The result from yesterday’s by-election in the Barnsley St Helens Ward was as expected: a secure Labour win with 75.1% of the votes cast going to the Labour candidate. Barnsley is, and has been for the best part of a century, a diehard Labour stronghold. Irrespective of the policies advanced by Labour locally or nationally, Barnsley residents keep returning Labour candidates. It is reflexive party political tribalism such as this that has for decades hindered the emergence of truly representative democratic politics in the UK. It is my contention that if traditional Labour voters were to vote in accordance with their policy preferences rather than with their familial party political affiliation, then we would be looking at a very different and far more interesting set of results, not only in Barnsley, but also nationally. The question that begs to be answered is: why do they not do so?
How representative of the opinions of local electors was this result? As the turnout was a meagre 20.53%, could we not interpret this as being a consequence of voter apathy, engendered by the belief that voting will change nothing, either because it is believed that the Labour candidate will always win, or because all of the candidates are essentially the same? Then again, it might be that ward-level elections are viewed as being essentially inconsequential. Given that in addition to Labour and the Conservatives both the BNP and English Democrats fielded candidates, it cannot be said that voters lacked a genuine choice. Moreover, there was also an Independent. Whereas Hope Not Hate gleefully noted the low percentage shares captured by the two nationalist parties and the decline in the share enjoyed by the BNP, nationalists should ask themselves why they are not succeeding in persuading voters to vote for them, particularly in areas such as Barnsley, which ought to be ripe for the taking.
What is preventing a nationalist breakthrough from taking place? Evidently, whatever the answers should be, one truth should be evident to all: current tactics have failed. This is a situation that we cannot allow to continue. Elsewhere in Europe, new nationalist movements are thriving. There is no reason that such a movement should not thrive in the UK, more specifically, in England.
Here are what I consider to be the primary interrelated factors inhibiting the growth of a viable and credible British/English nationalist political party: 1) a lack of public trust; 2) political fragmentation; 3) a well-organised and well-funded opposition; 4) mass-media hostility; 5) a legal regime that inhibits the expression of nationalist sentiment. What can be done to overcome these obstacles?
Why does the public generally mistrust nationalists? Painful as it may be to for some to acknowledge this, it is because nationalists are often their own worst enemies. Anyone who bangs on about the legitimacy of Holocaust Denial, subscribes to conspiracy theories derived from the Protocols of the Elders of Zion or who possesses a curious ‘nostalgia’ for the political ideology that reigned in Germany between 1933 and 1945 ought to ask themselves whether they can really consider themselves to be a British or an English nationalist. The fact is, the public consider those who hold such opinions to be anathema to our national tradition. Likewise, fixating upon race and making this a central focus of your campaigning will not win you public trust, but opprobrium and visceral contempt.
As the goal of any nationalist movement and party should be to advance the interests of members of the national community, its supporters and activists should have the following at the forefront of their considerations: how do we achieve office? Without office, nationalists can do nothing on behalf of their people. To win office a nationalist party must first seek to secure trust. Trust can only grow from probity, transparency, honesty and accountability. To win elections trust of course is not enough, for you also need to be able to offer the promise of a better future to people. This, nationalism can truly achieve, and yet instead of focusing upon the economic, environmental and cultural benefits that nationalism offers, many prominent figures within the movement have instead fixated upon the pariah topics outlined in the first paragraph.
A credible nationalist party will focus upon economics: opposition to offshoring; the need for energy security; the promotion of domestic manufacturing; legal obligations to privilege nationals in the sphere of employment; crackdowns on corporate tax evasion; the revitalisation of our countryside through the promotion of rural employment in agriculture, conservation and afforestation; the promotion of social enterprises and mutuals with a focus upon increasing the well-being of local communities and the nation as a whole. Given the anti-globalisation sentiment of many members of the younger generation, nationalists should aim to tap into this and show them that nationalism rather than other ideologies offers the positive solutions to the problems that they perceive.
A popular nationalism will address and solve the problems of an overburdened transport infrastructure, a shortage of housing and pressure upon our countryside by implementing policies that will at first stabilise and then encourage a reduction in our population. This can be achieved through a combination of strict immigration controls and encouraging the departure of those who lack ethnic roots in the UK who actively identify against the native population.
