I was born at the end of 1933. Hitler had become the Chancellor of Germany back in January, so I feel a sort of proprietorial interest in him and his times. A good way to find out about those times is to read what German citizens of the time and others resident in Germany, wrote about it. You find that many people did not take much interest in political affairs or what the Government was doing, and simply got on with their own lives as that process occupied them most of their time. Others knew what Hitler stood for and intended to do and thoroughly approved of some of it at least. Some knew about the rounding up of “undesirables” and agreed, some were not comfortable with it, some remained in ignorance. But there were many who were glad that Hitler repudiated the punitive terms and conditions of the Versailles Peace Treaty so that the economy picked up and jobs became available with decent wages – a new thing for many. When Hitler plunged the citizenry into large scale war, and that war dragged on, the scales began to fall from their eyes and the realisation of what they had let themselves in for dawned.
It seems to me, now an old man, that we are in a similar position. We have a right wing Government prepared to cosy up to the populist element in our National life. “Immigrants” are the cause of all our troubles and have replaced the Jews of Hitler’s time. Too scared, or too sensitive to build centres of elimination in our own country they have come up with the idea of deporting them to another – in this case Rwanda. It seems to be taken for granted that this will happen, by fair means or foul, but there has been very little discussion or explanation about what Rwanda thinks about this. They are, after all, being treated as a dumping ground and our Government behaves as though they have some inbuilt right to do this. It is as though the independence of the various African nations never happened and it is permissible to treat them as if they were still dependant Colonies of the UK.
And as for the immigrants coming ashore at or near Dover, their opinion is not asked for, nor is the possibility that they might have pinions ever considered. Nor is the possibility that they may have talents and abilities that might be of use here, nor the occasionally mentioned fact that demographically speaking, we need a constant supply of younger active people for a variety of jobs – many of those in health care and care of the elderly.
But, as in Hitlers day, I see no public outcry about this deportation process. Once again it is either not known about, or just something the Government is doing – nothing to do with us – and only a few voices emerge from time to time to say that the whole thing is immoral, and quite probably illegal too under International Law. The Government response to that is to concoct doubtful, sinister, legislation which purports to put their actions outside such considerations.
So, we drift onwards to the next stage, where will this Government lead us, and what consequences will we find dumped on our doorsteps when it is too late for us to do anything about it ? I may well be dead and gone by then, but my grand children and great grand children will have to deal with the mess that we have made and with which we have saddled them.