Tory MP Brendan Clarke-Smith has compared kneeling in support of Black Lives Matter to performing a Nazi salute in support of Adolf Hitler.
It comes as England’s football players have decided to take the knee in the European Championship matches – but were booed before their games against Austria and Romania for doing so.
Loud boos for the players grovelling around submissively on their knee before kick off at the England V Romania game pic.twitter.com/d00nT0zA9k— Broken Britain (@BrokenBritainX) June 6, 2021
In a Facebook post, Clarke-Smith, who represents Bassetlaw, reflected on the time when England travelled to Germany to play the national team – in 1938.
He said: “Despite protest, that initial game went ahead and both the Home Secretary and the FA made a point of keeping football independent of politics.
“Following the 1936 Berlin Olympics being used as a propaganda exercise and under a great deal of pressure from both the FA and Britain’s ambassador at the time, the players were encouraged to join the hosts in making the Nazi salute prior to the match.
“England players, including the great Sir Stanley Matthews, were not impressed and did not want to do it. However, they had been reassured that it was merely a formal gesture of courtesy and that it did not mean an endorsement of the regime.”
The MP then said the Nazi gesture was a “great source of shame for many of those involved”. He also said the move to stop racism “now comes across as little more than habitual tokenism” and has “lost its effect”.
Tory MP Brendan Clarke-Smith there comparing kneeling in support of the belief that Black Lives Matter and doing a Hitler salute in support of Hitler pic.twitter.com/CFI2Ka439Z— James Felton (@JimMFelton) June 7, 2021
Romanian communism comparison
The Tory politician has also compared Black Lives Matter’s “political goals” to Romania’s former communist regime under Nicolae Ceausescu.
“With many fleeing from a ruthless communist regime under Ceausescu, countless political opponents were marginalised or killed. Contraception and abortion were banned from the 1960s in order to tackle a demographic crisis and around 20,000 children are thought to have died in squalid orphanages,” he said about Romania‘s past.
He added: “It is precisely for this reason that this sort of ideology must not be glorified. It is also precisely the reason why Black Lives Matter, whose political goals have included crushing capitalism, defunding the police, destroying the nuclear family and attacking Israel are far more than simply an organisation fighting against racism – they have in fact shown they have some quite sinister motives.”
Last week, Tory MP Lee Anderson lashed out at the England team for supporting a “political movement” – and suggested they risked alienating “traditional supporters”.
He labelled the decision to kneel as a “big mistake”, which will lead to the team “having nothing in common with their traditional supporters”.
Anderson said he will boycott England’s games in the European Championship over players’ decision to take the knee before the matches.
“For the first time in my life I will not be watching my beloved England team whilst they are supporting a political movement whose core principles aim to undermine our very way of life,” he said in a Facebook post.
Gareth Southgate, the England manager, has said the team would continue making the gesture throughout the tournament – and were “more determined than ever”.