I got back on Sunday from a wonderful skiing holiday in Val-d'Isère, right in the heart of French Savoy. I’ve been before; I was there two seasons ago, and I’m pleased to say that things remain much the same as they were. The skiing was good, the company was good and New Year was wild!
Actually, it’s not really the skiing I want to talk about; it’s something else altogether, a storm in a fondue. We spent one day at the nearby resort of Val Thorens. It was here that Aidan Burley, a Conservative Member of Parliament, attended a Nazi-themed stag party last month in the excellent ( I know: I've been!) Restaurant La Fondue in the centre of town.
One of the party, addressed by the rest as Himmler, wore a black SS uniform, which it turns out was hired by Burley himself. Various toasts were drunk to the Third Reich and Nazi ideology. The fall-out was sadly predictable: Burley was sacked from his post as Parliamentary aid to the Transport Secretary by David Cameron, the Prime Minister. In France, where it is illegal to wear Nazi uniforms, a preliminary investigation into the incident has been opened.
What is there to be said? For a figure in public life to be involved in this sort of thing clearly shows that he’s a bit of an idiot, one has now wrecked a promising political career. But what a fuss about nothing. It was a stag party; people do the stupidest things; and when men are stupid they are really stupid. If anything it shows that the symbols of Nazism themselves have become a bit of a joke, dress for comic party antics, by appointment to Prince Harry!
Burley was there certainly but he wasn’t dressed like a Nazi, unlike the Labour's Ed Balls, now the Shadow Chancellor, who donned German uniform when he was a student. And this is a man who actually served in government!
It’s the hypocrisy that gets me most, the double standards. There was a long and pompous, blah de blah article by Martin Bright on the Spectator’s Coffee House Blog, of all places, having a go at Burley and “boorish Tory oafs” in general. In the course of this he makes a point of waving his own left-wing credentials when he was at Cambridge during the 1980s, the Thatcher years.
Yes, a time, I feel sure, when Che Guevara, Trotsky and Marx stared out from the walls of thousands of dirty bedsits, these avatars of an ideology and political practice in every way as abhorrent as fascism. More abhorrent, if the calculus of death plays any part in the assessment of such things. One respondent to the Bright article makes the same point;
Isn't this just another boring article illustrating the left's enduring fetish about Nazis? The Nazi Party and its acolytes were utterly destroyed over 65 years ago and its leading lights were killed or imprisoned. Either way Nazism was totally discredited as a creed while the architects of the left's monstrous (and in many ways greater) crimes suffered no such fate. Yet in the best traditions of Joseph Mccarthy, the UK left would have you believe that there are closet Nazis everywhere....in, under and on the bed. It's utter self-serving b******s which enables them to shift attention from the crimes committed by the left.
Nazism did not survive the Second World War, shovelled into the dustbin of history. Marxism did, mutating in a thousand forms, still trendily present in Labour and other socialist parties. There was never a proper summing up, no truth and reconciliation committee. Red flags and stars can still be displayed; swastikas can’t. Stalin is the fashion in Moscow and Mao in Beijing; Hitler the fashion nowhere. But when some overgrown schoolboy is seen in the company of Hilarious Himmler - oh, my, the horror, the horror. It’s springtime for Hitler and Germany.
Happy New Year. :-)