John Redwood and the BNP

Blogger Ralph Musgrave in comments to John Redwood’s posting “Finding our National Identity” claims that John Redwood and the rest of the Conservatives have been moving towards the BNP. This is my response.

A sure sign of extremism is to point to superficial similarities, over the substantive ones. In this case the use of a word – Identity – over these points of difference with the BNP.

 

1. Praising the left for making racism unacceptable.

2. “(W)e should also dislike those who think there is a single or pure British way which they wish to enforce.” Sounds like a dig at the BNP.

3. The ideas of Britain having emerged into a tolerant democracy.

4. Anyone who was moving towards the BNP position would not have written this posting:-

http://www.johnredwoodsdiary.com/2011/02/05/the-tyranny-of-ideas/

 

I categorize extremism as falling two types. The first is the numerical type – those who hold ideas distinct from the numerical majority, or mainstream. The second is those who hold ideas that cannot be substantiated by rational argument, or who are highly intolerant of others.

I believe that John Redwood has sometimes taken extreme positions of the first type – usually for well-argued reasons. The BNP falls into the second category.

Alex Salmond’s anti-democratic spoiling tactics

Alex Salmond’s claim that he should take part in the British Political Leaders Debates is not just invalid, it is anti-democratic.

1. He represents a party that is only standing in less than 10% of the total constituencies.  (59 out of 650). If you are concerned about getting people interested in the political issues, then his utterances will be largely irrelevent.

2. This is a fraction of the candidates of UKIP (500+), the BNP (339) or the Green Party (300+).

2. If those three parties look at the European Elections in 2009, they can also claim to appeal to more people.  The fringe parties 31.3% of the vote verses 2.1% for the SNP. The English Democrats got 1.8%.

3. More importantly, many of the issues, such as Education and Health Services, are English issues. On the majority of the questions the SNP would have to be silent.

The only valid reason that the SNP taking part in the three main debates is to generate such a loathing for Scotland that the English public will want to throw them out. But British democracy is already weak and should not be weakened further.

When Strong Politics incites the Thugs

The Huffington Post reports on another killing of a critic of the Russian Regime

Award-winning Russian rights activist Natalya Estemirova has been found dead hours after being kidnapped in Chechnya, reports Human Rights Watch.

Estemirova’s body was found on a roadside near the Chechan border with two bullet wounds to her head, according to the local Interior Ministry spokeswoman.

I do not believe that the Russian Government authourised this, any more than they ordered the deaths of numerous others journalists and human rights activists that have been  murdered over the years. (Please see list below from the Huffington Post Article). Nor do I believe that some leader mutters some comment like Henry II referring to the Thomas a Beckett in 1170 saying “What sluggards, what cowards have I brought up in my court, who care nothing for their allegiance to their lord. Who will rid me of this meddlesome priest.”  (Although there is nothing like the penitence of that monarch expressed after the deed was carried out after the event either)

Rather, it is a more lowly scale. An assertive government, who believes that they are acting for the good of the nation, and confident that they are right, will pass on that belief to their supporters. Some of these supporters, acting anonymously, will have a slightly less scruples & no political acumen.

In the UK, there is a slightly more moderate party that craves for power. The leadership will never call for violence against those who thay oppose, but may inspire others of a more extremist vain to support violent acts.  In the UK (the home of Liberal Democracy), they will remain a minority so long as people remember their heritage and believe in it. The problem with Russia is their history. The current leadership are the children of the survivors. Those who survived by keeping their heads down and agreeing. The children of those who accepted that the state was all-powerful and the individual was a cog in that machine.
Russia will continue to be a miserable place until the leadership can learn from Henry II. They need to learn pennance and the need for openess and for dissent. It will take more courage than unarmed combat with a tigers, but not more than the courage of true men who believe in making their country great.

Alternative details on the BBC.

Vyacheslav Yaroshenko,

Magomed Yevloyev,

Anna Politkovskaya,

Telman Alishayev

Stanislav Markelov

Anastasia Barburova

Giving the BNP voters a message of hope

Summary

BNP supporters include many hardworking, but unappreciated people. Their lives can be turned around by a confident Christianity that values them.

 

 The Political Establishment reviles the BNP, either describing them as beyond the pale, or denigrating them for views they do not necessarily hold. In so doing they guarantee that the BNP will build a core following that will endure. Instead we should understand the people who voted for the BNP. The recent Channel4-commisssioned Yougov survey of electors highlighted the issues.

