Posts Tagged ‘Tower Hamlets’

BBc Drama about Fascist Radicalisation of Deprived White Youth

July 4, 2019

Next week’s Radio Times also says that next Wednesday, 10th July 2019, there’s a drama, The Left Behind, on BBC 1 at 10.35 pm after the news about young White men drawn into Fascism. The play’s set in an unnamed Welsh town, and is about a working class lad, Gethin, who becomes increasingly radicalised as his life collapses through poverty. The blurb for it on page 78 of the magazine runs

Factual drama from the Bafta award-winning team behind Killed by My Debt and Murdered by My Boyfriend. Gethin is a working-class teenager in a south Wales town with no secure job, housing or future. As he seeks solace online, he is increasingly attracted to anti-immigrant sentiment as a way of explaining why he’s been “left behind” in his own country.

The additional piece about it by Alison Graham on page 77 runs

Gethin is a nice lad, part of a fractured family, but he is close to his sister and niece. He has a handful of good mates and not much of a job – he’s on a zero-hours contract in a fast food takeaway shop.

But the fates conspire to send Gethin (Sion Daniel Young, who is excellent) completely off the rails as the fragile thread that hold his life together unravel and snap, leading to tragedy.

The Left Behind looks at the rise of far-right extremism in the poorer parts of Britain through the prism of Gethin, a young man looking for easy targets who blames outsider for robbing him of everything worthwhile.

The mag also has a feature about the programme on pages 20-21 by Claire Webb, pointing out the working class roots of the play’s author, Alan Harris. Harris’ parents were forced to sell their house in Tonteg, near Cardiff, when he was a child, and he grew up in a caravan on his grandfather’s smallholding. After he graduated, he had a series of poorly-paid jobs, including selling Santa hats in the street and working in a car park. He was also homeless for a time, sleeping on friends sofas or in their spare rooms. He got his break into theatre after training as a journalist and submitting scripts to a theatre group encouraging new writers. The article quotes him as saying ‘We don’t see honest stories of White working class men.’ It also states that he spent a lot of time talking to people using food banks and a community centre in one of Cardiff’s most deprived suburbs. He says

“They told me people feel powerless,” he says. “It is a case of being left behind, but it’s also a case of being left out. There are a lot of people in the UK who have no hope of progressing, and once hope is gone, a wedge is driven between different sections of our society and extremism is very good at exploiting that wedge. Online radicalisation does that well: it turns personal problems into a crusade.”

The article contains the chilling statistic that in 2018 there was a 36% increase in the number of far-right extremists referred to the government’s Prevent programme. Harris spoke to a counterterrorism expert working on the programme as part of his research. It says he was frightened by how quickly people can become radicalised, and how the far-right organisations have smartened up their act.

“These are well organised, respectable-looking organisations,” he explains. “They don’t turn up in red braces with a skinhead. They turn up in a suit with a much more professional attitude. They realised that the old model wasn’t working from a recruiting point of view.”

The article also states that these organisations’ supporters are concentrated in Britain’s post-industrial towns and cities, which is why the drama’s producers set in south Wales.

To the possible objection that the programme is a sympathetic treatment of a violent extremist, Harris replies that we need to under where they’re coming from if we are to tackle domestic terrorism.

“Society tries to ignore these things but they’re happening, whether we like it or not. Understanding these people is a movement towards making society better.”

For one scene, in which a chipper councillor is confronted by residents angry at the lack of social housing, the producers used working class extras drawn from that area, and asked them to improvise. And their raw, pent up anger exploded. They ripped the councillor to shreds to the point where Harris felt sorry for the actor.

Asked if he was apprehensive that Cardiff’s working class communities would be offended by the drama, Harris replies

“Not at all. I think it’s a good thing to shine a light on the problems that some people experience. Hopefully those issues of housing, of employment, will ring true with a lot of people from Cardiff and the surrounding area. Hopefully it’s bits of their lives reflected back at them. I don’t have all the answers, but at least we can ask questions.”

While this isn’t a programme I can I’d like to watch, it does seem to be an honest attempt to grapple with the underlying issues behind the far-right’s attempts to reach out and recruit disenfranchised working class Whites. But the responsibility for the growth in racism goes far beyond the Fascist right itself, right to the heart of the neoliberal establishment. At one level, the Nazis are only building on the extreme nationalism and racism that’s been pushed for decades by the Tories and the Tory press – the Scum and the Heil are two notorious examples. But it also includes the supposedly more upmarket Spectator, which, as the Sage of Crewe has pointed out, employs the anti-Semitic Taki and is increasingly Alt Right.

