U.K.I.P. are not fascists; they’re much more worrying.

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It is fashionable among a certain kind of leftist to denounce Nigel Farage and United Kingdom Independence Party as fascists these days. It is equally fashionable among a certain kind of rightist to denounce those denunciations of UKIP as ludicrous for as no one in UKIP has (publicly) run around in black shirts Sieg Heiling everywhere. Residing as I do outside the UK and watching the upcoming election develop as it is, I think we should start talking about the fact that both those opinions are wrong, UKIP aren’t fascists; what they are is a Conservative nativist party, something that makes them unique in the history of British politics and much more dangerous than a communal garden fascist.

Britain is one of the few countries in Europe that have never elected fascists its national legislator; A major factor effecting this is historical differences in the way popular politics came about. The Conservative Party is a good example of the unique nature of Britain. Unlike it’s French and German counterparts whose founding was a response to a religious or economic need; or  just a direct response to liberal-democratic movements, the Conservative and Unionist party of Great Britain is simply the parliamentary Arm of the British Aristocracy; Though the modern party was founded in 1834 it was a restructuring of the Tory Party (why we still call them Torys) who had gained the original insult from their more liberal opponents in the 1700s, in reference to the Irish Soldiers who had fought for the Absolute Monarchy of James II in 1690, who was trying to reverse the powers Parliament had won during the English Civil war. In this sence the British Conservative party is unique in being able to draw a more or less unbroken line from Cavaliers to themselves.

Yeah that's right. I just called David Cameron & Gideon Osborne Dandies

Yeah that’s right. I just called David Cameron & Gideon Osborne Dandies

This is relevant because it’s important to note that British politics is not primarily about Ideology as much as it’s about interests. Ed Miliband is leader of the Party of Labour not the party of Social-Democrats, This has meant that parties in the UK have a wider appeal, dealing with identity and self-interest much more than ideological tenants. This has meant that the two major parties, the conservative party in particular, have historically been very good at absorbing most of their political fringe and driving what remains into political irrelevance.

This, I would argue, is behind the fact that Britain has never come close to electing fascists or indeed electing any fascists to Parliament, If we imagine politics as a sliding scale from left to right, until UKIP came along there was a genuine gap between the Conservative party and the various incarnations of British Fascism. This was because the Conservative party had been able to appeal too and lock down the demographics that typically populate a Fascist coalition; lower middle class, rural poor and the landed gentry. They have managed to do this because unlike their European counterparts, the British gentry have never been under any serious threat of destruction, and thus never fell into the kind of reactionary politics taken  on by the European ruling classes at the start of the 20th century, which is arguably why the British aristocracy is still here. This meant that the only demographic available to British fascism was working class kids disaffected with the failures and/or collaborative attitude of the trade union movement, as a result fascism in Britain has taken on a distinct working class identity; distasteful to the upper and middle classes in most cases. This is why if you’re from an English-speaking country and you think of Nazis, you think of shaved heads and football shirts rather than dueling scars and riding crops. As a result fascism in the has never really had a significant group of people who advocate for any of their ideas that – for want of a better phrase – respectable people would and will listen to with a degree of seriousness. Until now that is.

The UK Independence party, along with the Green Party are the symptom of a new kind of politics, ironically much more European in nature, ending the de-facto internal coalitions and moving toward actual coalitions of a balkanized political class. Whilst, on the one hand this has the potential for a wider, more varied political discourse. This however does mean that the kind of people whose support has been withed from fascism in Britain are now freed up to empower the political far right without the shame of being associated in the popular mind with the decedents of Oswald Mosley.  This is why organisations like Britan First and the English Defense League have been campaigning for UKIP, whatever the actual intentions of Nigel Farage, The party he leads represents the respectable end of British fascism, and need to be treated as such during the upcoming election, and beyond.

If you wanna take anything away from this - Vote Class War

If you wanna take anything away from this – Vote Class War

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3 Comments on “U.K.I.P. are not fascists; they’re much more worrying.”

  1. martinz69 says:

    Well “the respectable end of British Fascism” No. Differences. Not ethnic nationalists, don’t plan to subvert democracy and no Zionist plot nonsense. This may well make them harder to dismiss because frankly the BNP and the EDL kind of wrote themselves off. So a problem indeed. I don’t think you help yourself by demonising UKIP

    • “UKIP aren’t fascists; what they are is a Conservative nativist party, something that makes them unique in the history of British politics”.

      The premise of this piece is that UKIP represent the kind of right wing populist parties that end up supporting, facilitating or merging with actual fascists.

      Also I never talked about Nazis. Fascism and Nazism are linked but distinct. Mussolini had no specific racial policy beyond anti-black colonialist attitudes common to everyone in the European rulling class at the time, there was however a cultural chuvanist nationalism that isn’t disimmilar to UKIP’s stance. I’m not saying Nigel is like Hitler., he’s much more like Bellosconi.

    • martinz69 says:

      OK and point taken. I think that the far-right had a problem because most people regard the defeat of Fascism and Nazism as a high point in British History. I might be wrong but I think there is clear water between Farage and the Far Right.
      Anyway enjoyed your blog and thanks
      Martin


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