Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Michael Coren: Britain's Labour party is reaping what it sowed

The following is an article that can be found here:

The definition of a Fascist? Someone who is winning an argument against a liberal. In other words, the term is so abused in North America that it has little or no meaning. Not so in Britain, Holland, Hungary and elsewhere where ultra-nationalists won seats in last week’s European Community elections.

This was, however, more of a rumble than a revolution. In Britain the perfect political storm emerged for the far right with an intensely unpopular government, a parliamentary corruption scandal, an economic recession, a dramatically low electoral turnout and a polarizing Islamic population. Even so, the British National Party received around 6% of the vote and returned two members to the European assembly. It is most unlikely that it could ever elect an MP in the House of Commons but the result has managed to introduce a new sound into the British governmental symphony. Panic. The establishment parties have been forced to realize that a growing number of people are angry with the way their sometimes valid anxieties are being treated.

In the early- and mid-1980s, while working for Britain’s New Statesman magazine, I reported on the then-National Front and its racist friends on the European continent. Teutonic supermen they were not. More a circus of outcasts, sexual deviants and soccer thugs. National socialism preached from a spare room in mum’s house. George Orwell encapsulated it rather nicely when he contrasted the Germans with the English of the 1930s. The former, he said, cry with emotion when they see their soldiers goose-stepping. The latter would fall about laughing.

The British National Party does not goose-step. It has worked diligently to expunge the Nazi image of previous rightist parties, claiming to be nationalist rather than Fascist. It’s both true and false. Almost every believing right-wing extremist supports the BNP, but most BNP supporters are not right-wing extremists. Indeed, while the party is not trusted by the vast majority of minority groups, it does has a Jewish municipal councillor and some support in elements of the black, Hindu and Sikh communities.

Most of all, it has support within a white working-class that has been taken for granted by the Labour Party for half a century.
These are the unheard, the anonymous, the ordinary. The sort of people who fight the wars, build the cities and hold the country together. When, however, they complain of the disappearance of their culture and values and speak of inner-city crime and decay, their collective cry is dismissed as racism by a political and social elite that can afford not to understand. The BNP, employing the tested tactic of fascism, merely takes advantage of the situation.

The new number in the equation is Islam, and the number is growing. While there is an expanding and quintessentially English Muslim middle class and a strong resistance to fundamentalism, Islamic isolationism is a major factor now in dozens of British cities. Entire self-imposed ghettoes resembling Mecca Road rather than Coronation Street make routinely tolerant, moderate British people feel excluded, afraid and irrelevant.

This is not mere fantasy. There are honour killings, Muslim gang crime aimed at the white community, young Muslim men dealing drugs and prostitution. There is also a political fanaticism that culminated in the 2005 terror attacks which killed 52 people and injured 700.

The response of the traditional parties, the churches and the BBC is to try to silence the already largely powerless with lectures about Islamophobia. It’s disingenuous, patronizing and counter-productive. A new conversation has to be formed, and sensitive yet difficult questions have to be asked of everybody concerned, including British Muslims and their new left-wing comrades. Otherwise the laughter might stop and the marching begin. Even in good old England.
National Post
Author and broadcaster Michael Coren’s Web site is

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