Join 3,363 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Hate Wins
June 8, 2009 4:40 AM   Subscribe

The far-right, whites-only British National Party (BNP) has won two seats (Andrew Brons, Nick Griffin) in the European Parliament.

According to its constitution, the BNP is "committed to stemming and reversing the tide of non-white immigration and to restoring, by legal changes, negotiation and consent the overwhelmingly white makeup of the British population that existed in Britain prior to 1948." The BNP also proposes "firm but voluntary incentives for immigrants and their descendants to return home."
posted by chuckdarwin (224 comments total)

 
Meanwhile in Sweden the "Pirate party" claims EU booty, they have secured one seat in parliment. Our version of the BNP climbed in the polls as well but not far enough.
posted by dabitch at 4:46 AM on June 8, 2009


Nick Griffin photo
posted by chuckdarwin at 4:48 AM on June 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


Hopefully the pirates will attack and destroy the nazis. Everyone wins.
posted by rokusan at 4:52 AM on June 8, 2009 [12 favorites]


Center-right and far-right parties seem to have done pretty well all across Europe. BBC.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:54 AM on June 8, 2009


The party is not represented in the Parliament of the United Kingdom. In the 2005 UK general election, the BNP received 0.7% of the popular vote...

One wonders if maybe it wasn't so much that "hate wins" as a practical joke against the BNP. "Let's send them out into the real world and see what happens."
posted by DU at 4:54 AM on June 8, 2009 [2 favorites]


Worth noting that far-right/anti-immigration parties also did well in the Netherlands and Hungary, and that right-wing and centre-right parties gained across pretty much all of Europe.

However, while the BNP's share of the vote increased in this election compared to previous ones, their actual number of votes was down - their gaining two MEPs (both by narrow margins under the d'Hondt proportional representation system) was largely as a result of lower turnout across the spectrum, and specifically a collapse in the vote of the Labour party. In London for example, where they campaigned hard, their vote remained virtually stagnant, while the Greens saw a significant boost - which, I'd suspect, is largely a result of disaffected former Labour voters switching to them in an effort to keep the BNP out.
posted by flashboy at 4:56 AM on June 8, 2009 [3 favorites]


One wonders if maybe it wasn't so much that "hate wins" as a practical joke against the BNP. "Let's send them out into the real world and see what happens."

Yes. These parties do notoriously badly when confronted with the actual, practical challenges of governance.

I was much more struck by the BBC's graphic of continually declining voter turnout in the EU elections. As the Union becomes more powerful and extends its influence over more and more people, its denizens seem less and less interested in its governance.
posted by foxy_hedgehog at 4:57 AM on June 8, 2009 [2 favorites]


That logo is so 90s Britpop.
posted by cazoo at 4:58 AM on June 8, 2009 [8 favorites]


See this.
posted by slimepuppy at 5:02 AM on June 8, 2009 [4 favorites]


The BNP also proposes "firm but voluntary incentives for immigrants and their descendants to return home."

Like the Angles and Saxons?
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:02 AM on June 8, 2009 [31 favorites]


Thanks Gordon.
posted by fire&wings at 5:03 AM on June 8, 2009


The BNP also proposes "firm but voluntary incentives for immigrants and their descendants to return home."

Like the Angles and Saxons?


Cro Magnon
posted by DU at 5:03 AM on June 8, 2009 [4 favorites]


As the Union becomes more powerful and extends its influence over more and more people, its denizens seem less and less interested in its governance.

That's just a natural outcome of feeling more and more disconnected from the 'group'?

Around Mid 2002, I wanted to send a copy of Animal Farm to every member of the US Congress. If I lived in England, I'd be preparing numerous copies of V for Vendetta right about now.
posted by DigDoug at 5:04 AM on June 8, 2009


Bastards.

I posted a comment about this on another site. Mainly the following links...

BBC Article on Voluntary Repatriation
The BNP Uncovered
From the Gruaniad: Exposed: ugly face of BNP's leaders.

If you're looking to have a bit of a laugh at this, there's always LOLGriffin
posted by seanyboy at 5:07 AM on June 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


(Slight correction to the above: the BNP's total national vote increased compared to the 2004 elections; I meant that in the two regions where they won seats, they did so with fewer votes than they got in 2004, when they didn't win seats. So any suggestion that the North West and Yorkshire suddenly harbour a lot more racists than before isn't entirely accurate.)
posted by flashboy at 5:08 AM on June 8, 2009


Undercover With BNP Campaigners

BNP Language & Concepts Discipline Manual [PDF]
posted by Rhomboid at 5:10 AM on June 8, 2009 [5 favorites]


I just did the Life in the UK test required for a residency application which seemed strangely focused on knowing the demographics and history of the immigrant populations in the UK. One thing that sort of stood out was that based on the country of origin data the immigration policy in the Thatcher years must have been pretty close to the BNPs.

The BNP also proposes "firm but voluntary incentives for immigrants and their descendants to return home."

They will call these incentives "The British Economy"
posted by srboisvert at 5:11 AM on June 8, 2009 [27 favorites]


I hear you're a racist now, Britain.

Ugh this is just so sad. Why do people think not voting is a legitimate form of protest? It was disgusting to hear Nick Griffin get airtime on Radio 4 this morning. He actually claimed that "indigenous" Britons are treated like "second-class citizens". LOLGriffin indeed.

Disclaimer: US citizen working in Britain engaged to a Brit who got his vote out this weekend.
posted by like_neon at 5:17 AM on June 8, 2009 [4 favorites]


I almost lamped a guy last night who told me he's never voted. Had to go outside and count to ten. Voter apathy has done this.
posted by chuckdarwin at 5:19 AM on June 8, 2009 [8 favorites]


Who would want to live in Britain?
posted by tarvuz at 5:24 AM on June 8, 2009 [2 favorites]


As ever, b3ta has it.

Anyhow, it's always good to have someone to blame in these situations and in this case, anyone in the North West or Yorkshire that didn't vote helped get the BNP their seats. Racist people living in the north of England? I'm shocked I tells ya.
posted by i_cola at 5:24 AM on June 8, 2009 [4 favorites]


I was much more struck by the BBC's graphic of continually declining voter turnout in the EU elections. As the Union becomes more powerful and extends its influence over more and more people, its denizens seem less and less interested in its governance.

To be fair, the amount of campaigning for the election was fairly thin. In my household, our total education about the candidates and issues was:

* 2 leaflets from the BNP
* 2 leaflets from UKIP
* 1 leaflet from the conservatives
* 1 letter from our local LibDem member, asking us to vote for his MEP colleagues

Is it any wonder that when I looked at the ballot, I didn't recognise any of the candidates?
posted by outlier at 5:29 AM on June 8, 2009


He actually claimed that "indigenous" Britons are treated like "second-class citizens".

They are, have you ever seen the slag heaps that are Welsh mining towns? I think that's why indigenous Britons need to start painting themselves blue and raping and pillaging England again, starting with the BNP headquarters. They could call the movement Neo-Boudicism.
posted by Pollomacho at 5:29 AM on June 8, 2009 [5 favorites]


Yes i_cola, we should judge people based on where they're from.
posted by vbfg at 5:33 AM on June 8, 2009


Another galling thing is that the Green Party had the most improved vote, polled 2.4% more than the Nazis and still have the same number of MEPs.
posted by i_cola at 5:34 AM on June 8, 2009


Who would want to live in Britain?

People who were born here or chose to come here; people who love the great things Britain has and has produced, and the way we can take the piss out of ourselves too. The BNP represent nothing I love about being British, and although I'm not surprised being from one of the areas that voted them in (in which I no longer live) I'm disappointed.
posted by mippy at 5:34 AM on June 8, 2009 [3 favorites]


The Britain they want never existed. The Britain we now have is the one our grandparents fought and died for. The BNP want to take that away from us.

Fuck them. Fuck them all. And if you voted for them not out of ignorance of what politics could really do for you but because you want Britain to be a country that's white, straight and run by men, then fuck you too.
posted by mippy at 5:36 AM on June 8, 2009 [25 favorites]


Apparently parties at either extreme of the political spectrum are likely to do better in the EU elections than in national elections.

538.com has some interesting analysis.
posted by oddman at 5:40 AM on June 8, 2009


Yes i_cola, we should judge people based on where they're from.


Poor attempt. I didn't say that.
posted by i_cola at 5:41 AM on June 8, 2009


foxy_hedgehog - As the Union becomes more powerful and extends its influence over more and more people, its denizens seem less and less interested in its governance.

I think a big part of it is that it's very difficult to see much cause and effect between voting in the EU elections and what happens in the home country.

First there's the rather byzantine structure: I know that the European Parliament, European Comission, Council of Europe, European Courts etc. etc. all interact and have varying degrees of power over member states. But I'll admit I only have the very vaguest of ideas about the powers and responsibilities of each one, and not the faintest clue how any but the European Parliament get their members. Perhaps I'm unusually ignorant here, but from speaking to my peers (of various EU nationalities) it seems pretty normal.

Secondly there's the lack of news coverage. It seems very rare that the business of the European Parliament is mentioned in the (British) news services that I see. I get the strong impression that, in true Jim Hacker style, our government pretends that any good stuff is their own domestic policy and that and bad stuff they ca't sweep under the carpet gets blamed on the nebulous "Brussels".

So while I did vote in the recent elections I have basically no idea what powers my MEP will have, who they will be accountable to or whether I'll ever actually see the results of their efforts reported in the press. Given the rising cynicism and disaffection of the British public with politics in general, it's hardly a surprise that interest in EU politics is even lower.
posted by metaBugs at 5:45 AM on June 8, 2009 [8 favorites]


Who would want to live in Britain?

I don't know if we're going to be living in Britain forever, but I've enjoyed my stay here so far.

I feel much more informed, it's refreshing to see America's role in the world politics from this side of the pond. I speak the same language (sorta) and London is so damn diverse! It's been a great stepping stone for visiting other European countries (3 snowboarding trips to France, suck it American friends! =P) And if I were to stay and have kids I can look forward to a year (yes a whole friggin' year) off to care for my baby.

And ok I miss my burritos and Flamin' Hot Cheetos, but Tetley's and Dairy Milk are getting me through comfortably.
posted by like_neon at 5:45 AM on June 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


i_cola merely said what most people already knew - the BNP's base are largely from Manchester and Leeds. Dunno why, it's just a fact.
posted by chuckdarwin at 5:46 AM on June 8, 2009


What like_neon said. I love it here. Never going back... but I could certainly do without Fat Hitler being an MEP.
posted by chuckdarwin at 5:47 AM on June 8, 2009


Look, the BNP are clowns with laughable policies and comically thuggish activists that would get shot down in flames if they ever approached meaningful representation in mainstream UK politics.

Of course it's bad that they exist, and worse still that they got 2 seats in a European parliament, but let's put things in context: they've won only on the basis of proportional representation, and only at a time when many traditional Labour supporters have felt unwilling to support their party - which has affected both voter turnout in BNP's favour and straightforward party switching.

Even then, because of the generally low regard for the European Parliament, many voters feel it's the right place to make a general protest vote so they don't have to, you know, actually vote them into somewhere where they can actually do any damage.

On top of this, the mainstream parties have largely ignored the immigration issue in any form and as a result the BNP is one of the few places - rightly or wrongly - where voters can send a message to Labour, the Conservatives and the Lib Dems that they need to get to grips with it. While I'm personally pro immigration and don't doubt the several and many cultural and economic benefits its has brought, it is nonetheless shocking to see how quickly immigration has ghettoised some parts of the country* where the BNP has drawn its support from.

*And in case anyone thinks this is closet racism, let me be absolutely clear and say that I find the British colonisation and lack of assimilation in parts of Spain equally shocking.
posted by MuffinMan at 5:48 AM on June 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


Poor attempt. I didn't say that.

"Racist people living in the north of England? I'm shocked I tells ya."

Yes you did.
posted by vbfg at 5:50 AM on June 8, 2009


I forgot to finish my thought: So yeah, Britain's pretty cool, it just sucks now that the minor ugly face of it is given some sort of legitimacy to further feed into misconceptions about what Britain is about.
posted by like_neon at 5:50 AM on June 8, 2009


So what's the party that came in 2nd, UKIP? Looks like labor came in 3rd.
posted by 445supermag at 5:51 AM on June 8, 2009


Interestingly (sorry to be focussing on the Green Party here) Brighton Pavillion could end up with the first Green Party MP if EU voting patterns are repeated in a general election.
posted by i_cola at 5:53 AM on June 8, 2009


the BNP's base are largely from Manchester and Leeds.

More the satellite towns and smaller areas - Blackburn, Burnley, Oldham, Dewsbury, Bradford etc. I don't know Leeds well but Manchester has thriving Irish, black, Chinese and Asian communities and all are pretty well integrated - the towns mentioned earlier are not.
posted by mippy at 5:54 AM on June 8, 2009


Who would want to live in Britain?

I did for 2 years and really enjoyed it. What part of Utopia are you from tarvuz?
posted by a3matrix at 5:55 AM on June 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


From a thread elsewhere to which I posted:

"I'm from Blackburn, hated it, and moved out as soon as I had a good reason. It's got a very small town attitude, where tall poppy syndrome and fear of bettering yourself or of anything different reign (everyone, and I mean everyone, wears sportswear, and I get stared at for not having a strong local accent when I speak to my mum when we're out); it's a very economically deprived area, where the biggest employer is the council, there are fewer of the chain-stores that more affluent towns get (no Starbucks, Waterstones or Gap) because there is less money to spend, few graduates return to the area and the average wage is £150 per week. (Incidentally it's Jack Straw's constituency)

The BNP have taken note of this. They've also noticed that 20% of the town is of Asian origin, and there are many Asian-owned businesses. There are 'white' and 'Asian' areas of town - this may be because of Asian families choosing to live together to foster a community (there's very little community or community pride in the town as a whole) but I have had friends whose parents moved from one end of a long road to another because 'the P*kis moved in and they make it dirty'. You can literally go from one all-white street with Rotties on the corner to another that has cricket stumps marked on walls and every man wears taqiyah.

It's not uncommon to hear people say 'P*ki shop', not because they#re out and out racists, but because everyone else does. I've sat waiting for someone in the town centre and had an old man talking about the 'hommosexuals' and how he would 'shoot them all off the boat'. My older nephews often say things that shock me, not because they're racist, but living in Manchester and London has made me forget that attitudes like that still exist. There's a view that They are getting more opportunities, They should learn to speak English rather than council literature be available in other languages, They should learn to be more like us and if They just learned to laugh at themselves a bit more then we wouldn't have any racial prejudice.

Incidentally, anyone I knew who was gay came out after leaving home. There is one pub in Blackburn rumoured to be a gay pub. Everyone was too scared to go in it."
posted by mippy at 5:56 AM on June 8, 2009 [9 favorites]


mippy, I apologise - I should have said Northwest - a much larger area. He's representing the Northwest, is he not?
posted by chuckdarwin at 5:56 AM on June 8, 2009


It's sad, but predictable.

Small parties do better in the county and MEP elections because of the way the elections are held. There are more county council seats, so a vote is more likely to gamble a vote on a small party. MEP is proportional vote, so you can take more risks.

The UK Parliament is "first past the post", which is a bad name for "plurality take all." In this case, any vote for a party that is certain to not win is, in effect, a partial vote for the candidate you want to lose the most.

Thus, in the UK MEP elections, the UKIP (UK Independence Party*) did better than Labour, but most UKIP votes would vote Conservative in the UK Parliament elections, because they (rightly) feel that under the current system, the MP is almost certainly going to be Tory, Labor or Lib-Dem, and voting for anyone else only helps the person they don't want to elect.

Now, add in the economy, the current expenses scandal running through the UK Parliament, and the fact that the current PM is determined to not step down no matter what, and it's almost a perfect setup for third parties in the MEP.

This election was a disaster for the Labour Party -- they came in third, by share of vote, and tied for second in seats (Tory, 25: UKIP & Labour, 13 each, LD, 11, Green 2, BNP 2, Scottish NP 2, Plaid Cymru, 1.) and were utterly wiped out in the county council elections -- historically, the county councils have always been more conservative, but they lost control of every council they had.

