordinary than badges of Lenin for sale in London, I read that Lefty tyrant chic is to be found in the territories once tyrannised by Russia. How is it possible that in Lithuania there is now a Stalin theme park, complete with 13 giant effigies of Lenin (remember: he killed five million)? Why is it somehow post-modern and ironic and slick to commemorate these thugs, while any theme park in honour of the Nazis would be rightly denounced as mad and in the height of bad taste? Why is it so obvious to everyone that Melita should be left to a quiet old age in Bexleyheath - with not even a whiff of a prosecution - when we continue to chivvy out every last collaborator with the Nazis, now matter how decrepit, and herd them into the courts? Remember the case of that nonagenarian Italian who was finally arraigned last year, at vast expense and with extreme evidential difficulty. On the first day of the trial the prisoner was asked to identify himself by the judge, and promptly expired. I do not say that we are wrong in hounding these relics of fascism; my point is that we are curiously indifferent to the behaviour of their extreme Left-wing counterparts, and that in general the Left is able to get away with things that would otherwise be viewed as nauseating and shameful. Why, to put it bluntly, is Labour allowed to get away with all this? Imagine the howls of hate, if a Conservative government had spent the past few weeks eroding the right to trial by jury, abolishing habeas corpus, curtailing free speech, and then slapped on the plastic poll tax - the ID card. Lefties are somehow assumed to be doing things for idealistic reasons, and for the collective good, and their high motives excuse their appalling solutions. That is why the servants of communist tyranny get sympathetic obits, and modern British girls wear CCCP T-shirts, and that is why a Labour Government can enact a series of authoritarian measures that a Conservative government could not contemplate. I cannot explain this injustice: I merely point it out.

133 thoughts on “Commies are getting a good press”

  1. I agree there is something of a dichotomy between how figures of the political left and right are treated. In fact it reminded me that a friend of mine wore clothes that had been produced and sold in reasonably large numbers with ‘CCCP’ on them a few years ago. They were also red, for good measure.

    My idea for the reasoning behind this dichotomy builds on what the content of the article — the left is seen somehow as more harmless than the right. My reasoning for this is that those of a left wing persuasion are less frightening, they are significantly different from ourselves for us to be able to distance them from us. The right, however, is not. As you will know, there has been twice as much conservative government over labour since the second world war. Why? One rational answer is that the electorate is more right wing than left. I think that by 1997 the voting public had become bored with politics – or perhaps it was the media who attacked it, after all Princess Diana was not such a lucrative source of scandal so they turned their attention elsewhere – which was represented by conservative government, and so wanted a change for change’s sake. Labour represented something else, something different, less understood, and therefore less prone to criticism. Is it not far easier to criticise oneself than one another?

    However, to return to a comparison with political figures, I am not about to say that the majority of the voting public secretly think that ‘Hitler had the right idea’, though it would seem a disturbing but albeit small proportion do (17% of the electorate in the Barking constituency voted for the BNP). It is merely that some of the ideas he stood for at the beginning of his political career are shared by many even today – controlling inflation, making the trains run on time etc. are all things that the majority would undoubtedly agree with. It is therefore more disturbing when political regimes such as those go wrong, as they overlap with our own views. Communism is entirely different and incompatible with the way of life of an overwhelming majority of Britons. Therefore, whether it goes well or ill does not really enter our heads, however, when something to which we lend support, or who lends support to us (such as Mr Pinochet – I recall Baroness Thatcher saying eh had been of help during the conflict in the Falklands) we panic. The stiff upper lip comes in to play as we believe (perhaps rightly) that ripping of the sticking plaster quickly and completely is the simplest solution.

    Just to refer to your latter point, this is what makes a Conservative government a softer target – it is easier to criticise oneself than one another. I don’t think people feel ashamed, merely in need of freshness and rejuvenation. This is what the conservative party requires to make itself electable, rather like Mrs Thatcher as she then was in 1979 – ideas of new policies which appealed to people who might as easily vote conservative as not, e.g. right to buy.

  2. Pure genius.

    I would suggest it is the many years of ongoing lefty propaganda that has created the conditions for the phenomenon you describe. But i’d wager that if your article was posted on every street corner in Britain we could at least start to redress the balance and restore sanity to the nation, if not the world.

  3. “I cannot explain this injustice: I merely point it out.”

    The theme of the whole article, really.

    But I assume the ‘I cannot explain’ is rhetorical, because certainly people have tried to analyse the psychological appeal of the socialist ideology. Here, for example, is a very good attempt by a writer (who is, incidentally, a psychiatrist and a regular Spectator columnist):

    http://www.newcriterion.com/archive/23/oct04/che.htm

    There are also some fascinating and penetrating insights into the mindset in “The Philosopher on Dover Beach”:

    http://www.rogerscruton.com/books/phil_dover_essays.html

    As Mr Daniels makes clear in the piece on Che Guevara, Communist ideology provided an excellent rationale for the wish to exercise tyrannical power. No wonder it held such an appeal for immature minds like Che’s.

    However, it has many other psychological rewards to offer its adherents. And this is why it continues to thrive even when it has been intellectually discredited and seen to have been a failure and a horror. There’s no mystery here: those who promote it have an interest in it. They have an undeclared (and perhaps not fully-conscious) psychological and emotional interest.

  4. Well the “CCCP” (“SSSR”) t-shirts are cool in my book because that’s what the Soviet olympic / football teams wore in the olympics / world cups of the 80s. And as anyone knows, the 80s are hip and trendy once again. It’s nostalgia, and everyone remembers the famous clashes of USA and USSR sports teams in the 80s; the CCCP “logo” is an icon of the period, and that’s why it’s seen as cool to wear.

    What’s that, you’re not *shocked* that youngsters don’t think through the implications of what they are wearing?

    Similar is the wearing of “LONSDALE” tops, which used to be worn (maybe still are?) by neo-Nazis, with another top on top, open only to reveal the letters “NSDA” (i.e. the Nazi party). I don’t suppose kids who wear the tops in the same way really know or understand that.

    Oh and thanks for “eirenic” – new word for the day – my dictionary prefers the alternate spelling “irenic” and it means:
    “Promoting peace; conciliatory.”
    Cheers Boris!

    Tim.

  5. The problem is that “50 million deaths” is just a lie, a result of thу Cold War propaganda, which still persists. This bullshit has never been proved by any scientific research. One day this lie will be refuted. I am not a communist, but can confidently assert that the anticommunists are MUCH worse (Hitler or Pinochet are only the most freaky exaples).

  6. Whilst I do not wish to commend either regime, I abhor that anyone is, even mistakenly, making Hitler look ‘better’ than Stalin.
    This is a huge error, not only because the ‘25,000,000’ to ‘50,000,000’ statistic is completely useless – Stalin had double the time to wreak his wrath as Hitler had.
    Not only this, but they had vastly different (but both utterly detestable) ‘reasons’ for these terrible acts: Hitler’s were mainly race motivated through the perverted ideas he had of ‘superiority’ between peoples, whereas (if I’m not mistaken), Stalin’s were more politically motivated, i.e. the great number of people who opposed the regime in even the smallest way.
    However, all this pales in comparison to this: surely one murder is one too many, and each beyond comparison to another, since everyone means something to someone else.

  7. Boris, didn’t YOU have a Che Guevara watch?

    I expect people buy these things because they are graphically very attractive, and the people in question are ignorant of their appalling history.

    It may well be that kids are wearing swastika shirts in all innocence two or three hundred years from now, appalling as it may sound.

  8. and the comparison between 50 million and 25 million would only be valid were both Stalin and Hitler rulers of equal populations for equal amounts of time

  9. Well said, Boris. An argument I’m sure many of us have tried to express at one time or another, but failed to express adequately.

    I think the problem lies not necessarily in the pro-left romanticisms of society (of which there are undoubtedly many), but more the way in which the ‘far-right’ regimes have many more TV documentaries made about them, much more school hours devoted to their study, and so on. Yes, it is another issue of the ignorance of the youth of today, that they do not understand what these symbols are or what they represent; they are simply ‘cool’.

    People are slaves to fashion, whether they want to believe it or not. The almost underground culture from which t-shirts like those described in the article originate, generally consist of those who refuse to believe that they are slaves to fashion. They see ‘slaves to fashion’ as being the ‘chav’ culture, with their sports tracksuits, highly intellectual ‘FCUK’ apparel, and so on.

    But they are, and it is such ignorance and views that the designs of these t-shirts are ‘cool’ which spread the problem. People don’t know what they’re wearing (or supporting in some way or another) and what it represents.

  10. Yuri is wrong: recent historical research has put the number of deaths caused by Stalin’s regime at around 55 000 000, and the number seems to grow as more Soviet archive sources become available.

  11. Boris,
    Socialism, at least for my generation, was cocking a snoop at your headmaster (I believe it used to be compulsory for all headmasters to be Tories), throwing off the chains of oppression, and having a cigarette with your comrades behind the bike shed.
    I suspect that today, now head masters tend to be Marxists and Trotskyists, and having a cigarette behind ( but not inside) the bike shed is one’s human right, we will shortly see our contrary youth flocking into the fold of the Tory party.

