Monday, April 30, 2007

Why The BNP Must Be Debated

There are only two things that unite The Left - hatred of the Daily Mail and hatred of the BNP. But, much to their critics' despair, the latter are a legal party, and where they have fielded candidates, have polled as much as 20% of the vote in council elections. They need to be heard and debated, not dismissed.

First, the question of where they sit in the political arena. Political views are now believed to form a circle not a straight line. But this is not strictly true. The reality is that they form a rectangle more akin to a football stadium. The sadly missed Highbury provides a good analogy.

At the Clock End stand various sinister looking types huddled in small groups - the Hizb-ut-Tahrirists, the Respect party members, the Communists and the Fascists, and the BNP - people with firm, unchanging views espousing a xenophobic, statist and authoritarian vision of Britain, all screaming at the referee to intervene. My lot - the anarchists (no govt), the minarchists (police and defence only), the classical liberals (who believe in freedom because it works), the libertarians (who believe in freedom because all other states are immoral) and the Ayn Rand-devotees (greed is good) stand in the North Bank, pleading with the referee to allow the game to flow, diametrically opposed to this collectivist, racist viewpoint but equally puritanical and passionate in our beliefs. The mass of wavering floating voters sit in the more populous sections separating the two ideological wings, praying that these two gangs will leave them alone when the final whistle blows.

A number of blogs, have started a very public campaign to reduce the BNP's share of the vote at the forthcoming council elections. I believe this to be a well-intentioned but ultimately misguided campaign serving only to remind its authors of one of the few issues of which they can feel morally superior and self-righteous.

The real issue to debate, but sadly absent from these worthy foes of the BNP, is why this odious party is gaining ground so quickly and what is to be done in response.

I have two personal interests to declare. First, I am a first generation immigrant myself, and know what an emotional wrench it is to leave one's friends and family behind to seek a new and hopefully, better life in a foreign country. Second, when the World Trade Centre came crashing to the ground in the Autumn of 2001, newspaper headlines and the BBC agonised over the question "Why do the hate us so?". It was a valid question at the time and one that deserved exploration. In 2001, i worked in downtown Manhattan and came to know a number of the brokers at Cantor Fitzgerald on floor 101 of the South Tower. They are all gone. One of the research analysts in my own team, John Works, also died that day.

I duly spent the next few years researching that question. I came to the conclusion, reinforced by 7/7, that the problem lay not with us but with them. But the question needed to be asked.

Today many question the notion of trying to understand the BNP. They are a bunch of racists - who cares what their motivations are? To hell with them and their supporters, scream the morally indignant - i am not interested in their arguments. This is as erroneous as is it disingenuous. We live in a democracy and all parties have the right to be heard. Whilst Harry's Place mourns the end of the Sandmonkey's blog it simultaneously seeks to sideline the BNP. Surely, HP, of all people, know that the best way of dealing with crazed ideas is to have them out in the open and debated.

In 2002, the BNP averaged 20% of the vote wherever it stood councillors. One in five of the British electorate deserve to be heard. According to its constitution,

"the BNP stands for the preservation of the national and ethnic character of the British people and is wholly opposed to any form of racial integration between British and non-European peoples. [It is] committed to stemming and reversing the tide of non-white immigration and to restoring, by legal changes, negotiation and consent the overwhelmingly white makeup of the British population that existed in Britain prior to 1948."

The modern BNP has its roots in the New National Front, founded in 1980 by John Tyndall, a former chairman of the National Front. Tyndall in 1993 declared that "Mein Kampf is my bible". The party obtained its first councillor, Derek Beackon, in Millwall in 1993. In 1999, Nick Griffin replaced Tyndall as BNP leader. Once elected Griffin began a programme of modernising the BNP's image, dropping the policy of the compulsory repatriation of non-whites and replacing it with "voluntary" repatriation.