The question isn't will Labour fall at the next election, the question is "will the Tories get a clear majority, or be forced to rule in a coalition." If the election was held now, no question, it would be a Tory win, and a big one. Labour has basically a year to salvage something, unfortunately, the current PM is determined to see it through, and there's a *huge* risk in forcing him out.

We could see Labour fall the hard way, via No Confidence.


** Independence from the EU, that is
posted by eriko at 5:58 AM on June 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


many voters feel it's the right place to make a general protest vote so they don't have to, you know, actually vote them into somewhere where they can actually do any damage.

Is this actually true though? I am still basically uninformed about what the european parliament actually *does* but let's say they do something. 2 seats given to BNP have a couple of repercussions from my admittedly narrow perspective.

- 2 seats are effectively wasted as the more "legitimate" MEPs from Britain blackball them.
- The 2 BNP join forces with the other anti-EU members (like UKIPs for example who have also gained seats)
- ALL the British MEPs are taken less seriously, particularly now with the Conservatives heading the pack who have openly stated they had issues with the EU and are positioning themselves with the more fringe coalitions. <-- On this I would be happy to hear more about, I feel like I may have accidentally gotten a biased report?

I don't think any of these effects are harmless, particularly as an immigrant myself. (Especially particularly as an immigrant not even from an EU country.)
posted by like_neon at 6:00 AM on June 8, 2009


At least Peter Serafinowicz is having fun.
posted by chuckdarwin at 6:08 AM on June 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


The BNP representative Richard Barnbrook at the GLA (Greater London Authority) is shunned, and I suspect that's the model that the mainstream parties and lobbyists will follow.

UKIP could try and ally themselves with the BNP, I suppose, but it would scare the horses. UKIP is basically the hardline anti-Euro arm of the Conservatives and joining up with the BNP would send voters back to the tories en masse.

I don't think it would mean British MEPs are taken less seriously - not least because far right elements are far more prominent in some other European countries. I don't think MEPs could be treated less seriously here in the UK. A fun party game is to get people to name their MEP. I can't. I would doubt even 10% of the population can.
posted by MuffinMan at 6:09 AM on June 8, 2009


the BNP's base are largely from Manchester and Leeds. Dunno why, it's just a fact.

It's not much of a fact though really.

East Midlands: 106,319 (8.7%)
East of England: 97,013 (6.1%)
London: 86,420 (4.9%)
North East: 52,700 (8.9%)
North West: 132,094 (8%)
South East: 101,769 (8.2%)
South West: 60,889 (3.9%)
Wales: 37,114 (5.4%)
West Midlands: 121,967 (8.6%)
Yorkshire & Humber: 120,139 (9.8%)

The South West and London can wave their we're not racist flags around. The South East has a higher percentage of voting racists than one of the constituencies that returned a facist, but a total collapse of the governing party's share of the vote as either protest against incumbents amidst a recession or protest agaisnt their implosion is meaningless there. In places where Labour have previously got 40% of the vote it's not.
posted by vbfg at 6:15 AM on June 8, 2009 [3 favorites]


While at private school in Suffolk aged 13, he was reading Hitler's Mein Kampf and making notes in the margins. "Adolf went a bit too far," Griffin conceded in 2006.
posted by chuckdarwin at 6:15 AM on June 8, 2009 [2 favorites]


It'll be the first rule of my benevolent dictatorship - If you didn't bother voting, you're not allowed to moan about the result. Of course, it'll be a dictatorship by then, so it won't make much difference, but it's the thought that counts.

I long for the day when there is a legal requirement for everyone to vote, but there is an official option for "These people are all a bunch of bastards." If more than 50% of the population tick the 'bastards' box then we let all the politicians loose in the lion enclosure at London Zoo and pick a completely new lot.

Maybe it's best if I don't get into power...
posted by twine42 at 6:17 AM on June 8, 2009 [9 favorites]


Thanks for that vbfg! So, basically Labour's meltdown allowed the Northwest BNP voters to have their way, whereas I was more or less correct about Yorkshire & Humber...
posted by chuckdarwin at 6:17 AM on June 8, 2009


oddman: "538.com has some interesting analysis."
No, 538 has some knuckle-draggingly-idiotic horseshit masquerading as 'analysis'.

Anybody connecting the BNP to Plaid Cymru needs to have his internet license revoked on the grounds of being a complete fucktard.
posted by genghis at 6:18 AM on June 8, 2009 [6 favorites]


When in power these sort of parties tend to self destruct, a mixture of loony policy and personality seems to do the trick, if that fails a world war works wonders.
posted by mattoxic at 6:19 AM on June 8, 2009


It's not just the UK. In the Netherlands the Partij voor de Vrijheid (PVV) / Party for Freedom picked up 4 seats. These are the fine fellows led by Geert Wilders who want to ban the Koran, close radical mosques, deport "extremists", modify the Dutch constitution to explicitly mention Christian/Jewish/humanist values, enact a moratorium on allowing any new countries to join the EU, disbanding the European parliament, and so on.
posted by Rhomboid at 6:21 AM on June 8, 2009


"Even then, because of the generally low regard for the European Parliament, many voters feel it's the right place to make a general protest vote so they don't have to, you know, actually vote them into somewhere where they can actually do any damage."

I definitely think this is true. At the margin it must have some negative effect (if only that the BNP can make much of their "experience in office" and increased "credibility" etc at the next election), but they are still drowned out in the elections that people perceive as mattering most. The sad thing is that anti-proportional representation groups will use this as a reason not to have PR for national elections.
posted by patricio at 6:28 AM on June 8, 2009


Denmark as well: Euro-sceptic Danish People’s Party posted the biggest gain in the Danish vote in Sunday’s European election - they don't just mean the EU when they say "give us Denmark back".
posted by dabitch at 6:30 AM on June 8, 2009


I wonder how many people Twitter-plaining about the BNP actually went out and voted this weekend? Rather than campaigning to set a record for the number of blocks for @BNP, how about people went out and actually blocked them out of representation in the first place? Durh.

I just remembered something else that Nick Griffin said this morning that was funny: He called the European Parliament a dictatorship.

Hello, the parliament, made up of proportional representation, the only reason he even got to become a member... he called a dictatorship... the dissonance must make his head spin.
posted by like_neon at 6:31 AM on June 8, 2009


It's a bit mental that they even have the support to make it in a proportional system. That's still a shit load of people who think the BNP are a good idea. So what's the deal with Europe and all the crazy-ass right-wing parties for racists?
posted by chunking express at 6:39 AM on June 8, 2009


[Griffin] said: "A vicious campaign by regional papers and direct lies by The Sun and the Express reduced the number of people that came out to vote for us."

Three cheers for yellow journalism!
posted by dhartung at 6:43 AM on June 8, 2009


I think it is pretty important for those saying they have lived in "England" to keep in mind that London is pretty abnormal as far as England goes. It is pretty much a separate city state and outside of a few pockets of immigration in the rest of England it is a pretty thoroughly pasty white country with some colour provide by spray on tanning agents or holiday sunburns.

Based on the Life in the UK book the UK is 92% white. England is 91% white with almost half of all visible minorities living in London (Scotland, Wales and Ireland clock in at about 98-99%). The numbers are from the 2001 census.
posted by srboisvert at 6:48 AM on June 8, 2009


This is why you VOTE.
posted by kldickson at 6:54 AM on June 8, 2009


To stop assholes such as the BNP from winning .
posted by kldickson at 6:54 AM on June 8, 2009


Yes. These parties do notoriously badly when confronted with the actual, practical challenges of governance.

And yet in the US they are in charge half the time.
posted by dhartung at 7:01 AM on June 8, 2009


London is pretty abnormal as far as England goes

I wouldn't go that far - Birmingham is known for a high Afro-Carribbean population, Bradford for its' Asian community. Any big city has sizeable immigrant communities - though I will concede that Scotland seems pretty white.
posted by mippy at 7:06 AM on June 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


oddman: "538.com has some interesting analysis."

No, 538 has some knuckle-draggingly-idiotic horseshit masquerading as 'analysis'. Anybody connecting the BNP to Plaid Cymru needs to have his internet license revoked on the grounds of being a complete fucktard.


Wow, that is an amazingly stupid 538 post. There's no shame (if you're a non-Brit) in having virtually no understanding of British politics, but if that's the case, don't go spraying your ignorant psephological analyses of British politics all over such a respected blog.
posted by game warden to the events rhino at 7:08 AM on June 8, 2009


kldickson and others up thread - I just don't think it's constructive to say that people are obliged to vote to avoid the embarrassment of getting BNP MEPs - a positive alternative has to be offered. I'd like my vote to support a political programme I substantially agree with or a politician I trust and I expect a lot of people think the same.
Perhaps many non-voting people calculated that while the BNP will get legitimacy and cash from this, they're not going to be enacting any policies as a result, whereas the incumbent political class has recently been shown to be self-seeking in the expenses scandal, and the current government is the one that is assaulting welfare and actively supported the invasion of Iraq and so forth. The alternatives with any chance of domestic power weren't much more appealing.
So, while in a democracy we at some level are all responsible for the politics we get, you only get so far by finger-wagging at the electorate and asking them to prop up a bankrupt political class.
posted by Abiezer at 7:11 AM on June 8, 2009 [3 favorites]


Mr Griffin himself ~
posted by chuckdarwin at 7:12 AM on June 8, 2009 [2 favorites]


Abiezer - But from my understanding (please do correct if I'm getting the wrong end of the stick here) the representatives in the european parliament have nothing to do with the expenses scandals, especially for fixing it. The fact that the Conservative party who are just as guilty of expense scandals increased their support shows that some people had no problem switching from Labour. It's just that not enough people voted at all that the proportional representative system allowed BNPs to slip through.

This is not to reduce blame on the domestic parties' utter incompetence at mishandling of recent domestic affairs. But it is also inappropriate and misinformed "protest" by the British on an ill-timed election.
posted by like_neon at 7:24 AM on June 8, 2009


vbfg: Didn't. Not responsible for your poor comprehension skills either. Also, where are you getting South East: 101,769 (8.2%)? The BNP polled 4.4% in the South East. {ref.}

Cheap shots aside (i.e. the end of my first comment), my overall point is that the stay-at-homes are the ones that helped the Nazis. In Yorkshire the turnout was 32%. In the South East it was 37.5%. Neither are great figures but the fact that more than 5% more of the SE took the time to vote helped so that the BNP didn't get anywhere.

When I lived in an area that elected a BNP candidate (Derek Beacon, Tower Hamlets, 1993), I certainly cared that other people might judge me because he was representing an area where I lived and where my family came from. However, rather than getting all defensive about it I, and a lot of others, got off our arses and did something about it.

There's a lot that can be done before we start quoting Martin Niemöller.
posted by i_cola at 7:24 AM on June 8, 2009


When in power these sort of parties tend to self destruct, a mixture of loony policy and personality seems to do the trick, if that fails a world war works wonders.
posted by mattoxic at 9:19 AM on June 8 [+] [!]


Yeah, but I'd really not go with the "millions dying" solution to stop the racist fucktards again.

Every election that puts racists into legitimate political positions gives racism more political legitimacy. This - and the fact that BNP are conciously working with other racist parties - is the most serious and frightening consequence of these elections. Media don't feel like they can call the honourable members of parliament "racist" even when they blatently are. Proportional representation is great, because it gets the Greens and other small parties in and gets them more legitimacy; it's also terrible, because it gets the BNP and other small parties in and gets them more legitimacy.

The response has to be to refuse to pussy foot around what the BNP is. They are not "far-right" or "extremists". Thatcher was far-right, underwater ironing is extreme. The BNP are racists. That is the sole basis of their platform. They believe that people should be denied rights based on the colour of their skin.

and the British media need to keep saying this over and over and over again. They need to remind the British that the BNP believes that there is no such thing as a non-white Briton.

and we all need to have a serious conversation about the last time that these kind of racist ideologies had this level of legitimacy - the 1930s. It's not Godwinning when you are talking about people who are actually Nazis, and who support a world view in which race=citizenship. This is how the Nazis started - getting a few disaffected votes, and they never even had to get a majority of the vote.

This is freaking the hell out of me.
posted by jb at 7:27 AM on June 8, 2009 [17 favorites]


UKIP could try and ally themselves with the BNP, I suppose, but it would scare the horses. UKIP is basically the hardline anti-Euro arm of the Conservatives and joining up with the BNP would send voters back to the tories en masse.

I thought they were the BNP minus the overt racism/fascism, i.e., the populist-authoritarian Daily Mail-right party railing against "political correctness" and such.

Some five years' ago, the UKIP's MEPs went on record railing against women's rights. Now maybe they've kicked the extremists out, but maybe not. For all I know, should they get into power and pull Britain out of the EU, once the last Polish plumber has been dispatched, they may bring back the death penalty or announce that global warming is a lie perpetuated by the homosexual lobby or something.
posted by acb at 7:29 AM on June 8, 2009


like_neon - yep, but continent-wide the various results were largely based on domestic issues so the UK is hardly unique there. It's another of the flaws of the EU project IMO, that whilst it has a massive impact on our lives it seems so remote.
As to it being an inappropriate way to protest, well I took the main protest being those who couldn't bring themselves to vote for anyone, which isn't inappropriate in my view given what I said about the significance of two MEPs (not nothing but not the beerhall putsch - Ian Paisley was an MEP for years, for instance).
Some of the BNP may have been a protest vote but mostly it will have reflected actual support for them (though I don't think it's a simple racist vote). The way to undermine that is to address the issues they have staked out their ground on, not just demand people keep propping up the status quo in the hopes it'll eventually come round.
posted by Abiezer at 7:31 AM on June 8, 2009


/nelsonlaugh Haha!
posted by Xoebe at 7:32 AM on June 8, 2009


vbfg: Didn't.

Did. ;)

Also, where are you getting South East: 101,769 (8.2%)? The BNP polled 4.4% in the South East.

The BBC, but it looks like I read the wrong line.
posted by vbfg at 7:38 AM on June 8, 2009


The response has to be to refuse to pussy foot around what the BNP is. They are not "far-right" or "extremists". Thatcher was far-right, underwater ironing is extreme. The BNP are racists. That is the sole basis of their platform. They believe that people should be denied rights based on the colour of their skin.
That has been made clear in the media and by campaigns like Hope Not Hate - I think that's why UKIP did vastly better than the BNP despite being a crap version of the Tory right. They were seen as the non-racist option.
As I just wrote, I don't think the BNP is gaining a simple racist vote although they themselves are indeed scumbag racial nationalists - they aim their propaganda at various social issues where sections of the electorate feel disenfranchised or abandoned. The answer is to tackle them on these - housing, welfare, anti-social crime - and show their "it's all the fault of the PC brigade, Muslims and blacks" for the bollocks it is.
posted by Abiezer at 7:38 AM on June 8, 2009


From chuckdarwin's Independent link:

It was in 1995 that he joined the BNP, where for two years he edited a magazine called The Rune which, after three years of wild anti-Semitic stories, got him convicted of inciting racial hatred. In the witness box Griffin infamously said: "I am well aware that the orthodox opinion is that six million Jews were gassed and cremated and turned into lampshades. Orthodox opinion also once held that the world is flat." He was found guilty and sentenced to nine months in prison, suspended for two years.

And people in the US say we're overrun by the PC police- we have a hard time convicting on hate crimes charges when people KILL people while screaming slurs and a lifelong history of being IN hate groups...
posted by yeloson at 7:40 AM on June 8, 2009


Also, the BNP at some level feed off their perceived anti-establishment image with many of their voters, so there's also a counter-productive aspect to merely pointing out their racism rather than rubbishing their political programme, such as it is.
posted by Abiezer at 7:41 AM on June 8, 2009


No, 538 has some knuckle-draggingly-idiotic horseshit masquerading as 'analysis'.

