We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

The BNP gains success in a UK election… so what?

The media and chattering classes are agog that the BNP, a fascistic and racist party, have gained some electoral success.

So what?

The Labour and Tory parties have been broadly fascistic (a corporatist ‘soft fascism’ whose symbol is a CCTV rather than the goose-step-and-armband kind) for the best part of a decade. Thus the way I see it, the BNP is just a more overt and perhaps more honest expression of the sort of mainstream democratically sanctioned tyranny that has been steadily and remorselessly stripping away civil liberties for quite some time now.

I cannot help thinking the real motivation for the aghast shrieks about the BNP is that it means the mainstream media do not have to dwell unduly on the far more ideologically antithetical-to-the-establishment and strategically significant growth of UKIP.

The truth is the world view and policies of the (truly vile) BNP is not that different on 95% of issues than the (vile) Tory, (vile) Labour Party and (fairly vile) LibDems, all of whom, once you strip out the overt racism of the BNP, broadly agree about the role of the state. That is to say all their statist-regulatory world views are more or less fascistic when it comes to matters of economy and civil liberties.

The gasps and finger pointing at the thuggish scrotes of the BNP give many an excuse to avoid focusing on the electoral success of UKIP, because unlike the profoundly statist BNP, UKIP is a party filled with people who actually do want a less intrusive and smaller state. UKIP may not aspire to some libertarian minarchist paradise, but they actually want less net regulation and dare to talk about civil liberties as something that matters (as opposed to the LibDems, who strongly believe civil liberties matter and yet want to regulate the crap out of everything, as if somehow that has no bearing on liberty).

In short, the fact UKIP thinks that the liberties of individuals is something to shout about and they want to shrink the state at all, rather than just keep expanding the state, but just a wee bit slower than the other guys… well… in the context of where we find ourselves today, this verges on revolutionary.

No wonder the mainstream would rather emote and declaim about the ultimately irrelevant BNP.

23 comments to The BNP gains success in a UK election… so what?

  • Donavon

    That was the impression I got from reading various online editions of English newspapers. UKIP barely got afterthought coverage. I also found it interesting that BNP was called a party of the far right when they won in traditional Labour “British jobs for British workers” strongholds. It makes me wonder how many of the other national parties across Europe that are called “far right” are actually extreme left xenophobes.

  • Gabriel

    Quite, but there is another facet of BNP hysteria, as well as the effective use is has in both distracting from and delegitmizing the libertarian Right (and, in a related manner, being an occluded way of campaigning for establishment parties).
    Racism is no more intrinsically evil than any other form of unjustified prejudice. However, it has been contingently more evil because of its power to derange the human imagination, to make otherwise respectable people act like lunatics. I’m not sure it ever really had this power in Britain to the same extent it had in many other parts of the world, but it certainly doesn’t have it now; that honour falls to anti-racism. Whenever one runs into a throthing at the mouth lunatic, whenever the public collpases into a fit of ostentatious madness, whenever a monumentally stupid policy is presented or implemented, you can safely bet that “anti-racism” is behind it.

    (On a related note, I had rather hoped that Jewish community would greet the recent elections with joy. After all, it was stunning victory for the only party with plans to curb Islamic immigration – by far and away the biggest source of anti-Jewish violence throughout western Europe – and offer moral support to the Jewish State. However, they’re all running around in fits lest the two BNP MEPs somehow manage to re-enact the Nuremburg Laws.)

  • John K

    I must confess the posturing of the mainstream parties almost led me to vote BNP just to spite the bastards. The more they all told me “do not vote BNP, they are evil”, the more I felt “Sod you, I’ll vote how I bloody well like.”

    I quite accept a political party saying “vote for us, here are our policies”, but I’m buggered if I’ll put up with them telling me who not to vote for for. Fuck ’em.

    In truth, the toytown parliament in Brussels/Strasbourg is of no real relevence, the EU was constructed as an oligarchical bureaucratic state, precisely because its founders did not trust hoi polloi to vote for sensible governments. You can safely vote for anyone to go to the EU parliament, it has no power at all, it is democratic window dressing, so why not treat it with the contempt it deserves?

  • RAB

    Well this is the sort of thing you get when you use Proportional Representation.
    The BNP would have won none under first past the post.

    The lazy Media would dearly love to stick UKIP into the same pigeonhole as the BNP, as right wing racist/xenophobic Little Englanders, but they just wont fit.
    So they are despirately trying to ignore them.