  12. Boris,
    Communism despite the fact that it was founded by men of power and wealth (The Illuminati) appeals to poor and disenfranshised people because they believe it believes in equality and justice for all. Young people have romantic ideas about Socialism, their heroes Che Guavara, Fidel Castro, Lenin et al are Freedom fighters against Capitalism and Oppression. Human nature being what its means that yesterdays rebels are tommorrows Establishment and left wing dictators can be just as cruel and tyrannical as those on the right eg Franco and Pinochet. Many people refuse to accept this fact.

  13. Our perception that Hitler was worse than Stalin is well grounded in fact.

    The Nazis were directly responsible for about 11 million deaths (including those of 6 million Jews) in concentration camps, ghetto killings and mass executions. (This figure doesn’t include indirect and unintentional deaths through war and starvation etc. We can obviously blame Hitler for World War II and attribute all wartime deaths to him if we wish to inflate the figures.)

    Stalin was responsible for about one million people being shot between 1935 and 1950. (Indirect and unintentional deaths from famines, deportations, prison conditions etc. have been estimated at 8 to 20 million.)

    Boris states that “Lenin . . . was responsible for killing about five million people”. When and where did Lenin kills these people? Is Lenin being blamed for all the casualties in the Russian Revolution and the civil war, perhaps even the First World War? I’d be curious to know.

    I am sorry if this sounds a bit blunt, but we need to get our facts straight if we want this blog (and Boris Johnson MP!) to be taken seriously.

    Some basic sources:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hitler
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stalin
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vladimir_Lenin

  14. Actually, if someone were to fabricate a Pinochet appreciation T Shirt, I would probably buy it. Genocide is soooooo this season.

  15. John East: “I’m not sure I follow your argument that Stalin was not as bad as Hitler.”

    That was _not_ my argument. Obviously both Hitler and Stalin were absolutely repugnant. This is not a numbers game.

    What I wrote was, “Our perception that Hitler was worse than Stalin is well grounded in fact.” I was referring to the common perceptions noted by Boris.

    John: “You point out that the Nazis were directly responsible for about 11 million deaths, whereas Stalin was responsible for about 9 to 13 million deaths, the majority of which were “indirect and unintentional”. If Stalin wasn’t as bad as Hitler he was certainly more careless”.

    I didn’t contrast killings under Hitler with ‘indirect and unintentional’ deaths under Stalin (and you’ve also got the figures wrong). As I explained above, we can attribute a huge number of indirect deaths in the Second World War to the Nazis – they were the aggressors after all! I didn’t give a figure for this.

    The point of my comment (‘my argument’) was that we should check the historical facts first before we write about them.

  16. Lori: “It may well be that kids are wearing swastika shirts in all innocence two or three hundred years from now, appalling as it may sound.”

    They might be. But, there again, the swastika is not a Nazi symbol: it’s merely a symbol the Nazis made use of.

    You can find them in the floor here:

    http://www.theheritagetrail.co.uk/roman%20britain/lullingstone.htm

    Or in many a Hindu temple.

    As for Simon Holledge’s ignorant and immoral attempt to defend the indefensible – par for the course. What else would one expect from a man of that moral character?

  17. Why do they wear these things? It’s just basic knee-jerk stupidity. No thought has gone into the decision other than “Hey! This T-shirt is a bit radical man. This will upset the Daily Mail. That’s one in the eye for capitalism!” Never mind that these T-shirts are worn by half the students in the Western world and mass-produced by the most cynical kinds of capitalists. No, the USSR was left wing and anti-America so it can’t be all bad. Riiiiight.

  18. I’m sorry, but I totally disagree with the whole stereotypical image of ALL commies being mass-murderers. Stalin was a communist. Yes, he was. But not all the communists who voted for him wanted to kill lots of people. They just wanted to see their country emerge from under the squalor. They wanted to be IMPORTANT. They didn’t know what Stalin was doing. He was ONE man.

    The communist doctrine isn’t to kill lots of people. To think so is simply ridiculous. I’m not a commie myself, but nor am I Conservative, and I think, if I may do so, that this is an evil piece of propaganda used to influence people’s votes who don’t know the truth. Yes, many people have heard of Stalin and the sin that he committed. Yes, many of this majority also know that he’s a Communist. But what they’re possibly NOT familiar with are the non-mass-murdering majority of the communists. And therefore this is taking advantage of the majority of the population. *huff*

  19. Michael: “As for Simon Holledge’s ignorant and immoral attempt to defend the indefensible – par for the course. What else would one expect from a man of that moral character?’

    Oh dear, another ad hominem attack from Michael! If my defence of hard-working historians who spend long hours in libraries attempting to get at an approximation of the truth offends you in some obscure way, then so be it!

    I am not defending anything here except historical accuracy. I am not offering a personal opinion on Dictatorship A versus Dictatorship B as I have already made clear.

    Enough!

  20. I’m still undecided as to whether Mugabe qualifies as a left-wing dictator for the land theft program (similar in concept to the one our leftist ‘government’ in Scotland has enacted) or a right-wing dictator for being a racist. I suppose ‘thug’ will suffice for now. Unless you’re Mugabe apologist Thabo Mbeki of course!

  21. I have to commend you on doing an excellent job of tarring all left-wing people with the same brush. In fact, many left-wing people abhor the plans for removing the right to trial and the national database/ID card plans, and it is a well known fact that Blair has been the best Tory PM since Thatcher.

  22. The way i see it, Hitler and Stalin were both Authoritarians (like Blair). Their “left” and “right” positions may be opposite, but their insistence on total state control makes them the same. Which is, of course, why I voted for a libertarian – Mr Boris Johnson.

    One main reason (ok,i went and asked some yoof) that CCCP has become popular is because it’s NOT (in capitals!) American. There appears to be a growing disquiet about the recent actions and opinions of America that many people are reacting against. Associating oneself with America’s greatest enemy is a form of protest against their empire building.

    Shame they are wearing clothing designed, manufactured, and marketed by the very people the are protesting against, though!!

    :o)

  23. omigosh! and I thought I was looking for trouble with my ‘ban poorly behaved kids from restaurants’ chant from earlier in the week then Boris goes ahead and writes an article comparing Stalin and Hitler and all manner of things!!!
    So my comment is , where do we draw the line ? because I vaguely recall Boris wearing a skull and crossbones emblazoned head scarf as part of his jogging attire and if we dig a bit further back in history we shall find that this was the symbol used by a rather unsavoury bunch known as ‘Pirates’ who were into killing and marauding.
    He without sin may cast the first stone….

  24. Boris, you silly bugger, you have resorted to the cheap and hackneyed propaganda trick of lumping all political opponents together. The logic is: “You are leftwing, Stalin was leftwing, Mao was leftwing, therefore you, Stalin and Mao are indistinguishable”
    The expected response, for those daft enough to take you seriously would be to lump the right together. “John Major and Mussolini? I can’t tell the difference.”
    I happen to believe that there capitalism is short of perfection, and government should intervene to impose standards of behaviour with regard to the environment and ethics on those corporations whose only goal is the amassing of wealth. Does this mean that I would send Teresa Gorman to the gulag?
    So sod off, Bozza, you have clearly demonstrated the lie that underlies the phrase “One nation Conservatism”. Get back to being the nation’s favourite buffoon. You have found your niche there, be happy with it.

  25. I missed completely the point in the article where Boris called all left-wing thinkers, voters and supporters ‘murderers’ or the like; perhaps someone could point it out to me? Not every ‘lefty’ is a murderer, and similarly not every ‘righty’ (or whatever they may be called) is one. I’m sure not every supporter of Hitler in early/mid-1930s Germany was a Jew-killer. Doesn’t make it any more acceptable to wear a t-shirt with a picture of Hitler on it now, does it?

    “…and if we dig a bit further back in history we shall find that this was the symbol used by a rather unsavoury bunch known as ‘Pirates’ who were into killing and marauding.”

    Brilliant! 😀

  26. – Oh TJ – don’t!

    – KevinT – I must defend Simon Holledge at all costs as he is quite a hero. BTW, I agree with your sentiment that there is a pull to the radical

    – Kay – you and I are coming from quite different stables … oh well!

    Well you may see Boris as a pirate as I would my dearly beloved son … it’s that element of unpredictability

    – Vicus – YOU ARE BACK! perish the thought that we would ban any views – our revered Hero -.

    Aaron – pirates ahoy! be our skipper?

  27. Kevin T: Surely everything upsets the Mail? They have no journalistic quality to offer, so they must be disgruntled about something.

    Aaron: Indeed most NS supporters of the early to mid-thirties were not antisemitic. This was because the Nazis did not disclose their true hatred of the Jews until some time around Kristallnacht (Night Of The Broken Glass). However, there were signs of it if you looked closely enough, although, being fair to the German population of the time, would they really have read ‘Mein Kampf’ or the NS manifesto before the election (how many of us can say we read the entire Tory/Labour/Lib Dem manifesto before this year’s election?)?

    Another point I would like to highlight is that Hitler was equally anti-Slav as he was antisemitic. He felt the Slavs were undeserving of the land that they held – he wanted Lebensraum (‘living space’) for the Aryan race – which is probably why he decided to invade the Soviet Union rather than finishing off Britain, as he perhaps should have done. That way he would have controlled a great deal of Eastern Europe, as well as the entire of the West (apart from Spain/Ireland/Switzerland, who were neutral during WW2). Essentially, his extreme hatred of the Slavs prevented victory in World War Two in 1940.