What is wrong with that article? Serious question, I don't know enough about EU politics to know how it gets things wrong.
posted by octothorpe at 7:44 AM on June 8, 2009


Abiezer I share that view. It is annoying to hear Griffin whine that they are getting picked on by the BBC (srsly?) and I'd hate to think they would get any sympathy this way. I agree that the best way to pull the mask off is to show how they have no platform to speak of beyond Colored People Aren't British.
posted by like_neon at 7:47 AM on June 8, 2009


Just so that Fat Hitler doesn't get ALL the love in this thread, let's look at Mr Brons' record for a minute:

“Brons, 61, started his nazi career in the National Socialist Movement, an organisation that was deliberately founded on Hitler’s birthday by Colin Jordan, the British nazi leader who died in April aged 85. NSM members were responsible for an arson campaign against Jewish property and synagogues in the 1960s.”

“Brons was a prominent member of the National Front, notorious for its extreme racism and violence, from its early days and was voted onto its national directorate in 1974. Later as the NF’s education officer he hosted seminars on racial nationalism and tried to give its racism a more “scientific” basis.”

“He and another NF member were heard shouting slogans such as “Death to Jews”, “White Power” and “National Front”. When approached by PC John Raj, Brons stated: “inferior beings like yourself probably do not understand the principle of free speech”.

Brons resigned as NF chairman in 1984 and later faded from public view. He has been a BNP member for around four years.”

posted by chuckdarwin at 7:56 AM on June 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


What is wrong with that article? Serious question, I don't know enough about EU politics to know how it gets things wrong.

The comments over at 538 cover it pretty well but basically, the article lumps all nationalist parties together as right wing isolationists even though many are center-left or very left wing (Scottish National Party, Plaid Cymru, Sinn Fein) and Pro-EU (SNP and Plaid Cymru.)
posted by minifigs at 7:56 AM on June 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


I thought they were the BNP minus the overt racism/fascism

I'm not a UKIP expert, but in voting terms, UKIP traditionally draws most of its support from Euroscpetic ex-Tories, I think. By contrast, the BNP actually tends to draw most of its support from ex-Labour voters (IMHO). Traditionally, UKIP has been seen as a cannibalising threat to the Tories and it's worth noting that Nigel Farage was a former conservative activist.*

I know one can't always take what parties say about themselves as the truth, but UKIP is at pains to make the point it isn't a version of the BNP and that it is a "Libertarian, non-racist party seeking Britain's withdrawal from the European Union" and a "moderate, democratic party" - which is either putting a glossy coat on its racism, or a conscious move to position itself as the more mainstream party it will inevitably have to become if it wants to win more votes.

* He's also married to a German woman, funnily enough, so is not entirely against European integration.
posted by MuffinMan at 7:59 AM on June 8, 2009


So now, taking a moment to get all in touch with my white forbearers and what not, I have to ask: a considerable part of my ancestry comes from an island that was captured by the Normans back in the day. I refer to, of course, Sicily.

Am I "in" in their precious little world view?

Or do I have to muster up my Saracen guard and prove a point?

(Mostly I just like to make fun of anyone who edits history so they can magically pretend some kind of link to somebody who happended to live on the dirt they're standing on.)
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 8:01 AM on June 8, 2009


like_neon - But from my understanding (please do correct if I'm getting the wrong end of the stick here) the representatives in the european parliament have nothing to do with the expenses scandals, especially for fixing it.

While the MEPs weren't involved in this expenses scandal, they have had a big one of their own. It's basically the same setup: on top of their annual wage of £83,000/year they can claim up to £363,000 in expenses, none of which requires a receipt. Inevitably there seems to have been a lot of abuse: an independent audit has found huge payments going to MEP's family or even people who don't seem to exist. A handful have been forced out (e.g. Giles Chichester) but the complete records are kept as confidential - only a very few MEPs and beaurocrats are allowed to see them, and they're not allowed to take notes. [1] [2].

Private eye has reported that the person in charge of the accounting has repeatedly refused to sign off on the expenses book, citing massive "accounting anomalies" as the reason. I can't link to their archive though, so I don't have a cite for this.
posted by metaBugs at 8:02 AM on June 8, 2009


compulsory voting isn't necessarily going to stop parties like the BNP winning seats in proportional elections. We have compulsory voting in Australia and One Nation still managed to snare a couple of seats in the Senate in 1996. What brought that party undone in the end was their own incompetence and the right-wing Howard govt assuming some of their policy positions.
posted by awfurby at 8:10 AM on June 8, 2009


NPR reported on this, saying that the right-wing parties across Europe have secured seats based on their "conservative economic policies," but that sure seems pretty unlikely to me.
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 8:11 AM on June 8, 2009


If the major parties in Britain are all going to divest themselves of the interests of the working class, those votes are bound to go somewhere. Sure, the BNP picked up a few, but considerably less than the regional parties and the Greens. Coupled with their weak performance in the local elections, I don't anticipate them sending anyone to Westminster in the next general. The overheated campaign in the leftish press about the possibility of BNP MEPs I read as little more than a ploy to badger people into voting Labour—lest the racists get in—despite the fact that it's Blatcherized itself out right of a constituency.
posted by Makoto at 8:15 AM on June 8, 2009 [2 favorites]


I was born a "white" British citizen (God save the Queen!), but spent most of my life in Canada. Does this mean they will pay for me to return to Britain? I'd like a vacation, and those flights are a bit pricey.
posted by blue_beetle at 8:26 AM on June 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


.
posted by Artw at 8:27 AM on June 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


Forced voting isn't going to fix this. Figuring out why there are so many racists in England, and dealing with that, might.
posted by chunking express at 8:31 AM on June 8, 2009


Mr Griffin himself ~
stupid European vending machines. tried to ram in my BRITISH pound coin anyway. hurt hand. lost coin. no Twix. fuck Europe.
Classic.
fingers crossed Apple will announce they are going back to producing only white iPods. #wwdc
posted by delmoi at 8:32 AM on June 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


chunking express: "57It's a bit mental that they even have the support to make it in a proportional system. That's still a shit load of people who think the BNP are a good idea. So what's the deal with Europe and all the crazy-ass right-wing parties for racists?"

It's not exactly like we USians can point and laugh. Remember the McCain hate rallies?
posted by JHarris at 8:37 AM on June 8, 2009


If someone like Boris can get elected mayor of London, and you have a country with CCD cameras placed everywhere and national identity cards for "safe travel", then perhaps the BNP is a symptom of a larger disease.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:38 AM on June 8, 2009 [6 favorites]


@MuffinMan: so the BNP are the ones who insist that they're not racists or fascists, whereas the UKIP are the ones who insist that they're not the BNP? Gotcha.
posted by acb at 8:41 AM on June 8, 2009 [4 favorites]



While the MEPs weren't involved in this expenses scandal, they have had a big one of their own.

Thanks, metaBugs.

It's always been my semi-informed impression it's practically the sine qua non of being an MEP to be on the expenses fiddle!

(I think you'll find libel lawyers are the reason Private Eye don't have online archives! I'm a great fan of the mag - but searchable archives would definitely not be 'low hanging fruit' so much as windfalls begging for plucking!)
posted by Jody Tresidder at 8:42 AM on June 8, 2009


JHarris, I live in Canada. I laugh at the US too.
posted by chunking express at 8:49 AM on June 8, 2009


Thanks, metaBugs for that info. But my point was that MEPs have no input into the current expenses scandals, which is what I think people thought they were protesting against. If people were still railing against Chichester's behavior it does not make sense that the Tories have now experienced a rise in votes and now hold the majority of seats.
posted by like_neon at 8:53 AM on June 8, 2009


The BNP also proposes "firm but voluntary incentives for immigrants and their descendants to return home."
posted by Midnight Rambler at 8:57 AM on June 8, 2009


After the 2000 and 2004 elections here in the US, it feels SOOOO good to be able to complain about voters in Europe making stupid choices.

Come on, Europe, throw the bastards out! The World Can't Wait!

I'm just being a pisser
posted by Saxon Kane at 8:58 AM on June 8, 2009


The fact that European immigrant communities are so large and poorly integrated will continue to breed cultural strife and encourage radicalization on all sides. I'm curious to see how this will play out over the next few decades, and I expect fascist parties in Europe to continue gaining popularity.
posted by Krrrlson at 9:02 AM on June 8, 2009


There is currently (5pm) an anti-BNP protest by the Town Hall in Leeds, if anyone wants to pop down for a shout. I can't make it unfortunately, due to work.
posted by asok at 9:09 AM on June 8, 2009


> It's not exactly like we USians can point and laugh. Remember the McCain hate rallies?

> JHarris, I live in Canada. I laugh at the US too.

Does anyone know if there is a flow chart for this? I'm wanting to keep tabs on what nation(s) or peoples I can be a condescending prick to based on what their collective leaders do/think.
posted by nola at 9:14 AM on June 8, 2009 [6 favorites]


I'm wanting to keep tabs on what nation(s) or peoples I can be a condescending prick to based on what their collective leaders do/think.

I'm pretty sure everyone qualifies, in one way or another.

(Alright, Canada's recent parliamentary "dispute" might not have involved fat hitlers, but it sure looked a bit WTF for a non-Canadian observer.)
posted by effbot at 9:24 AM on June 8, 2009


Condescending Prick? Did I touch a nerve?

In Canada we have Harper running things, and while he is a serious dumbass, and the Consevatives are a lame copy of the Republicans, that really does pale in comparison to the stupid I see take place in the States. So yes, I fucking point and laugh. When CNN/ABC/FOX/etc starts talking to their viewers like they were adults maybe i'll assume things have changed.

The UK and a lot of Europe does have a serious issue with the way it deals with minorities. It's not like this is a new issue either. I told my dad the BNP won a seat in Herts, where we used to be, and he laughed. We haven't been in England for almost 20 years now, but it looks like not much has changed. Englands had years to sort itself out, but the news stories don't change. Instead of complaining about Pakis they complain about Romanians or Polish dudes.
posted by chunking express at 9:26 AM on June 8, 2009


WTF for a non-Canadian observer

The Conservatives were going to lose a confidence vote, so they got the governor general to prorogue parliament. The opposition parties were going to try and form a coalition government. But yeah, I guess that's in the same league as electing a bunch of racists to public office. (Well, there actually probably are a few crazy racists in the Conservative party, so i'll shut up now.)
posted by chunking express at 9:28 AM on June 8, 2009


The fact that European immigrant communities are so large and poorly integrated will continue to breed cultural strife and encourage radicalization on all sides.

The immigrant communities in Europe are a pathetically small proportion of the population compared to countries like Australia and Canada (something like 22% and 18 % respectively, compared to a UK at about 9%).

Now, funny enough, Australia has major problems with immigrant integration and have had their elected racist parties, while Canada has not had the same level of problems, but it's not like they don't draw in similar immigrant groups. Seems to me that the issue isn't immigration, it's how the home-borns react to it. Canada has a explictly muti-cultural policy: Canadians are anyone who wants to be Canadians. Canadians can look like anything, sound like anything, be from anywhere - what matters is that we're all in this club called Canada together, and that's what unites us.

I'm not saying that Canadian policies are perfect (I have heard some recent immigrants complain that they would like to given a stronger sense of "Canadian" culture because they would like to actively become more culturally Canadian) - but they seem to be working quite well. It does help that the majority white community are also all immigrants originally, but that is also true of Australia, so that's not the sole key factor. I think the factor is that when this sort of thing raises its ugly head, we say (or at least, the sensible say) "screw that, integration shouldn't be about assimilation, we should find a balance between all of our various cultures and our shared Canadian values, and there is no such thing as too large an immigrant community when immigrants are the go-getters and life-blood of our economy and society, not to mention our cuisine."
posted by jb at 9:29 AM on June 8, 2009 [8 favorites]


By the way - the Canadian parliamentary dispute is over whether the government should have been doing stimulus spending, or balancing the books. It had nothing to do with immigration policy. No party takes a strong stance on immigration - I don't think it's much of a hot-button issue in Canada. I could be wrong (been out of Canada for a while, not listening to the news there that much), but seems to me that it's been a long time (since that ship with Chinese migrants landed off BC - a decade ago?) since immigration has had much air-time, and even then there were a lot of people basically defending the rights of illegal immigrants (can you imagine that elsewhere?). We aren't reaching our immigration goals, which is bad - but we're not talking about lowering them.
posted by jb at 9:33 AM on June 8, 2009


Forced voting isn't going to fix this. Figuring out why there are so many racists in England, and dealing with that, might.
chunkingexpress: there's no sign that there are more racists in Britain than there ever were - the problem is that too many of the non-racists failed to vote. Not that I think racism shouldn't be eradicated, but we ought to define our problems properly.
posted by altolinguistic at 9:39 AM on June 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


Apparently immigration and multiculturalism are perfectly acceptable concepts to the BNP when it was white guys (Celts, Anglo-Saxons, Danes, and Norse) that were doing in the invading.
posted by Rhomboid at 9:42 AM on June 8, 2009


like_neon - ...my point was that MEPs have no input into the current expenses scandals, which is what I think people thought they were protesting against. If people were still railing against Chichester's behavior it does not make sense that the Tories have now experienced a rise in votes and now hold the majority of seats.

Ah, I phrased my post weirdly. I think I agree with you here: I think people were out to punish (or at least, didn't go out to support) Labour generally, and the MEPs just happened to be in the firing line.

I wrote the bit about the MEPs' expenses because I saw surprisingly little about it in the news and googling doesn't bring up many articles from British sources. I just thought I should do my bit to draw a bit more attention to the story and it seemed relevant there. So it was a bit of a derail from your main point, sorry.

I do think it's slightly weird how much of the scandal has focused on Labour; the Conservatives have had their share of high-profile cases but don't seem to have suffered too badly from it. I suppose Labour catches more flak because it's doing so much damage to an already shaky actual cabinet rather than some quiet departures from the opposition? I've also seen accusations of deliberate bias in how the Telegraph chose to treat revelations about the two parties, but I haven't looked closely enough at that to form an opinion.


(As a side note: While I dislike the witch-hunt that this scandal prompted, seeing Jacqui "Orwell" Smith announce her departure made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. I'm sorely disappointed that she's being harassed about her expenses rather than her concerted attacks on civil liberties, but I'll take what I can get).
posted by metaBugs at 9:42 AM on June 8, 2009 [2 favorites]


The UK and a lot of Europe does have a serious issue with the way it deals with minorities. It's not like this is a new issue either. I told my dad the BNP won a seat in Herts, where we used to be, and he laughed. We haven't been in England for almost 20 years now, but it looks like not much has changed. Englands had years to sort itself out, but the news stories don't change. Instead of complaining about Pakis they complain about Romanians or Polish dudes.
The racist right are making some headway and it's not a good trend, but actually we're late to the party in Europe when it comes to electing fascists and France and Italy still function as democracies. The trajectory in Italy in particular would be one I'd least like us to follow, but to repeat myself a bit, this is far more about the collapse of the Labour Party and disenchantment with the political class as a whole than any astonishing success for crypto-fascism.
As jb says, immigrant communities in the UK aren't that large; they're also not that poorly integrated (the largest growing ethnic minority is mixed race). There is racism, some of it hard-core, but the BNP would have had fewer takers for their line if the non-race related issues they exploit - housing, welfare, crime - had been addressed better by mainstream parties. A lot of their voters have ended up with them as a last resort.
posted by Abiezer at 9:45 AM on June 8, 2009 [2 favorites]


The fact that European immigrant communities are so large and poorly integrated will continue to breed cultural strife and encourage radicalization on all sides.

I don't think that that's a "fact" at all, and I don't think that the issues around immigration necessarily result from an unwillingness of the immigrants to "integrate". I would suggest that xenophobia, in varying degrees, is at the heart of both fascism and the perceived recalcitrance of perceived un-integrated immigrant communities.
posted by Sidhedevil at 9:49 AM on June 8, 2009 [3 favorites]


Note: Krrlson, I do not mean to suggest that you, personally, are xenophobic. I think that your statement reflects the generally received wisdom as portrayed in media, but I think that that portrayal is affected by xenophobia.
posted by Sidhedevil at 9:50 AM on June 8, 2009


So what's the deal with Europe and all the crazy-ass right-wing parties for racists?

