The BNP: Very Definitely Not ‘The Labour Party Your Grandfather Voted For’


Nick Griffin, current Fuehrer of the BNP. His father was a Tory accountant. Definitely not the face of Old Labour.

I’ve posted a number of pieces against the attempts by the Tories and Libertarians to claim that the BNP is somehow a ‘left-wing’, ‘Socialist’ organisation by looking at the origin of the claim with the Freedom Association, formerly the National Association For Freedom (NAFF – make up your own jokes here, folks) in the 1980s, and the history and origins of the Fascist movements themselves. These very definitely show that while Fascism had left-wing elements, it was very definitely an extreme Right-wing movement.

Unfortunately, the Tories and Libertarians have been able to claim some verisimilitude for their claim from some of the recent rhetoric by the BNP. Owen Jones in Chavs discusses the way the BNP deliberately tried to appeal to alienated working class Labour voters by presenting themselves as protecting them from competition over jobs and particularly council housing from immigrants. Discussing the Resistible Rise of the BNP (deliberate Brecht reference there) in Barking and Dagenham, Jones states:

In Barking and Dagenham, the BNP has cleverly managed to latch on to the consequences of unfettered neoliberalism. New Labour was ideologically opposed to building council housing, because of its commitment to building a ‘property-owning democracy’ and its distrust of local authorities. Affordable housing and secure, well-paid jobs became increasingly scarce resources. The response of the BNP was to delegitimise non-native competition, goading people to think: ‘We don’t have enough homes to go round, so why are we giving them to foreigners?’

Cruddas [local Labour MP, Jon Cruddas] describes the BNP as hinging their strategy on ‘change versus enduring inequalities, and they racialize it’. All issues, whether housing or jobs, are approached in terms of race. ‘It allows people to render intelligible the changes around them, in terms of their own insecurities, material insecurities as well as cultural ones.’ Yes, it is a narrative based on myths. After all, only one in twenty social houses goes to a foreign national. But, with the government refusing to build homes and large numbers of foreign-looking people arriving in certain communities, the BNP’s narrative just seems to make sense to a lot of people. ppo.230-1.

… Coupled with this strategy is an audacious attempt by the BNP to encroach on Labour’s terrain. With New Labour apparently having abdicated the party’s traditional role of shielding working-class communities from the worst excesses of market forces, the BNP has wrapped itself in Labour clothes. ‘I would say that we’re more Labour than Labour are, ‘ says former local BNP councillor Richard Barnbrook. BNP literature describes the organisation as ‘the Labour party your grandfather voted for’.

Sifting through the BNP’s policies exposes this as a nonsense. Their tax policy, for example, includes abolishing income tax and increasing VAT ins5tead – a policy beloved of extreme right-wing libertarian economists that would benefit the rich at the expense of ordinary working people. The party freely adopts Thatcherite rhetoric, committing itself to the ‘private-enterprise economy’ and arguing ‘that private property should be encouraged and spread to as many individual members of our nation as possible’. (p. 231.)

It’s a posture, and one that goes right the way back to Hitler in Weimar Germany. When goose-stepping about the Reich on his election campaigns, Hitler altered the content of his speeches according to the particular areas in which he was speaking. In working-class districts with very strong Socialist and trade union traditions, he’d play up the anti-capitalist side of the Nazi programme. In which speech he declared that when the Nazis took power, power and property of the capitalists would be smashed and their coffers thrown out onto the street. He then added that this would not, of course, be done to proper, patriotic German capitalists, but only to Jews.

Which is precisely what the BNP is trying to do here: present themselves as somehow pro-working class, anti-capitalist, while being absolutely nothing of the sort. And the only capitalism they object to, is when it’s pursued by Jews and Non-Whites.

The BNP aren’t and have never been ‘left-wing’, ‘Socialist’ let alone ‘Old Labour’. It’s a cynical ruse to gain votes. And in doing so, it appears – but only appears – to legitimise the old Libertarian attitude that Fascism is a form of Socialism. Both are lies, and should be treated as such.