  28. Without getting into the rather shoddy argument about who has killed more (I rather think the people who banned DDT have more blood on their hands than either of the foul dictators mentioned) the premise that Nazi insignia has not been worn is false. I have seen plenty of New York based bands wear just such clothing, whether ironically or not I don’t know, but neither do I assume that those wearing Soviet apparel are politically motivated in the direction their clothing may suggest (although the anti-US argument is one that rings true).

  29. The CCCP logo was more than just its leaders. Like an earlier poster said it can be unrelated to politics even; it is sporting achievement, imagery, nostagia, retro style etc etc.

    People also wear the Union Flag for many different reasons, it is unfair to just associate it with the BNP or the slave trade or the millions that died under imperialistic oppression both today and yesteryear under the British Empire!

    For me CCCP stands for the idealistic rebellious underdog, this is something the Tories could never stand for, although if they keep losing elections like this they might start losing their establishment tag.

  30. The argument as to which dictator killed the more or most of the dissenters in his bailiwick, is a barren one, since there are no exact figures available. In any case, figures themselves cannot express the almost universal repugnance engendered then, and still today, for such examples of Man

  31. Macarnie: There speaks a man who would be good to have in the BNP. There is already dissent amongst the have-nots of this country, especially when they see the benefit-seekers coming here and being given things that they cant afford. The trouble always starts when the poor get poorer and the rich get richer, as in Russia and Germany in the last century.

    My daughter bought a T-shirt only the other with “Come back Adolf – all is forgiven” emblazoned across the front. When I asked her who “Adolf” was, she replied “I think he was the President of Germany or somewhere”. So you see, despite the millions who died in the name of freedom, the younger generation haven’t learnt and they will go down the same path in the near future.

  32. Thanks for the invitation Wendy, but no thanks: I think I’ll pass on that one.

    I am not xenophobic,rather the opposite; but speak as I found in personal encounters with the folk of the above mentioned countries, over a number of years. I do sympathise , however, on the point of illegal immigration. The Liebour Government yesterday actually owned up to there being a huge amount of these people here. Exact figures .again, are not available, thanks to the completely reversed priorities of this Government.Whatever the number, it is way too high.
    Border control? They couldn’t police a child’s jig saw puzzle; probably because they haven’t the wish to do so.

  33. without communism, the soviet union and stalin, we would be speaking german right now. I suggets boris reads some history of the second world war.

    and im not convinced that the people of yugoslavia were better off when communism fell, especially the ones who were raped tortured and slaughtered.

    the USA just killed 100,000 iraqis, lets ban the stars and stripes shall we? the only war ir ecall the russians starting was afghanistan, to wipe out the taliban, whom the CIA funded.
    read some history boris.

  34. The Russian victory over the Nazis came about because of two things – they have extremely harsh winters, which they know how to exploit for military gain, and they built an enormous army, bigger than any the Nazis could hope to field. Neither of those things would have been any different, had they had a revolution in favour of democratic government instead of communist.

    Incidentally, I’m sure someone suggested that the Russians voted for Lenin and Stalin – did they read any history books at school? I’m pretty sure that they seized power via a bloody revolution, removing the (hugely unpopular) Tsar Alexander by way of killing him and all his family. Stalin’s approach to gaining power was to exile Trotsky and place as many of his cronies in powerful positions as possible. I don’t think the masses were ever consulted…

  35. John- thanks for helping me make my point on the Pirates!

    Melissa- ahem..I get the distinct feeling that I’ve been booted out of the cheerleading squad? say isn’t so?

  36. Not so Kay – totally agree with the last line of the earlier comment you made

    >He without sin may cast the first stone….

    It’s good to have you debating pirates – so keep going, you’re doing brilliantly.

    You’re very much an asset to our squad – come and see us in London one day

  37. Phil, it was in fact Tsar Nicholas II who was removed from power by the Bolsheviks, not Alexander! In fact, he abdicated, offered the throne to his brother (who sensibly refused it [I think]) and Lenin seized power. It was only once Lenin was in power that the family was murdered, out of fear that their presence might cause a bourgeois uprising. Sorry to be picky.

  38. Sorry to be even more picky, but actually the first government after the fall of the zar was Kerensky that was toppled in blood shed by Lenin and co. The problem with Stalin and his brand of communism is well described by Orwell (I writer I love, that everybody mentions and I doubt many have read…), the way they use willing fools to get into places of power, how they get rid of people that think with their own minds and so can be dangerous, how they get into the media and so on. Unfortunately, I wonder if the present Labour government is not completely full of willing idiots, seeing what they are doing to the country. As for fashion statements made by the young, sorry, but one does like to be rebellious, I had a Che badge at 15, he was handsome, died young and was a revolutionary, what more can you want? Then, hopefully, one grows up, and can continue to be a socialist if one wants, but realises that the government doesn

  39. For anyone to suggest that ANY free voting was allowed in USSR , and in particular that anyone freely voted for Stalin , is like saying a whole flock of turkeys had the choice of voting for Christmas or Thanksgiving.
    Apparently forgotten, and therefore worthy of mention, in the so called Soviet victory over Nazi Germany, was the vast amount of Anglo American aid,delivered through the most arduous of seas, at tremendous danger to ships and personnel, without which the Communists may just not have held out intil Father Winter came , once again, to the rescue.

  40. Living, as I do, in Edinburgh and awaiting, as I do, the carnage that these morons are about to visit upon this great capital city, I have a particular take on Boris’s excellent article.

    The 5 million number especially in particular.
    http://infinitivesunsplit.blogspot.com/2005/06/statistics-and-g8.html

    And this man:
    http://drinksoakedtrotsforwar.blogspot.com/2005/06/boris-johnson-gets-revolutionary.html
    has yet another take, with some fabulous merchandise to go with it!

    Toodle pip.
    P-G

  41. Ahoy there! [Waving from Dublin.]

    This won’t appear in the Telegraph, will it? I was comfy here up to now. 😉

    I’m surprised there are not more references to Gee Whizz Dubya in this thread. He may not have a ‘gulag’ but he’s still a disgrace.

  42. I noted earlier that Boris had written (above) that “Lenin . . . was responsible for killing about five million people” and asked when and where Lenin killed them?

    No-one responded to my question and since this has come up again – and Boris’s figure is being repeated on the internet – may I answer it myself?

    Boris is apparently referring to the Soviet famine of 1921 which was caused by a drought (albeit exacerbated by government policies).

  43. Boris Johnson succumbs to Godwin’s Law

    Boris Johnson’s blog is sadly the latest to succumb to Godwin’s Law: ‘as an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one’. (There are a number of unchecked facts there …

  44. I feel that the juxtaposition of the adjoining entries, referring to “famine” and “fuller picture”, is rather unfortunate , especially when not deliberate.

  45. Dave –

    Where did you get that 100,000 figure? The Lancet? It’s a rubbish figure. BUt not even the Lancet claimed all the deaths were the result of activity by Americans.

    If you believe that figure you’d have beleived the tractor production figures back in Stalin’s day.

  46. Mike Godwin has an interesting blog Simon:

    http://www.godwinslaw.org/

    I believe that in Boris’s case he wasn’t referring to the Nazis in order to win an argument and succumb to the lowest common denominator – he appears to have struck a chord with many who felt it was a valid comparison.

    I relish our freedom of speech. The Nazi ref in Boris’s piece rather than being a throwaway counterpoint was a carefully structured argument and comment, ending with an open-ended question. Godwin seemed to be focusing rather on those who want to win an argument at all costs.

    As Godwin remarks:

    >”Someone disagrees with you? Compare ’em to a Nazi. Works like a charm. A Hitler charm”

    Of course we will now redouble our efforts to ensure we never again come close to referring to anything Nazi. We are hugely indebted to you for pointing this out so ably.

    Melissa @ Boris Johnson’s Blog

  47. Melissa: Yes indeed the 1980s Mac design of Godwin’s blog is great. Clever of you to find it.

    I may have been stretching the point on Godwin’s Law (see trackbacks above), but I thought Boris’s use of inflated political murder figures was a sign of some intellectual desperation.

    His basic argument about communist graphics being chic (Che Guevara prints, Mao badges, Ost Nostalgie etc.) while fascist ones are taboo is interesting and perfectly valid, but the comments have focused on the dubious history used to support it. Maybe this is been our most contentious discussion yet? We have rarely been so divided.

    Incidentally I am on the Channel 4 site – writing about G8 – thanks no doubt to my association with the famous B-J.com!
    http://www.channel4.com/news/blogs/c4_blog_01_full.html

  48. I think there is an essential difference between Nazism and Communism – the “vision thing” to use Bush Snr.’s infelicitous phrase.

    Nazism’s end vision had genetically selected blonde ubermensch ruling supposedly inferior less-than-blonde slave peoples over the whole globe.

    Karl Marx’s vision of a sort of lazy hippy community where you’d do a bit of fishing in the afternoon and then spend the evening philosophising with your brother workers from all over the planet is more appealing – especially to lazy arsed students.

