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.”