18 April 2006
Let slip the dogs of the BNP!
The British local elections will be held next month and NuLab if facing a humiliating meltdown. Rather than face up to the reality of the situation, which is that working class people see nothing worth voting for in NuLab, the Blairites are casting around for scapegoats. They seem to have decided that the British National Party fits the bill nicely. Unfortunately, being Blairites, they cannot see the truth that is staring them in the face.
The Daily Telegraph can, hence these words:
The BNP is exploiting a growing sense of frustration with genuine problems: the lack of affordable housing, the increase in low-level crime, the failure of inner-city schools, the loss of a sense of identity among white working-class men following the collapse of traditional industries.
Now, I must add a caveat here: it is a middle-class myth to claim that most working-class people took their sense of identity from their work. The ones who did were the old skilled working-class, many of whom went off to become Thatcher's C2 constituency especially in the South. For the rest of us, work was and is the price that we pay for our money. We may have identified with our unions, but never with the employer or his factory. The old adage went "boss's place, boss's profit, boss's problems" - and I do not remember anyone who showed anything more than a passing interest in any of them.
We identified ourselves through our unions, that is true, but mainly self-identification came about - again then and now - via the way that people are treated by others. Put another way, if someone is treated as being working class, then it tends to suggest that this is how he will see himself.
This aside, the rest seems to be accurate. If Labour is going to ignore its basic constituency and assume that this constituency can be taken for granted, if policies are going to be crafted by and for a middle class minority who have no links to the Labour Movement and who are little more than political consumers who follow a fashion, then Labour cannot complain when its voters desert it in droves.
It looks as if what is happening with the BNP canard is yet more NuLab spin. The party cannot face up to the fact that it policies are anathama to ordinary people, so it has to blame someone for the decline in votes. The fact that turnout has been declining for almost a decade is neither here nor there. What is important is that in the past, working class abstentions were offest by NuLab's middle-class voters who turned out in large numbers for the party. Iraq has put paid to them, so now people who were being mocked as chavs a few month ago are suddenly being seen in a new light.
If the BNP yell does not bring them back in the fold - and I see no reason why it should - then the next move will probably be to smear the whole of the white working class as fascists. Why I hear you ask? So that as Blairism vanishes over the horizon it can be reborn, in a Euston Manifesto way, as an alliance of the liberal Middle-Class.
It looks to me as if this is the endgame. These creatures have never had anything but contempt for the people who turned out to vote for them, so they will feel no qualms about leaving the party that they took over and used for a decade. For our part, so long as Labour does not swing to the toy-town left, but advocates instead solid Labourist policies that appeal to the working man, then I see no reason why the party's vote should not climb once more, as the BNP fades into oblivion.
It looks win-win to me.