There's a not-bad detective novel by Faye Kellerman called 'Straight Into Darkness' - I read it a few years ago - about a copper balancing his commitment to good policing and his personal weaknesses with his powerlessness in the face of big events.
It's particularly interesting because it's set in Munich in the late 1920s. It shows us a city that is subject to a creeping takeover by the Nazis. Playing the civil and democratic institutions as deftly as a fiddle, we see them deploying deniable low-level brutality with large-scale political intimidation while gradually placing it's thugs in key positions in the city.
It sees a movement that knows it will never seize power in the decisive way that, say, the Bolsheviks seized it in 1917, but one that would use the weaknesses of democracy against it.
Now, I wouldn't pay Nick Griffin's shower of knuckledraggers the dubious compliment of a direct comparison. Whatever people say about last night's results, this is not an irresistible tide of mouth-breathers poised to seize the wheel.
The Master Race will have to wait a while longer in the UK, I think.
But it does, for me, foreground the whole question of 'no platform'. I understand the argument that fascists need to be flushed out and to have their arguments exposed. But we've seen that political debate doesn't work like that.
For instance, in an election that has been largely dominated by the perception that the main parties are on the take, the biggest beneficiary has been probably the most corrupt party that the UK has ever seen. Y'know, statistically speaking. The idea that public debate is something that happens on a rational plane is one that doesn't really bear much examination. It's why plebiscites and direct democracy present such a bloody awful way of making decisions.
Liberal Democracy is a like a game. There are a set of unwritten rules - you can't oppress minorities, you can't win and then abolish subsequent elections, and so on.
If you don't buy into those rules, you don't get to play the game.
There's a line that one of the Nazis uses in Kellerman's book. A character is told that he has become so open-minded that his brains may fall out. For me, a lot of those defending the right for the BNP to access the same platforms as politicians who are committed to liberal democracy could face the same charge.