And among the causes of the growth of Fascism in this country is Blair and the New Labour project. Blair abandoned socialism and the party’s traditional working class base to appeal instead to Tory swing voters. They fully embraced and participated in the destruction of the NHS and the welfare state, with Gordon Brown particularly enthusiastic about encouraging a flexible job market. In other words, job insecurity. And Tony Greenstein has repeatedly pointed out how hollow and non-existent are the Blairites’ attempts to deal with Fascism. Margaret Hodge, now the darling of the anti-Semitism smear merchants, was so negligent in her treatment of the growth of Fascism in her constituency, that the BNP actually sent her flowers when seven of their stormtroopers were elected on to Tower Hamlets local council. As for Tom Watson, he was a friend of Phil Woolas, a New Labour politico, who ran a very racist campaign against a Lib Dem opponent, claiming that he was soft on immigration and encouraged Muslim radicalisation. Woolas said that his campaign was about getting White men angry. And David Rosenberg on his blog warned that the anti-Semitism witchhunt was designed to purge the Labour movement of genuine Left-wingers and anti-racists, and that this was damaging real opposition to Fascism in working class communities. The witchhunt and Blairism meant that recent anti-racist counterprotests were, for the first time, outnumbered by the Fascists. And to add insult to injury, the Nazis chanted ‘Anti-Semites! Anti-Semites!’ at their genuinely anti-racist opponents. Rosenberg has shown repeatedly on his blog how proper campaigning in working class communities, by socialists determined to give working people better opportunities and conditions, will devastate Fascist organisations by depriving them of the real, social and economic issues they exploit to misdirect rightly angry Whites into hating Blacks, Asians and other ethnic minorities.

The play looks like a good, honest account to deal with the growth in working class racism by showing that it is partly caused by the real despair in these communities at their poor and declining conditions. And tackling those and combating Fascism means attacking and combating the Tories and New Labour, who have caused them and seek to exploit the anger they’ve caused in turn by scapegoating ethnic minorities.

Advertisements

Fake Labour Margaret Hodge Reveals Real Reasons for Attacking Corbyn: Thatcherism

July 1, 2019

Nearly three weeks ago Margaret Hodge, the Blairite MP for Barking, opened her mouth and let the cat out the bag, revealing the real reasons she and the rest of the Thatcherite entryists in the party want their leader gone. And it has zilch to do with anti-Semitism. The real reason she and the other Blairites loathe and detest him and his supporters is because, like the rest of the political and media establishment, they’re neoliberals. They believe utterly that socialism is dead, that there is no point challenging the right-wing media, and that there has to be more privatisation, because private enterprise is always superior to state-run industries, even when, in the case of the railways, the utilities and the NHS, it very obviously isn’t.

They also despise the working people, whom they claim to represent. Blair, Mandelson, Brown and the rest of the shabby bunch concentrated on winning over swing voters, who could also vote Tory. Hence they stole the Tories’ policies, got Murdoch and sections of the right-wing media to back them, and even tried ingratiating themselves with the Daily Heil. They believed, like the Tories, that the unions were an obstacle that had to be crushed, and that a large proportion of those claiming benefit were malingerers and scroungers. And so they inflicted the Work Capability Tests on the disabled, and continued to make signing on for unemployment benefit, or Jobseeker’s Allowance, as it’s become, as hard and humiliating as possible.

And all the while they continued to suck up to the rich, offering businessmen and senior executives places in government, in return for donations to the party.

This was, according to Blair and the rest of the establishment, a post-ideological age. By which they mean post-socialist. Thatcher’s policies had to be introduced into the Labour party for it to compete with the Tories. Because, as Thatcher herself said ad nauseam, ‘There Is No Alternative’.

And Hodge revealed she believed this nonsense absolutely when she claimed that Corbyn pledges to nationalise the railways, water and part of the electricity grid, end the privatisation of the NHS, restore the unions, and give working people greater rights at work, job security, proper wages and a strong welfare state, was simply offering them bribes. She said

“I want to lay the party that brings honesty into our politics. What we’ve got, if we do have anything, is a whole range of unrealistic promises, whether it’s on reversing all the cuts of the last decade, whether it’s on promising that we’ll do away with tuition fees, those are promises that will not be fulfilled. And that unrealism, those sorts of bribes, actually in my view, in an era of scepticism, simply against policies or politics is not the way to win election”.

In his post about this revealing outburst from Hodge, Zelo Street commented

There you have it: in Hodge world, you’re only going to get elected by shrugging your shoulders and leaving all the homeless out on the streets, leaving Universal Credit in place, leaving the NHS in an increasingly parlous state, and yes, leaving millions of poor people to their fate.

Absolutely. And it’s not just Hodge, who to my mind looks like an alien from Dr. Who with one of the bizarre hairdos Mrs. Slocombe used to sport in the classic Beeb comedy, Are You Being Served?. What she’s articulated is what passes for realism amongst the Blairites. Because Thatcher said so.

Margaret Hodge                                                  Alien

Zelo Street also mentioned that she demonstrated last year that the attacks on Corbyn had precious little to do with anti-Semitism, when the Groan reported that she “has signalled that Labour MPs critical of Jeremy Corbyn are digging in for a long struggle against his leadership as she suggested that the antisemitism row would only end if he stood aside”.