Here's one thing.

Europe has a bloody, racist, recent history. Today, inciting racism, or coming across as doing so, is avoided like the plague by nearly all sane people. At the same time we have genuine problems with hundreds of thousands of immigrants from cultures characterized, among other things, by religious fanaticism, tribalism, misogyny and violence. Many people live in neighborhoods where they never witness this first hand, and the press tends to avoid crime/nationality statistics while regularly printing individual success stories of African and Middle Eastern immigrants. Thus people with distressing first-hand experience are easily seen as alarmist or racist.

Because of the stigma of racism, the only people who will put their name behind an agenda of strict immigration policies are those who don't mind being seen as racist -- including a lot of bona fide racists.
posted by Anything at 9:59 AM on June 8, 2009


...and the press tends to avoid crime/nationality statistics while regularly printing individual success stories of African and Middle Eastern immigrants.

what
posted by flashboy at 10:12 AM on June 8, 2009


This is the Finnish press, mind you. I can't speak for other EU countries.
posted by Anything at 10:17 AM on June 8, 2009


Anything: "The press tends to avoid crime/nationality statistics while regularly printing individual success stories of African and Middle Eastern immigrants. Thus people with distressing first-hand experience are easily seen as alarmist or racist."

Really?
posted by chorltonmeateater at 10:18 AM on June 8, 2009


So a racist, a pirate and a duck walk into a parliament. And the speaker says, "What is this? Some kind of joke?"
posted by bicyclefish at 10:25 AM on June 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


This is the Finnish press, mind you. I can't speak for other EU countries.

OK, gotcha. Haven't picked up a Finnish newspaper in a while ever. I agree with most of your analysis, at least insofar as it's the impression that a lot of voters attracted to far-right parties seem to have.

While the most popular newspapers in Britain never get tired of printing scare stories about immigrants and crime, immigrants and terrorism, immigrants and disease, and so on, you'll still hear a lot of people who think that their viewpoints are never represented and the media is all a big liberal conspiracy.

Channel4/YouGov did an interesting study on voter attitudes in the UK:
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.
That's YouGov, granted, which can be a bit dodgy on occasions, but it's an interesting analysis.
posted by flashboy at 10:28 AM on June 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


Ah, the Finnish press. I hope for your sake there isn't a Finnish equivalent of the Daily Mail.
posted by chorltonmeateater at 10:28 AM on June 8, 2009


It had nothing to do with immigration policy.

No, the context was "countries where people vote for dumbasses that goes on to mess things up so the rest of us can be condescending pricks about it." I still cannot think of a single modern democracy where that doesn't happen all the time...
posted by effbot at 10:33 AM on June 8, 2009


After the 2000 and 2004 elections here in the US, it feels SOOOO good to be able to complain about voters in Europe making stupid choices.

Come on, Europe, throw the bastards out! The World Can't Wait!


Heh. Of course a lot of this, in the UK at least, is the result of being dragged into an unpopular war and the current shitty economy - so the dead hand of Bush still rests upon us.
posted by Artw at 10:38 AM on June 8, 2009


Everyone in the BNP is racist scum, earning a living from making people's lives worse.

They are an entirely different class of racist from the people that voted them in.

Those people have problems in life. They live on the lower rungs in economically depressed areas. The entire BNP schtick is "Life sucks? Not your fault? Call the BNP now on this number for a free no-win no-fee consultation"

If my life sucked, which, all in all, it doesn't, I'd want someone to blame. Bonus points if they're socially distant enough to really hate. Double bonus points if they don't look like me, talk like me, or believe what i believe.

If you want to reduce extremism (and you can't eliminate it: someone's life will always suck), improve the situation to the point where a scapegoat is no longer needed.

The stuff about immigration is a sideshow. A legitimate debate on the positive and negative economic and cultural effects of immigration can be had, but not with the BNP.

Also, Scotland may not be as diverse as London, but the last time I was back home, me and my brother went to the Glasgow Mela and it seemed pretty immense at the time. Not to mention electing the UK's first Muslim MP.
posted by Wrinkled Stumpskin at 10:40 AM on June 8, 2009 [3 favorites]


At the same time we have genuine problems with hundreds of thousands of immigrants from cultures characterized, among other things, by religious fanaticism, tribalism, misogyny and violence.

What are you talking about?

I would love to hear your first hand distressing news about the wave of scary people ruining Europe.
posted by chunking express at 10:45 AM on June 8, 2009


At the same time we have genuine problems with hundreds of thousands of immigrants from cultures characterized, among other things, by religious fanaticism, tribalism, misogyny and violence.

Wow, I had no idea there were so many immigrants from the US in Finland!

Oh, wait, you meant the other cultures characterized by religious fanaticism, tribalism, misogyny, and violence?

Oh, wait, you meant only certain cultures characterized by religious fanaticism, tribalism, misogyny, and violence?

Yeah, I don't see how anyone could mistake that for racism.
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:46 AM on June 8, 2009 [3 favorites]


I hope for your sake there isn't a Finnish equivalent of the Daily Mail.
There isn't, at least in the sense of an 'alarmist tabloid that's also the most read paper in the country'. Helsingin Sanomat is by far the largest newspaper in Finland. Here are a couple of the stories I alluded to. There's nothing wrong with them as such, but the reporting is very slanted. Unless I'm mistaken, HS editors have admitted as much in some interviews, a conscious effort on their part to prevent racism by selective editorial policy, which, in my view, has some fairly large unintended negative consequences.
posted by Anything at 11:04 AM on June 8, 2009


The fact that European immigrant communities are so large and poorly integrated will continue to breed cultural strife

What you don't mention is that it's white people who are causing all the strife. The immigrant communities I've had experience with are generally composed of people too busy working their asses off to give a fuck what white people are doing; rather, it's xenophobic, lazy, uneducated white people who have fucking conniption fits because their neighbor has the audacity to live next door without being white and speaking their particular dialect of white-trash-retard English.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 11:13 AM on June 8, 2009 [2 favorites]


If you say there isn't an extreme difference in the ethics of Mogadishu culture to, say, Helsinki, Berlin, New York or Austin culture, to the disadvantage of Mogadishu culture, I don't know how to respond to you.
posted by Anything at 11:17 AM on June 8, 2009


What you don't mention is that it's white people who are causing all the strife. The immigrant communities I've had experience with are generally composed of people too busy working their asses off to give a fuck what white people are doing; rather, it's xenophobic, lazy, uneducated white people who have fucking conniption fits because their neighbor has the audacity to live next door without being white and speaking their particular dialect of white-trash-retard English.
This is bollocks Optimus and what's more it's the kind of bollocks the BNP love to see liberals write because then they can paint themselves as "racial realists."
There really are racist attacks on young white men by gangs of lads of Asian descent in towns like Bradford, ironically enough because young Asian lads have integrated to the extent that they have problems with gang culture and inter-generational discipline just like the rest of us. The mob of dealers blocking the stairwells on your estate may well all be the children of immigrants from some particular community. And so on.
This doesn't mean the racists have the right answer to these problems - ship all those families "back" (to accept the bullshit BNP line) and we'd back to cosy old white-on-white social problems. But if you join in with racialising the issues by blaming it on whites, you're not helping either.
posted by Abiezer at 11:31 AM on June 8, 2009 [2 favorites]


How very not surprising. There is no serious and rational discussion of immigration by the mainstream parties in Europe, and so people gravitate to these racist parties, because at least they are willing to discuss (badly) the issue.

The first question is "does a sovereign nation have the right to control immigration at all"? The left says "no" - which is a non-starter for most reasonable people, and that only leaves the right who supply their own disgusting answers, and that's how we end up in this mess.

Reasonable people understand the rational case for immigration - even the humanitarian case. At the same time, most reasonable people think their society should be able to decide whom to admit. Certainly the case seems easy if you exclude serious criminals. But what about immigrants who are: dedicated jihadists, homophobes, misogynists, and generally represent values we've been trying to overcome since the Enlightenment? Don't exclude people on the basis of race, ethnic background, sexual orientation and so on - again most will agree. How about excluding people on the basis of values?

Until we have that national discussion, honestly, and without fear, look for the racists to keep gaining political power.
posted by VikingSword at 11:33 AM on June 8, 2009


Indeed. I am incredibly uncomfortable with the kind of discussion we're having (one of the few times I've done so at all publically, in fact) and I'd hate to outsource it to the kind of people who enjoy it.
posted by Anything at 11:39 AM on June 8, 2009


If someone like Boris can get elected mayor of London, and you have a country with CCD cameras placed everywhere and national identity cards for "safe travel", then perhaps the BNP is a symptom of a larger disease.

What? No. You're taking three items that you perceive to be politically relevant and stringing them together to make a really bad analysis. Seriously, I know I'm privileging my experiences here, but politics in the north of England just doesn't have anything to do with these things.

As people have already mentioned, the politics in the north is characterized by the reaction to economic decline and social breakdown. Large numbers of people live in areas where the transition to a post-industrial society has been partial and unsuccessful. Mass employment has gone, but nobody equipped them - or taught them how to equip themselves - for life afterwards. Though some have made the transition (and mostly left the north, or at least fled to the larger cities), others are caught in the no-skills/no-capital trap, dependent on state welfare for daily needs, and incapable of passing onto new generations a good mindset and mode of living they themselves lack. Unemployment, poor education, crime, poor health, any measure you can think of, the north is often leading the way, and result from a generalized collapse in the way society used to work in those areas.

Many communities still define themselves geographically, or even economically, hence the "Labour heartlands" style voting long long after that political party cared to give a shit. However, I don't think the support is real, in the sense that people are working out what's in their best interest, they're just carrying on as before. Indeed, anybody talking directly to these people are likely to get a hearing, just because they've been long ignored. But the presence of "immigrants" in these areas lends extra credibility to the BNP's none-too-subtle analyses, more-or-less plainly stated as:

1) the loss of jobs conincided with immigration, hence blame the "immigrants";
2) the decrease in state welfare coincided with immigration, hence blame the "immigrants";
3) the lack of social and cultural resources among "natives" is most contrasting with that of new communities, hence blame the "immigrants";
4) how can "immigrants" be part of a geographically-defined community, when they come from elsewhere?

Of course, a better analysis would be that the economy has changed, society has changed with it, and there's nothing much people can do but adapt and get on with life. Were "immigrants" not to be present in these areas, maybe such a message would be more acceptable, but then "natives" tend to ignore that "immigrant" communities are suffering the same problems as they are. If a proper political party had taken the time and explained all of this, or even made the transition a little easier, things might be a different. As it is, all northerners got was a 'let's strike' from the unions, and a hostile, 'get on your bike' from Norman Tebbit.

Things have improved, I'll admit, from the absolute nadir some of these places reached, but much slower than the rest of the country. Left to itself, the north will gradually work out solutions to the problems, but it'll take a while. In the meantime, don't be surprised if a million or so people buy the BNP as a good alternative to the reality that is their lives.
posted by Sova at 11:39 AM on June 8, 2009 [6 favorites]


Those who ask "why does Europe elect racists?", should consider that fringe parties (on either extreme of the spectrum) are features of proportional representation voting systems. Indeed, in France, a higher degree of PR was introduced by former Socialist president François Mitterrand in a highly cynical ploy to split the right-wing vote by encouraging the rise of Jean-Marie Le Pen (this cunning plan ultimately backfired, with Le Pen more successfully poaching their working-class voters than the bourgeois constituency of the Gaullists).

When they are not under the pressure of having to actually win a majority of the vote in a whole constituency (however gerrymandered) the crazies do not feel compelled to go undercover in a major party and can instead create their own. Indeed, if they are good political marketers, they can target "market niches" (and, let's face it, racist assholes are unfortunately a pretty large demographic everywhere). You should see the European political market as quite similar to the American "religious market". It's very competitive, and European mainstream parties easily come to be seen as stale and boring, much like the mainstream churches in the US. The downside is that you get your born-again fundies, and we get our raving Nazis. This phenomenon is strengthened in European parliament elections, because participation is low, leaving the (highly motivated) fringes over-represented.

This said, it has not all been bad news in these European elections. Sure, the far right has done far too well in Holland, Austria, Hungary, Denmark, Italy, Romania, and the UK, but on the other hand it remains irrelevant in Germany and Spain, and in France and Belgium previously strong far right parties have all but collapsed. Where democratic politicians offer serious alternatives, the anti-democratic fringes struggle.
posted by Skeptic at 12:09 PM on June 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


If you say there isn't an extreme difference in the ethics of Mogadishu culture to, say, Helsinki, Berlin, New York or Austin culture, to the disadvantage of Mogadishu culture, I don't know how to respond to you.
posted by Anything at 2:17 PM on June 8 [+] [!]


My Canadian neigbourhood became Little Somalia in the 1990s. We didn't have any serious problems, though our beer sales went down, and our coffee sales went up.

So if Somalians are having serious problems in Finland, maybe it's the Finnish?
posted by jb at 12:35 PM on June 8, 2009 [3 favorites]


1) the loss of jobs conincided with immigration, hence blame the "immigrants";

Maybe I'm off on my history, but I thought that immigration to Britain from the non-white Commonwealth was seriously restricted after about 1965 (at least, that's what Life in the UK*)- but that the manufacturinng economy collapsed in the 1970s.

*Why yes, I am a immigrant - and proud of it! Course I went home because there were no jobs : )

As for restricting immigration - well, Europe lost that moral right shortly after 1492. If you are going to ship thousands of your people overseas, you'll have to suffer the payback. At least we aren't rounding you up and putting you in reserves or confining you to "homelands."
posted by jb at 12:41 PM on June 8, 2009


News (finnish) just gave an interesting analysis about why middle-right had it so well (UK may have had its own problems though). Sarkozy took quick initiative on economic crisis and used means that the left had always been talking about: nationalization of banks, more control and evaluation on financial markets, stricter stance on tax heavens and this took the wind out from leftist sails. They didn't have much more to add to that policy on european level. Just hang in there and wait for policies to take effect.

Another interesting finding that news reported, which has probably been going on all over Europe in some form, is that in those places that have had paper industry (which has been hit really hard) and who have traditionally voted left or social democrat, now voted True Finns, which are our new populist right wing anti-eu anti-immigration party. So basically same pattern as you had in UK. Only thing is that I don't know how much racism played part here.

My take: Last year has been confusing. I've read a lot, followed MeFis economic threads and have personally been in a lucky situation, as the crisis hasn't really hit me or anyone close to me (except a friend who is trying to find her first proper job).

Let's play: If I'd been hit by recession, laid out and if I hadn't these international forums to rely on, I'd be very confused and pissed at something. I'd probably understand enough to know that nothing can't really be done, the global economy is like this, now. Then I'd react that why the hell we are taking part in this 'global economy', who took us there? At same time, I'd probably have had noticed, that there are more and more foreigner-looking people doing low status jobs. But I don't even have a job! The situation is screwed, and nothing that old parties that used to do to defend me (leftist and soc.dem) can't help: they've been strong and good in negotiations between workers and employers and when arguing for social benefits and progressive taxing. I'd know enough to understand that the previous employer is now busted and the government has so much deficit that there isn't much hope for any realistic hope for improvement in social benefits for a while. The left doesn't seem have tools to help now.

Now come right wing populism: they cannot give much anything, but they can say that their politics will hit at the causes of this mess, causes which will be simplified to be EU and any foreign influence (damn Russia refusing to buy our wood with proper price). In short term and small scope, immigration, in long term, globalization.

Note that Greens also did well in elections -- they too recognize that the situation is shitty and local changes cannot help much, but their toolbox for dealing with this crisis and preventing future crises is different (and something I can stand behind).

And then there are sleepers who won't believe that any of the parties have tools to make the situation better anytime soon.

