Soon after Donald Trump was sworn in as US President, I wrote a piece entitled No, I Won’t Help You Build A Bridge, explaining my exact feelings on calls for creating unity with those who would stand aside and watch the deaths of people I love. To summarise — I won’t be building any bridges between myself and fascists.
Part of me is tempted just to re-post that piece and have done with the tricky task of putting today’s feelings down in words. But that also feels like a cop-out, so I’m going to put the work in and get this articulated properly.
Our own blonde liar-in-chief, Boris Johnson, put out a New Year message calling on the country to work together as ‘friends and equals’ to move forward. On the surface, a lovely sentiment. Except… just who are you wanting me to be friends with, Mr Johnson?
Tory party members? Who now count among their numbers 5,000 extremists who are also members of fascist group Britain First?
Tory voters? Maybe some of them. Those who saw voting Conservative as a last-ditch attempt to turn around their circumstances. But the Tories no longer even hold the high ground on the subject of the economy, without even taking into account the societal disaster that is Universal Credit.
With you yourself, Mr Johnson, whose repeated sexism, homophobia and racism is the exact manifestation of that which I have fought all of my life?
People have died under the Tories’ watch — how many may be disputed, but there is a certainty that people have died. Hate crimes have increased. The extreme right are becoming more and more emboldened by their lack of censure as they encroach into mainstream politics. We have seen this pattern play out in the USA over the last three years, and now we see it in the UK as well.
We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented — Elie Wiesel
To anyone who does not stand up to these things, who does not fight them, who turns a blind eye to them, my answer is firm.
No, I will not be your friend.