by George Whale and Michael Wood
In Britain, the chasm between mainstream political opinion on the one side, and public opinion on the other, now gapes so wide that not even the staunchest party supporters can any longer skirt around it. Tim Montgomerie, editor of the ConservativeHome website, best summed up the situation in a BBC radio interview a while back:
I think there are a huge number of issues now where the main political parties in Parliament all think the same – Europe, the war in Afghanistan, prisons, climate change – there’s a whole range of issues where the public may have different views from the MPs but no mainstream party represents them.
The roots of the liberal consensus in Parliament and public estrangement from politics may be deep and tangled, but perhaps part of the problem is the remoteness of today’s professional politicians from normal life. Addressing the specific issue of immigration, newspaper columnist Peter Hitchens – old-fashioned Tory and fierce critic of the party’s leftward lurch under David Cameron – recently commented:
… the modernised Tory Party, just like its New Labour twin, actively favours large-scale migration. Rich young careerists in pleasant parts of London – who form the core of all our establishment parties – couldn’t function without the cheap servants and cheap restaurants that immigration brings.
Not for them the other side of immigration – the transformation of familiar neighbourhoods into foreign territory. Not for them the schools where many pupils cannot speak English, and the overloaded public services. Not for them the mosque and the madrassa where the church and the pub used to be.
A report published 28 February 2011 by the Searchlight Education Trust confirms the existence of a substantial – hitherto all but invisible – section of the British electorate comprising people who are worried about the nation’s continuing transformation, but find themselves politically disenfranchised, stranded between the mainstream parties and those at the nationalist fringe.
Fear & Hope describes a survey carried out by polling organisation Populus, who asked 5,054 people 91 questions on faith, ethnicity and national identity. Billed as “the most systematic study of contemporary attitudes to race, identity, nationhood and extremism available in England”, it found that:
• the English are sceptical of multiculturalism and deeply resentful of mass immigration
• they fear extremist Islam
• Black and Asian groups share these concerns
• negativity about immigration is linked to economic pessimism
• the British National Party (BNP) “is in decline” and there is “a limit to the potential growth” of the English Defence League (EDL)
• most people are traditional rather than “progressive”
• the vast majority reject political violence
• there is “popular support for a non-violent and non-racist” nationalist political party.
The report speaks of “an assertive nationalism”, of “a new politics built around… identity, culture and nationhood which transcends both an older class politics and even more recent debates around demographics and immigration”.
The British Freedom Party
It was in response to the need for a nationalism untainted by racialism and street violence that British Freedom was founded last year. Both of the authors of this article are members of the new party.
The party takes inspiration from popular freedom parties in Austria, Switzerland, Italy and elsewhere, but especially Geert Wilders’ PVV in the Netherlands, which with 24 MPs is poised to turn back the tide of enforced immigration, to confront Islamic militancy, and to challenge the political elites who seem intent on that nation’s destruction.
Like its European counterparts, British Freedom espouses cultural nationalism, as opposed to ethnic nationalism. We believe that national identity derives primarily from the integration of individuals and communities into an established culture, their acceptance of and allegiance to the rich set of customs, values, political procedures, laws and understandings handed down by tradition.
We know that cultural and social integration is achievable, because so many have already achieved it. Integrated immigrant communities provide the strongest evidence of the essentially cultural character of Britishness. Because for every Muslim bomb-maker or honour killer living in Britain, countless numbers of his co-religionists are working hard, learning our language and history, paying taxes, obeying the law, raising families and doing their best to fit in.
Similarly, for every chippy East London ‘gangsta’ who likes to mug white people for a living, there are countless others from the same part of town and from the same racial background who work, study, fix up their cars, take their girlfriends to the movies and play Sunday morning soccer on Hackney Marshes.
The difference between the law-breakers and the law-keepers, the hostile and the integrated, is primarily cultural. Culture and race are connected, but they are evidently separable.
A common characteristic among successful integrators is that, through immersion in our culture, they come to acquire a strongly British self-identity, a type of patriotism that is comparable, though not identical, to that of indigenous Britons – more so when family roots in this country are generations deep.
We in the Freedom Party believe that the resolution of present problems lies not in some dream of restoring Britain’s postwar racial balance (however desirable that may seem, it is impossible), but in distinguishing between destructive and constructive people and forces in society, dealing robustly with the former and strongly incentivising the latter.
Unlike liberals, we do not deny ethnicity as an important component of self-identity, national identity and historical continuity. Neither do we deny that bringing so many races together in a small island has created terrible difficulties, or that native Britons seethe with anger at the unwanted changes wrought on their communities by mass immigration. And that is why one of British Freedom’s main migration policy demands is an immediate halt to further immigration.
