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:-


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.

Arsene Wenger does not play Cricket

John Redwood has an excellent post on the good points in our national identity.

I commented

There is something else that I believe that stands out about the British that is distinctive. We play by the rules and are (traditionally) honourable in upholding contracts on a handshake. It works to our disadvantage where rules and taxes are onerous, or only where rules that can be fully enforced are adhered to.

On Friday evening I heard Arsenal Manager say of the Cesc Fabregas incident that makes this distinctive aspect of the British clear. (BBC)

“He has not been charged by the FA, there is no action against him, so I don’t see why we should spend any more time to defend somebody who is not guilty.”


I am a great admirer of Arsene Wenger, but my interpretation of his statement is that something is only wrong if the authorities show it to be wrong. Rules are only broken when they are broken AND the authorities decide to take action.

I have been a great admirer of Arsene Wenger, in that his teams play attractive and creative football. But in this he is quite wrong.