    Of course, none of the above detracts from Boris’s essentially biblical point that “by their fruits ye shall know them”.

  49. There is one and only Boris,

    Your observations are a required reading for one and all teenagers – as we know history tends to repeat itself first as a tragedy and then as a farce … The issue is not whether Stalin or Lenin were better or worse than Hitler. How can you be a better or worse mass murder? The issue is that any ignotant person who wear the CCCP-inspired t-shirt needs to be also aware of sad stories which prove beyond reasonable doubt all the litany of autrocities carried out in the name of the people:

    In “Fifty Million People Dead: The Grand Failure – The Birth and Death of Communism in the 20th Century,” former National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski details “the catastrophic legacy of Lenin” in Russia, Eastern Europe and Asia. He writes that Lenin exemplified the “concentration of power in just a few hands and reliance on terror.”

    Estimates from leading Soviet and European scholars in the “Black Book of Communism” are of some 85 to 100 million dead at the hands of 20th-century Communists. Here again, Lenin is strongly implicated as the founding father of Communist mass murder.

    Then read “Black Night, White Snow,” by the late Harrison Salisbury, the New York Times’ Pulitzer Prize-winning Russian correspondent. Guiding Lenin were these, his own words: “We must stick the ‘convict’s badge’ on anyone and everyone who tries to undermine Marxism, even if we don’t go on to examine his case. When you see a stinking heap on the road you don’t have to poke around in it to see what it is.”

    The recent biography, “Lenin,” by British scholar Robert Service of St. Anthony’s College in Oxford, confirms his place in history as “a rebel whose devotion to destruction proved greater than his love for the ‘proletariat’ he supposedly served.”

    “Man of the people,” indeed.

  50. Sorry to dump this from my blog but it seems somehow pertinent to Boris’ predictable Why O Why piece:

    GOD THE RULER OF THE WORLD

    God.

    My God.

    Oh my God!

    Oh my fecking God!

    Stalin, Mao, Hitler – they all occupied a God spot in their people’s heart and minds.

    Omnipotent (the army, secret services and police)

    Omniscient (the secret services, family members informing on each other) and

    er, whatever That Word is that means present everywhere (see the above, the mass media, public occasions, etc.).

    The all-seeing Eye of God. CCTV. Big Brother (TM).

    Stalin, Mao, Hitler: they also slaughtered millions of their own people – quite apart from their enemies abroad. The mass human sacrifices of the Aztecs were picnics in comparison. (Leg anyone? He’s rather tasty isn’t he? Yes, the Chianti goes rather well I think…)

    Sure, Uncle Joe and Chairman Mao (and Pol Pot) can be wheeled out as examples of Communism creating Hell on Earth.

    But Adolf, Pinochet, Franco (and on. And on) weren’t exactly slouches at raising Hell either.

    Boris, this isn’t a left v right issue (and please spare us all that tired old Bernard Shaw quote if you’re thinking of posting it).

    It’s an issue of people giving up their freedom voluntarily because they cannot take responsibility and want a Big Daddy/Mummy in charge. They act like children.

    Thatcher!

    Blair!

    They looked from Tony back to Maggie and from Mr Bliar to Mrs Thatch and they could no longer tell the difference…

    ThankyoumynameisBenEltonGoodnight!

  51. Michael

    I hope you are ignorant of the law of libel because you have just libelled Mr Holledge in a pretty crude way. I will not repeat the libel but to impugn someone’s moral character because you disagree with them is a serious bizness, even if this is Just A Blog. It’s also a contemptible ad hominem argument/argumentum a personam.

    Grow up, sonny.

  52. Well done Simon on Channel 4 – good comment on G8

    Kevin B – interesting points

    Jozef – good to hear from you

  53. Teabreak.

    Whilst agreeing in principle to most of what has been said here; I would like , if I may, to introduce a rather sobering thought to the proceedings, Field mentioned the Nazi doctrine of Aryan superiority, in which the so called ‘Uebermensch’, would lord it over all lesser mortals. Has anyone stopped to think that this idea was not new during Adolf’s time, neither was it an overwhelmingly German idea? Years prior to the 30s, indeed , prior to the 19th Century, Europeans of various persuasions were enslaving ‘inferior’peoples,: not least amongst these ‘ slavemasters’, was the British Empire.
    Even conceding , gladly, that the ‘known’ deeds of the Empiremakers possibly did not even earn a paragraph in the story of, ” Great Atrocities of The World”, We didn’t take over these various countries by means of asking politely ,” May we now be in charge here?” (The exception here was , I think, Fiji, whose King( Cakobau), did ask for Queen Victoria to take over as Empress in 1874.)
    Power ; and this is indeed an ancient truth;
    corrupts, no matter in whose hands it might be.

  54. Macarnie –

    That’s a v. good point and people who have not been through the colonial or slavery backgrounds in the UK fail to understand the still simmering resentment over this. Excluding the actual systematic extermination of people, the Nazis approach to man management wasn’t so different from British methods employed between 1600 and say 1900 – land grabs, forced moves of populations, using one ethnic group against another, reprisals, use of slave labour and severe punishments. We shouldn’t forget that although equally there is no point in trying to build public policy as a kind of apology for all that.

  55. An excellant article Boris.

    With regards to Nazi/Marxism and who is worst (previous comments) I think the issue comes down to authorotarianism.

    Each side of the political spectrum is capable of great good and great evil. The left isnt ipso facto good and the right bad, nor vice versa. They are visions of how society would be best ran.

    So Milton Friedman and Adam Smith can favour equal society where the rich arent taxed more by virtue of being rich (i.e. equally taxed) just as many communist icons favour equal society where everyone gets the same (i.e. no rich/poor divide) and neither has to cause great harm.

    Dont let the disgusting acts of those on either side make you think that one or the other is more humane, when there exists millions on both sides who share so many values and visions.

  56. Macarnie: “Years prior to the 30s . . . Europeans of various persuasions were enslaving ‘inferior’ peoples,: not least amongst these ‘ slavemasters’, was the British Empire.”

    Man’s inhumanity to man is nothing new. No doubt a very large number of people were killed by the Mongols. However there is a difference between political crimes committed up until the 19th century and worst of those of 20th century. The Nazis industrialized killing. Auschwitz and Belsen were industries of death.

  57. Jozef Imrich: “. . . . Brzezinski details “the catastrophic legacy of Lenin” in Russia, Eastern Europe and Asia. He writes that Lenin exemplified the “concentration of power in just a few hands and reliance on terror.”

    I am sure you know the circumstances under which the Bolsheviks seized power in October 1917. The autocratic Russian Empire had collapsed politically, socially and economically. (The Tsar himself had been removed from power in the February Revolution.) Millions had died in the First World War. There was famine in the cities. Peasants were seizing land in the countryside. Civil war was about to break out. (Anyone who wants a quick refresher course on this can watch Doctor Zhivago!).

    So, Jozef, imagine you are Lenin! You have just been made Chairman of the Council of People’s Commissars by the Russian Soviet Congress. What are you actually going to do? Are you going to do a Bob Geldof and ask everybody to hold hands and say ‘Make Russian Poverty History’? What action you going to take to restore order, stop the fighting, give the people food?

    One last point – Marx and Engels thought that the most advanced countries, France, Germany, Britain would be the ones to move towards socialism. They did not expect their theories to be adopted in the most backward economies. What happened in the 20th century was a distortion of what had been envisaged in the 19th.

  58. Simon: I don’t think that I was making a direct comparison between what is properly described as an experiment in the expunging of certain peoples by certain regimes, and the methods of expansion used by various nations in earlier times. My point was, that should those, then charged with expansion of empire; and land theft is certainly that; have been of a more savage temperament, Britain and the other Empire building nations would have been in the dock today.

    There were, of course,regrettably, massacres, in various lands, but they were isolated incidents and not part of an attempt to wipe out a whole nation. To make an analogy; in any situation, if criticality in stability is seen, the unstable mass must be contained and / or isolated, in order to minimise any possible ensuing collateral damage. This applies in all branches of human endeavour, eg nuclear physics; battle tactics and so on.

  59. Kevin T said:
    “The communist doctrine isn’t to kill lots of people. To think so is simply ridiculous.”
    Maybe not so, but unmistakeably the end result is always the same: lots of people are killed.

    “I’m sorry, but I totally disagree with the whole stereotypical image of ALL commies being mass-murderers. Stalin was a communist. Yes, he was. But not all the communists who voted for him wanted to kill lots of people. They just wanted to see their country emerge from under the squalor. They wanted to be IMPORTANT. They didn’t know what Stalin was doing. He was ONE man.”

    Change “Stalin” to “Hitler” and “communists” to “nazis” and tell me what the difference is except for the changed words?

  60. Wille Faler: I think you missed the whole point of the thread. NOBODY, during Stalin’s rule actually voted, in the sense which we understand, since to VOTE presupposes that there is a CHOICE between candidates.Stalin presented a fait accompli: he was there, and no mere so- called free vote was going to remove him. The grim reaper alone was the exception. There were several choices to be made , and they read as follows:- Stalin; Stalin ; Stalin, or perhaps Stalin.

  61. Macarnie: “NOBODY, during Stalin’s rule actually voted . . .”

    True. We may remember that Tsarist Russia also suppressed democracy. Stalin was in many ways an old-style Russian despot.

