Friday, 4 September 2009

Don't talk about politics

One of my volunteers told me today, in not so many words, that she is a Nazi.

I cannot recall how we got onto the subject, but she stated that she thought that Hitler's ideas were actually pretty good - he just went about them in the wrong way. I was absolutely dumbfounded. Well, no, that's not strictly true, what I did was argue with her quite heatedly for some minutes, to the point where the other volunteer present actually got up and left the room! Not the best approach.

Now, she is one of my favourite volunteers, we get on really well most of the time, but it has always been clear we have serious differences of opinion - she also told me that she voted for UKIP earlier this year (and today said she'd have voted BNP if they'd had a candidate here). Normally we just agree to disagree and I diplomatically attempt to restrain myself from getting into a 'debate'.

If it was anyone else I'd really have had to consider the possibility of asking them to leave... but I simply refuse to believe that she really thinks that way. Either she has a poor understanding of Nazi policy or simply doesn't realise the implications of it. She is absolutely anti-immigration - she'd have them all sent back regardless, from what I can gather. Her main argument was about benefits and stolen identities - yes, she does read the Daily Mail.

It's really worrying though (and, I suspect, exactly the point I was trying to make when I originally brought up the subject of UKIP and the BNP), and she is far from alone in her views. So worrying, in fact, that the only plan I can formulate to try to combat the burgeoning (I say burgeoning, she's about 65!) white supremacist in our midst is to try to talk to her in a reasonable way about what it is she's advocating and why. Surely that can be the only way to dispel these myths and fears? She told me I was a liberal and I petulantly flung back that I was an anarchist. Not strictly true, but I do seem to be heading in that direction - if only for the reason that I don't believe that anybody has any right to tell anyone else what to do. We're all people, these bits of land divvied up into countries are all just space, what right to any of us have to be in one place and not another?!

We did agree on the totalitarian state we are living in, though - and she said she had absolutely no problem with people demonstrating, and thought that they definitely should. She even lauded the now unfashionable soap box. Both of us see the need for radical change, but we both see opposite ends of the spectrum! She mentioned how much she dislikes the awful adverts telling people to spy on their neighbours, and to be suspicious if you see someone with 'too much bling' - though I'm not sure how she thinks a fortressed dictatorship will make that any better - I'm pretty sure the Jews had the same problem... She equates spies with Soviet Russia for some reason. In fact I've wondered very frequently of late how a lot of people who sympathise with the far right fail to see the correlation between the rise of Nazi power in Germany and the xenophobic, terrorist-obsessed fearmongering going on in this country right now.

One can only hope to bring rationality to such a person's views. I'll do my best.