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12 Responses to “The BNP: Very Definitely Not ‘The Labour Party Your Grandfather Voted For’”

  1. pippakin Says:

    Mind you the Labour Party is not the Labour Party our grandparents voted for. Keir hardy must be spinning in his grave.

  2. Mike Sivier Says:

    Reblogged this on Vox Political.

  3. sdbast Says:

    Reblogged this on sdbast.

  4. Barry Davies Says:

    Don’t think anyone would consider them left wing, but then there is a blur between the parties in much the way the americans consider anyone left of extreme right wing as a commie currently there is no real eft wing party in the UK.

    • beastrabban Says:

      Most people don’t, Barry, but you do hear that assertion from the Tory MEP Daniel Hannan. And I have known people, not all of whom were dyed-in-the-wool Tories, who thought the Nazis were Socialists because they had the word ‘Socialist’ in their name.

      • jess Says:

        This tells a certain part of the story;

        “Among the earliest to identify similarities between fascist and Communist states were a number of prominent American intellectuals who did not reflect the strong currents of pro-Soviet and profascist American thought during the late 1920’S and early 1930’s.’ In 1930 Charles Beard criticized the elitism he perceived in both fascist and Communist dictatorships; Archibald MacLeish condemned both systems in 1932 for stifling intellectual freedom; and Horace Kallen, aware of the Nazi form of fascism, castigated both systems in I934 “for their tyrannical apotheosis of Unity.” Later, after the purge trials in Russia and the persecution of the Jews in Germany, Elmer Davis, John Dewey, Walter Lippmann, George Counts, and Arthur Garfield Hays spoke out against what they considered the undemocratic, totalitarian similarities in Germany and Russia.’ Other Americans before the war emphasized fascist-Communist similarities. Herbert Hoover pointed out that both “are the aftermath of the gradual in- fection of democracy …… A common theme in the New York Times in 1937, for example, was the unrepresentative nature of the German and Soviet governments, and Senator William Borah in the same year depicted Nazism and Communism as dogs barking at constitutional governments…”

        Red Fascism: The Merger of Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia in the American Image of Totalitarianism, 1930’s-1950’s Les K. Adler and Thomas G. Paterson; The American Historical Review, Vol. 75, No. 4 (Apr., 1970),

        It is actually a little bit more involved than that

  5. thoughtfullyprepping Says:

    Tell me, when you’ve covered all the current parties, exposed their relative weaknesses, lies, and their B.S.
    Who are you going to vote for?

    • beastrabban Says:

      Good question. I would probably vote Labour, simply because even now they’re preferable to the Lib Dems, Tories or UKIP. The Euro elections will, I understand, be held according to proportional representation. If that’s the case, then I’ll vote Labour and for one of the more radical Socialist parties, if they’re standing in my area. Even if that party doesn’t get in, hopefully if enough people vote for such parties under PR it might make the Labour leadership wake up to the fact that there are votes in adopting a more left-wing, traditionally ‘Labour’ policies, and so move further left. I hope, anyway.

      • thoughtfullyprepping Says:

        Thank you for such a frank reply, that’s refreshing.
        I will not be voting mainstream and definitely NOT UKIP.
        So an independent will probably get my vote and no other will be listed as an alternative.

        If that disqualifies my ballot paper so be it yet the current system is not a true reflection on the populations desires as the “also ran” could win by default.

        Even though I hate the system we use in the UK let alone the whole government process, not voting is in my mind a wasted vote.

      • beastrabban Says:

        I completely agree with that comment about not voting. Too many people suffered and died for people not to use their vote. And I intensely dislike the facile attitude you sometimes here, with the saying ‘They never suffered to get me the vote. They cared only about themselves’. It’s a complete abdication of the duty to vote, which comes from the privilege and the great good fortune of having it, when so many people didn’t down the centuries, and still don’t in many parts of the world.

  6. The BNP: Very Definitely Not 'The Labour Party ... Says:

    […] Nick Griffin, current Fuehrer of the BNP. His father was a Tory accountant. Definitely not the face of Old Labour. I've posted a number of pieces against the attempts by the Tories and Libertarians…  […]

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