Warsi was right to link UKIP with the BNP

Sayeeda Warsi, co-chair of the Conservative Party, was last night brave enough to note a link between the BNP and UKIP. She pointed out that UKIP candidates are standing in areas where the BNP had previously stood, implying that they can draw on the same sort of support.

She triggered a storm of anger, including an abusive Twitter message from a leading member of UKIP (who thus made himself sound more like a far-right thug, rather than less), for which he later apologised.

Warsi was right to make the point. I hope she will not back down. All she has done is to state the obvious: two parties on the same end of the British political spectrum may well attract sympathy from the same voters.

She could go further. Two years ago, ahead of the last general election, I wrote an article comparing the stated policies of the BNP and UKIP. I found even more similarities than I had expected.

It is true that UKIP do not share the BNP’s obsession with ethnicity, and this is important. It is also true that the BNP are more statist and that UKIP are basically ultra-Thatcherite in economic terms. In other areas, their policies are very, very similar.

They are both strongly anti-immigration, anti-European, anti-multicultural and pro-military spending. They both deny the reality of climate change. Like totalitarian regimes, they both want to make laws about what people are allowed to wear in public (by banning niqabs). They both make comments on the niqab and on multiculturalism that whip up fear and prejudice against Muslims. They both want biased history teaching that portrays the British Empire in a positive light (this is explicit in their policies).  They both support “workfare”. And they both want extreme, punitive approaches to law and order.

It’s not that Warsi went too far. She didn’t go far enough. Because one far-right party includes middle class ex-Tories with a polite manner, that doesn’t make it any more acceptable than the other one.

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3 responses to “Warsi was right to link UKIP with the BNP

  1. What on earth is far right about punishing criminals or denying climate change? I disagree personally with the second one, but it does not make them far right. Nor does making people work for their benefits.

    UKIP’s website does not say anything positive about the British empire, just that it would require the teaching of British history. And the burqa ban is just about ending religious exemptions. You wouldn’t be allowed to wear a balaclava in a bank, would you?

    • Thanks for your comment, Geo. Doubling prison places (still stated UKIP policy) in a country with one of the highest prison populations in Europe is undoubtedly a right-wing approach. UKIP’s education policy make clears that they want to promote a pro-imperial view of British history, despite the British Empire being one of the most vicious regimes in history. Forced labour without pay is indeed a far-right position. The fact that it’s now being taken up by Cameron and Clegg is a sign of how far to the right Britain is being taken. Climate change deniers are nearly all on the far right (although accept that not all of them are). Their fantasy approach would benefit only the rich who profit from destructive industries.

      It’s been drawn to my attention that the ban on the niqab (I assume this is what you mean by “burqa”) is no longer UKIP policy, so even they’ve realised that it’s not appropriate for democracies to regulate people’s clothing. However, when the policy existed, it did not apply only to banks but to public life generally. It would have banned the niqab in the street, an outrageous assault on free expression. Incidentally, as a supporter of freedom of dress, I would also object to a bank preventing people from wearing balaclavas.

  2. Typical Leftist drivel – you use right wing as a negative connitation here. What is wrong with a pro-British view of history for once? People are fed up of being told its racist to be patriotic of your country or your people or your history. It’s a joke now the history that is taught in schools, in other countries – America and Russia for instance – they proudly teach the good things their country has done, here it is not the same. Not all the British Empire was bad, you should actually research and see what the places were like before and after British rule, they were infinetly a lot worse. Do you support the right then for people to walk the street naked? After all nudists should have a right to do that? Hell, lets scrap all laws and let people do whatever the hell they want, right? So glad the majority of this country don’t believe in this leftist drivel that we’re constantly exposed to.

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