Author Michael Rosen has echoed Gary Lineker’s statement about perceived parallels between the language used surrounding the Government’s immigration policies and Nazi Germany, while speaking on a stage outside Downing Street.
The former children’s laureate cited Lineker during a speech which condemned the Illegal Migration Bill and Suella Braverman’s rhetoric to hundreds of protesters who had marched to Whitehall.
Rosen, 76, addressed the crowd after a speech by the former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who now sits as an independent MP after losing the whip.
“Notice also Braverman’s use of the word ‘obsession’ – she said she had an ‘obsession’ with the planes leaving for Rwanda.
“That’s precisely to soften us all up to the idea that importing people to another country is legitimate, it’s legal, and someone in the highest office in the land, if she can have this obsession, it must be right, and legal, and sane, when in actual fact, it’s irrational.
“People have asked, as we know, with Gary Lineker, is it the language of Germany in the 1930s?
“He used the words ‘not dissimilar’ – he didn’t say it was identical.
“There was talk then of people being inevitably or habitualy criminal who had to be got rid of.”
Speaking with the PA news agency shortly afterwards, Mr Rosen said he attended the protest because he felt it was “very important” to show “we stand by refugees” by opposing the Illegal Migration Bill.
He said: “I think that this Government is playing a very dangerous game, they’re stoking people’s fears, particularly fears of the stranger.
“This is a very old game of scapegoating and blaming people – vulnerable people – and saying to people who are poor and people who are unhappy: ‘the cause of your poverty and the cause of your unhappiness are these people arriving in small boats’.
“This is what the Government does to shore up power, they’re very, very nervous that they’re going to lose power.
“It was a game that was played during the 1940s, there was a word which circulated around fascists in the 1930s, a German word, ‘fremdmoral’, which means alien morals.”
In a tweet shared on March 7, Lineker, 62, described the immigration bill as “an immeasurably cruel policy directed at the most vulnerable people in language that is not dissimilar to that used by Germany in the 30s”.
He was temporarily taken off air by the BBC in a subsequent row over impartiality, but returned to screens on Saturday to present coverage of an FA Cup match between Manchester City and Burnley.
The Illegal Migration Bill, introduced last week, states that refugees who arrive in the UK through unauthorised means – such as crossing the English Channel in a boat – will have their asylum claims deemed inadmissible.