Thursday, 30 March 2017

Some Lessons from Nationalism in Britain

Recently I was speaking with a man who is quite knowledgeable on the subject of British politics and in particular British Nationalists politics. Here I am going to point out what he told me about the good and the bad, what worked and what did not work. The talk concerned two groups, the National Front (1970's-80's) and the British National Party (1990's-2010).

The National Front came to prominence in Britain in the 1970's because of it's street marches. But like all marches the Left disagrees with they reacted violently and attacked the marches. So the National Front fought back and this attracted people to the marches that only came to fight. That lead to an attitude within the National Front that street fighting with the Left was the aim of the National Front. Others within the movement disagreed and argued that the aim was the same as any other political party, political power. And as they lived within a Democracy that they should seek to gain political power through the ballet box.

The National Front developed a number of different ideas to counter the violence from the Left. They organised clean up events where they picked up litter and sort to make a good impression on the locals, which the Left found hard to attack as they found it hard to justify to themselves attacking people picking up litter. They would organise multiple meetings on the same night so the Left could only disrupt one or two meetings as they simply didn't have the numbers to do anything more. They also organised training sessions, particularly to train people in writing newletters and newspaper articles. This training consisted of how to write, what you should write and what you should not write. These newsletters and newspapers (the parties own newspaper) was then sold to people who they door knocked. Door knocking was a way to let ordinary people see that the National Front were just normal people by physically knocking on their door and talking to them. Asking about their concerns, telling them about the concerns of the National Front and if they were interested in buying a newspaper. Regular newspaper sales allowed the National Front to gauge how much support they had in any given area.

Unfortunately, while the National Front was good at strategy they were not very good at organisation. In the 1980's it split between those who were interested in fighting the Left on the streets and those who wanted a normal political party, but without each other the two groups became too small to have any effect and by 1990 they were a spent force.

In it's place came the British National Party who sort to be a purely political party and to gain political power through the ballot box. The Party was organised to have a strong leader with a council who advised him and supported him. This structure worked well with a leader who wanted independent advice and who was interested in being only the first among equals. However the structure did not work as well when the leader was only interested in confirming his own opinion.

The British National Party were more successful than the National Front electorally as it concentrated on local councils. But as the party was a top down organisation it put everything into the hands of the leader. The concerns and opinions of the ordinary members didn't mean much in that environment. The structure was upside down, instead of having a strong broad base the party was instead like a pyramid balanced on it's tip. Everything depended on the leader and over time it also wore him down. It very much reminded me of One Nation here in Australia.

While the BNP were very organised they overreached electorally as they sort to contest too many seats and lost. What that meant was that they did not do enough work in the areas where they stood a good chance but instead spread it around without having much effect. They discouraged good local candidates by sending them out to fight battles they couldn't win and they bankrupted the party. This is true in life, business, Government and politics, do not spend money you do not have and unfortunately the BNP did. They believed they had money coming in after the election that never arrived. Today while the party still exists it is a spent force.

I support Britain remaining British without question so it is sad that people who support such an outcome have seen so much defeat and to be honest much of it self inflicted. However when I look at my own country I do not see anything comparable to either of these groups, even though things are moving in the right direction. I hope people look at this and see the things that they did well and the things that they did not do well. Seek to emulate the good and reject the bad.

One final note that was made was that a Democratic candidate should not start to campaign when the campaign begins, he should already be well known in the area. The time of the official campaign is too short a time period in which to gain prominence. Good advice there!

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  1. Interesting. It's a pity that nothing like the FN in France took hold in the UK.

  2. Trying to achieve anything through the ballot box is probably impossible unless you have at least some supporters (or at least sympathisers) in the institutions that matter - the media, academia, the bureaucracy, the judiciary, the church, etc.

    When Labour parties in Britain and Australia were established they did have sympathisers within those institutions. Any dissident party these days faces the problem of having absolutely zero support within the institutions.