UKIP: Playing Nazi Bingo

Fascism became a little bit discredited after the whole holocaust thing. Britain’s fascist movement had never got off to a great start, but after the second world war, Oswald Moseley’s attempt to come back (with blacks rather than Jews as a new, improved scapegoat), was never likely to succeed.

But the far-right has had a long time to evolve since the 1940s. It has regularly reappeared in new configurations. Most people tend to associate fascism with street thuggery, but these gangs are only the most visible part of the far-right (and the section most likely to cause panic among the middle classes). Hitler came to power with the support of the conservative middle classes, and corporate finance. If fascism is ever to be respectable again, its core constituency won’t consist of angry young white working class men, but the conservative middle classes.

Real British fascism is corporate power cloaked in ultra-conservative values designed to lure the most middle of middle Englanders. It attracts those who don’t think too much about politics, but when they do, they think society has changed too much, too quickly. They yearn for the Britain that their parents told them about when they were growing up; a largely mythical Christian Britain; where naughty youngsters were given a clip round the ear by the local bobby; where gays didn’t exist; and of course, where everyone spoke English, and everybody was white.

A real fascist party has two layers of policies: one set designed to recruit votes from the bigoted, social conservative, and another designed to raise finance from wealthy individuals and companies. The British National Party (BNP) looked, for a while, like it may be the first “respectable” fascist party in the UK. In 1993, it caused shock by winning the first ever far-right council seat, in East London. For over a decade, it looked like a genuine threat, but it has faded in recent years, and few people think of it as a mainstream party.

The English Defence League (EDL) attempted to fill the far-right vacuum, but it manifested as a working class street movement, so alienated middle class conservatives, and could never be taken seriously by corporate backers. Now, the vacuum has instead been filled by the UK Independence Party (UKIP) – and this time, for the first time since Mosley, far-right politics seem to have found a place in the mainstream.

Many low-information voters (to borrow an American term for morons) get a thrill from UKIP’s populist positions: leaving the European Union (because it costs money, doesn’t it?), cutting immigration (because we’re “full”, right?) and attacking benefits (lazy scroungers…) are all designed to appeal to the Daily Mail’s core, nasty, constituency of people who worry that somehow, somewhere, someone is having a better life than they are.

The problem for any fascist organisation trying to present itself as mainstream is that it becomes increasingly hard to keep candidates “on message”. UKIP has attracted fascists to its membership, and this is reflected in a number of extreme outbursts from its candidates. Their anti-immigrant line has somehow morphed to include attacks on British Muslims – to the extent that the EDL are backing UKIP in elections, and are clearly pitching to become their thuggish wing, just as the SA “Brownshirts” became the street enforcers for the Nazi party.

I recently played a game of “fascist bingo” on Twitter when I was encouraged to see if candidates ticked all the standard far-right boxes. Anti-immigration (standard fare to attract racists-who-aren’t-racist)? Check! Muslim-baiting? Check! Gays? The party is opposed to gay marriage (it’s hard to see what that has to do with opposing the European Union) and on cue, UKIP candidate John Sullivan was recently caught applauding Russian attacks on gay rights, and calling for more physical exercise in schools as a cure for gayness. Check!

To win a fascist bingo game though, we need evidence of hatred for Jews and the disabled. On cue, here comes UKIP candidate Anne-Marie Crampton with an anti-Semitic outburst that any Nazi would be proud of, raking up the anti-Semitic hoax “Protocols of the Elders of Zion”, and blaming Zionists for the second world war and the Holocaust (rather than those poor, misunderstood, European Christians who tend to get blamed for it). Check! And the disabled? Google came to my aid and found me Geoffrey Clark, who called for compulsory abortions of disabled foetuses. HOUSE!

UKIP’s leader Nigel Farage has succeeded in presenting far-right politics as palatable, to a greater extent than anyone since the second world war. He has attracted support from the racist right of the Tory party – those people who see David Cameron as a dangerous leftie. UKIP reaped a protest vote in last week’s local elections, largely from people who had little idea what they actually stood for. What is lacking from British politics is an active opposition to fascist ideologies; Labour’s capitulation by “accepting the immigration problem” leaves a landscape devoid of an anti-fascist force, and plays into the hands of the far-right.

With the BNP and EDL approaching the status of “laughing-stock”, UKIP are the ones to watch; their strong showing in the elections may be a flash in the pan, but they have cleverly divided the Conservative Party, and if the Tories panic, they may shift rightwards. In the long-term, that way lies irrelevancy, as demonstrated by the US Republicans, who embraced a racist electoral strategy in a nation where racism was in slow decline.

Put in perspective, the local election results demonstrated that a quarter of voters in the most conservative parts of the country will respond to a bigoted, populist message. The whitest parts of the nation are the most afraid of immigration. That’s not so surprising, though it is disappointing. The UKIP result gives little reason to panic, but it’s a reminder that “British tolerance” is not a given. Tolerance had to be fought for and won, but no battle ever stays won; victories need to be defended. Now which political party will take a stand against the rise of fascist values?

