It is not, however, new.
Before WWII the Labour party was enamoured of eugenics and the politics of racial hygiene in much the same way as the Nazi party. I wrote about it in 2012, referencing a Guardian piece by Jonathan Freedland entitled 'Eugenics: the skeleton that rattles loudest in the left's closet' that warned presciently that unless Labour faced its fascist roots, it would not escape the consequences. Today, unusually, I will quote that seven-year old post whole.
18th February 2012
When I have previously catalogued on here the shared ideology between the British left and the Nazi party, an ideology based on racial purity, Eugenics, State control over breeding and marriage and the horror of 'involuntary euthanasia', or State murder, an ideology that persisted in Polly Toynbee's beloved left wing Scandinavian countries into the 1970s with compulsory sterilisation, I'm sure some readers have thought the parallels a little forced. Bernard Shaw wanted to kill the poor with a 'humane lethal gas'; more tellingly he also wanted to rid Britain of Jews, writing to Beatrice Webb he wrote
We ought to tackle the Jewish question by admitting the right of States to make eugenic experiments by weeding out any strains they think undesirable, but insisting they do it as humanely as they can afford toNo doubt also subjecting them to a 'humane lethal gas'. Along with Shaw, the Webbs and HG Wells, even Virginia Woolf was a supporter of State murder; after passing a line of the profoundly mentally ill, she wrote "Imbeciles - every one of them a miserable, ineffective, shuffling, idiotic creature. It was perfectly horrible. They should certainly be killed."
After 1945 and the horror of the extermination camps, the Labour Party quickly performed one of those acts of collective amnesia and wiped all memory of their own National Socialist agenda from the record. Just as that loathsome gulag-apologist Nye Bevan has been resurrected as some sort of saint. But no longer am I alone in daring to say these things, it seems.
Jonathan Freedland writes today in the Guardian that it's time the Labour Party and the British left faced up to their poisonous ideological legacy. Until they do, he implies, the worth of each individual human soul will still be subjugated to a left ideology of collective good;
Progressives face a particular challenge, to cast off a mentality that can too easily regard people as means rather than ends. For in this respect a movement is just like a person: it never entirely escapes its roots.