Needless to say, real Labour activists and supporters weren’t remotely impressed. The Sage of Crewe gave examples of their reaction to Hodge’s repugnant views on Twitter. Matt Turner’s comment, apparently, was typical.

“Can anyone, in all honesty, tell me why the hell Margaret Hodge is in the labour party? Sitting on her £70+k a year plus expenses and having the audacity to say reversing austerity is somehow a bribe? She’s not the one dying on the street struggling to feed her children”

And Eric the Socialist asked the reasonable question how she could still be in the Labour party campaigning on a platform in which she didn’t believe.

“Margaret Hodge has left labour. Right? Surely she can’t say her own party are trying to bribe the electorate with unrealistic policies AND still be in the Labour party?”

See: https://zelo-street.blogspot.com/2019/06/margaret-hodge-its-not-bribe.html

I am therefore not remotely surprised that she was one of the 118 Labour MPs, who shamefully demanded Chris Williamson’s re-suspension as an ‘anti-Semite’. This has absolutely nothing to do with real anti-Semitism, and everything to do with attacking a key Corbyn ally. Someone who actually wants to return the party to its socialist and working class roots, and do something for the people she and the rest of the Blairites despise.

And as for Hodge’s opposition to anti-Semitism, she did so little to combat the BNP in her constituency, that when they seven seats on Tower Hamlet’s council, I believe they actually sent her a bouquet of flowers.

Margaret Hodge: BNP Approved

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

David Rosenberg on Tory Support for the British Union of Fascists

October 9, 2018

Last week, David Rosenberg of the Jewish Socialist Group put up an article describing the events culminating in the ‘Battle of Cable Street’. This was an attempt by Oswald Mosley and his thugs in the British Union of Fascists to terrorise the local Jewish population by marching through the East End of London. He didn’t get very far.

Rosenberg’s article describes how Mosley and the rest of his thugs were beaten off, despite a police presence to guard them, by an anti-fascist coalition of Jews, including the Jewish People’s Council Against Fascism and Anti-Semitism, Irish Catholics, trade unionists, the Communists and Independent Labour Party, as well as the Labour League of Youth. This was despite advice from the Board of Deputies and Jewish Chronicle that Jews should remain indoors and not attempt to resist the Blackshirts marching through their neighbourhood. The confrontation between Mosley and his thugs, and their defeat by working class, radical Jews and gentiles, has become the stuff of legend. I’ve heard folksongs about it. It’s naturally celebrated as the time working class Brits very definitely showed ‘No Pasaran!’ to Fascism.

The article’s also worth reading for what Rosenberg says about the support for Mosley in the Tory party and the House of Lords. I think it was Rosenberg, who was so shocked by the current president of the Board, Marie van der Zyle, who declared that the Tories were ‘good friends of the Jews’, that he put up a list of notorious episodes of anti-Semitism in the party. Of their support for Mosley and the BUF, he writes

Two major parliamentary debates on antisemitic terror in the East End took place in 1936. MPs detailed the wave of attacks on their Jewish constituents, but the only response Home Secretary John Simon could muster was to call for “all sides” to behave reasonably. Pathetic, though perhaps better than the sniggering of Tory backbenchers in the House in 1934 after violence erupted at a 15,000-strong fascist rally at Olympia in June that year.

The rally audience included 150 MPs looking for political inspiration, while
House of Lords members turned up in black shirts. The violence at Olympia was one way. Eighty anti-fascists needed medical treatment, yet Tory MPs parroted the BUF line that anti-fascists had attacked Mosley’s thugs. William Greene, Conservative MP for Worcester asked in the House: “Is it not a fact that 90 per cent of those accused of attacking Fascists rejoice in fine old British names such as Ziff, Kerstein and Minsky?” Frederick MacQuisten, Conservative MP for Argyll enquired: “Were some of them called Feigenbaum, Goldstein and Rigotsky and other good old Highland names?” A fellow Tory MP, Captain Archibald Ramsey frequently railed against what he called the “Jewish
imperium in Imperio (empire within an empire),” claiming that the correct term for “antisemite” was “Jew-wise”.

There’s also a photo of Captain Archibald Maule Ramsay in dress uniform. He was one of the most venomous and splenetic of British Fascists in this period. I think he was the head of one of the various pro-Nazi, British anti-Semitic organisations.

