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The Via Combusta

There's a part of the heavens some call the Via Combusta. It means 'The Fiery Way,' and has an ominous reputation, stretching as it does between the claws of the scorpion through the coils of the serpent. I imagine it stretching through the veins of Britain; bright stars above, flames on the road. What is happening all around us? What are we becoming?

It is so hard not to draw parallels with the early 30s, I'm giving up trying, and instead will ask the question: Does Britain Actually Need A Fascist Revolution?

Perhaps war has its uses. War wakes people up

After each World War, even as victors, we lost; the first one bled us dry and signalled our descent from the foremost place among the world powers. The second one we had to fight because invasion was coming, and it led to a crystalisation of excellent ideas and ideals: the NHS, the welfare state, the realisation that if your homeland is fit to die for it should be fit to live in. But Germany's lessons seem to have been more profound; the general awareness that all the racist resentments against Jews throughout Europe culminated in such an evil as to never be forgotten throughout humanity's history, and a shame that nation still shudders to bear.

Maybe this is Britain's tragedy. Maybe the thing we need, once and for all, is to know what it is like to feed on the poison of nationalism until the pustule bursts, and everything is left stinking and dirty. But we shouldn't need it; we learned all right. The real tragedy is that we got the lesson via WWI, and we learned it hard, but not well. A hundred years on and what am I seeing on FB walls and all over the net?

Britain First rubbish being shared with depressing regularity. Anger at the Daesh manifesting as 'justified' racism and cultural disdain. There's one with Winnie doing the old two finger salute, with the caption: 'Fuck off muslims! We didn't win two world wars to hand ENGLAND over to you!!!' Apart from the sheer stupidity of it (No-one is asking anyone to hand England over to anybody) the emphasis makes it sound as though Winnie won't surrender Albion, but he might be persuaded to part with everything west of the Severn and north of Hawick. There seems to remain this hatred of other bubbling away underneath, as if we never really learned on our own account what extreme nationalism leads to; apparently the loss of a whole generation of young men between 1914 and 1918 doesn't count. And then there's the whole ECHR thing. No, we won't be told what our human rights are by some external court way off in Europe, we'll have our own court, upheld by our own ideals! So let's consider; if anyone has a human rights problem, who is it likely to be with? Possibly their employer but also possibly the government, given recent anti-freedom legislation. Do we think the government will defend the rights of the individual against the desires of the government? Do we think at all?

Hitler frightened many and hurt many more, but it must not be forgotten how immensely popular he was, how he courted Germany through patriotism and wounded pride. Do we need the kind of salutary lesson in humanity that Germany got? It's as though every other lesson, the war poets, the footage, the graves, the memories, the diaries, the wounded, the cruelty, the ruined land, the rubble of cities, the concentration camps, the starving, the crippled, the lost and the dead, these just wash over us because we weren't there and all we know is that we won. We once understood the limits of winning. What do we understand now?

If we don't have an answer, a good answer, we're off again down the Via Combusta, all along the Fiery Way.

Via Combusta




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