Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Self proclaimed fascist takes over at my local football club. Shock horror.

Paolo Di Canio, who is prone to giving fascist salutes, has taken over at the Sunderland football club. And David Milliband, the Labour politician, is ostensibly so incensed that he has resigned his post at the club. Now there’s a slight problem there.
My Chambers dictionary defines fascism as a combination of different characteristics including “militarism”. And Milliband voted for a military invasion of Iraq for some very dodgy reasons, which resulted in the death of hundreds of thousands of Muslims. So I’m not interested I sermons on fascism from Labour or Tory politicians who voted to invade Iraq.
Another element in fascism according to the dictionary is “restrictions on personal freedom”. Well now, a restriction on personal freedom which has now mercifully been removed, no thanks to Labour, is the freedom to insult. Section 5 of the Public Order Act made it illegal (until recently) to insult anyone. Scarcely believable, isn’t it, especially given that politicians all queue up to insult each other at election time? And twice as many Labour politicians wanted Section 5 retained as compared to Tories or LibDems. See this survey of politicians’ views.
A third reason I’m not impressed by the contrived outrage coming from the political left is that they use the word fascism so indiscriminately that the word is essentially meaningless. As Prof. Timothy Garton Ash put it in The Guardian, “the label “fascism” has been hollowed-out to mean little more than something the left hates at the moment”.
Or as George Orwell put it, “The word Fascism has now no meaning except in so far as it signifies something not desirable".
In contrast to the above contrived outrage, destruction of the English language and general grandstanding, there is an important question as to whether Di Canio is seriously opposed to free speech or democracy or is seriously into “militarism”. If anyone can fill me in on that I’d be grateful.


  1. Well I read an article (or long essay) on one of the more obscure corners of the internet the other day that attempted to prove (at great length) that Communism, at least in its Soviet form, was essentially Fascism or fascist.

    It then went on to argue that Mussolini's version of Fascism was essentially benevolent (at least compared to his German neighbour).

    It then went on to argue that Nazi-ism was left wing, and not (as people usually regard it) right-wing .... i.e. that the phrase "National Socialist" had not been meant ironically. (Indeed from what I have read, people like Ernst Röhm, the SA leader executed by Hitler in "The Night of the Long Knives") was very much from the working class socialist original heart of the party).
    And the work ethic was strong in the 33-45 period, although that is a German characteristic in any case.

    And lastly, there was a quote from Oswald Mosely, speaking many years after WW2, saying "I have always been a man of the left".

    So left-right, communist, fascist.....labels are not always very helpful.

    1. If one sticks to the dictionary definition of fascism, then Communism was fascist in the sense that it did not involve much democracy or free speech. Re Mussolini, you might argue that he was benevolent in that he put a stop to the continuous chaos that is Italian politics. Nazism was left wing in the sense that the state was all powerful. Re Mosley, he seems a complete oddball as viewed from 2013. But presumably his views fitted in to the politics and ideas of his era. I’d like to read a book about him, but I’ll probably never have time.


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