Monday, May 05, 2008

Facing Down The Fascists

The BNP stood candidates locally last week. What was significant, though not surprising, was that they focused exclusively on deprived areas where scapegoat politics might have found a ready audience. In Liverpool they stood candidates in the north end of the city rather than the leafy areas of south Liverpool, the working class areas of Speke & Garston being an exception south of the city centre. They were also on the ballot paper in most Bootle wards, though not mine. In purely electoral terms they failed to register anything other than a minor impact. Norris Green ward, however, did send a disturbing message, giving the fascists second place behind Labour. Depressing but not unexpected; a casual stroll through the area would be enough to convince observers that many in the area are looking for a party, any party, to address their concerns.
In today's Independent Johann Hari put a fresh & welcome perspective on those white working class voters who vote BNP ( ), exposing the myths about housing wages & services which the fascists peddle to the gullible & disengaged.
I know it's a controversial position to take, but I agree with Hari's view that the old "no platform for fascists" stance is no longer relevant or effective. Let them say what they really think; close questioning in the media, rather than a mere soundbite, will force them to at least acknowledge their ridiculous Aryan theories. Their claim that the Holocaust never happened may be illuminating for those tempted by their leaflets but whose parents & grandparents fought in World War II. It would be interesting to see their response to the flickering sepia-tinted images of Belsen & Auswitz.
Hari's article makes all the right points, proposing how to counter the racist myths (housing-an immediate programme of council house building; wages-a higher minimum wage; services-no faith schools or community centres for only ethnic group). He concludes:
"But instead of offering these solutions, we [by which Hari presumably means the middle class commentariat] have turned the white working class into a national punch line. We dismiss them as 'chavs', 'pikeys' and racists, and jeer at their clothes, voices and names. So we don't really have the right to act surprised when they vote in a way designed to tell us -as the woman standing in her damp flat, carrying bags of economy-brand food from Iceland, told me- to 'fuck-off''."
Something tells me, however, that Hari's words will be ignored.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think perhaps more notable than the BNP's second place in Norris Green is the Libdems' decision not to put up a candidate in that ward.

Talk about giving up on people.