Rosenberg’s article concludes

As recent political interventions have shown the “advice” offered to the Jewish community from its self-defined “leaders” has not improved in the decades since. The current Board of Deputies president, Marie Van der Zyl displayed either political ignorance or amnesia when she told an Israeli news channel recently that the Conservative Party have “always been friends of the Jewish community”. Meanwhile, anti-fascists must face up to the renewed threat to minorities, not just here, but elsewhere in Europe and America. We still have much to learn from those who united in resistance and built an anti-fascist majority in their communities in 1936.

https://rebellion602.wordpress.com/2018/10/03/he-didnt-get-to-first-base/

He’s absolutely right. On this side of the Pond the past few weeks have seen UKIP’s party conference, which under Gerard Batten has become much more openly racist, and which as speakers Paul Joseph Watson of Infowars, Carl Benjamin, AKA Sargon of Akkad and ‘Count Dankula’, all of whom have extreme right-wing, anti-feminist and Islamophobic views and are fiercely opposed to immigration. The EDL are back on the rise and over the other side of the Atlantic Donald Trump has very strong connections to the Alt-Right and real anti-Semites. In Europe, ultra-nationalist, racist and anti-Semitic parties have taken power in Hungary and Poland. And the Tories, who have now allied themselves with Far Right parties like the Sweden Democrats and True Finns, aided the Hungarian president, Viktor Orban and his Fidesz party last week by voting against an EU motion censuring them.

We do need a revived antifascist movement, both here in Britain and abroad, to combat this. And this means a revived local, working class activism. Margaret Hodge, the Blairite MP for that part of the Metropolis allowed the BNP to take control of Tower Hamlets council because she did precious little to oppose them. As a token of their appreciation, they sent her a bouquet of flowers when seven of them got elected to the council. As the Jewish bloggers have pointed out, it was when activists from the left of the Labour party and other radical groups started traipsing round the borough knocking on doors and alerting local people to what the BNP really represented, that the Nazis were finally voted out.

Nazi Sad Acts Try to Recruit Self-Respecting, Anti-Racist Jew

October 28, 2017

The anti-racist, anti-religious extremism organisation and site, Hope Not Hate, has put up on their site any number of stories showing how bonkers, ridiculous, and ultimately sad the Far Right are. These include details of their attempts to style themselves as the new Mussolinis, Hitlers and Mosleys, complete with cod Fascist uniforms. The megalomania of their leaders, as shown by the demand of one of these sawdust Caesars, that the assembled squadristi kiss his ring. One of them refused on the grounds that it was ‘homoerotic’. No! Really? This from a movement which has, historically, been fully of self-hating gays.

Then you have the sordid details about how these brave patriots, determined to save Britain from the menace posed by Jews, Muslims, Asians, Blacks, trade unions, gays, Gypsies, Socialists, Communists, and that bloke, who looked at them in a funny way once, have run away from the fights they’ve caused when they’re outnumbered. Or have beaten each other up because of disputes about money, stealing other people’s girl- and boyfriends. HNH has also mocked them because of their hypocrisy for engaging themselves in the type of sordid activities they blame on ‘Jewish big business wideboys’ and people of colour. Like drug peddling.

And they can hardly claim to be standing up for innocent, virginal White people and wholesome sexual morality against ‘Jewish pornographers’, when they themselves have, er, ‘private’ shops selling such magazines and other material. Which includes interracial porn. One female contributor to Counterpunch, looking at the marching morons in Charlottesville, stated that Fascists generally tend to be repressed self-hating gays, or, if not, be massively fixated on Black men pleasuring their wives with their enormous members. The Alt Right regularly uses the term ‘cuck’ as a form of abuse for their opponents. It’s short for ‘cuckold’, meaning a man, whose wife has been unfaithful to him. It also refers to a sexual perversion, where a man gets off on watching his wife have sex with other men. So in the case of the assembled Nazis, the term ‘cuck’ would seem to be self-referential.

The Far Right are a real menace and a growing threat. But they’re also so grotesque and incompetent that they’re also blackly funny. Hope Not Hate laughs at their stupidity, calling them ‘Nutzis’ and ‘Boneheads’. So did Private Eye. After running a series of stories about the bizarre antics of the BNP in Dagenham and Barking, and Tower Hamlets, the satirical magazine somehow got hold of an internal document showing that many of their stormtroopers had resigned. Among the various reasons was that the party had been made to look silly in the Eye.

Now the silliness continues in the form of the banned Nazi group, National Action, having sent a begging email to Tony Greenstein. I’ve blogged about and linked to several of Greenstein’s posts before, because he’s a bitter critic of Israeli racism and their ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians. He’s also very anti-racist generally, and is a staunch opponent of Fascism. Quite apart from the fact that he is Jewish. His Zionist opponents have smeared him as anti-Semitic, but anyone reading his column will find plenty of evidence to refute that. He’s a secular atheist, like so many people, but that does not mean he hates his own ethnic group. Reading his posts, you find that he is very active within other Jewish Socialist organisations and those of Jews, who share his own fierce opposition to Israel and its ethnic cleansing of the country’s indigenous Arabs. In one article about a genuine Jewish anti-Semite, Gilad Atzmon, Greenstein has stated that the constitution of the pro-Palestinian group to which he belongs makes it clear that anti-Semites are very definitely denied membership.

