One of the incidental benefits of having written about politics here off and on for almost two decades is that I can see how many times I’ve used the words “fascist” or “fascism” in my public writing by searching a local backup of this site. Until 2016, one or the other had appeared only a few times, when quoting others: a political figure in Madagascar in 2002 talking about the supporters of his rival, and the poet Michael Rosen in 2015 (whose poem reads ominously today). It’s a word I’ve always used sparingly for fear of sapping its power.
I first used it here myself last year, when voicing fears in the days after the EU referendum of an apparently ascendant UKIP and the desire of many in England and Wales for a strong leader who would implement a hard Brexit. Those were fears of possible futures, but given how those particular events have unfolded I can’t say they’ve subsided much (UKIP is no longer ascendant, but only because the Tories have adopted their agenda). For Britain, though, they remain fears of a possible future. America has overtaken us.
My thoughts today are with friends in America, some of whom I’ve known since I was twelve, none of whom will have wanted this. I hope you get through it. I hope we all do.