Thursday, 20 November 2008

More on the BNP

This is interesting, and may give a valuable insight into the origins of the BNP's support. It may also cause those of you who wrongly assume that the BNP is a "Far Right" party to think again, but more on that later.

As the map I linked to demonstrates, it is Labour who are most threatened by the rise of the BNP, with almost their entire membership based right in the Labour heartlands in the cities and the industrial North of England. This should not come as a huge surprise. In my last post I stated that the BNP stands for mass nationalisation and state control - these are exactly the policies that were favoured by Old Labour, especially going back over 20 years. The anti-European and nationalist side of things bears less of a resemblence, but if you go back to the 1970s and early 1980s the political landscape was the reverse of what it is today, with the Tories generally favouring greater integration into Europe, and (old) Labour generally being resistant. The ties may not be as strong here, but again there are parallels with Old Labour. Most people who voted for the old Labour Party came from the working class, and (if we can attempt to take the BNP's agenda seriously for a second, I know it's difficult) it is the working class who have most to fear from the influx of foreign workers taking the lower-paid jobs.

It is no secret that people who hold the old Labour Party close to their hearts feel disenfranchised nowadays. Despite its authoritarian tendencies, New Labour offers a very watered-down version of socialism compared to Old Labour. It favours big business and privatisation, which to some dyed-in-the-wool socialists means that it has sold its soul to the devil. Add to that the change in attitude towards Europe and you see the picture emerging. The BNP has become a natural home for these disenfranchised Old Labourites, albeit a home with a rather more sinister edge to it. Hence the fact that it is Labour votes that are going to the BNP, and hence it is Labour that feel more threatened by the BNP.

Were the BNP truly a right-wing party, it would surely be the Conservatives who would be losing voters. And since when did mass nationalisation and increased state control pass as right-wing objectives? The problem is that Nationalism tends to be classed as far-right, and seeing it is this which has captured all the headlines, the party has also been labelled as far-right. If you can stomach looking at the BNP site, you will, however, find that the vast majority of their objectives are unequivocally very left wing. I've never been a fan of characterising politics as simply a matter of right and left, as it's so often misleading.

The Political Compass is a far more useful tool, with left, right, authoritarian and libertarian forming the West, East, North and South poles on the compass respectively. Incidentally, I am comfortably to the South of centre, but only very slightly to the right. The BNP are so far to the North that whether they are left or right wing really isn't that relevant anyway.

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