Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The BNP are angry and powerless

If the British National Party were a piece of music they'd be Left for Dead by Ghost of A Thousand.  Click here for the YouTube link. I'm sure that Ghost of A Thousand wouldn't want to be associated with the ideas and policies of the BNP in any way at all and in no way want to imply that that's the case. However, the personal narrative of the man in 'Left for Dead' illustrates and illuminates well the theme that pervades the BNPs websites and discussion boards as a whole: anger.

The BNP are angry at their people are not getting jobs, angry that they can't get a house, angry that their countryside is being spoiled and angry that powerful people keep putting them down. They call clever outsiders  'stupid',  the EU are 'criminals' and the 'gang' of the three main parties are 'liars, buggers and thieves'.

Again and again the narrative of the  angry powerless vs the powerful elite comes out. Their pub talk language (taxes are squeezing me to death) bridles against the carefully crafted sentences of mainstream politicians. From stories on discussion boards of clever windfarm people been sent packing by ordinary folk in the South West to anger at the way that David Dimbleby unfairly picked on Nick Griffin on question time.  This sense of grievance, injustice and wanting to get their own back drives the BNP.

'Left for Dead' is shouty, angry music, but the guy in the story of the song is articulating a real sense of hurt and loss that isn't otherwise recognised: 'What is it we're looking for? have I left this way to late?...all my life I've been left for dead'. The same is true for the BNP.

'The ruling elite' tell people that asylum seekers and immigration don't put a strain on housing and health services. This isn't true. Asylum seekers don't get public housing in London where  shortages are most acute, but many understandably choose to stay with their national communities on friends floors. When asylum seekers are successful they become refugees and are eligible to go on the housing register, adding to the overall wait. Economic migrants from central Europe are not eligible for public funds including council houses unless they are working, but this still puts a strain on resources. When people have been waiting years for a move living in substandard high rise accommodation this isn't just a theoretical debate to have over dinner, but has significant impact on quality of life.

When I worked in the East End of London older white people frequently said to me 'I've lived here all my life and it doesn't feel like home any more'. People who rarely travel more than a few miles from their homes had seen their whole world turned upside by the massive migration into their communities over the last 30 years. Slapping the label racist on them and squashing their right to articulate their sense of loss pushes them towards a party that finds some way to say what they are feeling.

Other parties don't articulate these problems and so the BNP are left as the only party in the field.  They are free to lash out and blame 'Asians, coloureds and black' for all the problems afflicting the white British working class. In 'Left for Dead' in his frustration the guy takes a has a go at 'all the same kids at shows'. The kids are the easy target, but being angry at them doesn't address any of the underlying problems.

The BNP lash out at 'Asians', 'coloureds' and Blacks because they lack both a spirit of generosity and decency, but also the imagination and belief that things can change and improve. Their 'solution' to encourage resettlement of millions of people of 'foreign descent' is an attempt to invoke the halycon days of a golden era that never existed at the expense of ruining the lives of those being told to move. Their other high profile policy areas like the environment ('Land and People' as the BNP put it) reinforce the view of Britain of a once green and pleasant land being irrevocably spoiled.

The BNP aims to be the party of the ordinary white guy against powerful corrupt elite forces. They proclaim  a narrative of bitterness and hatred towards non-white people in response to real problems that people  experience in their daily lives in areas like housing, employment and community breakdown. They're also very angry.

Next up: the Conservatives

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