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The far right hasn't gone away

Category: UK.
Posted: Saturday 19 Jun 2010

It’s a peculiar part of the way the British establishment operates that every year the great and the good, and a range of elected politicians, are invited to meet the Queen in her garden at the back of Buckingham palace. It has always been a way of maintaining deference to the institutions of the monarchy, and appeals to many people for its traditional value.

As an MEP I am invited automatically to the garden party every year with one other ticket. Every year I’ve declined, apart from one visit to Buckingham Palace close to the time I was first elected.

Unfortunately it was inevitable that the fascist MEP Nick Griffin, and his colleague Andrew Brons MEP, would also receive an invitation, presenting the Queen and her staff with the potentially embarrassing situation of having to greet them publically at the palace.

There is a school of thought that says that if you are elected, you should be treated in a way that others, in this case other MEPs, are treated. The reality, of course, is different. The BNP are not a normal British political party. They differ from all other British political parties in that whilst they are elected, they uphold policies such as repatriation of non-whites or the exclusion of non-white people from membership.
These are fundamentally undemocratic policies and draw a clear line between them and other registered political parties. It is for this reason that the Queen might be compromised and is why Nick Griffin himself is recorded as being delighted “that the BNP would be back in the news” with the invitation.

And that is why, when the Times newspaper broke the story about the invitation, I was quoted as saying the invitation would “deeply politicise and embarrasses the Queen”. The way that you can deal with such potential embarrassment is to refuse an invitation on a technically. This happened on the last occasion. But, unfortunately, this invitation has slipped through the net and there is now every chance that the BNP will get their publicity coup. This position – allowing the BNP to enter the mainstream of British public life in anyway and on any grounds – must be always be opposed.
Let us not forget Griffin’s 1998 conviction for distributing material likely to incite racial hatred. But more generally, let us not forget that his party openly opposes just about every principle of British life as we know it – especially those freedoms and equalities enjoyed by British citizens with minority ethnic backgrounds, but also democracy as it applies to all British citizens regardless of their ethnicity.

That is why in my comments I also said that I “expect some people to boycott the party”. At the heart of this matter is not what some people may regard as a “possibly trivial issue” of embarrassment at Buckingham palace. What really is at stake is a mindset, one that should never be complacent about the rise of the far-right. It is absolutely true that the BNP as an electoral force were dealt a severe blow on general election day. Griffin came third in Barking and all of their councillors were wiped out in Barking and Dagenham borough. Other potential general election progress in Stoke and elsewhere simply did not materialise.

However, as an MEP I see the bigger picture. The Dutch general election produced an astonishing gain by Geert Wilders’ PVV far-right, anti-Islamic party. In Hungry in April, the Fascist uniform-wearing Jobbik Party almost equalled the socialist party’s total vote share and are now a part of the mainstream of Hungarian government. Similarly, Le Pen’s National Front in France – which was again recently written off – has come back strongly in recent regional elections. The complex cocktail of recession, immigration, national identity, multi-culturalism and inadequate responses by the establishment can always produce gains by elected Fascists.

Progressives should never be complacent about tackling the causes and effects of the far right.

By Claude Moraes MEP

Posted by: Admin on Saturday 19 Jun 2010

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