Saturday, September 30, 2006

From Mosley to Griffin

It's 70 years on Wednesday since the working class people of the East End of London stood firm against thousands of goose-stepping fascists at what became known as the Battle of Cable Street. There's an excellent piece in today's Guardian with eye-witness accounts.,,1884440,00.html

The threat from fascism in Britain is if anything more real today than in the mid-1930's. Nick Griffin's BNP may wear suits and ties, but their values are no different from Mosely's Hitlerite thugs. They're lurking below the surface here in Darlington too - today I was passed a sickening leaflet put out in Northgate recently which equated the overwhelmingly decent Muslim community here in the UK with the small band of islamic terrorists. The far right's tactics have always been to poison politics by spreading fear and loathing between communities.

It remains a source of amazement to me that my "sane and rational" friends at the Town Liar website continue to fete a local supporter of the BNP on their pages, without any critical comment. Some it would seem have not learned any lessons from history.


The Bournemouth Nationalist said...

"The threat from fascism in Britain is if anything more real today"

Spot on Nick. With the labours use of relentless law making, the destruction of free speech, the arbturary arrest and detention of objectors (political and moral), the fawning to minority groups, the subservience to an unelected buerocracy and all with co-operation of powerful capatalist bodies to create a wage slave workforce. Indeed fascism is a real and present danger

Darlington Councillor said...

I simply don't recognise the Britain you're describing, BM. What does "wage slave workforce" mean for example. Are you aware of the Minimum Wage, pioneered by Labour in the teeth of Tory opposition? The rest is just sloganising.

I understand that the far right is terrified when a left-of-centre Governemnt stands up and takes sometimes difficult measures to guarantee citizens' safety. A central plank in your strategy is removed. Labour's actions make it much more difficult for the BNP to thrive.

I'll return to the Northgate BNP leaflet for two clear examples of racist, fascist tendancies. The leaflet advocates banning the burqa, worn by devout Muslim women, and preventing Muslims studying chemistry, biology and IT at university, on the flimsy pretext they might be terrorists.

These are the tactics the far right used in the 1930's, updated for the new Milennium. In the 1930's the target were the Jews. Now its Muslims. Both vulnerable minorities. Whilst we as a society have moved on to recognise the human rights of all our citizens, however, the far right want to take us back to a time when a minority was persecuted simply because of their creed. What next - yellow stars for Muslims in public so we can recognise them? Sickening stuff.

Tom Stebbings said...

Blaming Britains problems on immigration, as the BNP do, is a rascist lie.
The BNP rely on these reprehensible comments to peddle their propoganda.
"Pensioners operations cancelled", "social housing issues delayed" etc. etc.
However, a significant number of voters consider a vote for BNP to be an effective way of sending a message to the political establishment,particularly in a time of dissafection, even though they would not want to see them in power.
Although the gloves are off in Darlington regarding the May elections, it is reassuring to see the new candidates standing with the support of the main political parties.
Long may this be the case.
Fascist politics has no place in this country and certainly not within Darlington.

Great site Nick.

Tom Stebbings.

Darlington Councillor said...

Quite right Tom. The far right are at their most dangerous when politics seem remote from ordinary people. Fascists then feed off people's fears.

As you indicate, there is no groundswell of opinion here in Darlington for extremists. We're by no means perfect, but councillors and from all three parties, in my experience do try to stay in touch with their local communities.

For sure, the Tories have had plenty of exposure recently with their candidates - I predict that Labour will be announcing an attractive line-up soon.

Ian Holme said...

I agree in large part with your sentiments.
I witnessed harrassment of a group of asian ladies by the then National Front thugs on high row during the 92 general election campaign. I was sickened by these thugs parading around my town carrying "my" flag (as in the union flag)sneering at anybody of different skin colour.
(neither did they take kindly to me telling them so, it soon became obvious that their intolerence of difference even extended to hair colour...!!)

These individuals have indeed dropped their skin-head image for sharp suits and moderated their language, but their message of hate remains the same.

Unfortunatly I do think that some groups proporting to represent various ethnic groups are playing into the hands of the racists. By making it impossible to have a rational debate on immigatration, integration of even the way they dress, without being accused of racism. (just look at the reaction to Jack Straws comments on muslim dress)

The major political parties must take on the extemists from all sides, whether fascist or muslim

However too often the media go to the noisy minority of any community in order to get their story, rather than listening to the fairminded majority. This can only result in the raising of tensions and lack of understanding amongst communities.


Darlington Councillor said...

Many thanks, Ian.

You're quite right regarding the responsibility of the media.

I wasn't particularly impressed by the way in which certain national newspapers responded to the Jack Straw story, for example. I think it was the Daily Mail today which dressed a reporter up in a niqab, to demonstrate that customs officers can wave people through. On one level, it could be argued that this is good journalism - clearly everyone should be appropriately screened regardless of their dress. The underlying message, though, was "all Muslim women who wear traditional dress are potential terrorists". Some in the national press are playing fast and loose with community relations when attitudes like this become commonplace.

But then, I am a hopeless old liberal.... :)