The world of politics is full of difficult choices. Deciding when to stand up and fight for what you believe in can be one of the most difficult, especially when you are being publicly criticised by an 83-year-old Holocaust survivor with an MBE.
I have a great deal of experience in standing firm in the face of overwhelming evidence that I am wrong, and that is an experience I am willing to share with you today. Here are my top tips:
1. In the words of the inimitable Limmy, don’t back down, double down. Never, ever apologise, it merely displays weakness and invites further attacks. If someone says the words you are using remind them of Nazi propaganda of their childhood, that is not a sign you are in need of some quiet reflection – it is a sign they have lost the argument. Do not question yourself, but move forward with renewed vigour.
2. Question the speaker’s motives. Is she REALLY a holocaust survivor? Who is paying her? What newspaper are they from? Are they in the pocket of the liberal establishment elite? These are all questions that can be used to cast doubt on the veracity of their claims. Are the sort of people who might vote for you really going to listen to the complaints of an octogenarian Holocaust survivor if they think she’s working for the Guardian? Of course not.
3. Use the enormous strength of one of the great offices of state to bully anyone sharing evidence of your interaction. Are videos appearing online that make it look like you said the things you actually said? Get your Home Office team to shut that down immediately. It will not backfire. No chance.
4. Always remember, if people are accusing you of saying hateful things and demonising vulnerable people, then you are doing something right and important. Throughout history, all the great successes of mankind have been achieved thanks to the demonising of a vulnerable group. I can’t think of any good examples of this right now, but trust me on it.
5. Flush your conscience down the toilet. Metaphorically speaking. I mean, if there was a way to have it surgically removed, I’d have done it years ago, but for now, tuck your conscience in your back pocket and forget about it. Listening to your conscience will take you nowhere good. That nagging voice wondering if the thing you are doing is evil? Ignore it. Drown it out. Use headphones if you have to, but never, ever listen to it.
Follow my guidance and you too will be perfectly capable of standing in front of an 83-year-old holocaust survivor and feeling comfortable talking about asylum seekers the way the Nazis talked about Jews.