Kipperwatch! Mark Reckless and UKIP: more extreme than the BNP

reckless farage and carswell

Tomorrow, on Thursday 20th November, the people of Rochester & Strood will be voting in a by-election caused by the defection from the Conservatives to UKIP, and subsequent resignation.

Asked yesterday at a hustings about what would happen to the exemplar Polish plumber who had lived and worked in the UK for years, this was Mark Reckless’ response:

I think in the near term we’d have to have a transitional period, and I think we should probably allow people who are currently here to have a work permit at least for a fixed period.

That, ladies and gentlemen, is a repatriation policy. Immigrants who have made their home in the UK, who work and who contribute to the tax take (and, statistically, immigrants claim less in benefits than do UK citizens) and who have been here for years, would be allowed to stay temporarily, before being forced to move on. Presumably herded onto planes and sent back to Poland, in the mind of Reckless and his leader Farage.

If that sounds familiar and far-right, then that’s because it is. The BNP have long had a similar policy of repatriation, though actually the one voiced by Reckless is more extreme. The BNP at least claimed that theirs would be voluntary:

The BNP will introduce a system of voluntary resettlement whereby immigrants and their descendants are afforded the opportunity to return to their lands of ethnic origin, assisted by generous financial incentives both for individuals and for the countries in question.

So there you go. UKIP are borrowing BNP policies and churning them out more extreme, more right-wing, and even nastier. Next time a Kipper gets all upset at being associated with fascists, remind them of this.

No Platform for Racist Men?

Today's EDL protest march in Brighton was met with an overwhelming counter-protest by anti-fascist groups.

What do we do about far-right, neo-fascist groups, campaigning to bring down our democracy and our society from the inside?

It seems a particularly pertinent question at the moment, for a number of reasons. Firstly the leader of the France’s Front National, Marine Le Pen, looks to have achieved around a fifth of the vote in the first round of the French presidential election. Secondly, a “March for England” held by EDL supporters in Brighton was met by an overwhelming counter-protest by anti-fascist groups. And thirdly, though a little out of date now, Ken Livingstone dramatically quit the BBC’s London Mayoral debate in protest at the inclusion of the BNP candidate, leading to all of the other candidates apart from independent candidate Siobhan Benita to follow him.

The BNP themselves are, really, a dying force in this country. Sadly, this form of racist far-right politics isn’t. The EDL still seems to be able to draw people from the outskirts of society to its flag. Partly I think that this is due to the difficult times, and the attractiveness of finding a scapegoat.

There is a long-standing tradition of “no platform” policies when it comes to fascist parties and candidates, with the NUS as I recall being particularly tenacious when it comes to theirs. I understand the reasoning behind it: that to accept and debate with such policies is to legitimise them.

I’ve always felt a little uncomfortable around this. For example, when Nick Griffin appeared on the BBC’s flagship political debate program Question Time, anti-fascist protesters caused havoc outside the studio. At the time I was embarrassed about this, and on reflection I still am. As it was, Griffin was soundly bested in the debate.

Did the protesters outside not think that he would be? Did they think that if given a platform he would work a Hitler-esque hypnotism and have us all Nazi saluting as he goose-stepped into Downing Street? I think that shows a lack of faith in our own arguments.

The thing is that the ideology that the far-right espouses is intellectually bankrupt. That the true British people (read “white”) are superior to [insert convenient category of “different” people here] is clearly nonsense. It will always attract a limited number of supporters, because there will always be those who want someone to blame for their bad luck, and think they see someone who they can pick on.

The EDL came to Maidenhead last year. It wasn’t apocalyptic, it wasn’t a great disaster, but it was a massive inconvenience. It was deliberately timed to coincide with a major family and community event, for maximum disruption, and it was staffed by people bused in from outside the area. It was met by a counter-protest by local Islamic groups, which was counter-productive to be honest. It was clear that nobody but the occasional nutter supported the march.

One of the things I resent is the corollary of Unite Against Fascism and the like, that if we don’t actively declare ourselves against these morons we must be for them. I’d argue that the opposite is true, and that this mentality belies the fact that they command only a bare minority of support.

In the local elections, I’m not standing against a BNP candidate, or anyone from the National Front, English Democrats, or any variation thereupon. I wasn’t last year, either. What would I do if I was? I couldn’t say for absolute certain until it happened, but honestly I think I trust my own beliefs, ideology and arguments enough to take them on directly.

Tin-Foil Linings


The Barnsley by-election results beg even more an answer to the question, "What is the point of Nick Clegg?"

This morning is wonderfully sunny in Brighton, and I think for left-wingers and Labourites across the country, the whole day will have that character.


I am, of course, referring to last night’s by-election victory in Barnsley, which saw the frankly impressive Dan Jarvis elected to replace the disgraced Eric Illsley. Dan’s success isn’t in any way surprising, in a safe Labour seat (though I do think Dan would have done well in any seat), but what is especially heartening is the fares of other parties. I’ll reproduce the full results below, as they’re just so damn amusing:

  • Dan Jarvis (Lab) 14,724 – 60.8%
  • Jane Collins (UKIP) 2,953 – 12.9%
  • James Hockney (C) 1,999 – 8.25%
  • Enis Dalton (BNP) 1,463 – 6.04%
  • Tony Devoy (Ind) 1,266 – 5.23%
  • Dominic Carman (LD) 1,012 – 4.18%
  • Kevin Riddiough (Eng Dem) 544
  • Howling Laud Hope (Loony) 198
  • Michael Val Davies (Ind) 60

Turnout 36.5%

(Source BBC News)

Yes, you read that correctly. 4.18% of the vote to the Liberal Democrats. Sixth place. Glorious, no?

I know it isn’t funny, that they came below the BNP, but on many levels it is. I might be worried if it wasn’t such a safe Labour seat, but there was never any chance of UKIP or the BNP winning, so why not enjoy them sticking the boot into Clegg and friends.

At any rate, the yellow vote has utterly collapsed in Barnsley, dumping them below the 5% threshold which sees them lose their deposit. Any government party can expect to fare less favourably in a by-election (God knows that Labour had enough bad ones), but this is landmark. Already Lib Dems are making excuses that the turnout was low, that their voters simply stayed at home. Possible, but it’s far more likely that those who voted Lib Dem at the general election are so disgusted with the party’s behaviour since entering office, that they politically withheld their vote, or switched to Labour (the only left-wing, progressive party left in British politics).

It’s a humiliating endorsement for the Lib Dem leadership, that they were so heavily punished in an area that will be most damaged by the cuts which have, by and large, yet to come into effect. This is the start of something that the government are denying; that people are not going to sit and accept ideological cuts to the poorest in society. With the local elections coming up in May, and the Lib Dem’s large council base, the party must be really starting to worry.

Still, there’s a silver lining to every cloud. Or, perhaps more aptly in this case, a tin-foil lining; at least they beat the Monster Raving Loonies… There there, Clegg.