Because the BNP is Labour’s malformed bastard, its Caliban. It is the creature of its making, its million votes in the European elections this summer were Labour votes. The people who turned to Griffin once turned to the Labour party.
It was new Labour that couldn’t distance itself far enough from the urban underclass, because they frightened the middle class with their tattoos and pitbulls, bad teeth, worse language, drink, sex and anger. These are the volk that the Labour movement was founded to look out for. New Labour cast them aside. Gave them MPs like Peter Mandelson and Harriet Harman. Privately, Labour would say: “We can ignore the chavs because they’ve got nowhere else to go.” Well, there’s always somewhere else to go in a democracy. That’s what democracies do: they grow new branches to fill new needs.
The Labour spokesmen were at pains to point out that the BNP’s 1m votes didn’t strictly count because they were mostly made up of people who didn’t know what they were voting for. There weren’t really a million racists out there. This is the most anti-democratic explanation for an uncomfortable fact.
Or they just say it’s a protest vote. It’s not for the BNP, it’s against other stuff. Well, having covered four general elections, I can tell you that most votes are against other stuff.
People generally vote for one of two reasons: because this is the way they’ve always voted, it was the way their parents voted; or because they want to get rid of someone. Every change of government in my lifetime has been made because they weren’t the other lot. The BNP vote is a Labour cross in the wrong box.
The BNP members aren’t Hitler’s children. This isn’t 1930s Germany. It isn’t Le Pen’s rural France. What it mostly resembles is the pre-war British Union of Fascists, a Labour party splinter group that, even when fascism was all the European rage, never amounted to much more than a music hall joke and a bit of homoerotic posing.
Sunday, 25 October 2009
I'll let Adrian Gill have the last word
How refreshing that Gill not only writes superbly but has a decent grasp of political history;