[Marxism] The specter of fascism looms over Great Britain
duaneroberts92804 at yahoo.com
Wed Apr 19 17:57:47 MDT 2006
While British capitalism continues to decline in a
downward spiral, and the "New Labour Party" does
little if anything to address chronic unemployment,
lack of affordable housing, and cutbacks of vital
public services, it appears the extreme right has
succeeded in articulating a discourse that has
convinced a huge chunk of the white working class and
petit-bourgeoisie that "immigrants" from abroad are
causing their immiseration.
Duane J. Roberts
duaneroberts92804 at yahoo.com
Walker's World: Far-Right Rises in U.K.
Apr 18, 2006
WASHINGTON, (UPI) -- The British political scene has
just been gripped by a mood of near-panic over the
ominous rise of the extreme-right British National
Party, after some stunning new opinion surveys and
reports that suggest the party could make a
breakthrough in next month's local elections.
The BNP, founded by a British Nazi supporter and
traditionally the home of a racist fringe and
skinheads, has recently gone through a makeover under
the leadership of a Cambridge University graduate who
has recruited Jewish members in the hope of building a
less neo-Nazi and more acceptable image.
A new report by the prestigious Rowntree Charitable
Trust, based on a nation-wide survey, says that up to
25 percent of voters now say they are prepared to vote
for the BNP, largely because of anger and
disappointment with the existing mainstream parties.
A shocked Margaret Hedge, Employment Minister in Tony
Blair's government, claimed over the weekend that
after canvassing voters in her own East London
constituency of Barking she found as many as eight out
of ten white voters said they were tempted to vote for
the BNP next month.
"That's something we have never seen before, in all my
years. Even when people voted BNP, they used to be
ashamed to vote BNP. Now they are not," Hodge told
Britain's Daily Telegraph.
She suggested that disillusioned white, working class
voters were deserting Labour for the BNP because the
pace of immigration and social change had alarmed
"They can't get a home for their children, they see
black and ethnic minority communities moving in and
they are angry," Hodge added. "What has happened in
Barking and Dagenham is the most rapid transformation
of a community we have ever witnessed."
The Labour Member of Parliament for Dagenham, Jon
Cruddas, has echoed Ms. Hodge's fears, adding that the
Blair government's attempt to win and hold "Middle
England" (British political shorthand for the middle
class and middle ground voter) had left its
traditional white working class base feeling
"The BNP is on the verge of a major political
breakthrough," Cruddas, a former adviser to Tony
Blair, told the BBC Monday.
BNP spokesman Phil Edwards claimed the Rowntree report
reflected his party's own warnings on voters' alarm at
Britain's shift towards a multicultural society,
saying Britain had changed from a "racially
homogeneous society into one where the cultures are
quite alien. That does add quite a lot of tensions and
stresses. What we are trying to do is preserve the
traditional culture and identity of Britain."
The BNP was founded in the 1970s by John Tyndall, a
former National Socialist who dressed in paramilitary
uniform and in his youth traveled to Germany to buy
his first pair of genuine jackboots. But in 1999, he
was ousted in an internal coup by Cambridge graduate
Nick Griffin, son of a wealthy Conservative party
official, who has exploited anti-Islamic sentiment
since 9/11 and last year's London bombings to widen
the party's appeal.
"On current demographic trends, we, the native British
people, will be an ethnic minority in our own country
within sixty years," Griffin writes in his regular
column on the BNP website. "The European intifada
riots in France show that events are moving far more
quickly than even we predicted a few years ago. The
future of European civilization rests on a knife-edge,
and the balance is tipping against us all the time.
Why? In part because of continued mass immigration and
the high Muslim birthrate, coupled with our own
suicidal low one."
Senior Labour Party figures are becoming alarmed about
the BNP's prospects in next month's local elections,
when 4,360 council seats are in play, including
London's 32 boroughs and 36 of the biggest towns and
cities. The BNP is fielding candidates for 356 seats,
more than it has ever contested before. It currently
holds 15 council seats across Britain, including six
in the depressed northern town of Burnley which has a
large immigrant population.
In the 2004 local elections the BNP received around
800,000 votes, not much in a country of 60 million,
but enough to sound alarm bells, particularly as it
forged links with similar anti-immigrant parties
abroad like France's Front National and the Belgian
In the last European Parliament elections, the BNP won
4.9 percent of the vote. It tends to do well in
elections where people can easily cast 'protest'
votes, but its support has usually fallen away in
general elections. Launching the BNP election campaign
on Friday, the party said it was "standing for local
freedom, security, identity, democracy and putting
Its campaign manifesto is aimed at white parents,
stressing that immigrant children should not be taught
with native English speakers until they are competent
in the language, that state-funded schools should not
have to teach in Asian languages, and that teachers
should be allowed to spank children, despite the ban
on all corporate punishment by the European Union --
which the BNP wants to leave.