The problem for me is how to relate to this new populist dumb people party without becoming more elitist or classist in views about my fellow people. I'm not doing too well in it.
posted by Free word order! at 1:04 PM on June 8, 2009


I lived in England for five years. Got my university degree from there. Have a long-term girlfriend who is English. Got the start to my career there. Then the company, with me in tow, fucked off to Spain. I stole your education, your women and your jobs! Take that BNP!

(Don't tell them that I intend to move back to England. I fell in love with the country and want to spend the rest of my life there.)
posted by slimepuppy at 1:13 PM on June 8, 2009 [5 favorites]


VikingSword How very not surprising. There is no serious and rational discussion of immigration by the mainstream parties in Europe, and so people gravitate to these racist parties, because at least they are willing to discuss (badly) the issue.

The first question is "does a sovereign nation have the right to control immigration at all"? The left says "no" - which is a non-starter for most reasonable people, and that only leaves the right who supply their own disgusting answers, and that's how we end up in this mess.


Excuse me? Do you really intend to argue that all mainstream parties, or at least all mainstream left-of-centre parties, advocate completely open borders to immigration? Because that's laughably false, you know. Most European countries have very high hurdles to immigration, as a matter of fact, regardless of whether left or right are in power.

Reasonable people understand the rational case for immigration - even the humanitarian case.

The humanitarian case? Aren't you mixing up immigration and asylum? Because those are entirely different matters.

At the same time, most reasonable people think their society should be able to decide whom to admit. Certainly the case seems easy if you exclude serious criminals. But what about immigrants who are: dedicated jihadists, homophobes, misogynists, and generally represent values we've been trying to overcome since the Enlightenment? Don't exclude people on the basis of race, ethnic background, sexual orientation and so on - again most will agree. How about excluding people on the basis of values?

And what about the home-grown bigots, then? Because, as these election results, there are plenty more of those, and they have much more power. Also, it seems rather hypocritical to say: I won't exclude people on the basis of race, ethnic background and so on...except if they just happen to disagree with my values.

Also, the whole point of those "Enlightenment values" is tolerance of others' values. As Voltaire put it succinctly: "Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so too."

Until we have that national discussion, honestly, and without fear, look for the racists to keep gaining political power.

Please take no offence, but honesty was in very short supply in your post.
posted by Skeptic at 1:23 PM on June 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


The hope we've gained from the BNP
posted by Artw at 1:34 PM on June 8, 2009


If you say there isn't an extreme difference in the ethics of Mogadishu culture to, say, Helsinki, Berlin, New York or Austin culture, to the disadvantage of Mogadishu culture, I don't know how to respond to you.

Mogadishu is a city at war, in a country which has been at war for 50+ years. If you don't see how that has an impact on a city's culture, and on the experiences of the people who emigrate from that city (and on their willingness to trust the goodwill of Europeans and North Americans, who have played an integral role in fucking up the polity of Somalia for hundreds of years), I don't know how to respond to you.

Cultures do not exist in a vacuum. The moral compass of Somali people is not defined by the current geopolitical fuckery that has turned their homeland into a famine-ridden chaos. Back when Finland was being fucked around by Czarist Russia, hundreds of thousands of Finns fled famine, dispossession, and political chaos for the US.

Some anti-immigration advocates in the US expressed dismay that these emigrant Finns were living in Finnish-language enclaves, refusing to learn English, refusing to assimilate, importing marriage partners from Finland, publishing newspapers in Finnish, cooking strange-smelling dishes, etc., etc.

But keep feeling superior, because it's hilarious to anyone with even a cursory understanding of world history.
posted by Sidhedevil at 1:39 PM on June 8, 2009 [3 favorites]


chunking express: I would love to hear your first hand distressing news about the wave of scary people ruining Europe.

When a fellow student said he was forced to move out of his shared apartment by his new African flatmates who played extremely loud music whenever they wished and didn't give a damn about his pleas for some peace so he could study, I assumed he was exaggerating. A month later I was in a very similar situation. I didn't want to give up, and through several months of improvised diplomacy I got things back to normal enough to not have to travel to the library downtown every time I had to do some homework. I was very proud, and I'm now on decent terms with them.

The peace only lasted for a few weeks though, until another group, also Africans, moved in downstairs from me and plugged in their subwoofers. They, in contrast, absolutely would not listen. After several months of no progress, the noise suddenly came to an end when another immigrant couple with a small child moved next to them and we complained together both to the noisy group and once again to the student apartment company. But my opinion alone -- a Local's opinion -- carried no weight with these assholes.

Somewhere in the middle of this came the news that police have uncovered a document forgery workshop run by Nigerians in a Helsinki student apartment, with signatures to false letters of admission obtained by blackmail and threats of violence.

So, my first experiences of everyday home life with African immigrants are one of disrespect on a scale I'd never encountered. This is combined with similar stories from random acquaintances and reports of access to the country through false pretenses and intimidation. How am I supposed to feel? I'll tell you how I do: my first position towards every individual is one of kindness and respect. I am still, as I've always been, sympathetic towards immigrants, legal or not, who treat others with kindness and respect. What has changed, however, is that when someone criticizes other cultures or lenient immigration policies, I no longer assume they are stupid or malicious. There are systemic cultural problems at play, and we should discuss them as openly as we discuss the errors and offenses of our own policies, which are many.

I could also tell you a few words about experiences of armed robbery and home invasion from a couple of my friends and relatives, but you asked for something first-hand.
posted by Anything at 1:41 PM on June 8, 2009


Mogadishu is a city at war, in a country which has been at war for 50+ years. If you don't see how that has an impact on a city's culture, and on the experiences of the people who emigrate from that city (and on their willingness to trust the goodwill of Europeans and North Americans, who have played an integral role in fucking up the polity of Somalia for hundreds of years), I don't know how to respond to you.

Can you quote me saying anything to that effect? I don't. What's your point?

I also make no excuses for any expatriate Finn who may have wantonly snubbed all hospitality of his or her adopted country, nor, in particular, expressed that disrespect through violence or other crime. Again, what's your point?
posted by Anything at 1:53 PM on June 8, 2009


What you describe strikes me as having nothing to do with the fact these people are African. And the fact you think it does is kind of ridiculous. If Finish Death Metal rockers moved downstairs, do you think the situation would have played out differently? No one likes jerks.

There are systemic cultural problems at play

Clearly, though I suspect the issue isn't with the black dudes.
posted by chunking express at 1:56 PM on June 8, 2009


I have been in that situation. It was less loud, and stopped being a problem after one conversation, not four months of one-sided negotiations.
posted by Anything at 2:00 PM on June 8, 2009


Clearly, though I suspect the issue isn't with the black dudes.

Could you elaborate, by the way?
posted by Anything at 2:03 PM on June 8, 2009


And let me explain the relevant aspect here:
What you describe strikes me as having nothing to do with the fact these people are African. And the fact you think it does is kind of ridiculous. If Finish Death Metal rockers moved downstairs, do you think the situation would have played out differently? No one likes jerks.

The point is that the vast majority of Finnish and other neighbors I've had have given me no grief at all. The absolute opposite has been true with my African neighbors. In a very short period of time I've had these bad experiences and heard similar from others, and I've read the crime statistics. I have no idea how representative they are of their own larger community, but this strongly suggests (and it would be ridiculous of you to deny this) that among the group of people who do come here there are serious problems.

For the society at large, you included, to go knives out with innuendo and direct accusations of racism towards anyone who raises this point is dangerous.
posted by Anything at 2:21 PM on June 8, 2009


Could you elaborate, by the way?

Yes, they think you're a racist. And so do I.

What you were living with was an asshole. They're far more common than you think. Just wait till you leave college, you'll realise asshole immigration is waaay out of control, someone's let thousands of them in the country.

The worst thing is that they come in every colour you can think of, making them virtually impossible to spot in the public at large. Damn them.
posted by ciderwoman at 2:23 PM on June 8, 2009 [3 favorites]


And what about the home-grown bigots, then? Because, as these election results, there are plenty more of those, and they have much more power. Also, it seems rather hypocritical to say: I won't exclude people on the basis of race, ethnic background and so on...except if they just happen to disagree with my values.

Also, the whole point of those "Enlightenment values" is tolerance of others' values. As Voltaire put it succinctly: "Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so too."


Thanks for illustrating the point. What is implicit in your post, is exactly the position so many on the left take: there should be no limits on immigration, period. And that's why the public will not listen to the left when it comes to immigration.

Let us look at this lovely argument: you've got home-grown bigots, so it's OK to import foreign bigots. I see. Why should you limit the influx of criminals, murderers, child molesters, rapists and torturers? You've got home-grown ones - in the U.S. some of them even worked for the government in official capacities in the WOT.

And yet many reasonable people recognize that having native bigots (and criminals) is a negative the country is obligated to deal with - because they are citizens, citizens who have nowhere else to go (and there is no option of exporting criminals the way Britain did once upon a time). That is distinctly not the case with foreign undesirables - they are not citizens and can stay exactly where they are - no country has the obligation to accept foreign undesirables and add to the number of their own undesirables. Yes, there are home-grown rapists and bigots - and no, that does not mean one is obligated to import foreign ones.

Again - can there be any, any grounds for excluding someone and saying to them: you are an undesirable, we don't want you here? By your answer it seems: no. And that's why the vast majority of people will not listen to such arguments.

On the other hand, once you agree that there are some grounds for admitting only some immigrants, you open the floodgates to any number of criteria by any number of people, many of them quite nasty. For example, what if the criteria were: only value-added people will be admitted, such as people of certain educational level, certain achievement levels, certain values etc. - as Canada or Singapore already do (to some extent and for some values). Just to make clear: I am not arguing here for any particular values - these are only examples.

The point being, is that a societal discussion is necessary - a difficult discussion to be sure - on what those values should be. Not discussing them, or having a blanket policy of "no restriction", you are conceding the field to extremists and racists, as these will be the only participants who won't be shouted down.

Also, it seems rather hypocritical to say: I won't exclude people on the basis of race, ethnic background and so on...except if they just happen to disagree with my values.

This is stupid. I'm merely saying that the starting position for a discussion of immigration is something that is already broadly accepted: don't exclude people on the basis of inborn characteristics, whether race, ethnic background, sexual orientation etc. That's something all reasonable people can agree on - and if someone doesn't, they exclude themselves from the discussion. From there, I'm asking if values as a criterion for exclusion are up for discussion. There is no hypocrisy or contradiction in these positions - in fact they are unrelated. Where do you see the contradiction in saying: we won't exclude anyone based on race/sex/ethnic background, though we will exclude based on criminal record, adherence to a code of honor killings, adherence to the code of pillaging Vikings or violent bigotry?
posted by VikingSword at 2:24 PM on June 8, 2009


I'm getting fairly tired of this, by the way, and I'm not sure I'll respond to you. But I hope you'd (plural) reconsider your position towards me.
posted by Anything at 2:26 PM on June 8, 2009


After several months of no progress, the noise suddenly came to an end when another immigrant couple with a small child moved next to them and we complained together both to the noisy group and once again to the student apartment company. But my opinion alone -- a Local's opinion -- carried no weight with these assholes.

Hell's bells, Anything - you've told your story horribly.

You might be the sweetest person in the world.

Unfortunately, you identify the folks who helped you form a mini-neighborhood action committee as first and foremost simply "another immigrant couple" - without saying where they were from, or how long resident? - and by your own admission, your troubles with the African music jerks have now made you give the benefit of the doubt to anti-immigrant chatter that might reflect your own experience - whether or not this is even warranted?
posted by Jody Tresidder at 2:35 PM on June 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


Could be worse, they could be Australians. Or South Africans, who are sort of Australian times fifty.

Absolute worst neighbors are always chavy white kids who nick things though. Which brings us back to the kind of people who grow up to be BNP voters.
posted by Artw at 2:39 PM on June 8, 2009


The worst neighbours I ever had were a pair of sandal wearing, pseudo hippies. By the second complaint they were totally obnoxious and saw no reason why they shouldn't move furniture around all night every night because I was just unreasonable.
posted by i_cola at 2:45 PM on June 8, 2009


Actually, yeah, I take that back about the Chavs. People who set fire to your car and put dogshit through your door are nothing compared to people who will give you some bullshit lecture about how you should challenge assumptions and be a free spirit and shit if you challenge their nude outdoor bongo playing.
posted by Artw at 2:51 PM on June 8, 2009


The humanitarian case? Aren't you mixing up immigration and asylum? Because those are entirely different matters.

No, they are not always different matters. Sometimes a country will open their borders to large numbers of refugees purely on humanitarian grounds - you can call it asylum if you want - but in effect it amounts to immigration. Sweden did it to a degree, when the Balkan war displaced thousands upon thousands - you can say it was asylum, or immigration. The distinction is immaterial in such cases - the effect is a large number of foreigners moving to your country. My point was that reasonable people understand the need to admit people on humanitarian grounds.
posted by VikingSword at 2:53 PM on June 8, 2009


You might be the sweetest person in the world.
Thanks for going that far.

I didn't specify because I don't know; Indian or Pakistani by my best guess. They were tired and grumpy with having their kid woken up repeatedly by the music the previous night and moved out soon afterward. And I felt just as non-chatty as I do with all my neighbors.

As to anti-immigrant chatter, rest assured that if someone in my company passes judgment on an individual based on how brown they are or where they're from, I will not have it. I hope that on the whole that should more than counter whatever misguided support they or others may have gotten from what I say on related issues.
posted by Anything at 3:13 PM on June 8, 2009


When a fellow student said he was forced to move out of his shared apartment by his new African flatmates who played extremely loud music whenever they wished and didn't give a damn about his pleas for some peace so he could study, I assumed he was exaggerating. A month later I was in a very similar situation. I didn't want to give up, and through several months of improvised diplomacy I got things back to normal enough to not have to travel to the library downtown every time I had to do some homework. I was very proud, and I'm now on decent terms with them.

The peace only lasted for a few weeks though, until another group, also Africans, moved in downstairs from me and plugged in their subwoofers. They, in contrast, absolutely would not listen. After several months of no progress, the noise suddenly came to an end when another immigrant couple with a small child moved next to them and we complained together both to the noisy group and once again to the student apartment company. But my opinion alone -- a Local's opinion -- carried no weight with these assholes.
So in the first case, it sounds like a cultural misunderstanding (from what I understand, Nordic cultures are particularly pronounced examples of what anthropologists call "negative politeness" cultures (where politeness is about letting others be), whereas African cultures tend to be more "positive politeness" (where politeness is about reaching out to others); would you say this was the case?

The second instance, from your account, sounds like just more representatives of the United Nations of assholes. It's a small world after all, and all that.

Of course, we have only your side of the story.
Somewhere in the middle of this came the news that police have uncovered a document forgery workshop run by Nigerians in a Helsinki student apartment, with signatures to false letters of admission obtained by blackmail and threats of violence.
This is, by your own admission, not a first-hand account. Are we to assume that no crimes were committed by Finns or reported in the press during this period?
So, my first experiences of everyday home life with African immigrants are one of disrespect on a scale I'd never encountered.
If a group of Northern Europeans moved to an African village and attempted to live the way they were used to, making no attempts to bridge the cultural gap, the locals could well consider them disrespectful for snubbing the collective life of the community.
There are systemic cultural problems at play, and we should discuss them as openly as we discuss the errors and offenses of our own policies, which are many.
Absolutely. Though blaming immigration is a lazy approach.
posted by acb at 3:24 PM on June 8, 2009


BNP: La Raza for the British.
posted by TSOL at 5:44 PM on June 8, 2009


It's not a nice feeling to find out he went to my college. Ugh.
posted by monocot at 5:54 PM on June 8, 2009


By that meaning Nick Griffin. I've never even heard of the guy until today.
posted by monocot at 5:56 PM on June 8, 2009


Yep, the Finns are definitely negative politeness, or so my Finnish friend reminds me. Canadians are as well - you're just expected to be quiet, not to tolerate someone else's noise.

