As Hope Not Hate have recently said (and it's in their interest to say the opposite), the British far right is at its lowest ebb for two decades. It's fractious and fragmented, a laughing stock with no electoral hope.
It is well known that when there is a Tory government, British fascism doesn't fare well electorally but turns to street activity; it is under Labour governments that it gets traction at the polling booth. This is because the Conservatives are seen as more sympathetic to the anti-immigrant and hang em and flog em politics that the far right uses to build its vote. Now, of course, there's UKIP, which claims it has taken a third of the BNP's vote, its allure for far right voters squeezing the space for actual fascist parties. (Britain First, the most up and coming fascist group in the UK, is endorsing UKIP enthusiastically and won't stand candidates to keep Farage's way clear.)
But we should not be complacent. Far right parties are standing in a few places across the UK. These groups will use the elections to disseminate their propaganda. At a time when anti-migrant and anti-Muslim bigotry is being mainstreamed, we can ill afford for fascist parties' messages to be broadcast.
I will update this post nearer the election with some of the locations where far right parties will be putting in the most effort.
- Tess Culnane, nicknamed "the Nazi granny", is standing for the BNP in Dagenham. Culnane, who sadly lives in the fair borough of Lewisham, is a veteran of almost very extreme right group in the UK, and most recently the National Front. She has a long association with the openly neo-Nazi British People's Party.
- The British Democrats, an offshoot of the BNP, are standing in Hitler-loving ex-archaelogist Jim Lewthwaite in Bradford East, thinking that because UKIP have stood a Muslim candidate there they might soak up the racist vote.
- The National Front, the most openly fascist of the far right parties who field candidates, are standing in Rochdale and a couple of other places.
- Another veteran of several far right groups, Paul Weston has launched No to Terrorism, Yes to Britain, and is standing in Luton South, which has in the past had some associations with the EDL. His sidekick George Wale (once a Labour Party member) is standing in Lewisham West and Penge. Whale works at the University of Westminster (he was previously at Queen Mary) and was Weston's deputy in the British Freedom Party (BFP) and Liberty GB. The BFP was a BNP splinter group whose logo was based on that of Oswald Mosley's British Union of Fascists. Whale's election pitch is that Britain's political class has "declared war" on the English, and cites as evidence of this "the relentless importation of wave upon wave of hostile immigrants" into the country.Here are some of his manifesto bullet points: deport all Muslims considered to be a threat, along with their families; segregate Muslim prisoners within the prison system to prevent conversion of non-Muslims to Islam; ban mosque-building, remove minarets from existing mosques, outlaw the Islamic call to prayer; ban ritual slaughter of animals and importation of ritually slaughtered meat; close all madrassas and Muslim faith schools.
- A new post on Liberty GB here.