Posts Tagged ‘English Democrats’

English Democrat Posing as ‘Anti-Corbyn’ in Batley and Spen Bye-Election

October 5, 2016

More tasteless inanity from the real Far Right. Hope Not Hate today has published an article reporting that the English Democrats are fielding their own candidate for the forthcoming Batley and Spen bye-election under what many people would consider to be a false name. This is the constituency of the murdered MP, Jo Cox. The other two major parties, the Liberal Democrats and Conservatives, have stated that they will not contest this seat out of respect for her. Unfortunately, the British Far and Fascist Right have shown their complete lack of anything like class, taste or decency in rejecting this strategy and putting forward their own candidates. Because they believe that in the absence of any competition from the Lib Dems or Tories, they might stand a chance. The English Democrats’ candidate is one Neil Humphrey, who is standing as ‘Anti-Corbyn’. He’s told the Electoral Commission that this is what other people habitually call him, but as the Hope Not Hate article makes clear, it’s far more likely he’s taken the name simply to present himself as some kind of alternative Labour candidate.

See: http://www.hopenothate.org.uk/blog/insider/meet-the-man-behind-batley-spen-con-5027

The organisation also revealed yesterday that the NF, BNP and Liberty GB’s Jack Buckby are also standing. Liberty GB is an anti-Islamic party. It’s basically the political wing of the English Defence League. Buckby himself apparently is sleeping on a friend’s floor somewhere in New York, where he’s also one of the organisers behind a massive party in support of Donald Trump. Hope Not Hate also have the poster for that too, along with the news that Buckby is also worried that New York’s own anti-Fascists will turn up to spoil the fun. So we have bigots of two continents meeting in unity. As Benjamin J. Grimm, your ever-lovin’ Thing would probably say, ‘What a revoltin’ development!’ The Hope Not Hate article also reports on some of the antics at the NF’s latest, minuscule demo in Birmingham, and that one of their number has been sentenced to 13 years for assaulting a pensioner. This crim also had an accomplice, who was also a member of the Far Right.

See: http://www.hopenothate.org.uk/blog/insider/these-nazis-have-no-shame-5026

I think I can confidently predict that none of these Far Right parties actually stand a chance of winning a seat in parliament. In fact, I’ll be surprised if they even get back their deposit. But the fact that they’re prepared to use the opportunity presented by Jo Cox’s murder, which has been linked to another Fascist party, and that one of these idiots is doing so under an assumed name, just shows how squalid and amoral they are. It’s just one more reason why decent people won’t vote for them. Quite apart from the many, many others.

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UKIP Candidate Nominates Former BNP Man for English Democrats

April 16, 2015

Here’s yet another example of UKIP’s links to other parts of the extreme and Far Right. Hope Not Hate on Tuesday posted this story, UKIP Councillor Nominates Former BNP Elections Guru, reporting that Dan Long, the UKIP councillor for the Bush Fair ward in Harlow, had nominated the candidate for the rival English Democrats. Not only that, but the candidate is Eddie Butler, formerly the National Elections Officer for the BNP, and a rival to Nick Griffin for the party’s leadership.

The article’s at: http://www.hopenothate.org.uk/ukip/birds-of-a-feather-4392, if you want to read it.

Radical Balladry and Tunes for Toilers: The New Poor Law and the Farmer’s Glory

May 21, 2014

Poor Law Tune

I’ve been blogging over the past week or so about British radical folk song and working class ballads and poetry, partly as a corrective to the ahistorical, ‘merrie England’ folksiness presented by the English Democrats in their abysmal election video. Such sentiments aren’t exclusive to them, however, and are shared widely by the British Right. It’s very much a Conservative vision of England and Britain, composed of contented peasants and benign, paternal landlords. The reality was often very different, and the working class, artisans and poorer tenant farmers and agricultural labourers frequently took to music and verse to express the hardship, discontent and exploitation they experienced at the hands of the upper classes. Roy Palmer collected a number of these in his A Ballad History of England (B.T. Batsford 1979).