Lots of times there is friction when you have different cultural expectations. In Jamaican culture, young men socialise outside. Canadians do mainly indoor socialising, so we can be weirded out when a whole lot of young men are hanging outside in the neighbourhood, playng dominoes, etc. I thought it was weird, at least, until my mom explained it to me. Then I was like, I guess that makes sense, and it is nice out for at least 2 months in the year, and in the interest of good neighbourliness, I just ignored the domino games outside my window.
posted by jb at 6:09 PM on June 8, 2009


What you don't mention is that it's white people who are causing all the strife. The immigrant communities I've had experience with are generally composed of people too busy working their asses off to give a fuck what white people are doing

I'm sure I speak for everyone here when I thank you for your hard work traveling throughout Europe and North America experiencing every immigrant community so we don't have to. Could you please tell us about the members of the African diaspora living in Finland? There seems to be a bit of contention here regarding them.
posted by MikeMc at 6:39 PM on June 8, 2009


So in the first case, it sounds like a cultural misunderstanding (from what I understand, Nordic cultures are particularly pronounced examples of what anthropologists call "negative politeness" cultures (where politeness is about letting others be), whereas African cultures tend to be more "positive politeness" (where politeness is about reaching out to others); would you say this was the case?

I more or less agree about the difference, although I was in fact aware of it. But the thing is, while I'm not opposed to learning the social behaviors of other cultures, I did not choose the time or the place, and it would be a lot to ask for to take such an effort completely unprepared and having had no say in the matter. The person who moves in, however, both makes the choice and has the opportunity to find things out and learn beforehand at the very least to not be offended if, as in this case, the locals mostly keep to themselves.

Crucially, those who run the immigration policy should make sure that people who are accepted to the country are asked to learn the cultural basics, that not trying to do so is not excusable, and will result in people being angry with you. At present it seems either that other cultures are categorically seen as too precious to be asked to adapt, or that it would be arrogant of us to not assume that other cultures might not adapt without our prodding. Whichever kind of excessive politeness, it leaves the inevitable burden to completely random people, with wildly varying and sometimes tragic effects, but in any case lacking the advantages of an early, coordinated effort.

The second instance, from your account, sounds like just more representatives of the United Nations of assholes. It's a small world after all, and all that.

Let's put it this way: does it make any difference to you, personally, whether or not some groups of, say, African immigrants to Europe behave badly towards the locals in comparatively significant numbers? If not, do you have any motive to consider my position seriously? In any case you do have some motive to not take it seriously; such is the good thing to do in the present environment, not matter what experiences or statistics I might cite.

If a group of Northern Europeans moved to an African village and attempted to live the way they were used to, making no attempts to bridge the cultural gap, the locals could well consider them disrespectful for snubbing the collective life of the community.

I agree. I'll clarify, however, that my main issue in this case has not been with mere disrespect. I don't need everyone to respect me. It's with the daily noise louder than I'd ever heard in an apartment building before, with no telling of when it would end and how soon it would begin again, that made study, regular sleep and peaceful life in my own home impossible.
posted by Anything at 6:39 PM on June 8, 2009


BNP: La Raza for the British.

La Raza is nothing like the BNP and you're either a racist or too fucking ignorant to be posting in this thread if you think they're alike.
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:44 PM on June 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


BNP: La Raza for the British.

La Raza is nothing like the BNP and you're either a racist or too fucking ignorant to be posting in this thread if you think they're alike.


Perhaps s/he mean MEChA?
posted by MikeMc at 6:52 PM on June 8, 2009


or that it would be arrogant of us to not assume that other cultures might not adapt without our prodding.
posted by Anything at 6:57 PM on June 8, 2009


MEChA is also not analogous.

Seriously, the shrieking dishonesty necessary to suggest an analogous American organization to the BNP and not come up with the KKK or the American Nazi Party or similar is disgusting. Comparing an organization made up of the dominant racial group and devoted to that race's dominance over their nation to organizations comprised of dominated racial groups and devoted to eliminating that domination is disgusting and racist.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:39 PM on June 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


shrieking dishonesty

Shrieking Dishonesty? I think I saw them open for Children of Bodom in '05. Hey, I wasn't the first to mention Finnish Death Metal rockers in this thread.
posted by MikeMc at 8:24 PM on June 8, 2009


In response to something further up the page (which I can't find now and since I'm at work I can't go looking for it), I guess that the arguments I've heard most often are...

"Them black kids are lazy" - which is crap. Well, it's as true as it is of any inner city kids.

"Them brown guys don't integrate" - which is kind of true. You do get enclaves in a city where one road or small area is specifically populated by immigrants from one country, region or (in Leicester at least) town. It's rather odd.

"Them Polish types steal all our jobs" - which is kind of true, but only in the sense that they willingly do the jobs that we seem to have convinced ourself we're too good to do. Our local college pays a good (above minimum) wage for cleaners, but can't find 'local' people willing to do the work. So it employs Poles. Blame the Labour party for deciding that every one of our kids are supposed to go to University. Who wants to clean crappers when you have a BA in Media Studies...?
posted by twine42 at 1:41 AM on June 9, 2009


metaBugs - I've also seen accusations of deliberate bias in how the Telegraph chose to treat revelations about the two parties

However true it is, I've definitely heard the Telegraph be called the "Tory-graph" on numerous occasions. It is bizarre how they have gained support when they are just as guilty of basically fraud.

So I listen to Radio 4 this morning as usual and not one mention of the BNP anymore because it has been taken over with news that Gordon Brown has survived the night and is still PM.

Even after a fair attempt at a grilling this morning David Miliband couldn't come up with a single concrete answer as to why they have confidence in Brown and yet there he is narrowly escaping catastrophe once again. Seriously, he just kept listing soft CV filler like "experience, conviction, commitment to the country." YAWN. How does Brown do it?!

Gordon Brown is like some crazy ass concoction of Teflon and Terminator.
posted by like_neon at 1:51 AM on June 9, 2009


I agree. I'll clarify, however, that my main issue in this case has not been with mere disrespect. I don't need everyone to respect me. It's with the daily noise louder than I'd ever heard in an apartment building before, with no telling of when it would end and how soon it would begin again, that made study, regular sleep and peaceful life in my own home impossible.

How do the more studious African immigrants cope? Are they better culturally equipped to study whilst being blasted with loud, bass-heavy music at all hours of the day?
posted by acb at 2:39 AM on June 9, 2009


VikingSword You keep beating the strawman of "no restrictions to immigrants", when neither me, nor any European mainstream party, left or right, defends such a position (BTW, I certainly do not consider myself to be "on the left"). Most European countries do have extremely strict policies on immigration. Heck, quite a few of them don't actually allow it at all from outside the EU (and put hurdles, legal and otherwise even to the freedom of movement within the EU)!

You also conflate bigots and criminals. It's already pretty much impossible to immigrate towards the EU with a criminal record (and rightly so). To block immigration of a law-abiding person on the basis of his/her views, however abhorrent and mistaken they may be, is completely contrary to those "Enlightenment values" you claim to defend.

Immigrant criminals, just like home-grown criminals, should be tried and jailed if convicted. If they are truly "immigrants" (and not second- or third-generation residents with no real contact with their purported "home country", as many of those who are wrongly called "immigrants" in Europe), they should also be deported. This is in fact already current policy.

And, no, asylum is not immigration. Asylum is granted to people whose human rights are endangered in their home countries. As such, it's a basic human right. If you refuse asylum to genuinely persecuted people, you should take responsability for whatever happens to them afterwards. If they are killed or tortured, you will be just as guilty as their persecuters.

Of course, asylum has been abused by people who weren't genuine refugees. Now, if you notice, all mainstream European parties have been falling over each other to propose stricter refugee screening processes, which is fair. This said, asylum has been abused mainly in those countries which didn't offer any path whatsoever to legal immigration.

While, as I said, hardly anybody is defending a position of completely open borders, any realist will recognise that you can't altogether stop immigration either. When tens of thousands are ready to cross the Sahara Desert on foot, and then brave stormy seas onboard rickety nutshells to make it to Malta, Sicily or the Canary Islands, it's pretty obvious there's little you can do to stop them, other than shooting them at the border (would you pull the trigger?). Immigration thus needs to be managed, and this implies allowing a measure of it. If anything, it's that sort of honesty about immigration that's sorely missing from the political debate in most European countries.

Finally, we should be grateful that we live in immigration countries. It means something if people are ready to repeatedly risk their lives to basically live from our scraps. We are fucking privileged, and we should be more aware of it.
posted by Skeptic at 5:27 AM on June 9, 2009


"Them brown guys don't integrate" - which is kind of true. You do get enclaves in a city where one road or small area is specifically populated by immigrants from one country, region or (in Leicester at least) town. It's rather odd.

You can't be integrated AND living next to another brown dude? Are you trying to argue that only White people can enjoy the privilege of living next to another White person and not have their community called an enclave or a ghetto or whatever else scared-ass White people want to call it?
posted by chunking express at 6:55 AM on June 9, 2009


Apparently Nick Griffen had to abandon a press conference because he was being pelted by eggs.
posted by chunking express at 7:01 AM on June 9, 2009


Crucially, those who run the immigration policy should make sure that people who are accepted to the country are asked to learn the cultural basics, that not trying to do so is not excusable, and will result in people being angry with you.

Anything,
I'm not inclined to be sharp with you because you seem to be trying to give an honest account of your experience.

But what are the "cultural basics"?

The line between a casual social solecism and willful cultural ignorance is not always clear.

From the way you described the African music problem, it seemed the culprits were doubly trespassing against a more subtle cultural 'rule' - that of neighbors keeping well out of each others' lives [you wrote earlier: "And I felt just as non-chatty as I do with all my neighbors".]

(By the way, I live in the leafy Long Island suburbs next to a dance school. During heatwaves, they prop the studio windows open. I have to work in the library those afternoons and it pisses me off hugely. I'm not unsympathetic to chronic noise! OTOH, I don't want to come off like the "snooty Brit" immigrant I am!)
posted by Jody Tresidder at 7:04 AM on June 9, 2009


As much as I would love to throw eggs at Nick Griffin I don't think people should do that. Let the man speak and expose himself as the racist idiot that he is. This just gives more weight to the, "We're so persecuted because we speak the TRUTH" fodder that the BNP craves.
posted by like_neon at 7:26 AM on June 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Anything - I have great sympathy for you. I live beside a frat house, and they are always having these horribly loud parties.

This makes me think that anyone with a university education should be rounded and deported back to "where they came from," that is, Bologna. It doesn't matter if they've never been to Bologna, or don't speak Latin, and have been born and raised in my country - it's where they are "from," right?

Yes, I know that you haven't said this, but that is what the BNP wants - and it is what the other racist parties want. You had a bad experience with some jerks, and now want to generalise it to an entire continent (you didn't even say what country they were from).
posted by jb at 7:36 AM on June 9, 2009


You can't be integrated AND living next to another brown dude? Are you trying to argue that only White people can enjoy the privilege of living next to another White person and not have their community called an enclave or a ghetto or whatever else scared-ass White people want to call it?

Yes, of course you can. And (since you brought up the idea of scared white people) I never felt threatened walking around the north of Leicester. As far as I could tell (from my Indian friends) all the tension was between different 'flavours' of 'brown'.

India claims the estates on one side of the A6 and Pakistan claims the other. North India claims one estate, and South another.

And yes, that sounds fucked up and overly simplistic scaremongering. But when you're told that by a third generation guy from Indian roots who is scared to walk down a specific road because of an argument that goes back nearly a hundred years, maybe it isn't quite so racist.

And, lets be honest, would you expect any different if all the Spurs fans moved to East Mumbai and the Milwall fans moved to West Mumbai? The centre would be a blood bath every time someone kicked something round...
posted by twine42 at 7:41 AM on June 9, 2009


In the witness box Griffin infamously said: "I am well aware that the orthodox opinion is that six million Jews were gassed and cremated and turned into lampshades.

What does he think those numbers are, tribal tattoos?
posted by mippy at 7:53 AM on June 9, 2009


If 3rd generation British kids are fighting, I'm pretty sure the one thing it does have nothing to do with is India and Pakistan.
posted by chunking express at 7:55 AM on June 9, 2009


I've read through every post and I can't help but notice the prevalence of the nomenclature "Far Right" used to describe the BNP.

The BNP align themselves with the National Socialists, who are, as the name suggests, from the far left (authoritarian, non-libertarian), not the far right.

They certainly are racist bigots, but let's see them politically for what they are, a manifestaion of extreme socialism.
posted by Markb at 8:33 AM on June 9, 2009


Markb, are you suggesting that all along fascism has just been a product of the far left? I'll agree it's a hard term to pin down, and that extreme wings of both right and left have more in common than they'd like to admit, but if you think this is right I'd be interested to hear your definition of what the extreme right wing is.
posted by ciderwoman at 9:13 AM on June 9, 2009


Jesus Christ, Markb, are you on some period re-enactors' mission to revive all the bullshit arguments of the 1930s?
The reason everyone uses far right to describe the BNP is that's what they are, though their leaked BNP Language & Concepts Discipline Manual has this:
The BNP strongly prefers the term ‘hard right’ to ‘far right,’ ‘extreme right,’ or ‘radical right.” ‘Hard’ implies moral seriousness and firmness of purpose. ‘Far’ and ‘extreme’ imply we are outside the spectrum of reasonable opinion. ‘Radical’ is acceptable when addressing a highly disaffected audience, especially when making ‘radical’ critiques of the present 'radical' left regime. The most accurate term of all is ‘patriotic right’, as opposed to ‘unpatriotic right’ or ‘globalist right’ (i.e the Tories).
posted by Abiezer at 9:22 AM on June 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


I thought that particular lame argument was reserved for Americans in an American context? Somehow it seems far more stupid than it usually does (i.e. quite stupid) when it turns up here.
posted by Artw at 9:44 AM on June 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


it's funny how mr Anything Finland is huffing and puffing about being forced the asshole immigrants and their mogadishu culture on him, considering the ridiculously small numbers of immigrants that are "welcome" to his country.

actually, it's not funny, and it's a perfect example of what has become the subject of discussion in the thread.
posted by mr.marx at 12:09 PM on June 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


and I didn't expect to see it on Metafilter
posted by mr.marx at 12:10 PM on June 9, 2009


Jody Tresidder: But what are the "cultural basics"?

Well, that would obviously be difficult to define in any absolute sense, but I think a useful approach would be to focus on whatever specific aspects of the local culture have been problematic with a given immigrant community in the past.

mr. marx: it's funny how mr Anything Finland is huffing and puffing about being forced the asshole immigrants and their mogadishu culture on him, considering the ridiculously small numbers of immigrants that are "welcome" to his country.

"Huffing and puffing"? Jeez...

Here's essentially what you are saying:

A drunk driver injured your leg? Traffic incidents are very low in you area, so what are you whining about?

I can take reasonable arguments against me, but you ought to be ashamed of throwing out anything that absurd.

Also, the low numbers may help explain why we have not yet had riots like in Malmö and Paris. And you may go ahead and play down those incidents, but unless you lived in the neighborhood, I'd say you'd have no business doing so.
posted by Anything at 1:21 PM on June 9, 2009


The BNP align themselves with the National Socialists, who are, as the name suggests, from the far left (authoritarian, non-libertarian), not the far right.

Kim Jong Il is the leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, which as the name suggests, is a democratic country, not a brutal dictatorship.
posted by dirigibleman at 1:28 PM on June 9, 2009 [5 favorites]


You also conflate bigots and criminals. It's already pretty much impossible to immigrate towards the EU with a criminal record (and rightly so). To block immigration of a law-abiding person on the basis of his/her views, however abhorrent and mistaken they may be, is completely contrary to those "Enlightenment values" you claim to defend.

