“My friend the BNP candidate”

April 22, 2010 at 11:00 pm (Champagne Charlie, fascism, immigration, poverty, Racism, workers)

 The Morning Star today carries an interesting and thought-provoking article.  I’ve no doubt that many readers of “Britain’s only socialist daily paper”  will also find it quite a shocking article, because at a certain level it appears to express some sympathy with “decent working class people” who support the BNP. The author, Mick Hall, writes about “my friend, the BNP candidate“, a bright working class lad who became a BNP member and stood for them in the local elections four years ago.

Hall attempts to explain why such a person (called “Marty” for the purposes of the article)  would be attracted to the far right, mentioning both personal factors like the death of Marty’s wife, and economic factors like the factory closures, unemployment and poverty to be found in the sink estate where he lives. Hall also notes that the Labour Party and the  “left” have failed to offer any real alternative.

The article is a serious attempt to address some of the economic and political roots of  contemporary British fascism, and makes a refreshing change from the popular frontist moralistic posturing of much of the left’s anti-BNP campaigning. But Hall is evasive on a number of issues, noteably where exactly he stands on immigration. He writes:

“Yes, immigration is a topic of conversation, as it is amongst all social classes. There is nothing wrong with that, it is an issue that affects peoples lives in all sorts of ways, housing, schooling, work, health care, etc. To deny this fact is infantile, the left needs to take a position on this subject, not hope to push it under the carpet and blame the most economically disadvantaged section of the working class for its ‘ignorant racism’.”

Fair enough, as far as it goes: but what position on immigration does the author advocate?

And however sympathetic you might feel towards an individual working class BNP supporter from a deprived area, who was once a good friend, would you really want to shake his hand?

“After our conversation Marty and I shook hands and parted. As I watched him go I felt sad that such a bright shooting star had been reduced to being a carthorse for Nick Griffin and co. He was, and is, much better than that.”

5 Comments

  1. charliethechulo said,

    “My friend the BNP candidate” first appeared on Mick Hall’s blog, Organized Rage

    http://www.organizedrage.com/2010/04/my-friend-bnp-candidate.html

    and was presumably reprinted in the ‘M Star’ with the author’s permission (and, I would hope, a fee).

    It’s worth checking out the blog version, if only for the comments.

  2. maxdunbar said,

    IPPR research shows that immigration does not cause BNP support: ‘nine out of the top 10 areas for BNP votes actually has a lower than average proportion of recent migrants.’

    This is against what the apologists have been telling us for years.

    Could it be that, once people have got used to working and living with migrants, they understand that migrants are people similar to ourselves and most of what has been said about them is bollocks?

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2010/apr/19/immigration-not-fuel-bnp-support

    • Lobby Ludd said,

      I’m fairly sure that research going back decades has shown that votes for explicitly racist parties has been in areas bordering, rather than in, areas with high immigration or ethnic minorities.

      (Perhaps any sociologists reading this blog can confirm or refute?)

  3. Clive said,

    That might be true, Max, and it might be the end of the story. But sympathy for the BNP’s basic argument doesn’t necessarily translate into BNP votes.

    I’m sure it’s true that especially where migrant/immigrant communities have been around for a while, overt support for the BNP is much lower than in areas where ‘foreigners’ are just a bogey man the Mail etc like to threaten them with. But I think it would be wrong to be too sanguine about how much racism is about.

  4. maxdunbar said,

    I’m not sanguine at all about racism. I’ve consistently argued that the reason people vote BNP is that they are genuinely racist: rather than just alienated by mainstream politics/don’t like political correctness/stubbed their toe etc.

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