Sunday, May 15, 2016

Another modest proposal ...

Can we please add a "Godwin's law" clause to the EU Referendum rules?

To be specific I refer to the best known corollary of the original law. Mike Godwin initially suggested that, the longer a debate goes on, the closer the probability that someone will make a comparison to Hitler or the Nazis gets to certainty.

It is often added that  unless the subject of the original discussion was World War II, totalitarian dictatorships, genocide and mass murder, or some other subject to which would make such a comparison proportionate and legitimate, when this happens the argument is finished and, whoever first raised the comparison to Hitler or the Nazis has automatically lost.

Clearly the terms of the EU referendum act should not be retrospectively changed, but if it were possible it would be so tempting to try to amend them so that the next time a prominent spokesman for the Leave or Remain campaign introduces the subject of Hitler, that side loses.

Of course, I'm basing this modest proposal on the assumption that if such a rule were added the prominent members of both sides would have the sense not to do it ...

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