    Hitler, on the other hand, was elected in a liberal democracy. (The Nazis won 44 per cent of the vote in March 1933, forming the majority together with a minor right wing party.)

  62. Simon,

    As W. S. Churchill said: ‘Perhaps it is better to be irresponsible and right, than to be responsible and wrong.’

    You are entitled to your views on Lenin or Stalin and their legacy. I usually encourage people who find CCCP palatable hero to experience something similar first hand be in China or Cuba, but not just for a month but for a few years as it is only by being among the opressed that one can appreciate the value of free speech.

    Indeed, Marx did not expect a backward Russia to make the revolutionary history. Without any doubt the Russian Tzar and his ruling classes created an atmosphere where the specter of communism ignited. Sadly thoughout the history we have a tendency to be cruel to one another and the easiest way to rule is to exchange one brutalism for another kind.

    In many way, this is why I appreciate the fourth estate, the press, or the fifth estate, the web, as it is so important to hear as many voices as possible because sunlight is the best disinfectant.

    BTW, I chuckle when people tell me that they know of electoral analysts who can predict the election results eight hours before the election booths are closed. In sad old Czechoslovakia we knew the results a year before the election …

    The reality is that most Central and Eastern Europeans considered Russians-Soviets during the early 20th century as liberators, even though many knew how brutal Stalin, the man of steel, was …

    Again, like Winston Churchil said – democracy is the worst form of government but the problem is that there is no other better form of government. Impatient as we may be with the democratic practices, we are condemned to endure it.

    http://www.abctales.com/story/8506

  63. My Sunday afternoon read weighs too heavily on me: Perhaps the first thing that should be said about the new edition of Main Currents of Marxism concerns the peril it presents to those with weak backs or delicate wrists. Marxism, says Leszek Kolakowski, was a stupendous fantasy: at once scientific, prophetic, fantastic, utopian, and irrational

  64. Rockin’ all over the world: Making history to end poverty & revolutions

    One of the things they don’t tell you when you’re young and passionate about an issue of the day is that you should take notes on everything that happens, because if you live for a while you’re likely to see the same battle refought …

    Twenty

  65. Simon: Hitler, as leader of the NSDAP was ‘democratically’ elected by polling 44% of votes. True but this does not give the whole picture. At that time ; a time of massive unemployment, 7 million, (and women were not yet seen as part of the workforce, I was told); a time of massive disquiet in a seething Nation; smarting under the overly harsh conditions ( for example The Rhineland occupation),imposed under the Treaty of Verseilles: a virtual corpse , bled dry by France’s insatiable demands for reparations , long after the UK and USA had seen that there was no more blood to take. Where there is no blood, there is no life. Conditions for change were there, and the folk ripe, and ready for a radical change. Any change, as they saw it, must be for the better, since things apparently could not get worse. There was fighting on the streets, between Nazis and Communists, thus leaving two possible ways to go, 1) follow the Communists, and 2)Follow the ‘better’ way of the Nazis. The rest is history.

    http://www.dhm.de/lemo/html/weimar/innenpolitik/nsdap/index.html

  66. Mac’s comments on how the Treaty of Versailles sowed some of the seeds of German expansionism under Hitler are worth supporting.

    The Allies in punishing Germany for WWI unwittingly created at least some of the key conditions for WWII. Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it (paraphrase).

    Think about Bush and Blair and the War on Terror. And Bush originally wanted to call his invasion of Iraq and anti-Terror campaign a Crusade before somebody gently pointed out to the devotee of My Pet Goat that this would be a tad inflammatory to those towelheads in the Middle East.

  67. Josef Imrich: “Simon . . . You are entitled to your views on Lenin or Stalin and their legacy. I usually encourage people who find CCCP palatable hero to experience something similar first hand be in China or Cuba, but not just for a month but for a few years as it is only by being among the oppressed that one can appreciate the value of free speech.”

    Two points:

    1. I do NOT find the USSR ‘palatable’. Nothing I wrote would suggest that I do. In my view, the Bolsheviks took over an empire that was half modern and half medieval, half in Europe, half outside it. They created a centralized state that had the capacity to abuse its people greatly and Stalin proceeded to do just that. Stalin was the worst thing that could have happened to Russia. (Trotsky would have been better, but they got Stalin.)

    2. I HAVE experienced “something similar” first hand. While my knowledge of Eastern Europe and Russia is limited to a few visits and some undergraduate course on Russian history, I have lived “among the oppressed” in China and “not just for a month but for a few years” but actually more than a few years.

    For various reasons, most Chinese do not considered themselves ‘oppressed’ – with all due respect the Czech experience is not one that can be generalized for the rest of the world – even if few of them like their government. Nationalism is a powerful force in China (also in Vietnam).

    Back to Russia. We are obviously not going to disagree about Stalin, but I think you have dodged my question about what you would have done if you had been Lenin: “Jozef, imagine you are Lenin! . . . What are you actually going to do? . . . What action you going to take to restore order, stop the fighting, give the people food?”

    Can you give me an answer?

    By the way, I like your expression “the fifth estate, the web”. Excellent!

  68. Macarnie: ” a time of massive unemployment . . . ; a time of massive disquiet in a seething Nation . . . a virtual corpse , bled dry by France’s insatiable demands for reparations . . . fighting on the streets, between Nazis and Communists, thus leaving two possible ways to go, 1) follow the Communists, and 2) Follow the ‘better’ way of the Nazis. The rest is history.”

    No. This is a much better description of Germany in the period immediately after the First World war than the collapse of the Weimar Republic in the early 1930s. Things had got better towards the end of the 1920s.

    Nor was it simply a choice between Communists and Nazis. Far from it. The largest political party up to 1932 was the SPD, i.e the Social Democrats, the same pro-democratic party that rule Germany today.

  69. Simon: I was remarking on the history of Germany between 1919 – 1923. This is when the foundation was laid , which enabled either Hitler or someone like him to be considered by the Germans. Occupation of the Ruhrgebiet by the Franco- Belgian armies; their atrocities, shooting of normally law abiding German civilians, , whose supposed crimes were minor infringements of arbitrary curfew laws. Curfew was 1800 hrs, hardly time for those who were working to get home. Some of these killings were witnessed by innocent youths,( amongst them my late lamented father-in-law) who described what he had seen , in gtaphic detail. Then there was the increasingly raging inflation, where a loaf of bread cost 4 TRILLION MARKS in 1923; a general dissatisfaction with the standard of life, since wages and pensions were worthless. These things were what dug the foundations, and even set the stage, for a later take-over by some radical thinker with a vista of a better future to offer. The radical thinker who surfaced was Hitler , who whilst seen by us perhaps, as a rabble-rouser, ( ein Aufwiegler,) was , for the dissatisfied mobs, there was at last a leader( Fuehrer) who might deliver something better than what was on offer. O.K .things might have improved in the advanced 20s, but not enough to flatter the ego of a once proud Nation. As Caesar said as he crossed the Rubicon, ” The die is cast”, and once the Juggernaut was set in motion, everything would eventually be pushed aside; temporary amelioration of the general conditions or not.

  70. Macarnie: You are right about the years after the first world war being chaotic etc. but I don’t agree with your conclusion that Hitler’s triumph was inevitable a decade later. What happened was the equivalent of Al Capone becoming president or Reginald Kray becoming prime minister. There is nothing in German history to prepare us (or the Germans) for the Nazis. Stalin may be a throwback to Ivan the Terrible and a series of autocratic tsars, but Hitler was unique.

    The Germans in the 1930s were educated people with cultural and political values similar to our own. They assumed that whatever the antics of their political parties, life would somehow go on as normal, i.e. ‘it couldn’t happen here’. (My interest is in music in Weimar Germany. I’ve read biographies of German non-politicians of the period etc.)

    Far from taking Hitler seriously, many thought the Nazis were an unpleasant joke. Up to the Reichstag fire in February 1933, politicians like Hindenburg (who defeated Hitler in the 1932 presidential election) and von Papen (who formed a government with Hitler) mistakenly thought they could actually control and use Hitler. Indeed, if the events of 1933 had been anticipated, they might not have happened.

    We now see the Nazis with hindsight, in the knowledge of their monstrous crimes, influenced by documentaries and dozens of war films (still being produced). We see the Nazis as figures of formidable and colossal evil. I am not sure if this is realistic. Great crimes can also be committed by gangsters and petty criminals – if they have the necessary power.

  71. G0osh – you are incredibly political you latest commentators, makes me quite dizzy….

  72. Simon: I neither said, nor implied that Hitler was bound to be the successor to Von Papen. What I said and this is indisputable, ” That SOMEONE, whether on the one side of the political spectrum or the other”, would gain the trust, and therefore the following of the masses.
    Your comparison between Scarface Capone and Hitler is , I contend,ludicrous, because Capone was a well known criminal with universally accepted, and unforgivingly murderous tendencies. Hitler was certainly known, at the time we are discussing , for extreme opinions in certain political aspects; however his extreme views on certain subjects were not, at the time ,negatively weighted against the social scheme of things. This bias came much later. As you say, the chattering classes, the so called middle class;the cultured; Opera going class, was not ready to accept the fact that a massive upheaval in the status quo was going to take place. The number of people I asked about Nazism, in my nearly 25 years of living , full or part time , in Germany. is legion. The number of those who were pro Hitler, was almost impossibly small.However, all those of the requisite age, expressed the experience of angst, in large proportions, during Hitler’s reign
    The very name of Hitler’s party ( Nazional Sozialistische Deutscher Arbeiter Partei) was , or should have been, a wake-up call. This alarm bell never rang.Probably because Hitler’s magnetism, as an orator, was so strong.

