THE BLOG

The Politics Of Hatred On The Rise

08/02/2017 16:18 GMT | Updated 08/02/2017 16:18 GMT
Bloomberg via Getty Images

Donald Trump succeeded in becoming the American President by promising to be hostile towards foreign people - by blaming them for the problems his potential voters were experiencing.

He accused their Mexican neighbours of sending rapists and murderers across the border. He promised to ban all Muslims from the USA although so far he has had to be content with trying to ban Muslims from only a small number of majority Muslim countries.

Of course this was topped of with a promise to - "make America great again" - whatever that means? Perhaps it means that by making foreign people less great you make your own tribe great?

The Brexit debate seems to have been won by the leave camp on the basis of trying to stop foreign people coming to the UK because they allegedly take jobs, lower wages - and as Farage once claimed - they cause motorway jams.

Now - more recently - the debate around the NHS seems to have coalesced around a Nigerian mum who had the temerity to become a medical emergency in our airspace.

Priscilla, who was pregnant with four babies, was turned away from the USA where she had gone to give birth - because it seems that there would a better chance of the babies being born successfully there than at home in Nigeria.

Of course people are entitled (and do) take a view on this but it doesn't seem to justify the powerful hatred directed against her since then.

She did not, for instance, then choose to come to the UK to have her babies - she became ill while transiting through the UK on the way back home and tragically two of the babies died.

The reaction to her personal tragedy by some of our media and some other citizens was too accuse her of being a 'health tourist' and highlighting her case as typical of the things bringing down the NHS. This even though the so called health tourism accounts for only a tiny part of the total NHS budget.

Some estimates say her treatment has cost up to £500K - which is a lot of money. Not surprisingly she can't pay it back - not many of us could. She was not handed this money - nor was it snatched from the hands of local families either - but it is hard to believe that given the reaction it has caused.

Given that she did not choose to come to the UK to give birth and given that she has lost two of her babies - it is difficult to see why she has attracted so much hostile attention - unless you take into account that she is a black lady from a foreign country and some elements of our media love to fill their pages with non-white people for their angry readers to hate.

In case you don't think racism comes into it - here are a few of the nastier comments from the Sun newspaper website (with original spelling)-

'Send the coloured birch back.."tired of these total free loaders'

'Well done America, but why wasn't this freeloader turned away from here too? I'm sick of shelling out our money on scum like this.'

'.....send them back .....sponges like this s l a g'

'Feel sorry for you - the place has gone nuts....I never thought Hilter was right in some of his ideals....he had some good solutions'

If the Sun folks do edit comments on their website - it makes you wonder what sort of comment they would edit out if they allow these to stand. Perhaps they see it as useful feedback - showing they are on the right track?

Racism has existed as long as humans have been around and all cultures and ethnicity's are capable of it but there have been times when it was not politics as usual - as it now is.

Politics and journalism can often be cynical businesses and both have bad reputations - perhaps that is healthy to some extent since it might help keep in check those with power.

But I think there should be a special place in hell for people who encourage hatred of people less powerful than themselves to exercise or gain power.

Priscilla and the Mexicans and all the millions of innocent Muslims have something in common - they are chosen targets of greedy: selfish, ambitious and powerful people.

We are not on the edge of a world war caused by 1930's style fascism - nor are we experiencing the rise of fascist dictatorships here in the west. But encouraging hatred of others for political reasons is the language of fascism and that has a long history of promising greatness based on oppressing other people and a history delivering misery for its supporters in the end.