All this, apparently, has been lost on the leadership of the Nazi outfit, National Action. Greenstein says he’s been receiving emails from them over the past few months asking him if he would like to make a donation. He tried to unsubscribe from their list, but they’ve come back.

They want his money because two of the Nazi organisation’s wretched leadership, Paul Golding and Jayda Fransen, have jumped bail and gone on the lam. They want the money to overturn the bail conditions that were imposed on them for demonstrating against the ‘Muslim child rapists’. Presumably this would be one of the groups of Asian men responsible for the serial assault and sexual enslavement of hundreds of young girls.

No decent person has any time for child abusers and people do have legitimate reasons for protesting against the Asian paedophile gangs. Not because the gangs were Asian, but because the council knew about it and allowed them to continue because of the perceived threat to racial harmony. Since the scandal broke, there have been Asian writers commenting in the papers that the authorities smeared their communities by assuming that Muslims and/or Asians generally would riot if these men were arrested and brought to justice.

They also point out that the majority of paedophiles in this country are White. And there certainly is an element of selective outrage amongst the British Far Right, as several of those claiming to be defending girls and young women from these predators have themselves been sentenced to prison for sexual abuse and assault.

Greenstein suspects that the reason the Nazis have come back to ask him for cash is the result of some dirty tricks between the Zionist organisations that have set out to smear him as an Anti-Semite. He writes

Why have I been resubscribed? I suspect it is dirty tricks from one Jonathan Hoffman whose best friend is Britain First’s ‘Intelligence’ Chief Paul Besser. Both like to picket Palestinian and other meetings on the grounds of ‘anti-Semitism’.

This is a reference to a Palestinian civil rights conference which the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism declared was ‘anti-Semitic’ even before it started. Hoffman, a leading member of one of these anti-Palestinian groups, was caught standing next to Besser at the demo. Which shows how selective and hypocritical the Zionist’s definition of anti-Semitism is. As for Besser and Britain First, the real anti-Semites always had a very flexible attitude to who was Jewish when it suited them. Karl von Luegerer,, then anti-Semitic mayor of Vienna, whom Hitler admired, had numerous Jewish friends. When asked about them by one of his fellow bigots, Luegerer replied ‘I say who’s a Jew and who isn’t’.

Greenstein concludes his comments by saying

I guess it’s kind of flattering to be told that they need me, even if they offer me the alternative of signing up or do nothing. At least, it would seem they take Jews!

Dig deep for these two neo-Nazi nuts. You know they’re worth it.

http://azvsas.blogspot.co.uk/2017/10/britain-firsts-leaders-paul-golding-and.html

This is obviously very heavy irony. National Action have been banned as a terrorist group. They’re very openly Nazi. There’s footage of them at a demonstration in Liverpool screaming ‘Sieg Heil!’ and raising their right arms in the Fascist salute. Hope Not Hate also obtained a copy of a speech one of their leaders, Kevin Layzell, gave up north, which followed the usual Nazi conspiracy theory about the Jews using non-White immigration to destroy the White race.

They clearly don’t want Jews at all. On the other hand, someone might think that they could be useful for smearing a genuine anti-racist by association. Or it could be simply colossal, asinine stupidity. Which, given the massive lack of competence these thugs have shown over the years, is also a very plausible factor.

Hope Not Hate on the BNP’s History of Stupidity

January 9, 2016

This is further to my last on the collapse of the BNP as a political party, thanks to them not actually bothering to register with the Electoral Commission. Hope Not Hate has an interesting and, in places, funny piece about how the BNP has very effectively managed to destroy itself through its leaders’ factionalism, venality, stupidity and massive incompetence. It’s at http://www.hopenothate.org.uk/blog/insider/the-bnp-a-history-of-believable-incompetence-4695.

It begins

At the end of 2014 we remarked that our highlight of the year was the “total collapse of the BNP.” Nick Griffin had been booted out of the European Parliament, forced out as Chairman and then, humiliatingly, expelled from the party he had built into a once serious electoral proposition.

Between 2001 and 2009, the British National Party had an unstoppable feel about them. The party was full to burst with nazis, cranks, conspiracy theorists and even rapists and murderers. But they persisted with pushing ahead with a rebranding of an old nazi party into something that would at least look like it did not smell quite as bad as it once did.

They were picking up the odd council seat here and there, quite incredibly got a member elected onto the London Assembly in 2008, and by 2009 the party held over sixty council seats and had two MEPs. Close to one million people voted for them in the European Elections.

The BNP wanted to be seen as a serious political party; but in becoming a serious political party, Griffin had to make enemies. In November 2008 the party’s membership list was leaked by a disgruntled official. A proper party they wanted to be, but few people actually seemed to want to be on the dreaded list. Still, despite the humiliation, they forged ahead from that disaster in time to win those near one million votes. It was clear that the BNP was often its own enemy and Nick Griffin perhaps both their greatest and their worst asset.