We define ourselves in terms of a traditional pro-Britain attitude, an attitude that informs all of our policies: economic policies that emphasise the revitalisation of industries in which Britain has traditionally excelled; agricultural, energy, environmental and defence policies geared towards national self-sufficiency and independence; crime and justice policies that seek to restore traditional practices of policing, deterrence and punishment; health policies that prioritise treatment for British citizens; and education policies that emphasise traditional competencies as well as academic freedom and rigour.
Cultural nationalism versus ethnic nationalism
Ironically, the British Freedom Party owes its existence to the anti-nationalist establishment. Under the UK’s Equality Act, which forced racial and ethno-nationalist parties to amend offending clauses in their constitution related to membership criteria and objectives, Culture is not one of the 7 grounds listed under the Act that are unlawful when used as direct or indirect discrimination. Therefore, by ramming this vexatious act through the British Parliament, the establishment opened the door to a nationalism that is potentially far more dynamic and certainly more populist than its race-centric or ethno-centric counterparts.
British ethno-nationalism is underpinned, rationalised and justified by the ‘indigenous argument’. The BNP’s one major victory was to force establishment figures, mainstream politicians and journalists to define sections of the British populace as the ‘indigenous population’, thereby recognising and legitimising core ethno-nationalist arguments, in the face of ignorant claims that the UK is a ‘mongrel nation’ – which is in itself an attempt to psychologically divorce the indigenous population from its ancestral homelands.
However, we find that most of the support for parties such as the BNP is policy-orientated, and not ideological, demonstrating that the support isn’t ‘getting their message’ and can quite easily switch over to parties that offer the same populist policies – EU withdrawal, an end to mass immigration – without any ideological hurdles.
Nick Griffin’s BNP was quick to dismiss the English Defence League as a tool of the state. This proclamation should be taken with a large pinch of salt. The BNP, prior to the emergence of the EDL, held the monopoly in the anti-Islamisation quarter. It’s no secret that Nick Griffin looked upon the rise of the EDL with jealousy, and even going as far as to suggest that the BNP resurrect the street activities that the party abandoned in the late 90s, in an effort to halt the haemorrhaging of support.
Poll results tell us that the core policies of the BNP are very popular, but when these policies are attached to the BNP name, the support falls significantly, because of the historical baggage carried by a party that has tried to change its spots over the last decade, but has failed to dispose its most high profile purveyor, Nick Griffin. Therefore, the BNP under its current leader has its national vote share ceilinged at 5%, not enough to win a single seat in the parliament which holds the key to withdrawal from the European Union.
The decline of the British National Party and the rise of the English Defence League are probably related. But for all the EDL’s noise and visibility, and its skill in mobilising sectors of the disaffected working class, it looks an unlikely candidate to rescue Britain from the triple scourge of mass immigration, multiculturalism and globalisation.
For one thing, the League is not a political party; for another, it isn’t much concerned with issues other than “militant Islam”; and for a third, it doesn’t appeal to most people, largely because of its suspected links to soccer hooliganism. Mr and Mrs Middle England – if we may so designate traditional, patriotic voters – would no more think of participating in an “E-E-EDL” chant at some raucous street rally than of inviting Nick Griffin and his twin rottweilers to Sunday lunch.
Britain has a proud record of defending freedom through many of the darkest periods of European history. But the systematic undermining of national self-confidence by the ruling elite has eroded our capacity to oppose the nation’s dismantling.
For us to retain our distinctive identity, which has both cultural and ethnic components, requires decisive action to stop the tide of immigration, to reverse the handover of powers to the European Union and other undemocratic, supranational interests, and to restore British values, traditions and freedoms to the centre of public life.
To achieve this requires political power, which in turn requires broad popular support. That is why the British Freedom Party welcomes patriots of all backgrounds. Our inclusiveness, in terms of class, race and age, distinguishes us from other comparable parties, for example UKIP (the UK Independence Party), which is fundamentally a single-issue party appealing to older, middle class people.
We provide common ground for all those who feel betrayed by establishment parties, for “people who strongly resent the direction their country has taken” (to borrow Colin Liddell’s phrase), including traditional Conservatives, disaffected heartland Labour voters, pragmatists from other nationalist groupings, and patriotic minorities.
British Freedom is a moderate party founded on principles of cultural nationalism. We present populist policies within a nationalist ideological framework, but without focussing on ethno-centric objectives and policies, because it’s our belief that indigenous ethnic interests are best presented by a non-partisan ‘civil rights’ organisation.
About the authors
George Whale is a research administrator and former software engineer and print specialist. He has a Ph.D. in creative cognition from Loughborough University, UK, and currently lives and works in Glasgow, Scotland.
Michael Wood is a nationalist of 10 years’ standing, and a member of the Executive Council of the British Freedom Party. He has degrees in Marine Biology, Geology and Physical Geography from Cardiff University and works as a Spokesman.