I am quite fond of Harry’s Place, philosemitic blog of the Decent Left. The main contributors pass the Israel test with flying colours, care about free speech and are good at ferreting out misdeeds of what they call “Islamists”. They remain in denial about Islam, however, preferring to believe that the many “extremist” groups and groupuscules they uncover do not represent true Islam. Secularist to a man – and the absence of female posters may be one reason they cannot see the full horror of Islam – they think that because all religions are equally fanciful, they are equally harmless.
Recently, Harry’s Place has been very exercised by the rise in support for the British National Party (BNP), which is set to pick up a lot of votes in the forthcoming European Elections. Many readers, myself included, have pointed out that this is not because Britain is getting more racist, but because people believe the mainstream parties are failing to tackle the threat of Islam. When challenged to explain why Hindus and Sikhs (the same race as most UK Muslims) do not arouse such hostility, the Harry’s Place writers have no answer. The problem, as Will Cummins so succinctly put it, is the black heart of Islam, not its black face.
Blogs and websites such as ours, have been saying this for years, but it is good to see a mainstream publication, The Spectator, touching on it, although the editor Fraser Nelson is not as explicit as he might be:
The far Right’s historic mistake was to advertise its racism — a prejudice which does not much animate the British working class in the early 21st century. Research shows just 20 per cent of working-class Brits believe that being white is an ‘important factor’ in being British; among the young, the suggestion that national identity is dependent upon a particular ethnicity is regarded as simply bizarre rather than obnoxious. Studies show that the BNP derives no electoral advantage from an influx of Indian settlers to a neighbourhood, and do badly in areas where there are many Britons of Afro-Caribbean descent. It is in places with Bangladeshi and Pakistani communities — that is, Muslim areas — that the BNP does well. Its focus there is not how people look, but how some act.
The trick is to take the minority of veiled or bearded Muslims as a proxy for Islam as a whole. If a (mainly white) local authority bans Christmas lights, so much the better for the BNP. This is why the mill towns of the North are now proving more fertile ground than the London suburbs — and this is why Griffin has chosen the North West to stand in.
The BNP presents a conundrum for the Conservatives. They argue that the BNP prospers in neglected Labour fiefdoms and is best regarded as the beneficiary of a left-wing splinter vote. Yet there is no denying that Margaret Thatcher destroyed the National Front by showing herself sensitive to the cultural anxieties of whites who felt ‘swamped’, never coming close to the incendiary rhetoric of Enoch Powell but using plain language which spoke directly to working-class voters. Suddenly, people like Mrs Higham in her council house felt they had a tribune — and no need of the far Right parties.
I am staunchly opposed to the BNP, as I have made clear on many occasions, at New English Review and elsewhere. Their whites-only policy would see the likes of Ibn Warraq and Ayaan Hirsi Ali “voluntarily” repatriated, while white Muslim convert Yvonne Ridley is not even barred from party membership. Nick Griffin, the party leader, is a Holocaust-denier. Their policies other than racism – real racism, not the manufactured kind – are statist, if not Socialist. (People forget all too easily the Socialist part of National Socialism.) They have nothing to offer. But nor are they the threat that Harry’s Place sees. Any party that addressed people’s concerns about immigration and the rise of Islam could easily beat them.
Fight Islam, and fight the BNP. Go on, UKIP, you can do it.