 

  1. BNP voter families are poorer than national median, but less than 10% below. Indeed, if you allow for the concentration is the lower income areas (Burnley for instance), they are about average.
  2. They are disproportionately manual workers (36% v 20% in the population), male (61% v 48%), and read the most down-market papers (33% v 20%). There are few professionals (11% v 36%) and few readers of the quality papers (6% v >12%)
  3. They feel left out by society. “Just 19 per cent of BNP voters are “confident that my family will have the opportunities to prosper in the years ahead”. This compares with 59 per cent of Labour voters, 47 per cent of Lib Dem and Green voters, and 42 per cent of Conservative voters.”
  4. They feel discriminated against as compared with immigrants, such as the feeling that immigrant families can jump the queue in getting a council house (87% v 56%), and feel that white people suffer unfair discrimination (70% v 40%)

 

There is something else that can be inferred from this data. Despite being of near median family income, they display signs of being below the average educational levels (more Sun & Star readers and lots of manual workers). That means there must be something else that characterises these people. I would suggest that they are hardworking people. The sort of people who two or three generations ago who do any job rather than claim dole; who would be horrified if their children had sex before marriage; who would be proud if they could go through their working lives without a day off sick; who would work long hours to afford the luxuries; who would be proud of their council houses and keep their gardens in a better state than a National Trust property. They are the sort of people who a generation ago would have bought their council house, and immediately change the front door to a mahogany-look one with a brass knocker to show their status. The same generation who would have seen the next door house being allocated to a single mum, who having had three children by different fathers, gets more cash and benefits through a few minutes of drunken sex, than they ever could by working 60 hours per week. They are the people who should be proud of what they have achieved, but looking round now say “should I have bothered?” (or something stronger). They resent those who get things easy, and the hectoring state who taxes their pleasures (smoking and drinking). They have been deserted by their natural political party, who, in being multicultural and inclusive has lost its dogmas and its passion. The final straw is when they support a party who seems to answer their concerns, they are treated as outcasts by the political establishment. That same political establishment, who having for years actively encouraged the politicians to gorge themselves at the public trough, now dither in sacking them.

 

Like the worst gangs, the BNP encourages these people to blame this on other groups – on the muslims, the immigrants, the corrupt politicians or the foreign imports – then provide a strong solution. But the solution is to turn inwards, rejecting outsiders, rejecting foreign imports, rejecting customs. It is also to say that by a strong government that they can believe in, they can get the esteem that they lack. But this will not be the answer. Crushing ones opponents never brings peace; harsher punishment does not reduce crime, nor does protecting jobs make us richer, or even reduce unemployment. Like the communists of yesteryear, they believe with the right plan, ruthlessly implemented they can solve all problems.

 

The answer is not to revile such people, but to see them as achievers, who have been lead astray. One hundred years ago, they would have been the people who packed the churches during the revival, cheered loudly on the terraces on Saturday afternoon, sung lustlily on a Sunday morning and repaired to the club afterwards. The churches again need to accommodate them. To provide them with strong dogmatic statements, not tortuous arguements about gender-inclusiveness and sexual orientation. To provide them with a strong sense of faith, that believes its past achievements and what it can achieve, not a faith that is no better than any other. The BNP followers, I would suggest, are made up of people who have been lead astray, but are not fundamentally evil. They are sinners whose lives can be fundamentally changed by a confident faith.

 

 

Channel 4 commissioned a massive poll of 32,000 electors, of whom nearly 1,000 voted BNP in the Euro election on 4th June. This is the website analysis.

 First, who voted BNP? They were mainly men: they voted divided 61 per cent male, 39 per cent female. (Men comprise just 48 per cent in the electorate as a whole.)

 They were also more working-class. In the country at large, professional workers outnumber manual workers by 20 per cent to 18 per cent. Among BNP voters the pattern is very different: 36 per cent manual workers, 11 per cent professionals.

 One third of them read the Sun or Daily Star as against one in five adults generally; just 6 per cent of BNP voters read the upmarket papers (Times, Telegraph, Guardian etc), which is less than half the national average.

 Yet the household income of the typical BNP voter (£27,000 a year) is only slightly below the national median (£29,000) – and not that far below that of a typical Conservative voter (£33,000).

 It is not money that marks BNP voters apart as much as their insecurity. Just 19 per cent of BNP voters are “confident that my family will have the opportunities to prosper in the years ahead”. This compares with 59 per cent of Labour voters, 47 per cent of Lib Dem and Green voters, and 42 per cent of Conservative voters.

