Labour got what it deserved – and so did the BNP
June 11, 2009
“The Labour party is dying, and fascism is on the rise. Where does the working class go from here?”
Whatever its flaws, the IWCA typically provides some of the better analyses of British politics from an unashamedly working class perspective. It concludes:
…Crucially, what has been lost in the whirlwind of liberal hysteria about the ‘Nazis’ is that a substantial part of the BNP appeal within working class communities comes from its depiction of its policies as ‘socialism of the old school’. Former Tory party chairman Norman Tebbit has said [Letter to the Daily Telegraph, April 21, 2006] ‘I have carefully re-read the BNP manifesto of 2005 and am unable to find evidence of Right-wing tendencies. On the other hand, there is plenty of anti-capitalism, opposition to free trade, commitments to “use all non-destructive means to reduce income inequality”, to institute worker ownership, to favour workers’ co-operatives, to return parts of the railways to state ownership, to nationalise the Royal National Lifeboat Institution and to withdraw from NATO. That sounds pretty Left-wing to me.’
At the moment this is something the BNP take particular delight in admitting. But this is also their Achilles heel. Currently they are effortlessly riding two horses. Alongside their work in former Labour heartlands they are equally at home in tapping into a sort of ‘hang ‘em and flog ‘em’ time-honoured conservatism in the more upmarket neighbourhoods.
Therefore, either as a result of achieving greater national prominence or as a consequence of being faced with an authentic working class challenge down the line, the contradictions in their philosophical underpinning must be revealed, forcing them at critical moments to bend in one direction or the other. Historically, when given the choice between opting for the nationalist or ‘socialist’ fork, the gravitational pull for fascism is nearly always toward the former.
When that time comes, if a progressive working class party were in a position to do so, rather than advance piecemeal on a ward-by-ward basis it could very well mop up across entire boroughs where previously Labour and then the BNP had once ruled the roost. Why such a possibility exists is because as Searchlight admits ‘in some places such as Barking and Dagenham, one of the fundamental problems is the absence of any mainstream alternative to Labour, so the BNP is the sole beneficiary of the anti-Labour protest vote.’ As the big three continue to shed activists (according to one report the Tories have shed 40,000 members since Cameron took over) and atrophy in terms of popular support, it is a trend that can only become more widespread.
But how to get from the present to there is the tricky bit. One factor is certain. A long-term strategy is now required. It is unlikely there will be any short cuts. So it is the long game or nothing. A daunting prospect. But on the plus side the opportunities unfolding before our eyes do have an undeniable once-in-a-century feel about them.
See also : Even more blah on European (and UK) politics (June 12, 2009) | More blah on European politics (June 11, 2009) | Andrew Brons : You’ve Come A Long Way, Baby (June 9, 2009) | Far left, far right, far out (June 8, 2009) | BNP ~versus~ British voters (June 6, 2009) | European Jobs For British Fascists (May 17, 2009) | British Workers Go Back to British Work (w/- BONUS! British Babes) (February 6, 2009) | British Jobs for British Workers? (February 4, 2009) | The ALP facing extinction? (January 31, 2009) | Uniting the socialist left: the Australian experience (Interview with Peter Boyle: national secretary of the Democratic Socialist Perspective (DSP) by Socialist Voice (Canada) co-editor Roger Annis): “The formation of the Socialist Alliance was just one of a number of initiatives at the time to take this political momentum forward. While it has not had a smooth road since then, the Socialist Alliance is the only one of these initiatives surviving today in Australia. Regroupment projects inspired by anarchist ideology and attempts to create local social forums all proved short-lived.”