  73. Macarnie: “Hitler was certainly known, at the time we are discussing , for extreme opinions in certain political aspects; however his extreme views on certain subjects were not, at the time, negatively weighted against the social scheme of things. This bias came much later.”

    I am not entirely sure I follow what you saying here.

    Regarding my comparison between the Nazis and gangsters: the paramilitary SA ‘Brownshirts’ were in operation from the beginning of the 1920s, intimidating people more or less like street gangs. (The SS ‘Blackshirts’ also date from the 1920s.)

  74. Melissa: Really. Incredibly political, indeed. (Reminds me of that line in The Producers: “We find the defendants incredibly guilty.”)

    Reaching for the smelling salts does not cut the Colmans, dear. Pitch in and show them how it’s really done.

  75. Simon: During Hitler’s rise to power, from the very first meetings in the Muenchener Bierkellern , to his elevation to Kanzler, he attracted a certain type of person to his cause; true , many were thugs, whose main reason for joining in the movement was to be allowed to have the occasional punch-up. Clarifying the point you made: his views on the so called inferior races were known only to those nearest to him, and their acolytes. The rants ,in public, about the Jews in particular, but also included Gypsies; Slavs; the mentally impeded , and homosexuals, came later on. I don’t know if you have seen some of his most fevered , rabble-rousing speeches, but I have, and I believe that the Nation,as a whole, having been deprived of self, and National, respect for so long, would have basked in the promises of respect; prosperity, and future glory, which he so eloquently presented.This feel good factor was never so clearly in evidence as when the long term unemployed, merely by paying 10 Pfennige, and giving a signature, were within the shortest of time spans, once again back in gainful employment. Seven million grateful ex unemployed are a good foundation on which to build, even if the majority paid only lip service to the ideology.

    He duped the majority into a sense of renewed worth under his ‘august’ leadership, whilst that minority, who were of the same mind as he, were bolstered into believing even more in his megalomaniac dreams. Only those who experienced this, first hand, can truly know and understand the complete change of lifestyle and ensuing utter misery which was to follow, and even I cannot pretend that I do.

  76. Mac:

    Chilling figures: 7 million Germans unemployed in the 30s, the 6 million Jews slaughtered in the Holocaust in the 40s – did the German petit-bourgeois think that this was a price worth paying to revive their Nation, even as they averted their eyes, kept their noses clean and didn’t ask awkward questions?

    And now the victims victimise another race in their turn, who victimise the other in their turn, and so on down through the years: Revenge.

    Vengeance is mine saith the Lord. An eye for an eye for an eye for an eye: until the whole world is blind (Gandhi).

    And what about us in this green unpleasant land: It Could Never Happen Here? O yes it could, old chums, not on our own soil perhaps but by just allowing the deaths of countless fellow humans, Johnny Foreigners, to continue unseen and unmourned Over There, beyond the white cliffs of Old Blighty.

    Live8 may be another media spectacle in a Society of the Spectacle but what if we really put its sentiments into practice instead of surfing the next wave of media attention? Even St Bob might be taken aback by the mass impertinence he’s encouraged.

  77. I think your rhetorical question is well placed Kevin, but I do not think that anyone not having had the fear of reprisals impregnated into their very psyche, as the Germans did inter bellum, can imagine the utter helplessness of even the bravest of anti Nazi citizens; even in their worst nightmares. Big Brother was not an invention of a certain Mr.E.A.Blair aka George Orwell: BB was part and parcel of everyday life in Wartime Germany , each apartment block had its Gauleiter; each headteacher, whose membership of the Nazi Party was a must, was an active , if sometimes unwilling, informer. The slightest deviation from ‘Gehorsamkeit,'(obedience), discovered, was punished by imprisonment or worse. State terrorism was in force. It is simplistic to believe that those Germans, not actually in the armed forces, priot to and during the war, were merely remaining stumm whilst horrific things were being done to other unfortunates. A dead hero is no less dead, and the majority of people I know are not willing heroes.

  78. On the subject of Sir Bob and co. – Live8 was a commendable series of events in many ways: commendable but not credible.

    It simply isn’t good enough to ask world leaders to “end poverty” without in any sense discussing terms or what you might be prepared to do to achieve the end.

    Do the organisers mean the end of relative poverty? Do they mean only the end of starvation? Do they mean every individual in the world should have exactly the same amount of consumables?

    I would guess that if we wanted to end “obvious distress” in Africa (which is what I think most people are concerned about) it might take 20% of our GDP, military intervention and a kind of neo-imperialism (perhaps under the guise of the UN).

    Obviously none of the entertainers (as far as we know) have felt moved to give up 20% of their personal wealth – except perhaps Bill
    Gates but he’s at the point where an extra billion dollars in his bank account probably makes him physically sick.

    If the banner on the stage had said: “Come up here and sign a pledge to give 20% of your monthly income to Africa” I doubt there woudl be many takers. And there would be no takers for “let’s invade Africa and impose sensible government”.

    The problems of Africa for me were summed up by a TV news item which followed a UK police officer in Sierra Leone trying ot help them run a polcie station efficiently. She’d been there a year and she still couldn’t get them to fill in the custody register AT ALL – let alone properly. When you’ve got that level of maladministration you’ve haven’t got a hope in hell.

    I don’t know what the solution is but it isn’t funnelling more aid through governments to destroy local economies. We could perhaps look into our own history as to how we eliminated endemic corruption in the past. We did this by introducing examinations for all sorts of public positions in teh civil service and elsewhere.

    In Africa even examinatinos are completely corrupt but if some way coudl be found of introducing objective exams for appointment and preferment, Africa might begin to lift itself out of the mire. Not very rock and roll or sexy but there you go: “Make exams compulsory” instead of “make poverty history”.

  79. Macarnie: I’m sure you are familiar with the Niemöller quote, but for anybody here who isn’t, here it is:

    “First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out –
    because I was not a communist;
    Then they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out –
    because I was not a socialist;
    Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out –
    because I was not a trade unionist;
    Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out –
    because I was not a Jew;
    Then they came for me –
    and there was no one left to speak out.”

    Martin Niemöller (1892-1984)

  80. SH –

    Yes I’m familiar with that quote but have never been that convinced by it.

    If we are talking about the Communists of the Weimar period, they were actively seeking the subversion and destruction of the Weimar Republic. Just like the Nazis.

    After WW2 the Federal Republic learnt the lesson . They outlawed both the Communist and Nazi parties.

    This is a difficult area for democrats but it doesn’t help to muddle up guilty-as-charged communists and innocent Jews.

  81. Simon, the fifth estate, et al,

    ‘It’s a recession when your neighbor loses their job; it’s a depression when you lose it.’

    This kind of analogy was recently drawn by a friend who is facing a redundancy … I could not agree with you more in the context that the Czechoslovak sentiment of political depression cannot be applied universally.

    Still, I have come across a number of Chinese Australians who identify strongly with many of the plays [theatre of absurd] Vaclav Havel has written.

    While few people are willing to endorse Soviet type of Communism openly there are plenty who are always willing to make excuses for the communists along the lines of “you can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs” and so on.

    With his characteristic turn of phrase, Lenin called people of this type “fellow travellers” to their faces and “useful idiots” behind their backs.

    Would I call people behind their faces “useful idiots” as Lenin had done? I hope not … I hope I would give the omelette a miss and just labour over hard boiled eggs while allowing the fourth estate such as independent Pravda (Truth) and other media outlet report to expose my ability to cook eggs … I might even let them to watch me make the sausages. [On a lighter note, I used to be very good at making sausages with my cousins Gejzo and Tibo – our secret ingredient was galic]

    What would I do if I was in Lenin’s shoes? It is impossible to fully answer such two-edged question as it really is like asking along the lines: ‘When will you stop beating Uncle Trotsky?’

    The Moscow university is filled with 100,000 words thesis which often fail to satisfactorily answer such a colourful question. How would you answer such a proposition in a deep and meaningful way, Simon?

  82. Field: “I’m familiar with that quote but have never been that convinced by it”

    Members of the KPD (Kommunistische Partei Deutschlands) were rounded up and died in the Holocaust.

    Field: “If we are talking about the Communists of the Weimar period, they were actively seeking the subversion and destruction of the Weimar Republic.”

    That’s exactly what the Nazis said. They accused the Communists of causing the Reichstag fire.

    In fact the KPD participated in Weimar Republic elections. They won 100 seats in November 1932. There was a KPD candidate in the 1932 presidential election. (Their slogan was “A vote for Hindenburg is a vote for Hitler; a vote for Hitler is a vote for war.”)

    The KPD did call for an insurrection – after the Nazis had taken power – in 1933.