    Otherwise they will have to start addressing questions like, The Lisbon Treaty, Europe in or out? Shrinking the State and immigration. Hard boring stuff!

    Having a laugh over MPs expenses and watching for the next Cabinet mutiny is much more fun.

  • David Smith

    I am intrigued that the Liberal Democrats are described here as both fascists and believers in civil liberties. In my experience, they are neither, but in any case, I have difficulty in seeing how the two can be combined.

    I would also challenge the supposedly libertarian credentials of the UKIP on the grounds, among other things, that they support “British jobs for British workers”.

    Remember, pledging to lower taxes does not in and of itself make a party libertarian, even in the vaguest sense of the term.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Gabriel, the idea that the BNP are any friends of Jews, even unwittingly, strikes me as rather bizarre, to say the least.

  • Midwesterner

    I am from Wisconsin, ‘America’s Dairyland’ and have been around cows throughout my life. There is a disease that dairy cows are prone to called ‘hardware’. Dairy cows consume vast amounts of high energy food to produce all of that milk and most of the food is processed by complicated machinery. Nuts and bolts, broken off blade tips, bits of chain and miscellaneous barn hardware wind up in cows stomachs. If these dangerous objects get into the lower digestive track they can puncture it and cause the disease ‘hardware’.

    This is going somewhere. Honest.

    To prevent this disease is quite simple. We feed the cow a magnet. ‘Cow magnets’ are engineered both to stay in the cow’s stomach and attract dangerous objects, preventing their passage into the lower digestive tract.

    I view BNP as a cow magnet of sorts. As that particular kind of rats abandon Labour, many/most of them will be attracted to and captured by BNP. Unlike UKIP, BNP will never be a viable major party. Capturing these harmful types in a party that will never in any substantive way effect the political process is a feature, not a bug.

  • Remember, pledging to lower taxes does not in and of itself make a party libertarian, even in the vaguest sense of the term.

    And yet Perry wrote:

    UKIP may not aspire to some libertarian minarchist paradise, but they actually want less net regulation…

    So I do not think he ever claimed UKIP was a libertarian party, just that it wants less state and more civil liberties than any of the viable alternatives… which is also why I joined UKIP even though I am far more radical that UKIP’s platform personally, very much in the samizdata sense, because I refuse to sit on my arse and do nothing.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    David Smith, I am not aware that UKIP does actually support a policy of confining British jobs to British workers, or indeed wants to see immigration halted or halted permanently. That would conflict with its broadly free market policy stance. It certainly does not support a policy of kicking people out of this country on account of their having the “wrong” religion, skin colour, which is what the BNP would do.

    Having said all of which, they are not a pure libertarian party; no such party with half a chance of winning more than a few thousand votes currently exists. Of course, there is a Libertarian Party in the UK: good luck to them!

  • Richard Garner

    The annoying thing about concentration on the BNP wins is that it has totally covered up the fact that Labour and the Lib Dems got trounced by Euroskeptic parties. The Tories are joining a Euroskeptic block, UKIP came second, and the Greens opposed the Lisbon Treaty.

    Of course, it is also true that debate on the run up to these elections was about the economy or MPs expenses, but it strikes me as plain that the great mass of people are quite hostile to the EU and this is being reflected in the votes.

  • So I do not think he ever claimed UKIP was a libertarian party, just that it wants less state and more civil liberties than any of the viable alternatives

    Exactly so. I would actually say UKIP is Britain’s only conservative party, somewhat in the Thatcherite mold, as the Tories are in *no* meaningful sense conservatives.

  • Gabriel, the idea that the BNP are any friends of Jews, even unwittingly, strikes me as rather bizarre, to say the least.

    How is it possibly bizarre that one party’s policies could “unwittingly” benefit their opponents? It happens all the damn time – and I believe they’ve even take the trouble to name it: see “Law of Unintended Consequences, The.” In this case, the BNP, if ever successful in an election (which they never will be, but pretend for a moment they are someday) could might maybe just kinda get away with restrictions on Muslim immigration and Public Displays of Islam. This would have the unintended consequence of making life easier for the Jews – something that is certainly NOT on the BNP’s agenda, but there you have it. It’s sort of like those people who advocate seatbelt laws on the grounds that they reduce accident fatalities – which they do – only to find that widespread seatbelt use also increases the total number of accidents – which it does. Intending to reduce highway deaths, they actually only succeed in expanding the bureaucracy – the net effect of lower per-accident fatalities when balanced with a greater overall number of accidents being a wash. This sort of backfiring happens all the time, and it is, last I checked, one of the more persuasive arguments against too much political meddling.