 Among UKIP voters the figure is also fairly low, at 28 per cent, which suggests that UKIP also picked up the votes of many who feel the traditional parties let them down – and not just on Europe.

 Not surprisingly, BNP voters regard immigration as the top issue facing Britain. Fully 87 per cent of them told us it was one of their top three or four concerns. (This compares with a still-high 49 per cent among the public as a whole.)

 But when people are shown the same list and asked which three or four issues “are the most important facing you and your family”, the figure falls to 58 per cent. True, this is three times the national average of 20 per cent, yet it means that for almost half of BNP voters, immigration is NOT among the worries of day-to-day life.

 We also find that most BNP voters do NOT subscribe to what might be described as “normal racist views”. Just 44 per cent agreed with the party in rejecting the view that non-white citizens are just as British as white citizens.

 Yet the feeling is widespread that white Britons get a raw deal. Seventy seven per cent of BNP voters think white people suffer unfair discrimination these days. But that is also the views of 40 per cent of the public as a whole.

 The average British voter is more likely to think that discrimination afflicts white people than Muslim or non-white people. And only seven per cent of the public think white people benefit from unfair advantages, while more than one in three think Muslim and non-white people receive unfair help.

 Thus the BNP is tapping into some very widely held views, such as the desire to stop all immigration, and the belief that local councils “normally allow immigrant families to jump the queue in allocating council homes” (87 per cent of BNP voters think this, but so does 56 per cent of the public as a whole).

 Yet, depending on how the term “racist” is precisely defined, our survey suggests that the label applies to only around a half of BNP voters. On their own, these votes would not have been enough to give the BNP either of the seats they won last night.

 There are two telling pieces of evidence that suggest wider causes of disenchantment. Seven out of 10 BNP voters (and almost as many Green and Ukip voters) think that “there is no real difference these between Britain’s three main parties”.

 But perhaps the most startling finding came when we tested anecdotal reports that many BNP voters were old Labour sympathisers who felt that the party no longer speaks up for them. It turns out to be true. As many as 59 per cent of BNP voters think that Labour “used to care about the concerns of people like me but doesn’t nowadays”.

 What is more worrying for Labour is that this sentiment is shared by millions of voters, way beyond the ranks of BNP voters. Overall, 63 per cent of the British public think Labour used to care about their concerns – and only 19 per cent think it does today.

 In contrast, just 29 per cent think the Conservatives used to care about their concerns; this figure has climbed to 37 per cent who think they care in the Cameron era.

 Yes, Labour has a problem with voters deserting the party for the BNP. But its far bigger problem as it heads towards the next general election is to extinguish the overwhelming public view, reinforced by the scandal over MPs’ allowances, that today’s Labour Party is no longer on the side of ordinary voters. And that, more than anything else, is why its vote collapsed to just 16 per cent in the Euro election.

Why the BNP is the Wrong Choice

Many who are considering voting for the BNP try to justify themselves in various ways. This is why they should think again.

1. It believes in punishing the troughing Pigs (the MPs).

The BNP are not explicit on this. If it is prosecuting those who are guilty of fraud, then a small minority will be prosecuted. Most MPs acted within the rules and on advice from the Fees Office. If the BNP obtained power do they impy they would restrospectively change the law to prosecute these opposition politicians, or just use this as an excuse to imprison the opponents.

2. A vote against the Muslims

The public face of the BNP is

“The British National Party is opposed to the Islamification of Britain in the same way that Muslim countries would be opposed to the Christianisation of their lands, and bears no animosity to any individual Muslim.”

So the leadership is at odds with their supporters?

3. A vote against Immigration

The BNP says

We call for an immediate halt to all further immigration, the immediate deportation of criminal and illegal immigrants, and the introduction of a system of voluntary resettlement whereby those immigrants who are legally here will be afforded the opportunity to return to their lands of ethnic origin assisted by a generous financial incentives both for individuals and for the countries in question.

Problem is that many of the most disliked immigrants – such as Asian muslims – are British born and British citizens. You will not turn Bradford or Burnley white by this policy. Also “voluntary resettlement” will not only include lots of taxpayer’s money, but also plenty of sticks.

4. Clamping down on Crime

Getting tough on crime does little to reduce it. With all the political prisoners, the BNP would have to build special prison camps.