Instead of its former insistence on compulsory
repatriation of immigrants, the BNP is now campaigning
for an instant ban on all further immigration,
compulsory repatriation of all illegal immigrants or
those who commit a crime, and then the use of
Britain's foreign aid budget to encourage 'voluntary
repatriation' of the rest. It would also ban all
affirmative action for ethnic minorities.
The Blair government's Home Office minister Andy
Burnham said Monday he believed support for the BNP
was highly localized and was often a "protest vote."
Areas with high immigrant and refugee populations, and
suffering fast economic change, are seen as
vulnerable. In Dagenham, home of the giant Ford auto
plant where jobs have been slashed from 25,000 to
3,000 in recent years, the BNP campaign says, "We
stand up for jobs for British workers."
"Can you just sit there and watch as our country is
being ripped apart by the forces of multiculturalism?
You are not alone," says its new local campaign for
the local elections. "Many good people, just like
yourself are afraid to make too many comments publicly
because it is seen as a sin to make mention of one's
fears and concerns."
Â© Copyright 2006 United Press International, Inc. All
The Daily Telegraph (London)
No houses, no jobs and plenty of resentment... enter
By Ben Leapman, Home Affairs Correspondent
With its heavy industry and endless rows of neat
council houses, the borough of Barking and Dagenham
had for generations stood apart from the rest of
Compared with the capital's melting-pot of rich and
poor, black and white, its social profile remained
solidly white and working-class.
But now that most of the factory jobs have gone, the
council houses have been sold and ethnic minorities
have started slowly moving into the borough, Barking
and Dagenham has given the far-Right British National
Party its first serious toe-hold in the capital.
Since Cambridge-educated Nick Griffin replaced John
Tyndall as BNP leader in 1999, the party has swapped
jackboots for suits and sought to copy the electoral
success of continental extremists such as Jean-Marie
Le Pen in France.
Campaigning with Mr Griffin are a series of women
including Patricia Richardson, 60, a mother-of-two,
who became the BNP's first Jewish candidate and won a
council seat in Epping Forest in 2004, and Sadie
Graham, 27, a Nottingham University graduate and
prospective Parliamentary candidate.
The party's policies remain extreme, however, notably
the repatriation of ethnic minority Britons to stop
the country turning "coffee-coloured" and the
segregation of school pupils with poor English. Mr
Griffin has a conviction for inciting racial hatred.
Yet the party has captured 24 council seats across
England, mostly in former Labour strongholds in the
north and west Midlands. The most notable success was
at Burnley, Lancashire, in 2003 when the BNP became
the official opposition in the council chamber.
At last year's general election, the BNP picked up 17
per cent of the vote in the Barking constituency. No
wonder the seat's MP, Margaret Hodge, is worried.
Barking and Dagenham was largely farmland until the
end of the First World War, when servicemen returning
to London slums were promised "homes fit for heroes".
What they got was the world's largest council estate,
built between 1921 and 1932.
The affordable houses offered their 90,000 residents
gas, electricity, indoor lavatories, fitted baths and
In 1931, Henry Ford opened his car plant in Dagenham
which, at its peak, employed 30,000 people.
At the start of the 1980s, fewer than 10 per cent of
homes in the borough were owner-occupied. But when
Margaret Thatcher introduced the Right to Buy scheme,
Ford workers snapped up their houses in droves. Many
took the opportunity to sell up and leave what had
become part of Greater London for leafier suburbs
further out in Essex.
The families who moved in were often headed by
second-generation immigrants, taking advantage of the
capital's lowest property prices to get on the housing
ladder. At the same time, London councils began to
house asylum seeker families in the borough.
The local economy suffered when Ford ended car
production at Dagenham in 2000, although some jobs
remain at what is now an engine plant.
The non-white population of Barking and Dagenham went
up from nine per cent in 1991 to 15 per cent in 2001.
Nationwide, 1.2 million migrants have come to Britain
from outside the EU in the past eight years.
Where Mr Griffin's BNP has found success, it has been
by going into areas where local whites already resent
ethnic minority new arrivals.
Campaigners ask "Why do you think there is no youth
club on this estate?" or "Why do you think the old
people's home is closing?" The answer is always the
same - because the money, allegedly, has gone to
In Barking and Dagenham, the key issue is housing. The
problem, according to Mrs Hodge, is rooted in the
failure to build new social housing. Now, young white
couples with their first children can no longer be
housed on the estates near their relatives. As a
result, she says, they resent the ethnic minorities
whom they perceive as getting priority.
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