  • Agreed Joshua, happens all the time.

  • Laird

    Midwesterner, I love your “cow magnet” analogy. Sort of like flypaper or a Roach Motel, only much more graphic. I can see it having broader application than just the BNP. I may even “borrow” it sometime!

  • Gabriel

    Gabriel, the idea that the BNP are any friends of Jews, even unwittingly, strikes me as rather bizarre, to say the least.

    I was talking about UKIP, you big dope.

  • Laird

    In today’s Wall Street Journal there’s an opinion piece by one “Alastair MacDonald”* which refers to the UKIP as a “fringe party”. It seems to me that a party which garners the second-highest vote total is no longer “fringe”. If it is, what does that make the third-highest vote-getter?

    * A Scottish name if ever I heard one. Anyone know anything about him?

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Gabriel, the only dope around here is you. You wrote this, straight after a sentence seeking to play down the sin of racism, in that typical fashion of yours.

    After all, it was stunning victory for the only party with plans to curb Islamic immigration – by far and away the biggest source of anti-Jewish violence throughout western Europe

    It looked very much as if you were praising the BNP, which of course wants to impose a total ban on immigration. If you meant UKIP, you should have said so. Given your track record of views, it pays to be clear.

  • Gabriel

    I would hardly say the election was a “stunning victory” for the BNP.

    My point was that if Jews had their heads on straight they would be celebrating the real story of the performance of UKIP rather than having fifty fits about the marginal story of the BNP. i.e. a microcosm of the point Perry was making, I thought that was clear.

  • Paul Marks

    Exactly Gabriel.

    And the success of the United Kingdom Indpendence Party was actually greater than it seemed -as there were many other anti E.U. groups that took votes.

    For example, in the East Midlands (Euro Region where I live) there was the interestingly named “United Kingdom First” party directly above the United Kingeom Independence Party on the ballot paper.

    Robin Page – how could you allow yourself to be conned in this way? The only point of the UK party was to take votes from the UKIP party.

    Also we must remember that those people who voted Conservative did NOT do so because of the expenses stuff – after all the duck island and the “clean my moat” people were CONSERVATIVE M.P.s (and this was made clear by the media – who did a lot on the “Tory Toff” angle).

    The people who voted Conservative did so because they believed (however foolishly or unfoolishly) that the Conservatives were also against the power of the E.U. – after all the media told the people this.

    So some 7 out of 10 (70% for people who can not work out the percentage) voted against the power of the E.U.

    That is the real story – not two seats won by the BNP.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Gabriel, okay, fair enough.

    I am still not entirely sure that a policy committed to a draconian ban on immigration would be regarded by Jews as a necessarily great idea in the medium term; yes, at the present time, Jews already living in the UK, who benefited from an earlier, open-doors policy, might now be glad that immigrants from groups traditionally hostile to Jews can no longer come to the UK.

    But I don’t see UKIP adopting a restrictive policy based on the exact ethnic/religious composition of would-be entrants. As far as I know from reading its literature, it wants to adopt something along the lines of the Australian points system for immigration, based on economics. That has nothing necessarily to do with the race/religion of the persons concerned. So theoretically, if Muslims that you fear were to pass any sort of test, then they can come in, as least as far as I understand UKIP’s position on this issue.

    This fact should be borne in mind also: many of the worst Islamists are not poor, downtrodden types, but those from quite comfortable, middling backgrounds, and such folk might be able to get into a country operating under a points system.

  • guy herbert

    Apparently David Blunkett is a cow magnet.

    The BBC cut out his joke about the public being furious with politicians. Everyone else printed the whole agency story, as far as I can see.

  • Gabriel

    No one should be admitted unless they are fluent in English, have the required educational qualifications, demonstrate loyalty to the UK, its laws and values, and can support themselves financially, with no recourse to public funds – and this to apply equally to their dependents.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Gabriel, and I am sure plenty of the sort of people that you would like to be barred from the UK could be fluent in English, have qualifications, try to convince an official about their loyalty to the UK, (not entirely sure how that can be done conclusively) etc. This filter that you cite will exclude quite a few people, but not all of them, including those that wish people harm. That’s the point.