THERE’S an increasingly unpleasant undertone creeping in to society. I am by no means saying anything that hasn’t been said before, but the problem is that nothing seems to be changing.

It began in 2016 with the Brexit vote, followed hot on its heels by the Trump victory in the US. And since then some people have been not so much sleepwalking, as striding, head torches on full beam, towards fascism.

We may have all learned about the atrocities of the past in history at school, but this seems to make no difference. Paradoxically, it is the heroes of the Second World War who are often held up as the poster boys and girls of the far right – the very enemy they were fighting.

Extreme views are creeping in at both ends of the political spectrum, and none of it is pleasant. While my sympathies lie more to the left, the way some parts of the Labour Party has been conducting itself, and the way it deals with criticism, is also troublesome.

Threats, abuse and prejudice have no place in society and they have no place in politics.

On Saturday the ugliness of discrimination came to our own doorstep, with For Britain – a minor party formed of the more extreme side of the now deflated UKIP – organising an event in Darlington.

It was peaceful, and only a handful of people on the vintage side of youth appeared.

But their message is not a pleasant one – despite their denials, it is vehemently anti-Islam.

While the far-right claim they are just speaking the truth, it is an ominous, disturbing version of the truth, seen through a distorted prism of hate.

WE have people describing themselves as patriots, but really the patriotism is a veil for discriminating against anyone who doesn’t fit into their ideal.

There is a real anger in society as austerity continues to bite, and vital services are gone. That, and not so much a genuine gripe with the machinations of the European Parliament, was responsible for many of the leave votes garnered in 2016.

The previous success of UKIP showed that people were tired of the polished, ambitious, sometimes too obviously-career politicians of the Blair era. They wanted Farage, drinking a pint in the pub and blaming everyone else for the ills of society despite being rather a comfortably-off former City boy. We seem to have one camp against another, a divided nation on different sides of the battlefield, but with many skirmishes within the two barracks. No-one can predict what is at the end of this period of uncertainty, but one thing is sure – if hatred and intolerance goes unchecked, the mistakes of the past will come back to haunt us.

Since the end of the Second World War we have enjoyed a long period of working in partnership with our European neighbours and the US, with poisonous hostility usually met with opposition. Unfortunately, recent events have almost given free rein for people to voice their prejudice about many groups. Unless this stops, we face the prospect of the type of atrocities which we once hoped were buried far in the past.