So, for example, it would be quite OK, to accept neo-Nazis from, say, Sweden? It's just views. How about from Germany? It's a crime to promote Nazi ideology in Germany - and criminals are OK to be excluded as you say - so what of that? It's still only views, even if some call it a crime. Or do these policies apply only to Britain? How about expressing views which amount to inciting racial/religious hatred - those are also illegal in Britain. These are a crime. Even though they are just views. I'd say, Britain has a much more broad definition of crimes when it comes to expressing views than, say, the U.S. And if you claim that somehow these British laws are A OK, then you may as well admit that bigotry is grounds for exclusion, since bigotry by itself can be a crime. Where's the dividing line? If you imprison a person who does not advocate, nor practice violence, solely based on their expressed views/opinions (say, Holocaust deniers, as was the case recently in Austria, where an elderly historian from Britain was imprisoned) - you just lost all claim to distinction between criminals and bigots - you just criminalized bigotry (or at least some forms of it). And if that's wrong, then is it OK for a neo-Nazi and for a Holocaust denier to immigrate to Israel? Or to Britain?

The fact is, that the views, values and culture of the immigrant prospect are something the public wants a say about. The question is are we going to have an honest public discussion about what those values should be, or are we going to cede the field to the racists and extremists? If we want to say: no values, no matter how abhorrent, should bar a person from immigrating, then we should honestly put that position forward and through discussion prepare the public for acceptance of that position, and those who must logically be admitted in that case: advocates of clitorectomies (illegal, but hey, laws can change through advocacy and no use denying advocates the right to immigrate), honor killings (also illegal, but advocates... etc.), holocaust deniers, neo-Nazis, people who will oppress their women in the most extreme ways, vicious homophobes, racists, advocates for domestic violence and torture, and on and on and on - as long as they are "law abiding". Or are you going to pass a law against bigotry (which laws effectively already exists in Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Austria, and a ton of other countries), and then point to that? If so, you just made a laughing stock of this: "To block immigration of a law-abiding person on the basis of his/her views, however abhorrent and mistaken they may be, is completely contrary to those "Enlightenment values" you claim to defend."

Bottom line: whatever the policy is, it should be discussed.
posted by VikingSword at 1:55 PM on June 9, 2009


"On top of this, the mainstream parties have largely ignored the immigration issue in any form and as a result the BNP is one of the few places - rightly or wrongly - where voters can send a message to Labour, the Conservatives and the Lib Dems that they need to get to grips with it."

This would be the racist muslim paedophile issue one guesses...
posted by Auz at 1:58 PM on June 9, 2009


Well, that would obviously be difficult to define in any absolute sense, but I think a useful approach would be to focus on whatever specific aspects of the local culture have been problematic with a given immigrant community in the past.

Shit - I wasn't going to comment again, Anything - but some habits die hard.

I was thinking how bloodless your above comment was - and how abstract (and pompous) my earlier one - about solecisms and whatever -was!

All this angst about interpreting cultural norms often evaporates when the two sides become, well, friendly.

It's a lot easier to seethe in a vacuum.
posted by Jody Tresidder at 2:00 PM on June 9, 2009


Also, the low numbers may help explain why we have not yet had riots like in Malmö and Paris.

Paris didn't have riots because there were too many immigrants. Paris had riots because French kids remained disenfranchised because of their skin colour. Period. Those kids weren't immigrants. They were born in France.
posted by chunking express at 2:09 PM on June 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Also the French just really like rioting and riot at the drop of a hat, the garlic smelling subidy grabbing sheep burning swines.
posted by Artw at 2:12 PM on June 9, 2009


And still this thread has less posts than one about hipster parents. Oh the humanity.
posted by ciderwoman at 4:21 PM on June 9, 2009


Hff. Take a look at the content of those comments and ask yourself if that is really what you want.
posted by Artw at 4:24 PM on June 9, 2009


And, no, asylum is not immigration. Asylum is granted to people whose human rights are endangered in their home countries. As such, it's a basic human right. If you refuse asylum to genuinely persecuted people, you should take responsability for whatever happens to them afterwards. If they are killed or tortured, you will be just as guilty as their persecuters.

Why are you dragging in asylum? Are you paying attention? My original statement was:

Reasonable people understand the rational case for immigration - even the humanitarian case.

To which you replied:

The humanitarian case? Aren't you mixing up immigration and asylum? Because those are entirely different matters.

You dragged in asylum, not me - the only time I mentioned asylum is in response to you using this term.

In any case, you don't seem to understand what humanitarian immigration is. When Sweden took in thousands of refugees from the Balkans, it was not because they had any legal obligation to do so on asylum grounds at all. These were not people who turned up at their border, or their embassy. Nor was this ordinary self-directed immigration. Swedes went to refugee camps and offered to take them in - the refugees "human rights" were not being violated, but rather, their prospects were abysmal in a war-torn country, and Swedes, on humanitarian grounds, offered them immigration to Sweden. The same thing has happened many times the world over. In the aftermath of the Vietnam War, there were many refugees from Vietnam crammed in refugee camps. They were at that point the from a legal point of view the responsibility of the host country, however abysmal the camp conditions were (Malaysia, Hong Kong, Thailand, Philipines etc.). Now, other countries went in, and offered many of them (having no legal obligation to do so on asylum grounds, or any other grounds) immigration on humanitarian grounds: in Australia, Israel, Germany etc. (I'm excluding the U.S. here). Again, these were not people who turned up at their borders or at their embassy with an asylum claim - it was a Humanitarian Operation (actual name). Or take Israel and the Ethiopian Jews. The Ethiopian Jews rights were not violated. They did not turn up at Israel's border, or their embassy. Israel went out there and offered to take them in. That was not self-directed immigration. It was a rescue, from a miserable life in Ethiopia.

So, whether regular immigration or immigration on humanitarian grounds, reasonable people are understanding of such a need.

And the rest of your posts address points I never made, even in passing:

While, as I said, hardly anybody is defending a position of completely open borders, any realist will recognise that you can't altogether stop immigration either. When tens of thousands are ready to cross the Sahara Desert on foot, and then brave stormy seas onboard rickety nutshells to make it to Malta, Sicily or the Canary Islands, it's pretty obvious there's little you can do to stop them, other than shooting them at the border (would you pull the trigger?). Immigration thus needs to be managed, and this implies allowing a measure of it. If anything, it's that sort of honesty about immigration that's sorely missing from the political debate in most European countries.

Finally, we should be grateful that we live in immigration countries. It means something if people are ready to repeatedly risk their lives to basically live from our scraps. We are fucking privileged, and we should be more aware of it.


Nowhere have I said or implied that we should stop all immigration, or not manage it, or not appreciate it and any other rubbish you may suppose, so I don't know what those passages are meant to address. If you address yourself to my posts, I'd appreciate it if you paid attention to what I actually wrote.
posted by VikingSword at 4:26 PM on June 9, 2009


Well, apparently protesters ran off the BNP party head... from his own acceptance speech, or something like that. Pelted him with tomatoes, etc.

To which I can only say "Good." And wish we'd do that more here in N.A.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:09 PM on June 9, 2009


Canada can't say much. First Nations relations count too.

Deportation to Bologna? SO there. Ciao bello!
posted by Salamandrous at 7:24 PM on June 9, 2009


Jesus Christ, Markb, are you on some period re-enactors' mission to revive all the bullshit arguments of the 1930s?
The reason everyone uses far right to describe the BNP is that's what they are


Ok, so educate me, since from the article linked by me above, I've taken the following (from the current manifesto);

"...the socialist element makes several appearances in the BNP manifesto. The word "worker" occurs 27 times. The BNP purports to champion British workers who lose their jobs to call centres in India, and believes it is "in the interest of the average British worker to minimize the supply and maximize the demand for his labor"... It naturally follows that "the BNP will not allow immigration to Britain and will implement the orderly repatriation of past immigrants", all in the interests of British workers, who will invest their savings in British industry in order to own "the means of production. … The BNP supports the gradual assumption of worker ownership through their pension funds."...There will be workers' co-operatives, share ownership, profit-sharing and management board places under a BNP government"

There's plenty more if you care to read the article.

Doesn't seem like the policy of a hard right organisation to me. The language used seems more reminicent of a communist manifesto.

I'm not trying to attack the left or the right, but I find it odd that a party that espouses such left-of-centre ideals allied to a racist agenda is called far-right. That said, I find it difficult to know what the BNP are all about, since discourse is drowned out in the clamour not to allow racists a platform.
In many ways I see the need for this, but in others I can't help wondering if there is a danger that by shutting down the discussion, we strengthen the position of the BNP by allowing them to appear to 'connect' with disaffected voters who feel they do have a grievance against non-whites (whether real or imagined) and who feel the mainstream parties aren't listening to them.

Like I say - educate me.
posted by Markb at 2:54 AM on June 10, 2009


VikingSword I find it quite incredible that I have to teach you about your own country's immigration policy, but those people from the Balkans were asylum seekers indeed:

The increasing flow of refugees prompted the government to rule that political asylum applications filed in December 1989 or later would be treated strictly in accordance with the 1951 Geneva Convention; humanitarian grounds for asylum would no longer be used. This marks the beginning of the fourth and most recent stage (1990 to present) of immigration to Sweden.

The timing of stricter asylum policy coincided with the collapse of the former Soviet Union and wars in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo. According to Statistics Sweden, the country received 208,700 asylum seekers between 1989 and 1993, of which 115,900 (56 percent) were from the former Yugoslavia and 43,000 (21 percent) were from the Middle East. Initially, practically all applications were approved.

By 1993, the number of refugees from Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, and Kosovo had grown so large that the government introduced visa requirements for persons coming from the former Yugoslavia. Since there was public support for assisting refugees from the Balkans, 50,000 asylum seekers (mainly from Bosnia-Herzegovina) were granted temporary residence without having their individual cases tried.

Today, immigrants continue to come from Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo through family reunification provisions. At the same time, asylum seekers have continued to come from Iraq, particularly since the US invasion in 2003.


Unless you mean family reunification by that, there is no such thing as "humanitarian immigration", certainly not in Sweden. Indeed, according to that link:

Beyond these types of deportations, the country's exceptionally restrictive immigration and asylum policies have been criticized by the Red Cross, Save the Children, and the Swedish Church. Together with Swedish Pen (an organization of writers, authors, and journalists who defend the freedom of the press) these organizations hosted a "tribunal" in the fall of 2005 to shift public opinion toward more open policies.


I'm all for debate. Informed debate. So please get your facts at least approximately right before pontificating on the fate of hundreds of thousands of people who've it much more difficult than yourself.

Regarding "thoughtcrime" hurdles to immigration, I first must say that I disagree with any law restricting freedom of speech beyond direct incitation to violence. However, I have to accept that those countries which have such laws have the right to deport foreigners who break the law, just as they also sanction natives.

You are however talking about banning immigrants who disagree with the law, even if they abide by it. To which I must answer that being free to disagree with the law and to campaign to change it is a fundamental tenet of an open, democratic society and of those "Enlightenment values". Which laws should be taboo for immigrants, anyway? I presume that you include gender equality laws, but what about, say, copyright laws? Should immigrants be banned from Sweden if they support the "Pirate Party"?

In fact, you don't want to ban immigrants who disagree with the law, or even with some undefined "Enlightenment values". You want to ban those who disagree with you, and that's the very definition of bigotry. What are you afraid of, anyway? That those immigrants may get all the laws banning female genital mutilation overturned? Are you really so insecure of your position on the matter that you can't rely on reason and democratic debate to maintain those laws? You can't be serious! If an immigrant performs such a mutilation or coerces a minor to have it performed, by all means, fall over that person with the full weight of the Swedish law, and kick him or her out of the country if possible. That's what the Rule of Law is for. But don't start screening people according to their personal opinions and preferences, or else you may find out that it's your own society which will ultimately lose out.
posted by Skeptic at 3:02 AM on June 10, 2009


Like I say - educate me.
Read up about the history of fascism and the historical context it emerged in, taking particular note of Strasserism, if you want to understand the desire to appear radical and anti-capitalist, but take them at their own word that they're a right-wing party.
posted by Abiezer at 3:10 AM on June 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


From your Wiki link;
Third Position groups, whose inspiration is generally more Italian in derivation, have often looked to Strasserism due to their strong opposition to capitalism. This was noted strongly in France where the student group Groupe Union Défense and the more recent Renouveau Français both extolled Strasserite economic platforms.
Attempts to reinterpret Nazism as having a left-wing base have also been heavily influenced by this school of thought, notably through the work of Povl Riis-Knudsen, who produced the Strasser-influenced work National Socialism: A Left-Wing Movement in 1984.


And from Riis-Knudsen's National Socialism: A Left-Wing Movement;

"It is a historical fact that nothing good has ever come out of the right wing. If it had not been for such revolutionaries as Copernicus, Kepler, Giordano Bruno and Galileo, we should still believe that the earth is flat and the center of the universe. When capitalism developed, the establishment made no attempt to solve the social problems resulting from the industrial revolution, but went on to exploit the new working class mercilessly— thus giving rise to revolutionary thoughts as expressed in Marxist ideology. And all the necessary and just social improvements we have seen during the past 100 years have only been introduced after hard pressure from the left wing, with right-wing conservatives in constant retreat, pitifully trying to preserve as much as possible for themselves."

So it appears to me there is an argument for both positions.

Perhaps National Socialism, racism etc. transcends traditional left and right thinking? Are all racists right wing? Not in my experience.
posted by Markb at 3:47 AM on June 10, 2009


So it appears to me there is an argument for both positions.
Only if you take a particular spectacular mis-reading of the history of fascism for what seems like a pedantic and tendentious desire to associate a right-wing party (as the BNP describes itself) with left-wing ideology.
Racism certainly isn't the exclusive preserve of people of one ideology, but racial nationalism is a right-wing position.
The point about Strasserism - and the BNP aren't a Strasserite party (though they include former Starasserites in their ranks IIRC) - was its early history; to show that during the rise of the Nazi Party in Germany they tolerated activists like the Strasser brothers because as the mass party was being built in the conditions of the time there was a need to appeal to working class discontent. Once that was no longer the case, this could be set aside for the Fuehrerprinzip extended to industry and the abandonment of any workerist rhetoric - i.e. the presence of such language in a manifesto at this stage of the BNP's development doesn't make them left-wing.
posted by Abiezer at 4:27 AM on June 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


Only if you take a particular spectacular mis-reading of the history of fascism for what seems like a pedantic and tendentious desire to associate a right-wing party (as the BNP describes itself) with left-wing ideology.

Not at all, as I said, educate me.
You suggested I start with a Wiki entry on Strasserism, I did and posted my conclusions from your link.

I don't have an axe to grind or a position to state, I'm not posting here to inflame or to try and push an agenda. If anything I'm simply trying to reconcile how a party that espouses views so closely worded to a communist manifesto can be labelled as right-wing.

If I read you correctly, you say this is a front to appeal to the disenfranchised 'worker' and will be dropped if any semblance of power were to be obtained? Yes?
posted by Markb at 5:40 AM on June 10, 2009


If anything I'm simply trying to reconcile how a party that espouses views so closely worded to a communist manifesto can be labelled as right-wing.
You could start by looking at the content and context of politics, not superficialities like vocabulary. Mere mention of the word worker doesn't make something a communist manifesto. Then to repeat for the third time, there's the BNP's own self-designation - why do you think they regard themselves as right wing?
My understanding is the workerist content of the BNP's programme is both a sop to those of their core cadre who do have a Strasserite or Third Position background, and also aimed at appealing to the disenfranchised Labour voters who are one of the groups they target. Also, Griffin has explicitly rejected national socialism in the sense of requiring core activists to break with any past Hitler fanboyism/fancy-dress Nazism and the like, in an attempt to bring the party into a mainstream and because it's seen as an impediment to realising the racial nationalist project which is the real core.
Whether they plan to keep the workerist positions if they ever get power I hesitate to say (not a mind-reader); and it's largely irrelevant. They'll never get power in their current form - they would, like historical fascism, have to get the nod from capital and would make whatever adjustments were necessary for that, I presume - and those would be unlikely to be pro-working class.
posted by Abiezer at 6:26 AM on June 10, 2009


Fascists talk about "workers" for the same reason communists do- they're both competing for the same demo.
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:30 AM on June 10, 2009


You could start by looking at the content and context of politics, not superficialities like vocabulary. Mere mention of the word worker doesn't make something a communist manifesto.

