voting for fascists 30-10-2009

for anyone outside the uk who doesn’t know about the bnp leader john griffin being invited onto question time:

i don't think any event in recent domestic british politics has given rise to such heated and complex debate. should the leader of a fascist party have been allowed prime air-time? (i feel too strongly to trust my own opinion about this). was the programme an ambush (yes, though i can't think of anyone more deserving of an ambush). did the man come across as inept and evasive? (certainly). will it lead to further tv appearances (it probably will). did the programme increase his support? (it seems so) did it foster divisions within the bnp? (it did) has he softened his views about the holocaust? (until explains he his supposed change of mind and performs some kind of public atonement, i'm going to assume not).

but there is one thorny issue around which most people have been pussy-footing for fear of offending those voters the bnp wants to win over.

the bnp don't speak for the disenfranchised white working class (whoever they are - i'm never entirely sure). the bnp is so riven with internal disagreements it's hard to work out exactly what they're saying at all. but there are members of the disenfranchised working class (and others) who think the bnp speaks for them. not least because some of their polices are entirely sensible. their view that we shouldn't be in iraq, is perhaps the most obvious.

but... anyone who votes for them on these grounds is badly educated. i don't mean that they're idiots or that they got poor exam results or that we should dismiss their opinions as worthless. i simply mean that they haven't been given the information and skills to understand the potential consequences of their actions. and that's the fault of the education system, the media and the government. people need to learn enough history to realise that fascist leaders nearly always rise to power by speaking for the disenfranchised (hitler was hugely popular among those germans who had suffered as a result of the inflation of the 20's and the ensuing depression of the 30's). people need to learn enough politics to realise how quickly parties can start to treat the voters not as employers but as impediments (witness the steady erosion of civil liberties by the present labour government). the media needs to tell us more, not less, about the bnp. not just about their semi-polished leader, but their other senior members and the thugs that surround them (only last week the bnp's legal officer, lee barnes, was saying that they needed a few white riots around the country... before the idiot white liberal middle class and their ethnic middle-class fellow travellers wake up; why not put him on question time?). and the government should start publicly standing up for the humane, anti-racist principles they supposedly hold dear (treating asylum seekers like human beings would be a quick, simply and effective place to start).

of course, there will always be people who, despite the best education, remain racists and supporters of fascist political parties, but there numbers are relatively small and they really are idiots and for my money i'd happily see them given some remote island where they can form a pure aryan community and breed with one another until the biological pile-up of recessive genes wipes them out.

for anyone who hasn't seen it, this is worth watching: