The Far-Right and other animals.
The Home Affairs Select Committee has advised the Government not to allow other issues to distract it from the possibility of a terrorist attack from the far right in the UK. This is a surprising but welcome move coming from a Committee led by the indomitable but gaffe prone Keith Vaz MP.
Whilst their sentiment is correct, we have been being told that the far right is on the increase in Britain since Oswald Moseley put his black shirt away. It doesn’t do to be complacent about them, but to overstate their support actually makes them bolder.
To analyse this using just electoral statistics, in the UK it would be clear that there has been an increase in support for extremist parties. In the last European Elections almost three and a half million British people voted either for UKIP or the BNP, which either shows Britain is becoming increasingly xenophobic, or that people don’t really care about the European Elections and like to throw protest votes at it. I’ll let you decide which.
The UK is actually fairly unique in Europe for allowing the far right into their democracy only recently. To stick with European elections, the Bulgarian National Union Attack party has 2 seats, the French Front National 3, and the Italian Liga Nord 9. Many far right parties in the EU have seats in their national parliaments, which is usually a better way of telling how popular they are. Luckily, ours hasn’t been sullied with them yet.
The fault for existence of the far right lies on the shoulders of every ideology. The left has failed to explain the benefits of immigration and tolerance; the right has managed to further entrench differences and inequality. To make matters worse, if there is even the breath of a whisper of a hint of far right activity the media goes into overdrive.
They are very much still in the minority and we should be keeping an eye on them; however it would be surprising if they were to actually gain any real power in the UK. That being said, we shouldn’t allow their relative isolation to hide the lunacy of their being.
The far right is a disparate group of ideologues and iconoclasts and, luckily, they tend not to get on with each other. This is why there will never be a unified cross border neo-nazi party, although it is worth bearing it mind that Anders Breivik, the Norwegian mass murderer, was at least partially inspired by our very own English Defence League. No wonder the Scots want to leave.
Far right parties identify as patriarchal, authoritarian, homophobic, xenophobic, misogynistic and eurosceptic in varying degrees. The obvious way to counter any of these is through education of children. This is true, but boring and flowery. Education and IQ have been repeatedly linked to more liberal viewpoints (something that really does merit its own article, if only to gloat). An educated child tends not to be a racist child.
This also comes at the same time as Abu Qatada, Bin Laden’s right hand (which must be a bit decayed by now) man in Europe is supposedly to be released on bail. This man has been held in captivity for almost six and half years without trial, and the reason he can’t be extradited is because the country of his birth is an altogether unpleasant dictatorship that prises confessions through prising off fingernails. I agree with due process, and human rights, and he must be tried properly. The decision on the Court of Appeal, the House of Lords and The European Court of Human Rights was justified in law and morality. I won’t, however, lose any sleep if we “accidently” put him on a plane to Jordan rather than Luton.
“Muscular liberalism” (David Cameron’s words, not mine) is now supposed to come in to combat extremists on both sides. Unfortunately David has been suffering from “feeble conservatism” for far too long and doesn’t know how to act. The fact is that Neo-Nazis, Religious extremists and bigots of all stripes all suffer from the same chronic condition – idiocy. It seems largely to be passed down the male line.
It is very easy to combat any form of extremist (right wing included) through words, through logic and through reason. The fact is that the vast majority in Britain know that homosexuals are equal, immigrants are often jolly nice and that people with different colour skin are, well, people too. Religious zealots and right wing belligerants both believe that their enemies aren’t human, or at best they are sub-human. They aren’t open to logic. This is why one has to have some sympathy with groups such as Anti Fascist Action (AFA), who when founded had the stated goal of a two pronged assault on the far right.
Firstly, AFA combats extremism in the white working class through education and dialogue, secondly, they violently assault adult neo-nazis. Unpalatable as the latter may be, the former is what is needed from the mainstream political parties. Unemployed, white working class people are the ideal recruits for Neo-fascists as they feel hard done by, let down by the state, and the Far Right gives them something to blame it on. Equally, if the mainstream parties could understand and integrate with the more radical elements of the muslim community, Abu Qatada would have far fewer disciples. In both cases the supporters feel alienated, in both cases they deal with their alienation through ostracising others.
Tempting as it is to just crack skulls together until both these groups shut up and leave us alone, it falls to us the thankless task of trying to explain to the Far Right and religious extremists that immigrants, non believers, homosexuals and women are all people too. They shouldn’t need to be told this. It should be self evident to every thinking human, but it isn’t. Neither group cares much for the proper application of knowledge, indeed it is better for recruitment if people are kept in the dark, but the schools should be teaching them that we are all members of Homo Sapiens Sapiens bar none. There are no other species of human, we are it. It is unfortunate that our ancestors innate fear of outsiders continues to manifest itself in a small minority, but then neither group cares for evolution so they probably believe the terror they have of the unfamiliar is God given.
Dry point scoring over, now for a parting comment.
The ideals that the BNP hold dear are not so dissimilar from those who wish us harm through their religion. Banning homosexuality, expulsion of foreigners, relegating women to the household, the reintroduction of capital punishment, prohibition of abortion and enforcing these beliefs through a powerful state, these are things we have heard before. From Abu Qatada. Broadly, the far right in the UK and Al Qaeda want the same things. A vote for the BNP is, essentially, a vote for Shari’a law. Food for thought.