Benefits Street: Modern British propaganda and its resemblance to Fascist Germany

The Other day my History Teacher lent me a book. This book by Robert Gellately was entitled ‘The Gestapo and German Society’. Part of Gellately’s conclusion was that the Gestapo relied on co-operation from society in order to function. I think this is true of totalitarian Germany as a whole.

However Fascist authority mainly achieved co-operation through propaganda disillusioning the German people and more importantly making them spiteful against certain groups of society, in particular Jews . In the UK today it is the unemployed.

On Monday the sixth of January channel four realised a new ‘documentary’, ‘Benefits Street’. This supposedly factual TV show depicted life on James Turner Street, Birmingham, where only five per cent of its residents work. Benefits Street presented the lives of vulnerable people in dire situations in a ‘humorous’ and mocking manner. This programme was originally aired on the day that Mr Osborne announced cuts of £25billion to the welfare state, very convenient for the Conservative party. Benefits Street isn’t the only TV programme of its type, nor is it the worst but it is an example of British 21st Century propaganda, which disillusions people and inspires hatred not unlike what was experienced in Fascist Germany.

I am not suggesting that the situation is nearly as dire as Nazi Germany, but I feel as if that is the direction that we are heading in. In Britain there is a lot of media and state propaganda that stereotypes Benefit claimants and the unemployed, for example calling them ‘scroungers’. Surprisingly This appears to be influencing many people.

After searching ‘#Benefitsstreet’ on twitter I found a staggering amount of hateful tweets aimed at the unfortunate ‘stars’ of the TV show, there were literally thousands of results. Such as, ‘The scum on #benefitsstreet are being investigated for the crimes they committed, whilst they bragged on National television. Hooray!’ This tweet is an example of unreasonable and extreme prejudice and bigotry. However this tweet is not endorsing the recent cuts in welfare. Although there are other tweets that do endorse the recent cuts to welfare, ‘This #benefitsstreet is just what I thought it would be. Scum who’ve never worked a day in their lives. Keep cutting the benefits Cameron’. It would appear from these tweets that propaganda is working. Many otherwise intelligent people of all ages are victims of the relentless propaganda imposed on us by the media and the state which have very negative responses to the unemployed who i view to be victims of a capitalist system.

I think that people’s negative attitudes to the unemployed is very similar to the anti-semantic opinions held by many Germans during 1933-1945. Remember this was what leads to the massive loss of life. I don’t want anything like what happened in Nazi Germany to happen to the unemployed in Britain, I want people’s attitudes to change. The only way that this can be achieved is through education, making people aware of propaganda and teaching them how to see thorough it and developing critical thinking skills within our entire education system.


An Example of Anti-semantic Nazi Propaganda


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