Naturally, the implementation of all of the above would be predicated upon our leaving the EU. Nationalists should make it clear at all times that they are anti-EU but not anti-European, for the two are quite distinct. Nationalists should be in favour of free-speech, and for this reason, amongst many others, should recognise the genuine threat posed both by doctrinaire Islam and cultural and demographic Islamisation. The voting public who live in areas with considerable concentrations of Muslim population are acutely aware of the reality of this threat, whereas many who live where there are few or no Muslims are in denial. When campaigning it will therefore be important to remember which aspects of the nationalist programme will possess the greatest resonance within a particular constituency, and election literature and campaigning should be tailored accordingly.
The aforementioned are just a few of the aspects of a popular nationalist programme which would exert considerable appeal if public trust were to be won. Such trust can only be won if nationalists distance themselves from conspiratorial cranks who give us a bad name.
So as not to try the patience of the reader, I will not at this stage fully elucidate the other four inhibitory factors that I have named, but instead provide a few headline thoughts.
There are too many parties competing for the prospective nationalist vote: UKIP, English Democrats, BNP, British Freedom Party and other smaller parties and groupings. Fragmentation derives from two primary sources: ideological disagreement and personal rivalry. These need to be put aside for the sake of a common minimum nationalist programme to which all can agree. Much of what I have outlined as the core components of a positive nationalist politics are shared by all of the aforementioned, with the exception of UKIP which is economically Thatcherite and Atlanticist. This for me is UKIP’s fatal flaw: it is wedded to outmoded globalist ‘free-market’ economics. We need a single nationalist party to unite behind, otherwise we will get nowhere.
The combined nationalist vote in St Helens was 19.3% shared between the BNP on 10.5% and the English Democrats close behind on 8.8%. This share of the vote is similar to the combined UKIP/BNP/English Democrats tally in the Barnsley Central By-Election earlier this year which came to 20.4%. This is the sort of baseline figure which I would expect a united nationalist party to build upon.
A well-organised and funded Opposition
This is simply a fact of life, but consider this: in every European country where new nationalist parties are thriving they have to cope with just such an opposition. It is not therefore inevitable that such opposition will forever hold back nationalist politics in the UK.
The same applies as to the comment vis-à-vis our general opposition.
A hostile Legal Regime
This, by definition, cannot be tackled until nationalists win power.
The first and second obstacles can be removed by nationalists themselves by uniting around a common minimum programme. If we are optimistic and assume that such a unity could be achieved, how then would we practically go about winning support? Firstly, we must remember that owing to the separate political dynamics which have evolved in the constituent parts of the UK our efforts and resources should concentrate upon England, for this is where the potential for our style of national politics is greatest and where the demand for national expression is least catered for in electoral terms. Furthermore, owing to limited finances and a restricted activist base, we should identify say twenty to thirty parliamentary constituencies into which we should plough 80% of our effort, whilst allowing candidates to stand elsewhere with minimal backing. We need a Westminster breakthrough in 2015, and given the manifest bankruptcy of globalism and its attendant system of economics, we should be in a position to achieve this. If we do not, there will be something deeply wrong with our approach.
A regular blog reader – Cygnus - suggested an excellent tactic for use when out canvassing for votes, in which particular types of voters would be challenged over their choice of party. This involves identifying say five policies apiece core to the Labour, Conservative or Liberal Democrat parties, and juxtaposing these with five policies offered by the nationalist candidate. It is my opinion that a policy platform containing the elements that I have outlined above would exert far more appeal than the discredited and unpopular non-choices offered by the three major parties, which are not so much in favour of “education, education, education”, as “immigration, immigration, immigration.”
The Barnsley St Helens result exemplifies in microcosm the problems of contemporary nationalist politics in England. It is up to you to see to it that these problems are surmounted. The full results for election according to the Barnsley Chronicle were:
1: Dave Leech, Raven Royd, Athersley, Labour Party: 1,257, 75.1%
2: Danny Cooke, Highstone Road, Barnsley, BNP: 174, 10.5%
3: Kevin Riddiough, Sale Street, Hoyland Common, English Democrats: 146, 8.8%
4: Clive Watkinson, Doncaster Road, Barnsley, Conservatives: 61, 3.7% 5: Edward Alan Gouthwaite, Winter Avenue, Royston, of no party or group: 21, 1.3%