5. Going after the Greedy Bankers

Like for the MPs, would this mean restrospectively changing the law, or just rounding them up?

6. Curing the Economic Crisis

Any prospect of BNP in government would cause a massive capital flight, and no foreign investment. That is unless the BNP so changes that it alienates it’s core voters. Beyond Nick Griffin, the leadership are generally clueless.

7. Backing a Christian Country.

Jesus’s core message was a very positive one. It is about loving the Lord your God first and your neighbour second – with all the rest following from that. (Matt 22: 37-40). It is about recognising our own faults, forgiving past wrongs done to us and helping others. In British culture it comes through in the ideas of playing fair, assuming people innocent until proven guilty, integrity in public life, giving sanctuary to oppressed minorities and voluntary work.

Further, if the BNP is so keen on emphasising that this is a Christian culture, why no greater promotion of Christianity in our schools?

Christianity is ingrained into British culture. By forgetting the positive role of the national religion, they are showing themselves to be an anti-British party.

On June 4th, Vote For Positive Change, Not Against the BNP

Stumbled across this blog, by a Baptist Minister in South Manchester concerning Pentecost and the BNP. I found it rather confusing. Robert Parkinson summarises Pentecost as

Most churches will have heard again the reading of Acts chapter 2. It tells how, during the celebration of the Jewish Festival of Shavuot, the followers of the risen and ascended Christ were overwhelmed by the presence of the Holy Spirit experienced as wind and fire. Empowered and transformed, they began to proclaim the good news of Jesus to a multinational gathering.

Quite rightly, Revd Parkinson does not see how anyone hearing this message can vote for the BNP. He then says

Leaders of the mainstream Christian Churches of Greater Manchester, including the Baptists, have joined together to issue a statement in support of the Hope not hate campaign and to “urge all followers of Christ to use their vote wisely, and not to vote for any political party or candidate promoting division, exclusion, and blame, or in any other way seeking to stir up racial and ethnic hatred”.

At the moment, I am every bit as disillusioned with politics as the next person. I have never been more tempted not to vote but on Thursday I’ll be walking down to Ivy Cottage to cast my vote against the BNP.

But this is not what the message of Pentecost, or what Jesus is about. It is about people receiving forgiveness, being transformed, and in that knowledge moving to much greater things. The current situation with the Daily Telegraph’s trawling through the MPs claims is one where MPs are being hunted down, at one end of the scale, the downright dishonest, or verging on the fraudulent, whilst at the other end of the scale the minor, but ridiculous, such as teddy bears and bags of manure. It is not about forgiveness, but more about dragging people down. Most politicians, from all political parties, are generally interested in serving their constituents and their country.

I do not think that a political party should be visionary, and I do feel that some of the at the most dishonest end of the scale should step down. But for most MPs, there must be the opportunity to say sorry, to pay back  money claimed that now embarrasses them and move on. Then they can get back to their vocations. The party leader who has taken this course most unequivocally is David Cameron, so I will be voting Conservative on Thursday. It is not because the Conservatives are blameless, but because the errant are forgiven, new standards are set and they will move on.

Vote BNP is you want to call names, breed hatred of politicians that oppose yours views and permenantly undermine the political system. May you come to know Christ’s forgiveness.

Vote Labour, if you don’t believe in recognising error and saying sorry, but think tougher and more complex rules is the solution.

Vote Lib-Dem if you want to take the middle ground between being unequivocal and passing the buck.

Dan Hannan attacks the BNP

Daniel Hannan has an excellent post of the BNP in today’s Telegraph. Titled “Here’s a clip for the BNP dunderheads who troll this blog”.

“You may have noticed that, in recent weeks, my comment thread has attracted a disproportionate number of posts from BNP trolls. They rarely identify themselves as BNP supporters, at least not at first. But they give themselves away as much by their foul language, rudeness and bellicosity as by their obsession with Muslims and their hatred of David Cameron. It started when I pointed out that the BNP was a party of the far Left, committed to tax rises, nationalisation, external tariffs, the creation of state-run manufacturing industries, workers’ councils to run those industries and (though they tend to keep quiet about this) the abolition of the monarchy. As Hayek demonstrated, fascism is a strain of socialism: the conflict between Nazis and Communists was, he proved beyond reasonable doubt, a dispute between brothers.”

For those who want to get to know what Hayek has to say about the “Road to Serfdom”, there is a 5 minute youtube video here and the book from Amazon , Ebay or abebooks.

