British Fascism Goes to the EU

‘Fascist’ is a word that gets thrown around a lot on the left, and many could be forgiven for thinking that using it to describe the new BNP members of the European Parliament is just one of those instances. But here’s Andrew Brons, new representative for Yorkshire and Humber:

It was on Hitler’s birthday, deliberately chosen, that the National Socialist Movement was formed in Britain in the 1960s. It was the first political organisation of the far right that Andrew Brons, the newly-elected British National party MEP for Yorkshire and Humberside, was to join – but not the last…

The group he first joined included among its members people responsible for arson attacks on Jewish property and synagogues. According to the anti-fascist organisation Searchlight, which has been tracking his career for decades, Brons appears to have approved. In a letter to Jordan’s wife, Brons reported meeting an NSM member who “mentioned such activities as bombing synagogues”, to which Brons responded that “on this subject I have a dual view, in that I realise that he is well intentioned, I feel that our public image may suffer considerable damage as a result of these activities. I am however open to correction on this point.”

By the 1970s, Brons had moved on the National Front, then the leading far-right group in Britain. He was voted on to the NF’s national directorate in 1974 and, as the NF’s education officer, he hosted seminars on racial nationalism and tried to give its racism a more “scientific” basis…
In August 1981 he led a rally in Fulham, west London in support of “rights for whites” and concluded his speech with a call for compulsory repatriation, chanting: “If they’re black, send them back.” According to Searchlight, in 1982 Brons led an NF march through Northfield on which marchers chanted “We’ve got to get rid of the blacks”.

4 thoughts on “British Fascism Goes to the EU

  1. Nobel Prize winnder Krugman in today’s NY Times:

    What would have happened if hanging chads and the Supreme Court hadn’t denied Al Gore the White House in 2000? Many things would clearly have been different over the next eight years.

    But one thing would probably have been the same: There would have been a huge housing bubble and a financial crisis when the bubble burst. And if Democrats had been in power when the bad news arrived, they would have taken the blame, even though things would surely have been as bad or worse under Republican rule.

    You now understand the essentials of the current political situation in Britain.

  2. That’s certainly part of the story. But one key piece that’s missing is the effect of proportional representation (which the EU parliament has), which is that it’s far easier for small parties to get representation than it is in the US. So protest votes are more likely to actually go to parties other than the big two. Which makes it far more likely for fringe racist parties to make it in.

  3. There’s an interesting comment piece from Arun Kundnani at the Institute for Race Relations on how the BNP has got to this position: He argues that it’s been helped enormously by the shift on the political Left from seeing racism as the problem to seeing multiculturalism and failure-to-integrate as the problem. I’m inclined to agree.

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