Fascism watch: (South) London
In the Guardian, you get Lola Adesioye writing this: "While I find BNP ideology abhorrent, the publishing of this list has brought home the fact that the people who belong to the party are ordinary British citizens [...] more understanding of the party and those who belong to it is, therefore, vital. This could be an opportunity for some open engagement and dialogue".This line is idiotic. Duncan points out some of the BNP members "like you and me" revealed by the list:
- A self-proclaimed witch.
- The suggestion that a mental health nurse take a look at BNP legal 'expert' Lee Barnes.
- One guy who loves England so much he emigrated to Poland.
- Someone with suits of medieval armour offering to joust for rallies.
- Mr Chris M**, whose email is email@example.com
- Mark S****, whose hobbies embrace “WWII re-enactment, military buildings”
- Mr M***** who is listed as “HM Forces (3 tours N.I). Rho[d]esian Security Forces. Freelance security: Africa/South America/Europe. Hobbies: military history.”
- the “Vera Lynn act” and her “military vehicles - owner of a WW2 jeep”
- people with the following e-mails:firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org
- Mr S**, who is an active Odinist/member of Pagan organisations.
- Mr David W** is a member of the Manteca, California, cell of the BNP and has the e-mail address email@example.com
Closer to home, I am pleased that (as revealed by Transpontine) SE8 (Deptford) appears to be BNP-free zone, while Eltham, a little further out, is a stronghold (see helpful map here). In Greenwich, to cut and paste from Transpontine, one member is Sean Pearson, who stood for the Conservatives in a 2006 local election in Greenwich Glyndon Ward and was until last year chair of the Swinton Circle - a group on the far right of the Tory Party (Malcolm Redfellow has more on this as well).
More suprising are the BNP members who have stood for the Green Party, including Keith Bessant in Cheltenham and, very close to home for me, the Green candidate in Telegraph Hill ward. What does that say?
Meanwhile, the BNP's biggest electoral success so far, Richard Barnbrook in the London Assembley, has failed to make any kind of impact, as reported by Tory Troll. Dave Hill argues that Mayor Boris' policy of ignoring him is not the right one: he needs to take on a more robust line:
Johnson's problem is that in some parts of London the issue isn't receptive to being neutralised, not least because the BNP inflames it. Their work is made easier by the failure of a range of politicians to demonstrate to some white voters that they haven't been forgotten and are not being unfairly treated by comparison with other ethnic or cultural groups in the capital. Barnbrook and his ilk are eager to persuade them that they are, and to depict Johnson as being complicit.The mainstream parties - Labour with its obsession about British jobs for British workers, the Tories with their lazy criticisms of multiculturalism - have helped fuel the rise of the BNP.
The mayor needs to respond more positively, but how? He is inhibited by subscribing to a rightwing narrative about dominant "liberal elites" and "politically correct thought police" undermining "common-sense" values and national identity that the BNP has seized on too. Johnson's policy director Anthony Browne, the former Policy Exchange director, has been a conspicuous perpetrator of this emotive tripe, both in articles for the Spectator under Johnson's editorship and in a pamphlet that the BNP praised to the skies. [H/t to 853 for links]
The left, on the other hand, doesn't help by countering it with a caricatured version of the political correctness the BNP talks up. Hence calls for people on the list to be sacked - calls Ian Bone rejects:
Does anyone seriously believe that sacking a BNP teacher in Dagenham at present would be a blow against fascism? Will the predictable parachuting in of chanting SWP ‘ANTI-NAZI’ lollipops outside the local school to get a teacher sacked do anything to advance the cause of anti-fascism? Perhaps while we’re at it we could sack BNP working classs supporters from the working class? That’d fuck ‘em. The much harder task is to defeat the BNP politically.Answers on a post card please.
[P.S. Loads more links from Modernity.]
UPDATE, MONDAY 1ST DEC
More relevant reading (clarifying some of the comments below).
- Transpontine updates the Telegraph Hill Green story, and defends pagans.
- Another local, Brett, voted Green on the Hill, worries that he may have voted for a Nazi accidentally.
- Dave Hill on Boris Johnson's welcome support for amnesty for illegal migrants in London (aligning him with John Cruddas, one of the most consistently anti-fascist of New Labour MPs, and against Phil Woolas, the New Labour MP who most consistently feeds at the BNP policy trough).