A YouGov poll in April 2006 found that the majority of Britons agreed with many BNP policies, though support fell when they were told that these were official BNP policies. 59% supported the halting of all further immigration, and average support for the BNP propositions cited in the poll among those who did not know they belonged to the BNP was 55%. However, there were also certain BNP propositions which were strongly opposed by those polled, including non-white citizens being inherently "less British", and the party's policy of encouraging the "repatriation" of ethnic minorities.

At the May 2006 council elections the party produced about 350 candidates, of which 33 won seats and a further 70 came second, taking their tally of councillors to 53 (albeit a tiny percentage of Britain's 20,000 councillors).

I have gleaned their policies from a combination of their homesite and wikipedia (caution - the link to their homesite may be banned by your employer - it was with mine)

  • voluntary repatriation of all ethnic minorities
  • the reintroduction of corporal punishment for petty criminals
  • the reintroduction of capital punishment for paedophiles, terrorists and murderers
  • a mandatory jail sentence for anyone attacking an NHS worker
  • the reintroduction of compulsory national service and the denial of the right to vote for those who refuse
  • the withdrawl of the UK from the EU
  • the pursuit of protectionist and anti-globalisation economic policies
  • the reunificiation of the UK and the Republic of Ireland
  • the restriction of foreign aid
  • the establishment of worker co-operatives
  • the reversal of closures of special needs schools
  • the provision of funding for mothers to stay at home and nurture their family
  • the banning of mixed-race marriages on the grounds that racial differences must be preserved
  • opposition to the introduction of civil partnerships for homosexuals
  • banning the promotion of homsexuality

A pot-pourri of idiotic (not all admittedly) and offensive policies. They also declare a love of the environment and ironically use some of the Left's favourite phrases, for example "we embrace and cherish the native cultural diversity within the British Isles". I would be interested in hearing from BNP members as to the validity of these policies as their website glosses over some of the less savoury items.

The BNP do best in traditional white working class areas with high ethnic populations such as Barking, Dagenham, Burnley, Oldham, Bradford, Leeds and Solihull. However recently they also appear to be making inroads into the lower-middle class vote bolstered by the flood of immigration suppressing local wages. To date the opinion-forming middle class has been a major beneficiary of mass immigration with the twin gains of a huge rise in the value of their houses and the concurrent decline in the price of labour (nannies, cleaners, plumbers etc). First generation immigrants tend not to be journalists, bankers or lawyers (hopefully their children will) and hence the middle class is generally supportive of immigration and horrified at the escalation of support for the BNP.

But it is to the government that one must turn to evaluate the real reason for this party's rise to prominence. Whilst Tony Blair's Labour government has pursued policies set in motion by the preceding Conservative administrations, the spin and incompetence of his ministers have exacerbated an already tense situation. In the same way that the Iraq war led to a breakdown of trust between the people and the government, the manner in which immigration policy has been handled has made this debacle seem like a minor misunderstanding.

Following the expansion of the EU in 2004, Britain was one of only three countries to allow the citizens of the eight newly admitted countries free access to its borders. The government estimated 15,000 Poles, Hungarians and Czechs would arrive. To date, over 650,000 have showed up. This is a miscalculation of stratospheric proportions. Typically no heads have rolled. In 2001, the then immigration minister, Barbara Roche, declared Britain to be a 'nation of immigrants'. A recent paper by Andrew Green, Chairman of Migration Watch UK, entitled 'The Great Deception', comprehensively debunked this myth. The government's decision to restrict access to the citizens of the newest members, Bulgaria and Romania, provided a tacit admission of the failure of its previous policies. In short, the electorate feels it is the victim of the most malign spin.

Last October my father was diagnosed with prostate cancer. If treated correctly and diagnosed early, it is completely cureable. Six months on and one removed prostate, my father has been given a complete bill of health by his oncologist. Cancerous growths, if left unchecked, will multiply. The only way to treat them is to address their causes and prescribe the right medicine. It is high time we removed our heads from the sand and addressed the real issues.

The medicine in this case is a total reshaping of our country's immigration policies. A good start can be found here.