One of the most interesting internal documents I have ever seen from the BNP was a secret letter that Griffin wrote to BNP officials after his election to Brussels in 2009- begging them to not take advantage of the European Parliament’s generosity. So aware of the likelihood of this happening was Griffin, he only entrusted party employee timesheets and expense claims to his wife Jackie (a midwife). The party’s treasurer, by all accounts a “great bloke”, was addicted to internet pornography so they had removed his office computer and given him an old ledger to work on instead.

The far right, like the far left, has a history of factionalism and in-fighting, with groups continually splitting and reforming. It’s beset with wannabe Fuehrers, Duces and Caudillos, all jockeying for power in their ambition to be the next Hitler. And their character and general behaviour is less than inspiring. I can remember way back in the early 1970s, when one of the leaders of the National Front was banged up in jail for about two weeks for stealing women’s underwear from a department store. And when they began to make electoral inroads about a decade ago, they couldn’t hold back their deep instincts to make a mess of things. Private Eye in its pages ran a number of pieces chronicling their truly impressive displays of crass ignorance and sheer inability to organise anything, or behave in anything like a reasonable or competent manner. High lights of this long career of idiocy include:

The seven BNP councillors on Tower Hamlet’s borough council not bothering to vote for a motion that the rest of the council had accepted should be put to the vote, on the grounds that they didn’t know you had to do it. As a result, the proposal failed.

A press meeting, in which various BNP members in pig masks were supposed to leap out and start slobbering over a trough to symbolise the greed of the other, mainstream parties. This also went spectacularly wrong, and thing’s didn’t quite work out.

A fight between a Labour councillor and his BNP colleague in a pub, when Dagenham and Barking council adjourned there. The Labour local politician called the stormtrooper a ‘poof’, so the squadristi responded by calling him a ‘Fascist’. Then fisticuffs broke out.

There was also much schoolboy sniggering and speculation over the sexuality of the BNP’s spokesman for the arts. He styled himself a ‘conceptual film-maker’. He was mostly known for making a art film entitled ‘HMS Venus: A Voyage into Love’ or some such, which featured naked young men frolicking in a river. This is an unusual piece, considering how totalitarian movements, like Fascism, are generally hostile to experimental art, and the far right’s own bitter homophobia.

The leak of the party’s membership lists produced yet another Downfall parody. In this one, an exasperated Hitler rants about Griffin’s incompetence.

And satire and mockery is an effective weapon against the far right. The Eye also chortled when they got hold of documents from the BNP from former members explaining why they weren’t renewing their subscriptions. One ex-member forthrightly stated it was because he was tired of the paper being a joke in Private Eye.

Well, they’ve continued being a joke, but this time, hopefully, it’ll be the democrats and anti-Fascists who have the last laugh.

Vox Political: Goldsmith Plays the Race Card against Sadiq Khan in Campaign to Be Mayor

January 5, 2016

Zac Goldsmith, the Tory candidate for mayor of London, has accused his rival, Labour’s Sadiq Khan, of playing the race card. Khan had objected to Goldsmith’s election literature, which described him as a ‘radical’ and ‘divisive’. Mr Khan believed that Goldsmith was trying to stir up prejudice against him as a Muslim. Goldsmith, however, has stated that he merely described him thus, because of his support for Corbyn. Mike says in his article, at http://voxpoliticalonline.com/2016/01/05/goldsmithkhan-who-exactly-is-playing-the-race-card-here/

Does nobody else think there’s something odd about Mr Goldsmith’s indignation – considering his campaign chiefs were said to be investigating an “Islamophobe canvasser” only days ago?

Join the dots: If the Goldsmith leaflet said Mr Khan – who is a Muslim – is radical, it’s not a huge stretch for any rank-and-file canvasser to draw the wrong conclusion and spread a message that is entirely inappropriate.

Furthermore, it seems odd that a campaign which states that identifying anyone as “the Muslim” is unacceptable would defend the use of the word “radical” in its leaflets. Even though “radical” is an acceptable political term, it has become associated with the word “Muslim” in a derogatory way.

This is the old trick, beloved of playground bullies, of sneering at someone in coded language and then feigning complete innocence. And for many Londoners, such language about a Muslim candidate will bring back memories of Lutfur Rahman at Tower Hamlets. His administration of the borough council was accused, not least by Private Eye, as being very heavily influenced by the politics of his local mosque, characterised by a strong bias towards Muslims and the Bengladeshi community against the other ethnic and religious groups.

I don’t know much about London politics, but Khan strikes me as being far less controversial in appearance and conduct than many other Labour MPs. In the 1987 election, for example, I can remember one of the tactics of the Sun was to put up pictures of various politicos along with supposed quotes showing them to be hard left, and, if Black or Asian, anti-White. Diane Abbott, for example, was quoted by the Sun to have said, ‘All Whites are racist’. Abbott still remains controversial, but has since gone on to become a respected parliamentarian. She even appears regularly on the Daily Politics with Andrew Neil. Despite the media, Tories and Blairites spitting teeth about Corbyn’s alleged radicalism, neither Corbyn nor Mr Khan are as extreme as their predecessors three decades ago, when the Tories were falling over themselves to push stories about ‘Loony Labour’.

