Monday, 13 April 2009

Brown and Hitler - is there a link?

I listened yesterday to a review of a new film about a young German writer approached by the Nazi propaganda machine because they thought his appeal would be useful to them. He was flattered by their interest and promises of support. But soon he regretted selling his soul to the Devil with no means of escape.

Derek Draper's attraction to the realms of power was rather different. He deliberately sought out the bright lights and important personalities for his own ego and self-aggrandisement.

Damian McBride, on the other hand, was the regime's propaganda agent – Draper's handler. But considering the depth of slurs and lies he was prepared to inflict on the regime's opponents (while sitting in the Prime Minister/Chancellor's office) it might be appropriate to describe him as the Devil's agent. This would, of course, make Gordon Brown the Devil himself.

This is an extreme point of view, undoubtedly. But while reflecting on the significance of Slurgate in our political process, I've been drawn by the potentially narrow line between a self-justifying authoritarian government using propaganda slurs to discredit opposition and the regimes of Hitler, Stalin, Mao Tse Tung and any number of other evil dictatorships.

In Britain, we have freedom of the press, even greater freedom of the blogosphere and a history of vibrant but stable democracy. We're not about to allow ourselves to be taken over by a vicious totalitarian political regime. But that is not the point.

The current regime allowed a cabal of propagandists (some as inner circle as it gets ) to prepare an operation that would publicly release a stream of slanderous lies about the political opposition. These techniques are on the wrong side, by a very long way, of the spectrum between open democracy and vile tyrannies we've witnessed in the past – many of which used such methods to justify eliminating not just political opponents but swathes of their own population.

Thankfully, disgust at the revelation of the depths to which Brown would sink is almost universal. His attempts to spin our media have turned all of it against him.

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