Mhairi Black widely praised for speech about UK government 'sleepwalking to fascism'

Mhairi Black widely praised for speech about UK government 'sleepwalking to fascism'
SNP MP says government is 'sleepwalking towards fascism'

An MP has received praise after delivering a rip-roaring speech accusing the government of "sleepwalking to fascism".

During a debate about economic growth, SNP MP Mhairi Black levelled a number of criticisms against the government, pointing to its record on the economy, its prioritisation of "a manufactured culture war" and the "terrifying" scrapping of the Human Rights Act.

"Do they know how scary it is to sit at home and wonder if it is you—is it your rights that are up for grabs?" she said. On the government's controversial Rwanda scheme she noted: "We tell our own citizens that their safety cannot be guaranteed in Rwanda, but we are perfectly happy to ship asylum seekers, people fleeing war and persecution, over to Rwanda as though they are cattle to be dealt with by someone else and despite knowing that the plan costs more than it will ever save.

Black said these issues proved it was "sleepwalking" towards fascism.

"This is just little England elites drunk on the memory of a British empire that no longer exists," she said. "We have the lowest pensions in Europe and the lowest sick pay. We pretend the minimum wage is a living wage when it is not. We miss our own economic targets time and again. We are happy to break international law. We are turning into a country where words hold no value.

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"Over the last 12 years, I fear we have been sleepwalking closer and closer to the F word. I know everyone is scared to say it for fear of sounding over the top or being accused of going too far, but I say this with all sincerity.

"When I say the F word, I am talking about fascism—fascism wrapped in red, white and blue. You may mock and you may disagree, but fascism does not come in with intentional evil plans or the introduction of leather jackboots. It does not happen like that. It happens subtly.

"It happens when we see Governments making decisions based on self-preservation, based on cronyism, based on anything that will keep them in power, when we see the concentration of power while avoiding any of the scrutiny or responsibility that comes with that power. It arrives under the guise of respectability and pride, which will then be refused to anyone who is deemed different. It arrives through the othering of people and the normalisation of human cruelty.

"I do not know how far down that road we are. Time will tell, but the things we do in the name of economic growth—the warning signs are there for everyone else to see, whether they admit it or not."

A clip of her speech went viral online and at the time of writing has received over 300,000 views. Reacting to it, people heaped praise on the MP:

Strong stuff.

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