This is my handwritten copy of the tune for the Ballad ‘The New Poor Law and the Farmer’s Glory’ in Palmer’s book. I’m afraid I didn’t note down the lyrics, being simply interested in the music itself at the time, and the book itself appears to be out of print. The tune’s nevertheless still interesting, and relevant today. The New Poor Law was the Liberal legislation setting up the infamous workhouses – the ‘new bastilles’ for the poor, based on the principle of less eligibility. Conditions in them were supposed to be so horrific, unpleasant and degrading, that the poor and unemployed would be deterred from entering them if they could possibly avoid it. The same principle motivates the Tory and Tory Democrats’ welfare reforms, so that signing on has been made similarly unpleasant and degrading in order to put people off claiming Jobseekers’ Allowance if they can possibly help it. And just as the inmates of the workhouse were given pointless, menial tasks that destroyed them physically and mentally, like picking oakum, so the unemployed placed on workfare through Iain Duncan Smith’s wretched welfare to work reforms are similarly given menial and pointless jobs that lead absolutely nowhere, except to make a profit for the private firms taking part in the scheme. So it’s another 19th century tune that could be re-introduced, just possibly, for the new poor of the 21st century, to whistle and hum on their way to Jobcentre or another protest rally.

I’ll post another radical working and lower class ditty tomorrow.

Romanticism, Mysticism and Utopianism in the Modern British Folk Revival

May 13, 2014

Electric Eden Pic

Electric Eden by Rob Young (London: Faber and Faber 2010) is a detailed examination of modern British folk music, going from the 19th century collectors like Cecil Sharp and Vaughn Williams to modern folk-rockers like Steeleye Span, Fairport Convention and non-folkies, like Julian Cope and Kate Bush, who nevertheless express the strange, esoteric spirit of much of British folk music in their strange, esoteric mysticism and utopian yearning for a Britain of myth and legend. The blurb states:

In this groundbreaking survey of more than a century of music-making in the British Isles, Rob Young investigates how the idea of folk has been handed down and transformed by successive generations – song collectors, composers, Marxist revivalists, folk-rockers, psychedelic voyagers, free-festival-goers, experimental pop stars and electronic innovators. In a sweeping panorama of Albion’s soundscape that takes in the pioneer spirit of Cecil sharp; the pastoral classicism of Ralph Vaughan Williams and Peter Warlock; the industrial folk revival of Ewan MacColl and A.L. Lloyd; the folk-rock of Fairport Convention, Sandy Denny, Nick Drake, Shirley Collins, John Martyn and Pentangle; the bucolic psychedelia of The Incredible String Band, the Beatles and Pink Floyd; the acid-folk of Comus, Forest, Mr Fox and Trees; The Wicker Man and occult folklore; the early Glastonbury and Stonehenge festivals; and the visionary pop of Kate Bush, Julian Cope and Talk Talk, Electric Eden maps out a native British musical voice that reflects the complex relationship between town and country, progress and nostalgia, radicalism and conservatism. A wild combination of pagan echoes, spiritual quest, imaginative time-travel, pastoral innocence and electrified creativity, Electric Eden presents and passionate and intelligent landscape reading of this island’s music, and the spirit that informs it.

I’ve posted this up as a partial antidote to the pseudo-folksiness of the English Democrats’ election video, which I’ve reblogged from Tom Pride’s site. The good Mr Pride had put it up with the question of whether it was the worst party political broadcast ever. It isn’t, but offhand I can’t think of one. The video relies on a very few stereotypical images of England – White Cliffs of Dover, Churchill, St George, Spitfires and a monument to the war dead. It’s a very narrow, very Conservative view of English national identity. And also extremely modern – most of the imagery is that of the Second World War. English, and British folk identity is far broader and richer than that, as Electric Eden shows. Sharp, I believe, was actually a Socialist trying to recover the songs of the British working people. The folkies of the 1950s were similarly inspired by Left-wing political views. Many of them were Marxists, inspired by American folk musicians and were aficionados of Black American Blues music. This was the music of poor, Black America, and the British revivalists turned to exploring their own folk music as Blues’ British counterpart. Furthermore, many of the British folk-rockers in the 1960s were fans and pioneers of what is now World Music, and a few converted to the mystical religions of these extra-European cultures. The book mentions a couple, for example, who converted to Sufism, Islamic mysticism.

The book is a bit contentious in its claim that the British folk revival, or the folk genre, is now over. It isn’t, as you can hear by listening the folk bands that are still very much a part of the music scene, particularly in Bristol. It has to be said that it’s nowhere near as big as it was in the 1960s-70s, when Pentangle, Fairport Convention, and Steeleye Span were at their height. It has also passed on elements and attitudes to other pop genres. There was, for example, a definite folk element in the music of the Goth rock band, All About Eve in the 80s and 90s. Electric Eden demonstrates how rich, varied and esoteric British folk, folk-rock and folk-influenced pop is, far richer than the limited, trite and reactionary images presented by the parties of the populist far Right.