  83. Simon, of course , the quote from Niemoeller is known to me: it was not known to those people who had to live during the repressive regime. Everyone can be a genius after the event.
    As for the KPD having a largish number of seats in 1932. Have you ever heard of rival factions actively praising one another? The Communist slogan you quoted might, in other times; in another place; have been uttered in Westminster, by one party against another.
    Dead heroes are per se , unable rebuild a Nation. What the World might see as cowards can , especially when it needed a special sort of heroicism ,to bite one’s tongue,despite the urge not to, in order to survive and rebuild a modern State from chaos.

  84. Josef Imrich : “What would I do if I was in Lenin’s shoes? It is impossible to fully answer such two-edged question . . . How would you answer such a proposition in a deep and meaningful way, Simon?”

    Fair enough to put the question back to me.

    Can we should first of all agree to drop the rubbish about ‘Lenin killed 5 million people’? Get it out of the way as an irrelevance? Good.

    OK, we know Lenin had a tough job. Let’s also remember he was shot in the lung in an assassination attempt about 9 months into the job, may have been suffering from syphilis, and was incapacitated after a stroke in December 1922. Hardly enviable, even if you are going to be very famous posthumously, and not a lot of time to get anything done. (Lenin as a writer and thinker is something else of course. We may disagree with his conclusions, deplore his influence etc.)

    If I had been in Russia in 1917, not as Lenin, but as Simon Holledge, I am sure I would have emigrated.

    But to return to the question – if I were Lenin . . . . I would have tried to end the war as soon as possible (as Lenin actually did at Brest-Litovsk), pacify the country, repair the economy etc. – more or less what he did in fact attempt. Would I have handed over to Stalin? No, obviously not, if I could have helped it.

  85. Macarnie: “the quote from Niemoeller is known to me: it was not known to those people who had to live during the repressive regime. Everyone can be a genius after the event.”

    Niemoeller was a prominent Lutheran pastor who spoke up against Nazism between 1934 and 1937, when few others dared to do so. What he said and wrote during that period is on record. He was arrested and ended up in the Dachau concentration camp (which he survived).

  86. Simon:He was imprisoned during the time when the holocaust was taking place. In Dachau of all places. Neither I nor anyone else can, or indeed could ,argue that he was not a bastion of rectitude in his stand against antisemitism and other forms of extremist activities under Hitler. The fact that he was hors de combat at the relevant time must mean that his views, although generally known in certain restricted circles,, were not widely disseminated. After his release to Switzerland in 1945,his views became widely known. Had he not been a Pastor , he would surely also have perished.

  87. *Everybody* knows that left-wing bullets don’t hurt as much as right-wing ones — it is a scientific fact.

    I am also really glad to see Kay having a go at pirates, though I guess she was joking to make a point. They were not nice cuddly people, and I am appalled that here in the Southwest we have a radio station named after them.

  88. Simon

    As Joseph Stalin said ‘A single death is a tragedy. [5] million deaths is a statistic.’

    I quoted a historian who has spent more time than I ever could examining the life of Lenin. If the historians have miscalculated the number of people who died due to certain action of any particular movement I stand to be corrected. However, I still go to my earlier comments where I seconded Boris’ suggestion that certain fashionable trends are absurd in terms of political history. I would not recommend to any foreign visitor, for instance, to wear Stalin’s image on their T-shirt in Kiev or any place in Ukraine. It would be callous and/or foolish to do so …

    Life was not supposed to be simple or easy. It is in our very nature, in fact, to make life absurdly indifferent to the memories of those who suffered.

    Gandhi said: ‘Whatever you do will seem insignificant, but it is very important that you do it … Everything we do is futile, but we must do it anyway.’

    The future might depend on what we do in the present, but sadly history repeats itself, to boot, no two historians agree quite how…

    I am partial to the findings of the historian George Orwell:
    ‘One sometimes gets the impression that the mere words socialism and communism draw towards them with magnetic force every fruit-juice drinker, nudist, sandal-wearer, sex-maniac, Quaker, Nature-cure quack, pacifist and feminist in England… “We have reached a stage when the very word socialism calls up, on the one hand, a picture of airplanes, tractors and huge glittering factories of glass and concrete; on the other, a picture of vegetarians with wilting beards, of Bolshevik commissars (half gangster, half gramophone), or earnest ladies in sandals, shock-headed Marxists chewing polysyllables, escaped Quakers, birth control fanatics, and Labour Party backstairs-crawlers. “If only the sandals and pistachio-colored shirts could be put in a pile and burnt, and every vegetarian, teetotaler and creeping Jesus sent home to Welwyn Garden City to do his yoga exercises quietly. As with the Christian religion, the worst advertisement for Socialism is its adherents.”

  89. Macarnie: Niemoeller was not a minor figure. He organized a protestant rally attended by 20,000 people at Dahlem in 1934, at which one of the leaders declared “There are false prophets abroad in this land preaching the doctrine of blood and soil and racial mysticism, which we reject”. Neimoeller himself said, “it is a question of which master the German Protestants are going to serve, Christ or another.” Niemoeller said much the same thing to Hitler himself, face to face.

  90. Simon: I have no idea from which word ; phrase or sentence of mine you might have the idea that I considered Niemoeller as a minor figure.

    Indeed the opposite is the case, but, consider the fact that his anti Hitler activities were curbed by his arrest and imprisonment in 1937.
    This undisputed fact alone must be taken into consideration in giving credence to the amount of so called ” inflammatory” information allowed out of Dachau: namely none. His voice was. in reality ,silenced for the length of his incarceration. This does not minimise his prior opposition to the monster that was Nazism.

  91. Jozef: Lay off the tired old Orwell quotes for Chrissake old chum, you sound like Hitchens, who now thinks he’s Eric’s rep on earth. (See his latest Orwell’s Victory, or Apologia for having sold out my erstwhile chums on the Left, smirk smirk).

    I’ve observed a worrying tendency among so-called free thinkers (Nick Cohen step forward) to use Orwell as an icon – a holy relic? – with which to beat the Left (that well known monolithic world conspiracy that as Boris and his pals know really runs the BBC). Beating up Chomsky seems a fave of this gang (and step forward Francis Wheen).

    There’s a good if rather ranty book on all this Orwell v Left bollox by a contributor (whose name escapes me, sorry) to the New Statesman, that rather dreary read: the sensible elder brother to the tearaway sparky Speccie.

    Where was I? O yes! (Boris stylee)

    Melissa, there should be an embargo on tired old Orwell quotes so that we are forced to think or at least write for ourselves – to the extent that we are capable of course – which in my case, if you’ve seen my blog (Click!) is not very far…

  92. Kevin,

    Seeing a Red or a Nazi, tired old Orwell felt scorn and danger … as we all should, minus the quotes, next time I will paraphrase.

    Fist fight is usually the only way to settle any political differences (hard irony intended 😉

  93. Many thanks for your gallant and eloquent debate Simon and Macarnie – both very admirable

  94. Josef: Though I certainly agree with kevin b (‘Lay off the tired old Orwell quotes’), last year I was on Jura, where Orwell wrote 1984, and I put this on on my blog:

    “The most important Scottish book of the 20th century? Perhaps George Orwell’s 1984? It was written at a house called Barnhill on the north end of the Isle of Jura. We visited it in July. Was it signposted? No. Was there a museum there? No. Was it open to the public? No. Do tourists ever go there? No. It is at the end of a closed (and almost impassable) five-mile road only accessible to walkers. The house itself is privately owned and let for self-catering. The good news is that the house seems to be in a reasonable state of repair – more than can be said for the birthplace of our national poet, Robert Burns . . . . ”

    How about a campaign to save Barnhill and turn it into an Orwell museum?

    Melissa: Barnhill would also be the perfect setting for the first Boris-Johnson.com blogging and hill walking conference, although we’ll need land rovers. (Thanks for the kind compliment as well.)

    Josef: Unfortunately frankiboy doesn’t work. Perhaps he’s been purged?

  95. Simon:

    I looked up the Isle of Jura and Barnhill and thought it was just the place to seek refreshment and rest awhile away from every care. You wouldn’t get haute cuisine but perhaps lots of fresh fish:

    http://www.isleofjura.com/visit/places.asp

    Who knows? there could well be a blogging conference one day somewhere remote and exciting

  96. Melissa: “You wouldn’t get haute cuisine . . .”

    Ah. If that’s a source of anxiety, fear not, there are a couple of good restaurants in the area (though not actually on the island) that are listed in Michelin etc.

  97. Eric Blair (let’s call him the Good Blair, as opposed to the Evil One with the grin)was notoriously indifferent to the delights of food and other worldly pleasures, despit being an atheist. He was an ascetic, a bit like someone totally unconnected but strangeley akin in his independence of mind, Ludwig Wittgenstein (with his famous deck chair at Cambridge).

    Such asceticism is a tad unexpected after you’ve read his rants about sandal-wearing vegetarian socialists.

    Any road, Simon, don’t think Michelin-starred establishments would be up Mr Blair’s lonely road.

  98. In the Hebrides, according to my brother’s brother in law; a worthy crofter in the said Isles; haute cuisine is defined as what you might get served, at an elevation of 500 Ft above sea level. The fish is a must.

  99. Hmm. You seem to share the views of Jacques Chirac. (Personally I think he should have left poor Finland out of it).

    Incidentally, I think we should all congratulate each other. I think we have written a record number of comments (115?) just overtaking the popular smoking entry.

