Nicholas Brock, 52, was the other day sentenced to four years in prison for being a neo-Nazi.
He decorated his room with SS memorabilia and his body with SS tattoos. He also collected all sorts of material on the Nazi ideology, including a copy of Mein Kampf, along with generally, rather than specifically German, racist brochures.
Yet Mr Brock can’t be legitimately called a monomaniac. In fact, his hobbies reveal a personality in conflict. On the one hand, he has a rich collection of anti-Muslim literature. On the other, he lovingly downloads videos of ISIS beheadings and other gory exploits.
In short, Mr Brock is a nasty bit of work any way you look at it, which Judge Peter Lodder QC pointed out in no uncertain terms when explaining the custodial sentence:
“It is clear that you are a right-wing extremist, your enthusiasm for this repulsive and toxic ideology is demonstrated by the graphic and racist iconography which you have studied and appeared to share with others.
“Your bedroom was decorated with SS memorabilia, a framed Ku Klux Klan recognition certificate in your own name was hanging on your wall.
“You stored documents such as the offensively titled Nigger Owner’s Manual, you had video clips of Ku Klux Klan discussions about race war, of cross-burning, of decapitation, and a propaganda video of Combat 18, a race-hate neo-Nazi group…”
And then came the kicker, which left me, and probably Mr Brock, utterly confused: “I do not sentence you for your political views, but the extremity of those views informs the assessment of dangerousness.”
If I understand His Honour’s point correctly, which I probably don’t, he sentenced Mr Brock to prison not for holding political views as such, but because his views were extreme and therefore deemed unacceptable.
Now, I don’t purport to be a legal expert who can navigate comfortably through every nook and cranny of the English Common Law. Yet, on general principle, there is something disturbing about a man going to prison for his views, however repulsive they might be.
But fine, I’m only going by newspaper reports. I haven’t studied the case in sufficient detail to take serious issue with the verdict. It’s possible, nay likely, that Mr Brock strayed from insanity into criminality, as defined by some laws with which I am unfamiliar.
In any case, our air is cleaner without another Nazi inhaling it for the next four years, and few of us will shed any tears for Mr Brock’s ordeal. After all, dura lex, sed lex – we may have reservations about this or that law, but as long as it’s on the books, it must be obeyed and any infraction punished.
If the law says that collecting the literature and memorabilia of a revolting ideology is a criminal offence, then so be it. Who am I to argue?
But, though it pains me to have to remind our judges of this demonstrable fact, Nazism isn’t the only revolting ideology whose survivals persist on our shores. Communism easily rivals Nazism for inhuman savagery and far outscores it in body count.
War casualties aside, the Nazis murdered about 10 million people. The communists managed 60 million in the USSR alone, plus as many in China, plus God knows how many others in Eastern Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America.
Moreover, national socialism has a biological limit to its spread by definition. After all, it’s hard for, say, a Cuban to swear by the innate superiority of the Aryan race. But genuflecting before the icons of Marx, Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Castro or Che Guevara is easy: worshiping such heroes transcends race. International socialism is just that, international.
Our homegrown neo-Nazis are indeed odious, but it’s hard to claim that their ideology will take over British politics in any foreseeable future. By contrast, the communist ideology, barely camouflaged by woke effluvia, almost triumphed in Britain. Jeremy Corbyn lost the general election by a wide margin, but not so wide as to make sure his evil creed will never vanquish in the future.
On balance, I believe that communism, in its various guises, presents a much greater danger than any form of Nazism, fascism, jingoism or other creeds going by the misnomer ‘right-wing’. But, being a conciliatory person by nature, I am willing to concede that the two ideologies, Nazism and communism, are equally dangerous.
That’s where the goose and the gander fly out of the gaggle in opposite directions. If basing one’s concept of interior decoration and sartorial splendour on Nazi iconography is criminalised, then surely so should be the communist equivalent? For old times’ sake, shouldn’t laws apply to everyone equally?
Yet Soviet, Maoist and other communist livery is seen as kind of cool among large swathes of Westerners, mostly but far from exclusively young ones. Lenin or Mao lapel pins, Soviet uniform coats and hats, CCCP logos, Che Guevara T-shirts and posters can be publicly displayed with impunity, and no one will dare comment.
A friend of mine, for example, was married to a ‘liberal’ journalist, whom I last saw when she was in her 50s. When they were still together, their bedroom was decorated with a huge Che Guevara poster. When I said something unprintable about it, she sighed and said: “Well, I can’t help it. I’m a liberal.” “In that case,” I said, “you shouldn’t worship mass murderers.” I’ve never seen her again.
Nor is it just individuals who rely on communist imagery for their self-identification. Party conferences of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition unfold to the accompaniment of communist songs, including the Internationale that until 1944 was the official anthem of Stalin’s USSR. Red flags fly everywhere, possibly symbolising the blood of the hundreds of millions murdered by those sharing Labour’s taste in colour schemes.
Yet I’ve never heard, nor read, a single word of criticism. If singing the Horst Wessel Lied in public is against the law, then what about Labour’s favourite chorus of Bandiera Rossa, a communist song ending in a blatant oxymoron, Evviva il comunismo e la libertà?
That’s like singing “long live Nazism and racial tolerance.” Communism and liberty are two things incompatible but, given the choice, I’m sure the Corbyn crowd would opt for the former.
The goose and the gander are served with different sauces, which leaves a rancid taste in my mouth. On that note, off to lunch.