The instability that the far right is creating in UK society is becoming dangerous.
Last weekend saw a former nurse suggest to a cheering Trafalgar Square crowd that doctors and nurses who have been involved in vaccination programmes should be listed to appear before potential Nuremberg style trials. The very clear aim was to intimidate and threaten NHS staff and their families. There are, already, signs that this is working: the threat is being perceived by those working on these essential programmes.
Now Nigel Farage has turned on the RNLI, another institution in the UK, suggesting that its volunteer life saving crews in the English Channel are acting as a ‘migrant taxi service’. The intention is, of course, to intimidate crews into abandoning migrants to their fate at sea.
And the government is, as I have noted before, introducing legislation that has a 14 year prison sentenced attached to an RNLI volunteer crew member who actually saves the life of a migrant by bringing them to safety in the UK. I am, of course, aware that the Home Office says that the legislation will not apply to the RNLI, but the new law remains quite explicit in providing no such exemption, and so very clearly it does.
This law is deliberately intimidatory in that case. The threat is very real. And that is obviously deliberate; there has been no hint that others undertaking their obligation (both moral and imposed under international law) to save life at sea will enjoy any protection from criminal charges for doing so.
The threat should be apparent. The far right - and I include our government in that category precisely because it is now very obviously planning to use legal means to threaten the lives of those of those at sea when they are seeking to claim their legal right to be considered as asylum seekers in the UK - is seeking to intimidate in ways that threaten the physical well being and personal freedoms of people undertaking what have been considered ethical, principled and laudable activities in the UK.
First they came for the NHS.
Then they came for the RNLI.
Who and what next? When these organisations, and those who work for them,are the victims of such abuse are there any limits to the intimidation that might follow?
We really do need to worry.