Information Landmine

"The Americans keep telling us how successful their system is. Then they remind us not to stray too far from our hotel at night." - An un-named EU trade representative quoted during international trade talks in Denver, Colorado, 1997.

Friday, June 05, 2009

From the people who brought you "Are you thinking what we're thinking?"...

... comes the idea that the "Conservatives can beat the BNP."

Now, if you're thinking what I'm thinking, it's probably something like: "Well obviously. The Tories are a major political party and the BNP are, well, the BNP."

But Harry Phibbs means something far more subtle than this. He means... well it's not really clear. Mostly he just knows that he has a burning urge reheat the tired fact that the BNP is economically leftwing:

The Conservatives need to get stuck in and expose the BNP as a neo-Nazi outfit. This task can no longer be satisfactorily left to the Socialist Workers party. Voters will understandably dismiss anything coming from that quarter as hysterical abuse – even if in this case it happens to be true.

What Conservatives can add to this critique is something that the left can never admit: Nazism and communism are ideological twins.The BNP is in fact an extreme leftwing outfit. It wishes individual liberty to be sacrificed to state control. It seeks the overthrow of capitalism, and rages against profit and speculators. It wishes to institute a siege economy with protectionism and the nationalisation of foreign-owned companies. In this it is being consistent to its founding inspiration. Hitler nationalised the banks and insurance companies, the economy was rigidly centrally planned, there was an extensive programme of public works, independent schools were banned.
Now that's all true enough, but it seems to me to go against his argument: "The Tories don't like it because they think it's a bit lefty" isn't a devastating condemnation of anything, now, is it? And if BNP supporters are mostly lefties, then surely it's Labour (or indeed the SWP) who should be doing the beating. If you're trying to convince people that the defining feature of the BNP is that they nationalised banks and raged at speculators, you're pretty much doing Nick Griffin's job for him.

Of course, there's a perfectly sound argument the Tories can make against the BNP. It goes something like: "Look, we've written the damn book on nationalism and dog-whistle politics, and we've got a chance of winning an election. Vote for us instead." They've tried going heavy on that, and it didn't do much for them, so now they've dropped it. Which is all well and good, but then why not leave the BNP the hell out of it instead of writing columns in national newspapers talking about how the BNP hate bankers too?


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