Another way the BNP are anti-British

Hannan believes that “any party that denies the equality of British subjects under the law is no British party.

There is a further way that BNP is fundamentally anti-British. Britain is an exporter of  political ideologies. Britain can lay claim to be the home of Liberalism (Locke, Mill etc.), Utilitarianism (Bentham), Conservatism (Burke) and Fabian Socialism (Toynbee, Webbs etc.), as well as being the home of Liberal Democracy. So why does an British Nationalist pick up the cast-offs of Southern Europe and former Central American Banana Republics?

BNP’s Economic Policy from a 16 year old

I thought I would look into the BNP’s policies to see if they have any depth. On the BNP Chronicle (a blog that slavishly follows the party line, but is not the official mouthpiece of the BNP) is and article on “Why the BNP can get us out of the Recession” by Jason Newton Aged 16. In the light of his being a minor, I will try to inform than put down.

 

The errors are as follows

 

  1. The solution is less exports and imports.

 

“The solution it seems would be to reduce foreign imports and reliance on them. This would not only reduce who would be involved in this mess but also make it more manageable since by the use of Occam’s razor we can deduce that if less countries are reliant on each other the less that can go wrong.”

 

This is incorrect. The Great Depression of the 1930’s was made much worse by the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act of 1932, where the US Government sought to protect it’s own industries. Other countries retaliated. Industries that faced foreign competition were helped. They could raise prices and increase output. But, when other countries retaliated, the exporting industries suffered. So jobs are gained in some areas, but lost in others. But with less competition, profits are higher. This is fine for the minority, but not for the majority who pay for the profits with higher prices and less choice.

 

  1. Recessions are caused by an excess of Aggregate Demand

 

“A recession is a temporary retraction in the economy. This means that a recession happens when the current aggregate demand of the economy is greater than the total output.”

 

An excess of aggregate demand is a boom that is out of control. In Keynesian theory (to which I do not subscribe) this leads to inflation. John Maynard Keynes wrote that you could get stuck into a depression by a deficiency of aggregate demand – a circular situation where people without jobs have no money to spend, but without people spending no jobs would be created. The current crisis is due to the financial system seizing up. It was caused by two factors. First, a policy in the United States of helping the poor those in high risk jobs to get mortgages (the sub-prime). Second is keeping interest rates too low for too long (they were lowered after the dot.com bubble burst, and again after 9/11, then raised too high in 2005 and 2006). It was like encouraging some teetotalers to drink a beer. Then when they start feeling a little dizzy to have another and turn the music up. The world economy has collectively passed out. They are each waiting their turn for the stomach pump.

 

2. The way out of recession is through investment.

 

Spending more money would increase aggregate demand which is too high in the first place, if it weren’t we wouldn’t be in a recession. We need to cut back on spending and increase investment that, way more goods and services will be produced, and the long-run equilibrium will be at a higher point.”

 

Investment will help recovery out of the recession, but it must be of the right type. The sort of investment that produces real returns, not job creation schemes that will lead to higher taxes forever. The problem is, government expenditure is already out of control. The cut-backs in spending required will depress aggregate demand far more than some investment will increase it.

 

3. There is only a finite level of output.

 

“With this in mind it shows how the bnp will help to create a stable economy and won’t be driven by the ideology that an economy will continue to grow. The world isn’t big enough for us all!”

 

British economic output in total (after adjusting for inflation) is over 2,000 times higher than in 1700. Per person it is 250 times higher. In purchasing power it is 40 times higher than in the poorest countries. Globally in the last millennium, output per person grew by 20 to 30 times (2000% to 3000%). Most of this was in the twentieth century. But in 1900 or 1950, most people would have said the economy can’t grow any more. Further, an economy that does not grow will be an incredibly miserable place to be, Spain from 1940 to 1975, or Portugal 1945 to 1970. The biggest example is India from 1947 to 1990. They shut off the economy to foreign goods & foreign investment. Instead, they sought to control investment and business with a licencing system. The system was corrupt with the political elite prospering, whilst the vast majority were kept poor.

 

Jason. I sincerely hope that you go on to study economics seriously. But do not be fooled by the fancy graphs (or algebra at higher levels). They are but abstractions that can aid understanding, but also provide blinkers to that knowledge.. The real economy consists of billions of people, who by mechanisms that we do not fully understand, in serving their own immediate purposes, also serve the common good. A source of Britain’s Greatness was being the first country who let the market mechanism flourish.

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