Melanie Phillips: England, Suicide or fascism. The UK Swings towards the BNP

February 23, 2009
Political alienation and the rise of the BNP is the original and proper title for Ms. Phillips article. But it would appear the choices for England look more like cultural and historical suicide or fascism. What a truly evil and awful choice the brits have.

Daily Mail, February 23 2009 Melanie Phillips

While the media minutely scrutinise Harriet Harman’s ambition, Jacqui Smith’s expenses and David Cameron’s taste in clothes, a lower form of political pond life altogether is expanding like duck-weed.

Last week, the British National Party won a council seat in Sevenoaks, Kent.

This should make us all sit up and take notice. Kent is not ethnically-riven Tower Hamlets or Bradford.

True, it was a Labour seat on this council that fell to the BNP’s Paul Golding — a charming character whom the party once expelled for allegedly attacking another BNP councillor.

Yet suburban Sevenoaks is not some angry, marginalised working-class area but the placid Tory home counties. This suggests that receptiveness to the BNP’s odious ideas is now spreading into mainstream British life.

Around the country, the BNP is making an ever stronger political showing. Last month, it only narrowly failed to take a council seat in Bexley, South London, and last week it did well in wards in Yorkshire, the Midlands and Lewisham, another South London borough. It is also strongly tipped to win at least one European Parliament seat in the forthcoming elections.

The reason for its increasing success is obvious. Like all populist, neo-fascist parties, the BNP is opportunistically exploiting the failure by the political establishment to address issues of pressing and legitimate concern to the public.

It is making hay with the terminal alienation of the British electorate, not merely from the current Government but from the entire political mainstream. Many voters have concluded that ‘they’re all the same as each other’.

Labour is irredeemably incompetent and sleaze ridden. The LibDems (with the exception of their impressive economics spokesman Vince Cable) are irredeemably irrelevant. As for the Tories, although they are benefiting from the collapse of Labour’s support, there is precious little enthusiasm for them either.

They are seen as no more than ‘blue Labour’ on many social issues, devoid of any big idea to address the economic crisis and — as their relatively muted response to the Home Secretary’s extraordinary expenses scam suggests — up to their own necks in the same kind of fiddle.

At a more profound and altogether more explosive level, however, is the fact that all three parties not only refuse to address the issues that concern the public most deeply and emotionally, but also demonise those who express such anxieties as racists or fascists.

In particular, they have colluded in a refusal to acknowledge that nationalism — or attachment to one’s own country and its values — is a perfectly respectable, even admirable, sentiment.

Instead, anyone who maintains that British culture and identity are rooted in the history, language, literature, religion and laws of this country — and must be defended as such against erosion, undermining or outright attack — is vilified as a racist or xenophobe.

This effectively presents such people with a choice — between being demonised as racists and standing silently by as their culture evaporates.

For Britain is changing before our very eyes. As a result of the current rate of immigration, within half a century the projected steep increase in the UK’s population will be entirely made up of people not born in Britain — most of whom will have come from the Third World.

Meanwhile, the fanatically imposed doctrine of multiculturalism has brought about the erosion or denigration of Britain’s history, religion and identity, leaving generations of children — both indigenous and immigrant — appallingly ignorant of the common culture they need to share.

It is entirely reasonable to want one’s country to express its own culture through its institutions, laws and practices. Yet those who defend this principle are called ‘racist’.

Britain is witnessing an alarming growth of separate Muslim enclaves ruled by a parallel Islamic Sharia law. It is entirely reasonable to want one system of law for all. Yet those who say so are called ‘Islamophobic’.

Recently, refinery workers went on strike over claims that EU law was forcing companies to discriminate against British workers by hiring foreign nationals instead.

These workers were called ‘xenophobic’ by Lord Mandelson and others. But as eminently decent, progressive MPs such as Frank Field pointed out, it is simply antidemocratic for the EU to make it illegal for a nation to put the needs of its own people above those from other countries.

To equate opposition to such overt discrimination against British nationals with protectionism –the barrier to free trade which the BNP demands — is just a monstrous twisting of the argument.

This was belatedly recognised yesterday by the Home Secretary, who said immigrants should not be able to take a skilled job in the UK unless it had been advertised to British workers.

But this is merely to tinker round the edges. Gordon Brown made an ill-advised promise of ‘British jobs for British workers’ — a rallying call of the BNP.

It was obvious that he never meant it; it would be illegal, indeed, under EU law. It was probably just another clumsy attempt to wrap his divisive Scottish self in the Union flag.

But the BNP seized upon the refinery protests to claim that while Brown never meant this promise, they do.

The fact that all these issues are deemed to be beyond the pale gives the BNP its opportunity to pose as the champion of these legitimate concerns while concealing its true thuggish agenda.

For the BNP is truly a racist party which stands for a racially pure Britain. Pretending that it merely wants to preserve British culture, it actually believes that anyone who is not white or is a Jew will pollute that culture.

Its constitution says it is committed to ’stemming and reversing the tide of non-white immigration’, that it opposes any form of racial integration with non-European people – and restricts party membership to people of white Caucasian, Anglo-Saxon, Celtic and Norse stock.

Its leader Nick Griffin received a nine-month suspended prison sentence in 1998 for inciting racial hatred by suggesting the Holocaust was a hoax invented by the Jews to make money.

Elsewhere he has said: ‘We affirm that non-whites have no place here at all and will not rest until every last one has left our land.’

Astutely, he has re-branded the BNP as a respectable nationalist party by attempting to suppress all such talk. He has thus managed to dupe a dismayingly large number of otherwise decent people into believing that the BNP is worthy of their support.

But the real reason for the rise of the BNP is the white-hot fury among voters who feel abandoned and utterly disenfranchised by the entire political establishment.

What makes it ten times worse is that, since the BNP seizes upon genuine concerns, those in turn become demonised as ‘far Right’ ideas — which drives even more voters into the BNP’s cynical and menacing embrace.

But it is a mistake to denounce fascism as the province of the ‘far Right’. It is, in fact, the bastard child of Left-wing thinking. Indeed, even today some of the BNP’s own rhetoric is echoed in progressive circles.

For example, in the U.S., President Obama has been flirting with protectionism; while in Britain, the BNP’s denunciations of ‘greedy bankers’ are echoing across the political spectrum.

Britain — thank goodness – — has a visceral aversion to fascism. But given the alarm and confusion of the times, the danger is that such vilification by liberals and the Left of genuine grievances and concerns could become a self-fulfilling prophecy.