The Plastic Hippo

May 21, 2013

In Godwin we trust

Filed under: History,Politics,Rights,Society — theplastichippo @ 1:26 am

Godwin`s Law

Who do you think you are kidding Mr Farage?

Put at its simplest, Godwin`s Law postulates that whenever any protagonist in a discussion, debate or argument offers a comparison juxtaposing current events with the German Third Reich, Nazi oppression or fascism in general then all credibility disappears and any argument is automatically lost. The law was formulated in 1990 by a bloke, unsurprisingly, called Mike Godwin who was, and is, a lawyer and an author. His intention was entirely laudable in that his “law” allows for an elegant disengagement of drunken keyboard warriors who inevitably compare anything they disagree with to fascism. More importantly, Godwin`s Law is there to counter internet bores who seem happy to compare, say, traffic wardens to storm troopers and in doing so trivialise the full horror of the holocaust.

Interestingly, this bit of social media fun has been enthusiastically embraced and modified by the political classes for their own purposes. At any sly reference to marching on Poland, bierkellers, bunkers, blitzkrieg or Nuremberg rallies, Godwin`s Law is evoked to silence any awkward criticism. A recent disturbing example of this failsafe escape clause was beautifully demonstrated by the Department of Work and Pensions in their reaction to the so-called Spartacus Report. The People`s Review of the Work Capability Assessment, to give its formal title, is an independent analysis of the impact that “Welfare Reforms” will have on people with disabilities and severe illness. The DWP are scared stiff of the report because it contains impeccable research, actual data, hard facts and conclusions so damning that ministers have refused to engage with the authors or discuss the ongoing carnage with the Spartacus campaign.

Instead, Iain Duncan Smith continues to make up stories to justify his blind ideology and continues with expenses claims of £39 for a single breakfast. The DWP will not discuss individual cases such as the grandmother who took her own life for the sake of £20 per week bedroom tax yet happily leak the names and addresses of those found guilty of benefit fraud. Clearly a minister of the crown who charges the tax payer £39 for his breakfast does not want to hear that benefit fraud totals £1.2billion, his departments` errors cost £2.2billion and unclaimed benefit amounts to £16billion. Let`s not talk about tax evasion and let`s not allow the shirkers and the scroungers to spoil a hearty breakfast.

Clutching at straws, the DWP turned to Godwin`s Law. The pages and pages and pages of accurate evidence in the Spartacus Report can be dismissed because of a single word included in the foreword written by a professor who happens to have an OBE and has enough letters after his name to exceed the character limit of a tweet. The academic Peter Beresford, Professor of Social Policy at Brunel University, played no part in compiling the Spartacus Report but was asked to cast his critical eye over the findings. In the foreword and not, it should be stressed, the actual report, he compares Work Capability Assessments to the treatment of shell shocked and wounded First World War soldiers being forced back to duty. He also is reminded of a German military commission in the Second World War when the seriousness of wounds was deliberately downgraded to return combatants to the Eastern front. Godwin`s Law rose from the dead because Professor Beresford correctly indentified the German government at the time as “Nazis”.

Since the coalition government`s refusal to consider the Spartacus Report, Iain Duncan Smith is now in imminent danger of being found guilty of misleading the House of Commons with some very dubious data on benefit fraud and a doctor of good reputation has gone public with accusations that Atos, the private company in charge of the cull, are not very ethical and are costing about £100million. With DLA appeals now costing an estimated £500million, it is difficult to see how this is reducing the deficit and suggests that coalition policies are no longer attributable to incompetence but to a much darker intent. With their master plan under threat from Mr Nigel Far Right Rage, Tory policy is destined to move even further to right in the hope of picking up the votes of rich people who will be dead within five years rather than poor people who will be dead within five months and those who see greed as more attractive than compassion and humanity. We have fallen off a surreal cliff of gaga politics when the nationalist boozy kipper accuses Scottish Nationalists of racism and of being a bit “fascistic”.

Godwin`s Law is now completely refuted. The DWP, the government and UKIP are behaving just a teeny tiny weensy little bit like fascists. The Godwin imperative is unworkable because the discussion is far from over and the trivialisation of the horrors of the holocaust is based on the final solution and not the germination of its beginnings. Another piece of serious academic research that will definitely be ignored was conducted by a Dr Lawrence Britt who examined a number of fascist regimes and how they achieved power. The 14 Defining Characteristics of Fascism is a chilling but vital read and might seem disturbingly familiar in austerity Britain.

With Godwin`s Law as dead as the Liberal Democrats, imagine what would have happen if UKIP`s one man band were to turn up in a pub in Glasgow.

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