This looks very much like Goldsmith and the Tories trying to play on people’s fears of Islam, while denying they are doing any such thing. It’s been a favourite Tory tactic for a very long time. Don’t be taken in. The person here trying to create division is Zac Goldsmith.

UKIP’s 19th Century Anti-Immigration Electioneering

April 27, 2014

ukip_poster_1

On Friday I reblogged a piece from the ever-acute and satirical Tom Pride about how the unemployed worker in UKIP’s election poster was actually an Irish actor. This was a source of highly ironic amusement, as well as a comment on the double standards used by UKIP and some of the other parties, when they start banging on the nationalist and anti-immigration issues. On the same evening you could also see a clip on the BBC’s long-running satirical quiz, Have I Got News For You, UKIP’s Fuehrer, Nigel Farage, being given a thorough grilling by the Beeb’s Nick Robinson. Why, asked Robinson, if immigration was so bad and a threat to British jobs, did Farage employ his wife, who was German, as his secretary? Because, said il Duce, there were no English people, who could do the job, thus torpedoing much of his anti-immigration arguments. It also brought forth the rejoinder from Paul Merton, ‘What? Sleep with Nigel Farage?’

The Tories were also caught using a similar set of double standards a few years ago during their election campaign to persuade the Scots to vote for them. They published a leaflet claiming that under the Tories, Scottish jobs would remain in Scotland. But obviously not as far as the production of the leaflet itself went. It was printed in England.

Such ironies aside, UKIP’s poster is highly controversial, because of the way it plays on British fears about immigration. The unemployed British workman in the poster is unemployed due to competition from immigrant workers. The message is that UKIP will stop foreigners entering the country and taking British jobs. The poster recalls some of the Conservative anti-immigration campaigns and posters in the first decade of the 20th century.

One of these posters showed an employer opening his door to welcome in a new, and obviously foreign employee to his workshop, saying, something like ‘Welcome, Mein Freund’. Meanwhile, a British workman was being forced to leave out the back. He had been made unemployed to give a job to his foreign employer’s fellow countryman. It was no accident either, that the boss and his compatriot both spoke German. The campaign was playing on the racial fears caused by immigration to Britain of German-speaking Jews entering the country following a series of pogroms in eastern Europe from the 1880s onwards.

Jess, one of the commenters on this blog, supplies some further information on the anti-immigration campaign and the context of these Victorian and Edwardian posters. She says:

The poster you refer to was probably part of the tory campaign to introduce the Aliens Bills of 1904-5

Bill Fishman has an interesting chapter on this in his ‘East End … Radicals’

“1887 was the year of opportunity both for political demagogues flying the anti-alien kite and the new social reformer. The East End borough of Tower Hamlets provided a focus…On 19 April 1887 the first recorded public meeting was held for the ratepayers of Mile End to petition for the exclusion of destitute aliens. It took the form of a debate with the motion put by Conservative MPs Captain Colomb, Howard Vincent and Lords Charles Beresford and Brabazon..The chairman was … Arnold White. The result was a compromise……But …White would not let go. On 14 July, writing en route for South Africa…he directed (under the ..title ‘England for the English!’) a second broadside through The Times: ‘Will you permit me to fire a parting shot at the pauper foreigner…..’”
Fishman p.71

Arnold White was a notorious racist and militarist, whose writings helped form the basis of British fascism in the 1930′s. We hear their echoes in the rantings of ukip today, unfortunately.

She then describes how Lord Brabazon concisely summarised this policy in a letter to the Times.

It is quite surreal that the clearest exposition of ukip and tory migration ‘policy’ I have yet found is not in the diatribes of Arnold White, but in a letter to the Times from Lord Brabazon, an hereditary liberal peer, who described himself as being of the ‘old [ie free-market] liberals’. What he also meant was that he was opposed to Irish and Scottish ‘Home Rule’

PAUPER IMMIGRATION,
TO THE EDITOR OF THE TIMES.
Sir,— Mr. Arnold White has the courage of his convictions. The suggestions contained in his letter which you published in your issue of Saturday, March 26, are so contrary to the principles of action which have found favour in this country for some time past that they are sure to meet with severe criticism, and it is only right, therefore, that those who have some knowledge of the condition of the working classes in our large towns and who share his views should speak out.

I have for some time been of opinion that the wholesale immigration into this country of more or less destitute foreigners should, in justice to our own working classes, be placed under some kind of control. The low wages which are paid for many kinds of labour are in no small degree due to the competition of these hordes of foreigners who, to escape military service in their own country and believing that the streets of London are paved with gold, flock to our shores. Not a few manufactures which used to employ a large number of persons in the East-end are now almost entirely in the hands of Germans and Jews.