The content of their manifesto, whether deliberately or not uses content similar to a communist manifesto - that's not inperpretation, their manifesto is what they claim they stand for. So in this case, the vocabulary and wording they use (owning the means of production, worker's co-operatives etc.) is the only means to identify their politics - aside, as you say from their own description of themselves as a right wing party.

But aside from their own description, I fail to see, and you have failed to illustrate just what is 'Right' (in political terms) about their ideology. You tell me to read and look at context - yet I still don't see any tradtional right-wing tendencies - tight state control of the ecomomy, "personal private ownership" of businesses, restrictions on supermarkets and the like. All sounds closer to Marxism than Thatcherism.

I can call myself anything I like, but it doesn't make it so.
posted by Markb at 7:07 AM on June 10, 2009


Markb - the traditional description of fascism as being "right-wing" isn't about their economic policies - it's about their historic hatred for Communism (as a political movement) - the Big Lie conspiracy against the German people was by "Jews" and "Marxists." You're right that the NAZIs were more economically left-wing than Thatcher (check both out on the political compass). And when Mussolini sat the Fascist party in the Italian Parliament, he could have sat on either the extreme left or the extreme right - he chose the right. But at the same time, both parties explicitly positioned themselves as the enemies of Communism, and attacked members of communist parties, etc.

Of course, "left" and "right" wing date back to the French Revolution, when they weren't economic-policy labels either, but represented the split between more conservative (in the small-c sense of 'don't change stuff') and radical ('change stuff') sides of the revolution.

You're correct that Fascists are not conservatives - they are just as radical as Communists or Anarchists when it comes to changing political and religious mores, though they could be very conservative socially (ie gender and family relations). They got called "right-wing" at the time because they positioned themselves so violently against the socialists and Communists who then represented the left-wing aka radical wing of European Politics, with liberals and conservatives on the other side (wishing moderate or little change). As it was, the German and Italian Fascists backed Franco against the democratically elected Spanish Republic, and Franco was a truly conservative reactionary.

Some of this history has to do with the fact that Communism (the formal political movement of the early twentieth century, not just communalism) was explicitly anti-national in the pre-Stalinist period (it got more nationalist under Stalin). The BNP would never be "leftist" in the sense of being an ally of Communists, no matter how left-wing their economic policies might look, because most labelled left-wing political movements - Communists, Anarchists, even moderate Optimalist 'let's do what is best for economic and social development' lefties like myself - are against national distinctions which are the real life blood of a Nationalist/Racialist party like the BNP. (And from the fact that they have no problem with people who speak funny languages but have white skin, I would say that they are clearly Racialist, not Nationalist).
posted by jb at 7:48 AM on June 10, 2009


Just to reiterate how the history of "right" and "left" wing don't match contemporary American usage - note how the right-wing of the French Revolution were pro-Monarchy, pro-Aristocracy and pro-(powerful) Catholic Church. Now, Thatcher is a loyal British subject and does have a certain pro-Aristo streak in her, but Milton Friedman and other economically right-wing thinkers certainly do not. At the time of the French Revolution, left and right just represented your relationship to change - as I think it did c1920. After all, by that point free trade and market driven economic policy was the establishment - socialism or Communism were radical. But fascism came down in a more middling place on its economic policies, while they were also violently anti-Communist (esp in Germany - don't know the Italian history as well).
posted by jb at 7:57 AM on June 10, 2009


jb, that makes sense.
Historically fascists positioned themselves against the left, therefore were, by nature, far right.

It seems to me the BNP are against 'conventional' politics of both sides, and are neither right nor left, regardless of what they say or we claim them to be, since I can't see many traditional right wingers (whether moderate or extreme) agreeing with their stated ambitions of state control and shared ownership of the means of production, not to mention their racist agenda.
posted by Markb at 8:06 AM on June 10, 2009


It seems to me the BNP are against 'conventional' politics of both sides, and are neither right nor left...

More a tumor wrapped around the spine of nationalism.

(I still think you're excessively dignifying their position, Markb. Although the comments have been brilliant.)
posted by Jody Tresidder at 8:34 AM on June 10, 2009


Markb - be wary of what you think of as "right-wing". Conservatives (Churchillian or Thatcherite) aren't against state control, and never have been - they are actively supportive of strong militaries and powerful law and order regimes, control on immigration, restriction or control of family structures and sexual relations, etc. What you are identifying - a dislike of state interferance in the market specifically - is a part of post-Thatcher conservatism, and not universal (see Huckabee for a counter-example). Liberals, after all, were the supporters of free trade all throughout the 19th and early 20th century; in Britain, conservatives were on board by the twentieth century (because it was old by then), but not in other countries. Even today, Regan and Thatcher are identified by political scientists as economic liberals, while also as being social conservatives.

I agree with you that you can't simply place the BNP on a simple scale with Stalin at one end, and Milton Friedman at the other. But you can't put most political movements or philosophies on such a reductionist scale. There are anarchist leftists who want to destroy the state and all complex organisation in order to bring a communalist utopia of complete freedom and sharing (like kindergarten, only without the teacher, which makes me think it would just be a Sesame Street age Lord of the Flies), while there are authoritarian leftists who want the dictatorship of the prolitareate (where, in the case of Stalin, the prolitareate=Stalin and his state apparatus). There are authoritarian pro-market regimes (Putin), and non-authoritarian pro-market people (Ron Paul) - just as there are non-authoritarian moderate regimes which support both a free-market but also state regulation, some state owned services (especially around utilities) and a strong social safety net (Canada, large areas of Europe). I feel like recent Canadian governments, for example, have less authoritarian than the American or British governments due to their defense of individual marriage rights and the not locking people up for years on end without trial (though they have been ignoring their own citizens so abused), even as they have been more strict on financial regulation.

Classifying regimes or politics by their position on market-state relations is like classifying weather between tropical and arctic by temperature alone, with no regard to rainfall or any other factor. It's an important factor, but far from the only - and a temperate rainforest is a far cry from a temperate desert.

But back to the BNP: I've explained the historic reasons why they and others define them as "far-right". I agree that this is a bit of a mugs game - their economic policy looks to be centrist, probably protectionist, but also likely anti-union or worker's rights (unions are suspect to many nationalists, since they think people of all colours should get paid well, and tend to work for racial and ethnic integration). But their racial policies are clearly deeply reactionary and anti-progressive, and this is what makes a lot of people idenitfy them as "right wing" in the old European Politics sense of "don't like change" - they don't like that Britain is changing to become less racist.
posted by jb at 8:40 AM on June 10, 2009


I still think you're excessively dignifying their position

Yes, I can see that, however I suppose one thing I am wary of when it comes to the BNP, is the closing down of discussion on the BNP in the public domain by the media and the politicians.
In the run up to the European elections, the soundbites from conventional politicians seemed to suggest that they were a huge threat to democracy, but that to discuss why (other than calling them racist) was verboten. Afterwards, the votes cast in favour of the BNP were dismissed as merely a protest vote against the political scandals that dogged the main parties in the run up to the election - that the people voting for them didn't really understand who they were voting for.

I feel this approach conveys on them a mystique, and an anti-establishment glamour that probably wouldn't exist if only their spokespoeple were allowed to speak for themselves. If they were given a platform, put into serious debate with the likes of Paxman they'd be shown up for the shallow, simple-minded racists they are, as opposed to the persecuted voice of reason they claim to be.

Moreover, if the reason people voted for the BNP was because they actually do have racist views, and they agree with the policies, this has been lost and the chance to address what drives people in this direction has been missed - with potentially worrying consequences.

jb - I see what you mean about Conservatism and control, but I guess I see a Labour government that over the last 12 years has become even more authoritarian than Thatcher in many respects. I think I'm possibly associating Conservatism with a more Libertarian viewpoint, which is patently isn't, less so with Cameron at the helm.
But if the BNP policies on race are 'against change' (and I agree this is the case, in fact I'd go as far as to say they're regressive, since they seem to have an idea that the racial mix of the UK was acceptable before 1948), their social and ecomonic policies seem revolutionary (in the truest sense, Russia 1917) and I suppose I can't see the correlation.

I do however agree that global politics can no longer be seen in terms of 'left' and 'right' in the old sense, maybe we need a new language of politics which reflects the diversity in dogma.
posted by Markb at 9:14 AM on June 10, 2009


I don't think that their social policies are revolutionary - how different are they from the mixed public-private system Britain had in the post-war period? I'm better on my 17th century British economic history than 20th, but weren't there some very significant publically controlled/owned industries in Britain before economic liberalisation?

And how socially revolutionary are they? The 1917 revolutionaries wanted to overturn the nature of society itself, completely change the relationship not just between labour and production, but between the individual and property and the individual and the family (okay, some of this I'm getting from critiques like Zamyatin's We, but there were some pretty crazy ideas about in Communism through the 20th century). I don't see the BNP being anywhere near there - they don't want to stop people owning homes, owning property, having nuclear families. Rather they seem to be economically conservative in a manner which I have seen in Canada as well - a desire to return to the status quo c1960 in terms of the relationships between government and industry.
posted by jb at 10:06 AM on June 10, 2009


Markb and jb, IMHO opinion, the one thing that sets apart far right and far left is not just that they hate each other's guts (after all, so do orthodox Communists, Trotskyites, Maoists, and Anarchists, and they are all considered "far left"), but the fact that the far right, for all its purported concern for "workers", explicitly rejects the concept of "class struggle". Indeed, you'll hardly hear a genuine fascist, even a Strasserite, speak of "working class". For them, "workers" is a broad term that includes all income levels. That makes them economically corporatist, that is, they believe in a close alliance between an economic elite (who are also "workers", even if they may be millionaire captains of industry) and the state.

I'm not going to dignify the idea of "class struggle", which has also led to wholesale murder (see the persecution of the "kulaks" in the early Soviet Union, or the Cultural Revolution in China). However, what earned the far right the support of important industrialists (Ford, Krupp, etc.) in the early 20th century, was precisely their rejection of "class struggle" and adoption of "race struggle" as a means of venting the frustration of the dispossessed. We know where that ended...
posted by Skeptic at 11:15 AM on June 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm not going to dignify the idea of "class struggle"

It's only acceptable to acknowledge the existence of class warfare when the poor win.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:18 AM on June 10, 2009


Very good points, Skeptic - especially about replacing class struggle with race struggle.

Pope Guilty - it isn't denial to find a concept like "class struggle" not very useful to understanding society and history, and indeed often a means to scapegoat one class (like landowners or aristocrats) for complex systemic problems that we are all part of. Of course, the upper class are more powerful than we are (that's why we call them the upper class) - but the solution isn't to just dispossess them or kill them all, which usually just ends up with a new ruling "Red" ruling class. The solution to social inequality is to a) acknowledge that social inequality is the problem, not social mobility or who is at the top (aristocrat or meritocrat) and b) take active steps towards reducing social inequality like promoting more equal wages and living conditions for all in society.
posted by jb at 11:35 AM on June 10, 2009


jb the solution isn't to just dispossess them or kill them all, which usually just ends up with a new ruling "Red" ruling class.

You probably know the old Soviet joke: "Capitalism is the exploitation of Man by his fellow Man. Communism is just the opposite". See also: G. Orwell, "Animal Farm"
posted by Skeptic at 12:01 PM on June 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


You don't have to dispossess or kill the rich to be accused of class warfare. All you have to do is observe that the ownership class exists.
posted by Pope Guilty at 1:39 PM on June 10, 2009


I see this has moved on while I was asleep.
I meant what I said about reading about the historical trajectory of far right parties in Europe rather than taking BNP manifesto commitments at face value - you have Griffin himself on camera talking about how they'll package racial nationalism for public consumption. (There's a longer version of that video without the BBC framing which I can't locate atm)
That said, I agree with Markb that it's counter-productive to to just shout "racist" and not confront the BNP on the political issues in the areas they're getting votes.
I wouldn't place much hope in Paxman exposing them though, he took pretty much the former approach, which Griffin is well equipped to handle having heard it a thousand times before - note this video of the interview is posted by a BNP supporter.
posted by Abiezer at 3:52 PM on June 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


Skeptic, I already asked you once to stop making up shit, and address what I actually wrote. Yet, you continue to make up things I never said. If you want to speak to a strawman, go ahead, but stop addressing your posts to me.

In fact, you don't want to ban immigrants who disagree with the law, or even with some undefined "Enlightenment values". You want to ban those who disagree with you, and that's the very definition of bigotry.

Where did I say I wanted to "ban" immigrants on any grounds at all? Please cite the specific passage in context. I did no such thing.

Where did I say - or imply - that I wanted to ban "those who disagree with me"? Please cite exactly where I did that.

And re:"disagree with me" - what position exactly is that? I took no position whatsoever, except to call for more dialogue, and the advisability of having discussions to gain a consensus, whatever that consensus may be. Show me what position, other than advocating discussion, did I take? Please specify the exact passage.

You are however talking about banning immigrants who disagree with the law, even if they abide by it.

Where did I advocate banning people who disagree with the law or any other grounds? Cite the passage, with context. I advocated that a discussion be held, because I believe broad national consensus must be reached in order to avoid popular support for right-wing racist parties. Show me where I said anything other than that - a link to the post please, with citation.

What are you afraid of, anyway? That those immigrants may get all the laws banning female genital mutilation overturned? Are you really so insecure of your position on the matter that you can't rely on reason and democratic debate to maintain those laws?

Where did I say I was afraid of any immigrant on any grounds? Please show me the specific passage where I expressed that fear. I pointed out that if we reach the consensus that all immigrants regardless of views must be admitted (and note, I'm not stating my position on the advisability of such admittance criteria one way or another), then we must publicly state that f.ex. genital mutilation advocates will be admitted to the country. Where do I express fears? I advocate open discussion and informing the public. Show me exactly where I express fear.

As to immigration on humanitarian grounds - this is a red herring and derail, which you insist on pursuing. I used the term immigration on humanitarian grounds, to distinguish it from other immigration, such as labor. The term has been used - as can be seen in your very link, and I can quote this passage:

Many of these people were granted asylum on humanitarian grounds. This allowed the immigration authorities to appease liberal critics who felt that Sweden was not doing enough to live up to its commitments to the UN. By not recognizing these asylum seekers as UN Convention refugees, they did not enjoy the full rights to protection as written in the convention. Instead, Swedish authorities interpreted "humanitarian grounds" without having to follow international conventions. Consequently, the authorities could change their interpretations if necessary.

My point was very simple: that most reasonable people accept immigration on humanitarian grounds (in addition to regular immigration, such as labor immigration). Since that term has been used to describe such immigration, I am fully within my rights to use it (and I support it).

So you can go argue with yourself and your strawman. When you are ready to actually address what I wrote, instead of garbage you made up, then I'll respond to that. Or do you prefer to make up things just so you can argue? Because if so, I'm not going to let you get away with that.
posted by VikingSword at 3:52 PM on June 10, 2009


From Channel 4 News Who voted BNP and why?
posted by Abiezer at 5:21 PM on June 10, 2009


Labour got what it deserved – and so did the BNP - sterling analysis from the Independent Working Class Association
posted by Abiezer at 1:53 PM on June 12, 2009


An open letter to Nick Griffin, Chairman of the BNP and MEP for North West England from the The Royal British Legion
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 8:01 AM on June 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


Finally, BNP racism is challenged
posted by Artw at 2:33 PM on June 24, 2009


I think that's a terrible and counter-productive approach Artw - comes across as sweeping them under the carpet by bureaucratic means rather than tackling any of the underlying issues, and will only strengthen their critique of the political status quo. Even if it succeeds in doing something about the party in its current form (which I highly doubt), they'll be back straight away having made whatever adjustments the law requires (their whole recent track record has been of concealment and adaptation). They have to be defeated politically.
posted by Abiezer at 2:48 PM on June 24, 2009


« Older Parts 1, 2, 3 of a 1959 interview with philosopher...  |  Morisawa Fontpark... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments