IT is now at least 40 years since I decided that I did not wish to be a politician. Precisely because I did, my interest in politics has been unrelenting ever since.

For me, politics has always been about one word above all others. That word is fear.

I heard the fear of poverty in my mother‘s voice when she described her childhood. She learned, too young, what living on the absolute edge was all about. She never got over her fear that but for (as she would have put it) the grace of God, her own family could be back in that place.

My father also lived in fear. His fear was, not unreasonably, of being thought to be Irish. Our family name did not help. He lived his life aware of what it was to be an outsider in a country that was throughout most of that time deeply hostile to the place from which his relatives came. As much as he tried to assimilate (and superficially he did) his anxiety remained.

I too learned about fear in my childhood. My twin and I were separated at the age of 11. I went to a grammar school. He went to a secondary modern. It was a harsh, and even brutal introduction to the reality of structural inequality that had been endorsed by society.

From the moment I became aware there was a political party opposed to the system that had created this hurt, my political eyes were opened. I realised that with appropriate political leadership, the state could be a force for good as well as harm.

From then on, I knew politics could make a difference.

When I became aware soon afterwards that my twin was gay, the importance of identity politics also became apparent to me. It is difficult to recall how hard that realisation was to manage in the 1970s. I have always admired his willingness to be open about it, but I can only imagine the cost that it has had.

I was aware of a wrong to be put right, just as the rise of feminism in the 1970s also made me aware of that issue. Again, I realised that politics could deliver a freedom from fear which provided it, in my opinion, with a justification that nothing else could.

Given those experiences, it was impossible for my political outlook to be shaped by anything but fear and the desire to deliver freedom from it, even if I was fortunate to enjoy good fortune in many aspects of my own life.

Every political opinion that I have formed since the 1970s has been influenced by the need to shape society to mitigate the fear that otherwise oppresses people whether that fear is of poverty, discrimination of all the sorts that we know human beings can make possible, and the failure of the state to protect people from these outcomes.

Over the years that have intervened since the 1970s, I thought that as a society, we were making progress on many of these issues. Attitudes towards discrimination have changed, radically, if not by enough. The same could also be said on some issues relating to poverty, although in the last decade many gains were reversed.

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But now, I too am fearful. I watch Trump and his cohort in the States and Boris Johnson and his cohort here in the UK and see people who are intent, in my opinion, on promoting fear. They do so deliberately. They do so in the simplest way possible. They pick on a group who they think to be different from those people who might support them and then turn that group into a supposed enemy. And then they promote hatred of them.

I should stress that there is no political ideology as such implicit in this process. Trump, Johnson and their like are not great political visionaries. Instead, they and their followers or intent on just one thing. That is power.

As is now apparent, they do not recognise limitations upon their ambition to achieve power. Both Trump and Johnson have demonstrated their indifference to the rule of law. That both of them face potential criminal inquiries is unsurprising.

Equally unsurprising is the fact that they treat these allegations as fabrications manufactured by their enemies.

In the same way, both treat the due processes of democracy as mere impediments to their progress, to be swept aside if they are inconvenient to their objectives.

It would be good if we could dismiss all this as the actions of a fringe on the edges of politics who have no influence on our society. We cannot. Only last week, The Daily Telegraph ran an article suggesting that it was time that the actions of civil servants working to uphold the law be overthrown because what they are doing is evidence of a left-wing conspiracy.

Allister Heath, editor of The Sunday Telegraph, said in that article: “The next Tory government will also need to ensure that we end up with a drastically more ideologically diverse university, cultural and charitable sector.”

In other words, those of a left-wing ­persuasion must be purged from their jobs. It really was that unsubtle, as was this: “Defeating wokery must become official policy across Government.”

In other words, the government must be in favour of inequality and discrimination of all sorts. Because woke culture is ­opposed to those things, defeating wokery must require this.

As a result, I and millions of others, have every reason to be fearful. If evidence of the existence of a fevered mindset within politics was required, then maybe this article was it. When the mainstream media is demanding the overthrow of democratic procedures and the rule of law to support the accession to power of the group that exists to pursue division that is fuelled by hatred within society then we have to face the reality that fascism is alive and well within UK politics at present.

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Try as I might, I cannot find another way to describe that demand or the political program that it supports.

In that case, to my list of fears that have dominated my political thinking to date must be added the fear of fascism. This fear is now at the forefront of much of my thinking.

What then comes to mind is a third F. This is my fear that unless we stand up to fascism, then we’re all well and truly fucked.

I echo the words of Billy Connolly when saying so. He once said that he knew a great many words, but sometimes only “fucked” would do. I think that true on this occasion. The whole purpose of fascism is to impose fear on the vast majority of people to support the rule of the few. As we should all be aware, the consequences are usually hideous.

There are, of course, several ways to beat fascism. Having political parties who demonstrate that they believe that the power of the state can be used to genuinely advance the interests of everyone in society is one such way. We are, however, desperately short of them at present when Labour is not, in my opinion, rising to this challenge.

We can also demand proportional representation, which would mean that the political viewpoint of the decent majority in our society would always be guaranteed a place in government. Labour is, however, also opposing that at present.

Alternatively, and as a consequence of this necessarily despondent view of politics in Westminster, Scotland could, and should demand independence so that it can be free of this threat.

To be blunt, Scotland has to do that, or it’s fucked. Looked at like that, the choice is obvious, isn’t it?