21 thoughts on “UKIP: Playing Nazi Bingo”

  1. What is fascinating (& terrifying) is that UKIP is both committed to getting out of the EU and keeping the UK together. Yet the SNP has made it very clear that it, and actually all parties in Scotland, are committed to remaining in the EU and if anything were to tip more Scots to voting for independence it would be the prospect of England dragging the UK out of the EU. It is also highly likely that the Wales and significant parts of industrial England couldn’t afford to leave EU.
    It seems to me that this bizarre party could be the catalyst for the disintegration of the very nation state it proclaims to advance.
    I’m not sure that UKIP and fascism can be readily conflated, but it is certainly exploiting the absence of leadership in the Conservatives and Labour to full effect.

  2. Laughable. Keep calling ordinary people “fascists” for wanting a controlled immigration system (like Canada, Australia) if you want. It won’t win you a single vote though.

    1. Do you even know what UKIP’s immigration policy is? What they propose is laughable and unworkable. They don’t care – the trick is to keep screaming IMMIGRANTS and attracting former Tory and BNP voters.

      1. I suspect Foot is a UKIP Troll, given his (or her) posts on here, so probably knows both the stated and (if different) real UKIP immigration policy.
        The lifeblood of the rise in UKIP seems to be firstly the constant drip of anti-EU stories in the British press (step forward Mail and Express), coupled with the current recession in the Eurozone (on the basis that you desert friends in bad times, I suppose).
        Part of the issue seems to be a desire on the part of the right to remove the jurisdiction of the European Court of Human Rights over the UK (prompted by the Qatada fiasco, which is not primarily down to the ECHR anyway). This has about as much to do with the EU as Saddam did with 9/11 (it was set up by Churchill after WWII), but is similarly conflated.
        Is UKIP Fascist? It’s fair to point out that Labour Uncut suggests otherwise, but it’s certainly “moronist”!

  3. And also:

    “The whitest parts of the nation are the most afraid of immigration.”

    Is that why UKIP did best in places like Boston then, with some of the highest Eastern-European populations in the country? You don’t have a clue about the ordinary concerns of millions of non-racist, non-fascist people in this country, and if you keep dismissing them as such UKIP will only gain in popularity.

  4. “UKIP has attracted fascists to its membership, and this is reflected in a number of extreme outbursts from its candidates.”

    You mean the 6 candidates out of 1,750 UKIP candidates that were found to have unacceptable views (and who were instantly kicked from the party)? All parties have a small number of extremists, in this case it was less than 0.3% of the UKIP candidates.

    You’re clutching at straws. You can kick and squeal and stamp your feet all you want, it won’t change the fact that the vast majority of people in this country are sick of mass immigration, sick of not having a vote on our position in Europe, and nothing you can do will change that.

    1. “vast majority of people in this country are sick of mass immigration”?
      Not really. I don’t want to have to do my own plumbing or eat crap curries or wait someones table – welcome to Britain Vlad, Narinda and Hwang. (stereotypes I know, but you get the point)

      “sick of not having a vote on our position in Europe”
      Not really. My Landlord is a farmer, he loses his subsidies, my rent goes up, I can’t feed my children – Greetings Heir Schulz

      “and nothing you can do will change that”
      Not really. You’re only here because someone you know has posted a link, I doubt you frequent the place. Now, YOU are here, YOU have read and no doubt YOU will have retweeted or shared that link with a byline “Look at this idiot leftie” (I paraphrase). So, how many of those people who followed that link may well have been positively affected by the article and now see UKIP in the same light as MW?
      I think the revolution will not be televised, I think the revolution will be blogged. Also, I think. Try it.

      “the fact”
      Not really. Jog on Adolf.

  5. Utter rubbish. You have just accused 25% of the electorate of being fascist. Keep posting stuff like that please – it does the UKIP vote no harm whatsoever.

    1. “Utter rubbish. You have just accused 25% of the electorate of being fascist”

      Technically not. I’m accusing 25% of the electorate of voting for a fascist (or quasi-fascist) party, which isn’t the same thing. Most UKIP voters aren’t nearly astute enough to understand what they’re voting for. Fascist parties always attract gut-feel voters – those people who sense something is wrong, but lack the understanding to work out what it is.

  6. This is rather disappointing, UKIP may be “very right wing”, but that isn’t the same as “far right”, a discrete categorsiation rejecting all basic modern advanced norms. Certainly, many of UKIPs supporters are socially conservative working class socialist who feel alienated by the synthesis of social progressivism and centre-left economics by Labour. UKIP are a party grounded in liberal-democratic values , and their policies and statements do reflect this, even if not 100% of members do. There may be racists and xenophobes in UKIP, more so than the other parties, however I don’t think that describes that vast majority of their supporters. I wouldn’t vote for them, but calling them “Fascist” is like calling a very left wing democratic socialist like Tony Benn, Dennis Skinner or Caroline Lucas a “Communist”. Several prominent members of UKIP even have pseudo-libertarian leanings. I see the BNP and NF as being Fascist, and the SWP/CPGB as communist, not UKIP, not the Greens.

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