Thursday, May 03, 2007

Fascists under the bed

Daniel Davies suggests that the reason that there is a rise in support for the BNP is the remodelling of the Conservative Party under David Cameron - that the tiny minority of British 'fascists' no longer feel at home under the blue banner and have moved over to the BNP. Unprovable of course, but reasonably convincing. Except that the areas where the BNP are starting to make inroads aren't mainly in Conservative areas - and even where they are it seems to be the Labour vote that's every bit as affected.
The reason, I suspect, is that in the main new BNP voters are not terribly politically sophisticated and will often vote for a party out of habit/tribal instinct etc. What seems to be happening (at least according to the shrieks of pain emanating from Polly) is that such tribal voters are widely re-considering their habits. Endless newspaper analyses of whether and how the Conservatives have changed will do that to the right; loans for peerages and the War on Iraq will do that to the left. Make people re-evaluate their long unquestioned allegiances and you'll generate churn. Throw into the mix that a small minority of people are bigoted zealots and you'll see an increase in support for the party that matches their beliefs.
On top of that, add a whole plethora of news and comment of the sort that Laban so cogently writes on, and it's not hard to see why support for the BNP increases. Especially among the sort of person who doesn't like politicians and doesn't trust the media.


Blogger bgprior said...

Did you notice Norman Tebbit's observation several months ago that many of the BNP's policies were more socialist than conservative? To which I was inclined to respond "of course they are". Fascism is a flavour of socialism, closely related to communism. They are all about blaming others for your misfortunes, and expecting the government to put it right. And as Mises and Hayek both pointed out many times, socialism and even its milder version sometimes labelled interventionism has a natural tendency to drift into authoritarianism. After all, the whole basis of all these ideas is that society (represented by the state) takes precedence over the individual - once you accept that you are only a short step away from those who embody the state ordering people to do what they judge is in society's interests.

The real political spectrum is from totalitarianism (including communism and fascism) on the left, through socialism, interventionism, classical liberalism and reaching anarchism on the right. It's about how much the government should intervene in our lives.

Fascists are far-left, not far-right. They have always appealed to disappointed socialists. Have a look at the growth of socialism and the retreat of liberalism in Germany from the mid-nineteenth century onwards, and particularly the failed socialist experiments following WW1, to see where disappointed socialist expectations lead to.

2:45 am  

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