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09:22

What I hate more than the BNP

crowth:

The BNP won an EU Parliament seat in my region today. It saddens me. While their gains are modest, and unlikely to be replicated at national level, any victory for them is cause for alarm and protests against their brand of fascism should be vociferous. Later on I’ll read Charlie Brooker’s latest column, tearing them to shreds for the delight of Guardian readers. I’ll read all the blogs about how their ranks are swelling with anti-Semites, homophobes and convicted thugs. And I’ll feel very certain in the knowledge that they’re evil cunts and should be reasonably opposed at every turn.

But what I really want to know is why? I know the BNP are a bunch of fascist thugs in suits, with the odd mild-mannered bigot shoved in front of the cameras. But the real tragedy is that hundreds of thousands of people have voted for them. As I type this Nick Griffin has just been elected as an MEP for the North West. Around a 140,000 people voted for him. But this isn’t about Nick Griffin. It’s not about the BNP. It’s about the vaccuum into which they have poured their poison.

While I get very angry about the small successes of the BNP, while I’m sickened by their very existence, I find anger and nausea directed at them to be pretty futile. I’m actually angrier about the state of the UK after decades of neoliberalism. I’m angrier that I live in a country where 1 in 3 children live in poverty. I’m angrier that I live in a country where social mobility has ground to a halt over the last several years. I’m angrier that I live in a country where the income gap is at its widest since the 1960s. I’m angrier about these things not least because I think all these factors and more help explain the success of the BNP.

The BNP gains aren’t a success of fascism, they’re a failure of British politics. New Labour have succeeded in making the UK an unfairer place to live in. Despite the fact that, until recently, they presided over an unprecedented economic boom, the wealth generated has not been shared by all. The variation in life expectancy in areas of the country is a damning confirmation of this. The poorer you are the sooner you die.

You’ll know that the rise of the Nazi party took place during an economic depression, so it’s hardly surprising that the thankfully lesser rise of the BNP takes place in the context of such socio-economic circumstances. Compounded with the current recession and the anger towards a political establishment seen to be indulging themselves at our expense, the unfortunate gains made tonight are hardly surprising.

People aren’t just alienated from politics and apathetic about voting. Generation after generation is being left behind and alienated from wider society. But some of the poorest areas of the country, such as Bradford West and Ladywood in Birmingham, are also some of the most densely ethnically populated areas in the country. 70% of Bangladeshi children in the UK live in poverty. Immigration is not something we should stop, but it is something that we should do better.

The lies the BNP has told to its voters play on poor education, a lack of social and ethnic integration, and the readiness of the human mind to fear and hate ‘the other’. People are willing to believe them because they feel so hard done by. They live in a country governed by a party that proclaimed ‘equality of opportunity’ while it shaped a society in which the futures of many are decided at birth.

We can fight fascism by making a better society. We have a lot of work to do.

Reposted fromjhnbrssndn jhnbrssndn

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