Nazi comparisons are two a penny these days, but when they come from self-loathing Tory MPs, they still carry a certain flair. On Wednesday, amid Brexit votes and rumours of a Labour leadership challenge, the British government quietly announced it was dropping its commitment to child refugees under the Dubs amendment.
Shortly afterwards, a despairing senior figure texted friends a popular clip from the Mitchell and Webb TV series. Two SS officers, festooned with the grim regalia of death’s heads across their caps, scarves and drinking goblets, look at each other and slowly query: are we the baddies? The joke, of course, is about the power of denial.
The death of the Dubs amendment is by no means the only touch of Trumpism among the Tories that has the more liberal in their ranks worried. But it mirrors a global tendency to let fear and intolerance shape policy: policy that has a sharp effect on the lives of the most vulnerable.
With regard to Trump himself, the British prime minister’s position on the diplomatic stage is unenviable. Downing Street is right to point out that there is little an ally can do – and what a weak ally this Britain has become – to rein in Trump, without putting British citizens further at risk. But there is a difference between confronting a US president with his fingers on the nukes, and confronting his fellow travellers here at home.
There are plenty in the British Conservative movement who can smell a bad odour creeping into the…