  100. You are so right Simon! Let’s pat ourselves on the back

    Tho’ not sure what I think about the New Statesman who decided not to award anyone for politics – though did have that category. Apparently it was a ‘postcode lottery’. The less said the better.

    Am so glad this site is going so strong despite what lowly impression others may have of politics/politicians. It’s greatest fun! If you’re tired of Westminster politics – you’re tired of life I tell myself!

  101. Simon: there is nothing you could possibly have said,to or about me, which would have occasioned the overwhelming sense of hurt I now feel; my national pride is mortally woundfed. Oh! The shame of having been thought to have anything remotely in common with Chirac. Staggers off; a bitter; broken; prematurely bereft of the will to live.

  102. Kevin –

    You’re right.

    Orwell was right about many things but his idea of a nutritious diet was gallons of strong tea and inhalation of strong pipe tobacco as roll-ups. He was in many ways a puritan who wanted -like that other tobacco smoking and tea drinking politico Anthony Wedgwood Benn – politics of ideas rather than personalities.

    Of course puritans are always proved wrong by history since people are far more irrational than the Orwells and Benns of this world would like – which is why the Not So Nice Blair manages to hoodwink the public most of the time. I say that with a tinge of regret as I prefer my politics with a strong philosophical content.

  103. Simon,

    Your soulful reply is much appreciated. I do hope that history and mountain loving Melissa as well as Boris will take you on the suggestion to invade Jura.

    You sure are fountain of intriguing facts … judging by the way you spill ink at your blog.

    Indeed, the login and password has been purched now even the alternative Login: moscow Password: moscow failed to get me past the registration. Shame as it is a thoughtful article.

    So Mea Culpa if I misled you. It worked for me last night.

    BTW, Melissa, Marcanie, Simon, KevinN et al it was a pleasure to watch the way you all played the honest political tennis of disagreement …

  104. Josef: “I do hope that history and mountain loving Melissa as well as Boris will take you on the suggestion to invade Jura.”

    One of the paradoxes of our time is that every time they have a holiday, Eurosceptics in the south of England dash straight to the continent. However if it is possible, sometime in the future, to arrange a Jura Summit, or what the Japanese apparently now call an ‘off meeting’ (i.e. offline meeting), I will certainly recommend there are no “gallons of strong tea and inhalation of strong pipe tobacco” – or porridge!

    Instead I will see that the party are supplied with wine, food and coffee from Valvona & Crolla of Edinburgh, maybe the best food shop in Britain (where Labour celebrated their 1997 victory).

    The cost will be very reasonable compared to Klosters, the Cote D’Azur and the other places our Westminster friends usually go to.

    Barnhill would only cost 55 pounds a week per person (5 bedrooms sleeping 9 for 500 in the summer), and the Michelin restaurants (mentioned earlier) are of course cut price ‘bib gourmand’ places (to appeal to the Scottish market).

    In addition to honouring Orwell and talking politics, we would be able to play with the seals and otters on the beach, walk up to the Corrievrechan whirlpool (one of the largest in Europe), climb the celebrated Paps of Jura, and drink the local Jura whisky.

    http://www.roomfinderscotland.co.uk/search3.php?regionid=17&accommid=150
    http://www.geocities.com/Yosemite/1015/paps.htm

  105. That’s it! you’ve convinced me – am ready now. Sadly will have to wait for a suitable time – not too long I hope.

  106. Where does Easyjet and the other cut price air compnies land Simon. To fly Manchester/ Glasgow / Manchester with BA costs a fortune, and then comes the train;( not cheap): ferry( also not without its pain) and finally; presumably ;taxi( 4 wheel drive of course).YThe weather is not noted for its clemency, which makes me say what I hav e always said about these latiti=udes, ” If Scotland were as easy on the feet, and the mackintosh wearing, as it is on the eye, nobody would think of holidaying ( or will it now be called Holledging,)anywhere else in the world. Children of the mist indeed!

  107. Macarnie: Ideally everybody would fly to Glasgow and then on to Islay (the airport is attractively located by the best whisky distilleries in Scotland: Lagavulin. Ardbeg, Laphroig), then hire a land rover, drive 40 minutes, cross over to Jura (a short crossing) and then drive another two hours to Barnhill at the top end of Jura.

    The cheap flights come into Prestwick, about an hour south of Glasgow. It would be possible to go from one airport to the other, also to hire a car at Prestwick and drive down, but a high-axle 4×4 is needed for the last four miles to Barnhill.

  108. THe Communists and Nazis. Were they the worst?
    ———————————————–

    Yesterday, the 7th July 2005, we were attacked, in the most cowardly and uncivilized way, both in the London Underground and other means of public transport. The death toll is not yet complete, and casualties, wounded and maimed are legion. Does this mean that we are at war? Not a conventional war, since a Nation cannot declare conventional war on an idea. It has been said that we wage war against terrorism, but you cannot grasp the body of an idea since it does not exist: it is not corporeal. We can only wage war against terrorists.

    However, war remains war, under whatever name it might masquerade, and if this heinous attack should prove to be as a result of Jihad: that is war by its very description. A holy war, waged on behalf of Islam: a religious duty. Who will play the heroic part of Churchill in this matter, and who will be Chamberlain and appease. I have in my hand, a piece of paper.

    If we should be at war, no matter who the enemy; surely the first rule of war is to try to isolate any of the enemy; or enemy sympathisers, within our boundaries. In W W II, Britons were made to feel safe, because of the internment of suspected enemy sympathisers, and we should be looking to do that now.

    For anyone to seek; knowingly; to deflect public opinion away from the most likely cause of these explosions, and their resultant deaths; by naming the most unlikely factions and splinter groups as the perpetrators, is at best naïve, and at worst criminal. Political correctness has no place in a war. The Marquess of Queensbury rules are put on hold for the duration.

    In the normal run of things, the rules of war, as applied since centuries, an attacker does not target defenceless non-combatants. War has been declared, albeit at present apparently unilaterally, because we are unable, at least positively, to identify our attackers, either by name or by cause. If this act should prove to be an act of war, rather than an isolated, dastardly act of terror, surely, at least temporarily, military rules should apply, and anyone being suspected of acting in a hostile manner, or of giving aid and succour to hostile agents, should be arrested, and under those wartime military rules, should be interrogated as to possible complicity in an act of war against the State.

    Have we, as a Nation, in our liberality, clasped an asp to our collective bosom. If this should prove to be the case, it is probably too late to extract the venom. All right thinking people, of whatever persuasion, colour or creed, have today united in their avowals of righteous abhorrence for this act of terrorism, and should remain united in the cause of stamping out its causes.

  109. Please help this bill thrown out, its far to expensive, the cost benfit is just not their. On top of that they are not realy after the cards they are after the database. You can see this by the fact that people will not be required to carry the cards with them. This does not matter beause they will be able to use mobile finger print scanners to check some ones id. From chatting to the local police about it they say they dont have any problem iding people as it is, in fact its realy hard to imagin what problem they are trying to solve.

  110. It is good to see Boris J addressing himself to the problems of the day and staying at the cutting edge (the Sovient Union). Really!

    Stalin was not the CCCP nor did he embody or create the political beliefs on which CCCP was founded in the same way that Hitler did for National Socialism and the Third Reich – mass murder (or the total disdain for certain groups that makes it possible) is not the logical conclusion of communist policital theory. If you can’t see the difference you need to work on some logic puzzles and sharpen up the old noggin. If you just want to mitigate the inate sins of the right… well that confirms my suspicions about a number of ageing tories. If women with CCCP across their chests offends you, avert your eyes!

    Boris wrote (I assume in the comedy Spectator):
    “Remind me: who was the greater mass murderer, Stalin or Hitler? Well, Stalin is thought to have been responsible for about 50 million deaths, and Hitler for a mere 25 million”.

    “A MERE 25 million” – I know he doesn’t mean that in a dismissive way but it comes all over all wrong. I had forgotten how silly Tories can be because you are such a rare breed, but the above words bring it all back.

    Someone else above wrote:
    “My daughter bought a T-shirt only the other with “Come back Adolf – all is forgiven” emblazoned across the front. When I asked her who “Adolf” was, she replied “I think he was the President of Germany or somewhere”. So you see, despite the millions who died in the name of freedom, the younger generation haven’t learnt and they will go down the same path in the near future”

    Sweet Jesus – hang your head in shame for producing offspring who could be so crass and uneducated as to mess with that kind of sentiment, not admit it on a website!!.(Prince Harry has an excuse – weak genes).

  111. Sorry, my last comment was an unwarranted, cheap and easy shot and I take it back! He seems like a reasonable lad of fine stock.

    Not normally got much time for the Royal family but was impressed by his grandmother after the bombings in London.

  112. the intellectual failure to make any distinction between communism and stalinism is (unsuprisingly) lazy.
    Is it because upper-class intellectuals don’t understand Marxism or because it is easier to have the two associated? Perhaps both in this case.
    The tradition of struggle continues however.

  113. “Tell me, O ye coolers and groovers…”

    Boris,

    I’m a 17 year old with medium long hair, but you sir, are the coolest and the grooviest of the lot!

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