Saturday, May 06, 2006

the Rise of the BNP

We said it was inevitable and it was, though in a newsy piece for the Saturday Times rather than the Tuesday col. Pervaded with the air of "will this do?" that tends to characterise Dave's non-opinion journalism, and as far as I can see the analysis there is more or less a transcription of John Cruddas' views. Slightly weird that the explanation given for the popularity of the BNP is the "disintegration of the community" caused by the inability of young Barkingonians to buy houses in the ancestral demesne - this is after all London that we are talking about, not the highland crofts.

I suspect that the subs have had a go at this one as Aaro's title "A Very British Insurrection" tantalisingly suggests that he might have had a more interesting theory of what was going on there. Personally I think it's quite straightforward; this is the first election the Tories have fought for some time where the dog-whistle music has been "we are a political party for normal human beings" rather than "if you don't like brown people vote for us". The BNP's support is from "working class Tories", who are always given ludicrously too much respect for their patriotism, traditional values and salt-of-the-earth common guvnoriness. Rather like "traditional East End villains", they are actually nasty, small, stupid bigots. There is nothing to be gained in "addressing their concerns", because their concerns are that they don't like brown people, and nothing to be lost in "demonising them as racists", because they are racists, which is why they voted for a racist party (try not to chuckle when New Labour politicians claim "a lot of people don't know what the BNP stand for", btw). In the opinion of this bruschettaboy, the political classes of Britain should get together, consider the issues and send a clear message to the self-identified "white working class", and that message should be "Kiss My Arse".


Blogger Simon said...

Nicko on the same topic, as predicted.

A bit of a Harry's Place/Kamm steal with the 'Respect and the BNP are equally loathsome' point.

I would quite like a detailed explanation from one of the Decentists as to exactly what their problem with 'multiculturalism' is, and indeed to define what they understand the term to mean. If they did so, I might agree with them on a few points, but if they're just going to use it as an indifferentiated bogeyman, as Cohen is clearly doing here, I see no reason to take them seriously.

The Sinn Fein argument also isn't particularly true - they underperformed slightly in the 2005 general election, e.g. in failing to take Foyle from the SDP where John Hume was retiring, and this was widely attributed to the bad publicity around the IRA bank robbery.

Admittedly, their support didn't 'collapse', but contra Cohen, no serious observer of NI politics was suggesting it would. In the south of Ireland, its support is insubstantial.

5/06/2006 11:51:00 PM  
Blogger Matthew said...

Bloody hell, not the traffic wardens again. At least this one gives us a bit of insight - if its the 'bruschetta-eating' (thanks David) middle classes' real concern, then we have proof that Nick considers himself one of them, as he is assumedly the only person who is bothered enough to have written about it in a national publication three times. At least he spared us the 'even Kate Winslet' bit this time.

Nick evidently loves the idea that he is one of Islington's trendy middle classes, as he keeps banging on about it. In the Standard it might be ok, but 95% of the Observer's readership must be wondering why he brought it up.

5/07/2006 08:23:00 AM  
Blogger Matthew said...

I was going to blog this myself, but it's so made for AaroWatch(incCohenWatch) that I'll let you guys have it (italics are my emphasis).

Right of Reply: Nick Cohen
Independent, The (London), Dec 30, 1999

THE WHINGEING style as much as the meagre content of consensual pundits provides the best reason for believing that Blairism is a continuation of Thatcherism. Once again we hear the self-pity of received opinion as well-heeled columnists announce that they are persecuted dissidents; brave voices of truth who risk all to tell it like it is with only the Prime Minister, the BBC, big business and their editors standing between them and the gulag - or, at least, a snub at a dinner party.

In the Christmas Eve edition of The Independent, David Aaronovitch shared the pain that I, the New Statesman and Private Eye had caused him when we implied that he was "a man who could be relied on to write as No 10 required". My "spiteful" crime - I cannot answer for others - was to mention his Osric role in the Millbank assault on the independent-minded Rhodri Morgan when he sought to become Labour leader in Wales.

As a fellow hack, I see that it is hard to find much to say at Christmas. Displaying your hurt to the readers is a threadbare but necessary alternative to saying nothing. But Aaronovitch inadvertently raises a serious issue when he claims that critics on the left wilfully refuse to say a good word about the Government.

For the record, I and many others believe in the thoroughly New Labour policies of one member one vote, freedom of information, an ethical foreign policy, an elected House of Lords, free elections, tolerance for asylum- seekers, respect for civil liberties and devolution to the regions of England. Downing Street does not. Blair and his supporters are ridiculed not because they have betrayed Old Labour - or, in Aaronovitch's case, betrayed an "honourable" tradition of journalism which has existed only fitfully in this country - but because they have betrayed themselves.

5/07/2006 08:32:00 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home