We all know the instant knock-on effect propaganda can have.
Repeat ‘ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Führer’ often enough, and perfectly well-behaved Germans will start gassing Jews.
Devote enough column inches to Islamic terrorism, and no corner shop in the north of England will be safe.
Pass a law banning homosexual agitation in schools, and those Russians will start ambushing anyone with a slight lisp and a neatly trimmed moustache.
Are you with me so far? Do you agree that propaganda inevitably has such an immediate effect? That a sweet little boy who likes violent films is guaranteed to turn into a murderous sadist? That a little girl watching a film about prostitutes will tell her mummy that she wants to be a hooker when she grows up, if not sooner?
Well then, you have to agree with Hannes Swoboda, the Austrian leader of Labour MEPs in the European Parliament and Ed Miliband’s best friend.
Displaying the same unshakeable belief in one-to-one causality that I sketched in the previous paragraphs, my friend Hannes (we haven’t met, but any friend of Ed’s is a friend of mine) came up with a ringing – and well-justified! – accusation of the British Tories and especially those vipers from UKIP.
You see, a few days ago a young Italian waiter, who had only arrived in Britain 10 days earlier but had already found a job at a Maidstone restaurant, was beaten to death by English thugs, each one presumably inclined to euroscepticism.
My friend Hannes, no doubt wishing to score some much-needed political points for our mutual friend Ed, put his finger right on the cause of this heinous crime: “The xenophobic, aggressive climate inflamed by populists and by the rhetoric of the Conservatives in government is now leading to murder in the streets of Britain.”
“Campaigns such as vans with slogans telling immigrants to ‘go home’ and continuous negative rhetoric against foreigners – including EU citizens – are creating an ugly mood in Britain,” he added, displaying the unimpeachable logic for which EU officials are so justly famous.
How right he is! Truer words have never been spoken. The Tory government, only barely restrained by its civilised LibDem partners, has unfurled a hateful campaign based on the malicious misconception that anyone living in England should be here legally.
How dare they! The next thing you know they’ll say that everyone living here must be able to read NHS circulars in English, rather than in any of the 17 languages into which they are translated. Then we’ll really know that concentration camps are just round the corner.
What’s the likely – nay, guaranteed – effect of such fascistic propaganda? You’re right, there can be only one outcome. Militant English nationalists will take to the streets looking for Johnny Foreigners to stamp to death.
And this is exactly what those Tory-corrupted, UKIP-inflamed English yobs did in Maidstone. The ultimate blame must be put squarely on the Tories and those UKIP vipers, though the actual perpetrators can’t be wholly excused.
And now it’s time to name and shame those ghastly Brits charged with the murder of the young Italian.
They are: Aleksandras Zuravliovas, 26, Tomas Gelezinis, 30, Saulius Tamoliunas, 23 and Linas Zidonis, 21. Each one of them a Little-Englander whose latent British jingoism was dragged to the surface by the Tories. Makes one ashamed to be British!
These despicable Little-Englanders… Hey, hold on a moment. I’ve just noticed something… The names don’t sound, well, don’t get me wrong, I’m certainly no English jingoist but, and I mean this with all due deference and respect… well, the names don’t quite have the same ring as Thompson or Jones.
Let me check my sources… Oh well, what do you know. The four murderers are actually not English! They happen to be Lithuanian migrants. Blow me dry, wonders will never cease.
Suddenly, and it deeply saddens me to say so, my friend Hannes’s rhetoric begins to sound a smidgen less persuasive. Why, the Tory xenophobes among us may even suggest – wrongly, inexcusably, I hasten to add! – that the case is an argument not for indiscriminate immigration so dear to the EU’s heart but rather against it.
No, that can’t be right. A high EU official imbued with all the intellectual and moral probity of that august organisation can’t possibly be so earth-shatteringly moronic. Especially when he’s a socialist and Ed’s friend.
So he’s got to be right. Any campaign against illegal immigration is guaranteed to have only one possible result. Lithuanians will start murdering Italians en masse, and then woe betide all those French people in Fulham – the Poles and the Czechs know where they live.
Oh to be in the EU, now that autumn’s here. Makes one want to reach for one’s Browning.