Foreigners would not come to London unless they thought that by doing so they could in some way better their condition, or, in other words, they desire to share in some real or fancied advantages which they consider England possesses over other countries.

So surely these advantages may be very justly considered by Great Britain as property bearing a money value. Most of them, such as free and stable government, civil and religions liberty, immunity from wars and social and political disturbances, vast manufactures, extended commerce, the practical monopoly of the carrying trade of the world, have been won by the energy, enterprise, inventive power, unconquerable determination, and blood and treasure of Englishmen. In private business a man who desires to be admitted into partnership is always required to pay for the advantages which he seeks to enjoy. Advantages enjoyed by the aggregate of individuals composing a nation may surely be considered as much a property, bearing a money value, as the advantages possessed by individuals and companies which are every day bought and sold in the public market.

The nation knows not how to feed its present population, increasing at the rate of 340,000 a year, over and above the large emigration which is continually taking place.

The ship of State is fast becoming water-logged. It is good to work the pumps of emigration and colonization, but let us at the same time not forget to stop the leak of foreign immigration, which is filling the vessel as fast as we attempt to empty her.

I see no reason why we should not, as the Americans do, refuse to receive foreign paupers, nor can I believe that any injustice would be perpetrated by requiring every foreigner, residing in Great Britain for more than six months, to take out a licence upon which a small tax should be paid, such licence to be renewed annually; the liability to take out the licence to cease after, say ten years, should the bearer in the meantime have become a naturalized British subject.

I am, Sir, yours faithfully,

[Lord] BRABAZON.: The Times Wednesday, Apr 13, 1887; p. 13;

Lord Brabazon (of Meath), you will recall, sat on the platform of that 1887 ‘meeting’ chaired by White

All of the ukip themes are here;
“those who have some knowledge of the condition of the working classes in our large towns and who share his views should speak out”;

“the wholesale immigration into this country of more or less destitute foreigners should, in justice to our own working classes, be placed under some kind of control”

” low wages which are paid for many kinds of labour are in no small degree due to the competition of these hordes of foreigners ”

“The nation knows not how to feed its present population…”

Apart, of course, from ‘The Thing’, Cobbett’s meme for his own anti-Semitism, and an entrenched ‘establishment’. That bit was supplied by the League of Empire Loyalists’ reference to the European Union as a ‘EUSSR’.

How do they get away with this stuff, whilst pretending to be a ‘party’ of the 21st century?

This shows you how UKIP and the Europhobic parts of the Conservative party are taking us back to the worst features of late 19th and early 20th century Britain. UKIP and the Tories both are Neoliberal parties hostile to state intervention and welfare benefits for the working class. Margaret Thatcher in particular heartily despised them. UKIP are suspiciously silent about their domestic policies. When you do find out about them, they’re horrifying. They have been described as Tories on steroids. One of their policies, for example, is to abolish paid annual leave for workers. In order to gain working-class votes, they stress national solidarity against the threat of foreigners and outsiders. In this case, it’s foreign workers supposedly coming here to steal British jobs.

As for the description of the EU as the ‘EUSSR’, it’s highly significant that this came from the League of Empire Loyalists. These were an extremely Right-wing anti-Semitic, founded by Arnold Leese. They were one of the groups that founded the National Front, along with the British National Party and the Greater British Movement. It’s quite sinister that something coined by them that should be so widely adopted outside of the ghetto of the racist politics. My guess it entered general political discourse through extreme Right-wing Tories.

As for the Brabazon’s complaint that the foreigners coming over here in the late 19th century did so partly to escape national service in their own countries, that wasn’t entirely true. When the Kaiser lifted the restrictions on Jews entering the army, it aroused a wave of patriotism amongst German Jews, many of whom enthusiastically took up the new opportunities of a military career. The single largest group in the German army in the First World War were the Jews. One of these Jewish soldiers was Hitler’s captain, who recommended him for the Iron Cross. It’s one of the facts that gives the lie to the ‘stab-in-the-back’ explanation for the fall of the Reich – that somehow Germany was betrayed by the Jews.

Further east, in the Russian Empire, you couldn’t blame the Jews, nor any other minorities from wishing to avoid national service. The Tsars used it as a method of forcibly converting the Jewish population. Russian recruits are subject to a level of truly horrific bullying and physical abuse, and this was inflicted on Jewish members of the armed forces. Under Communism, the same attitude and abuse was adopted towards Pentecostalist Christians conscripted into the forces. Some of these received beatings so savage, that they were also hospitalised.

If the Tories and UKIP succeed in their policy of the utter dismantlement of the welfare state, this kind of anti-immigration attitudes will increase, and get much, much worse, leading to a revival of the overt, vicious racism of the 19th and early 20th centuries as the poor are forced to compete for increasingly meagre economic resources. And Tory and UKIP campaigns against ‘political correctness’ will be used to justify overtly racist rhetoric. The only way to stop this is to vote them out of power.