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Home > Culture and Society

Racism: the sums don't add up

12 June 2004

It's easy to knock the British National Party. And why not? They're cunts.

We won't know until later today whether the BNP got any real support in yesterday's elections, but, worryingly, they can claim some sort of success in recent months. A few years back, it seemed as though the BNP existed for little other reason than to give the Anti-Nazi League something to do. That's not to underplay the racism, intimidation and violence the BNP has inflicted on ethnic minorities - it's just that they never really got anywhere near mainstream politics.

But recently the BNP has had some notable successes. It's managed to get councillors elected on various councils in the North, although BNP councillors aren't the most diligent of local politicians, tending not to turn up to council meetings, or, in a couple of instances, turning up pissed and getting into fights.

This is a neat illustration of the true nature of the BNP, which is desperately trying to overcome its (deserved) yob image. Its leaders come out with stuff like this:

'[Asylum seekers] are economic migrants forcing up rents and house prices and forcing down wages of ordinary Londoners - black, white and Asian alike.'

- BNP London mayoral candidate Julian Leppert's manifesto.

Who says Lepperts don't change their spots? The BNP membership is trying to become electable, but the BNP's traditional supporters are racist thugs. That's not leftie name-calling, it's just a statement of fact. Many of the BNP's candidates for the election have impressive criminal records. Still, at least they can't be accused of being out-of-step with the grassroots.

Of course, the BNP has managed to attract the odd black, Asian and Jewish member to their ranks. If the BNP was REALLY just about limiting immigration, this is perfectly understandable - black, Asian and Jewish people are British too and equally entitled to have concerns about mass immigration. But in reality it just shows that stupidity is no respecter of race or creed.

Bring on the pro-Christmas turkeys!

The BNP's policy of inclusivity should be good news for anyone who's not a fan of racism. In theory, the party should be self-destructing - you just can't alienate your grassroots this much. But it's possible that the 'acceptable' BNP has realised there's only so much you can do politically when your support is composed of ageing skins, casuals and closet racists, and so has decided to sacrifice some of its grassroots support for electoral credibility.

If so, it's possible it might become a real political party, which is disturbing because racism is such a flawed idea, not just on moral but also statistical grounds. At most, seven per cent of the UK population is non-white. That seven per cent includes people from every walk of life: doctors, the unemployed, crack dealers, businessmen, muggers, solicitors, supermarket staff, policemen, shopkeepers, factory workers, entertainers, Richard Blackwood, nurses and the tuneless reggae busker at Victoria Underground Station.

In other words, even a viciously racist party that actually managed to forcibly deport significant numbers of ethnic minorities would be, at best, making little or no difference to the standard of life for the white majority, and, at worst, preventing them seeing a doctor/being helped by the police/going shopping. (But the Victoria tube station busker can go. We have absolutely no problem with that.)

And perhaps this is why the BNP is focusing on asylum seekers. They're all the unemployed from Bosnia and Somalia, all claiming dole, right?

Well, they do if you force them to. Government policy is stopping immigrants working. Returning to the example of doctors, there is a shortage of doctors in the UK, yet highly qualified immigrants are being forced to subsist on benefits when they could be doing what they're trained to do and benefiting the UK. What they need is extra training to adapt to the NHS and language lessons, not being forced to sign on or drive minicabs.

Still, we wouldn't expect the BNP to accept this not-unreasonable argument. The BNP's support has always come from people who are fixated with race - specifically that other races are either inferior or are somehow ruining the white majority's lives. However much the BNP talks about appealing to 'black, white and Asian alike', these notions and the BNP's skinhead past are really what the party is about.

Comment on this article: letters@thefridaything.co.uk

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