Posts Tagged ‘fascists’

Sunday Review: New British Fascism: rise of the British National Party by Matthew J Goodwin

19/06/2011, 02:00:33 PM

by Anthony Painter

The BNP has overreached itself. In an attempt to make the political big time, it stretched its resources and organisational capability beyond the point of elasticity. Triumph for the forces of hope over the forces of hate? Yes. But, as Matthew J Goodwin argues in the New British Fascism, the extreme right is a more permanent phenomenon than we wish to admit. This has deeper consequences for our politics than we seem to want to face up to.

Where this book succeeds is in tying together narrative history, survey and statistical evidence, and interviews gleaned from BNP activists themselves. It gives us both a sense of context and continuity. The rise of the BNP was down to a different way of communicating hate – focused more on culture and nation than race per se – and it was also dependent on community based organisation. However, the BNP tapped a reservoir of support that was particular and politically instrumental.

Whether the BNP is still with us at the next election or not, it will have a successor. Its exodus is latching onto other groups and parties – the English Democrats and the English Defence League seem obvious places for disillusioned BNP activists to head. Indeed, ex-BNP London Assembly, Richard Barmbrook, was invited to join the English Democrats. It remains to be seen whether they can survive their transformation into the successors to the BNP as their existing membership base revolts.

Two substantive factors have changed over the last decade or so. Racially driven extremism has been rejected. They are still racist but the BNP and others have evolved their argument into a more sophisticated critique of cultural threat, political betrayal, and economic desolation. This is what has enabled the BNP, falsely, to claim that they are the “Labour party that your father voted for”.


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