- CRITTER TALK
- NEWS I FIND INTERESTING
In late 1970’s Britain a far right political party was formed. They called themselves The National Front. They spotted a gap in the political spectrum, namely, British people worried about immigration who did not have their views represented by any other political party.
Various seeming ‘offshoots’ of The NF appeared shortly afterwards. Viking Youth to recruit young people to the far right and the far more menacing Combat 18.
Combat 18 used the number 18 to represent Adolph Hitlers initials alphabetically. I have no idea what the ‘Combat’ bit is about other than, I assume, it’s to do with combating immigration? I could Google it but, frankly, I’ve better things to do with my time than surf around far right websites – assuming there is one.
I’ve peaked my own curiosity now. Hang on a sec. No. There’s a link to ‘Skrewdriver’ who were a far right rock band but not, as far as I can tell, a website as such. Actually haven’t they been made illegal? Possibly.
The success of these far right organisations was, at best, very limited. Whilst it was indeed true, and remains so, that many British people were alarmed at the numbers of immigrants being allowed into Britain, the clear Nazi connections of these organisations made most Brits steer well clear of them. WWII memories were only 30 odd years old.
Eventually, albeit remnants have always remained, their very limited inroads into Britain’s mindset ultimately diminished them.
Mind you, they played a major role in the race riots in Britain in the 80’s. I witnessed the one in Southall from the back of an ice cream van as it drove through the riot, Molotov cocktails and all, playing music with Tony the driver leaning out of his window shouting ‘Come and get your riot burgers here!’ and ‘I’ve a RIOT of ice cream to go!” – well he didn’t say ‘to go’ actually but I’m adapting it to America a bit.
I sat in the back next to the ice cream dispenser with an 80 year old man and a black Labrador who howled in time to the music and peed on my foot – it’s a long story.
Some of them re-emerged in the 90’s as The British National Party. For a short while they succeeded in convincing otherwise decent ordinary people that they were a legitimate political party, were not racist and merely wanted immigration controls.
This argument appealed to many ordinary decent people who also wanted immigration controls. Not on any racist or xenophobic grounds but purely on numbers grounds. The infrastructure of the country had not been sufficiently invested in to cope with the numbers arriving therefore everyone’s quality of life would suffer so, logically, get controls of the numbers in place.
The BNP had their first ever local government officer elected in my home town of Oldham in Lancashire. Their leader even managed to get onto the BBC current affairs program ‘Question Time’.
Eventually, as it emerged many ex members of The National Front and, indeed, Combat 18 were now members of The British National Party – or had been at it’s inception – the party lost much ground and, to date, has never recovered.
It is believed some ex NF / BNP etc members may well have ended up with UKIP who, of course, had some success in European Union elections – not to mention Brexit but, since Brexit, UKIP are basically a spent force as, after all, they were very much a ‘one trick pony’ and, now Brexit is a reality they no longer have a purpose.
So, in Britain at least, the far right is not a serious issue. Of course they are still around. The BNP and UKIP – albeit UKIP, who in fairness, are accepted as right wing rather than far right – still exist and the National Front has a website. Recently a couple of soldiers were put on trial for links to far right groups so we know they’re still active up to a point.
In Eastern Europe the far right are far more active. To me that isn’t really a surprise. After all in WWII Lithuania and The Ukraine in particular collaborated with the Nazis. Eastern Europe have always been more prone to nationalism of this sort. Being under the control of The Soviet Union probably didn’t help quell nationalism for a start.
There appears to be some Islamophobic issues in The Czech Republic at the moment too.
Well, that’s Eastern Europe for you. I’ve been there several times. Lithuania, Latvia. Lovely countries, lovely people and, even better, cheap beer!
In western Europe, including Britain then, the far right exist but, as yet, are not a force to fear. That being said, things change so, as long as they exist, they could one day become, again, a problem. Hopefully not but we shall see I suppose. Le Pen did quite well in France and, I think, Austria have a problem?
Actually, according to Wikipedia, an American was involved in the set up of Combat 18. Now that I didn’t know!
So, in defense of an Englishman eh?
In the late 70’s I had good pals – some of them I still have today. A Sikh, a Hindu and several skinheads for example. Suffice to say I tended to socialize with the skinheads separately. They were all supporters, at least, of The National Front. Their ‘leader’ was a member of Combat 18. I drank beer with them and played pool.
I discussed them with my Sikh and Hindu pals. They thought I was nuts to associate with them. Probably right. However, on a personal level I liked them and they liked me. They never asked me to share their views and I took them at face value. My Sikh and Hindu pals didn’t ‘drop me’ as they knew I was me and that meant I liked getting along with everyone.
That, my friends, is my only connection, if you could call it that, with Combat 18. At the age of 19 or so, I drank beer and played pool with racist skinheads who actually took the mickey out of me for having Asian friends. They were never nasty about it but clearly thought I was as nuts as my Asian pals did.
Funnily enough, both my Sikh and Hindu pals constantly moaned about the influx of Muslims into Britain. Must be where I got it from eh? 😉 They still do as a matter of fact. Mind you, there is ‘history’ between Sikh’s, Hindu’s and Muslims ever since Indian partition.
Two of my old skinhead pals served a number of years in prison for beating a young Asian chap very badly with a baseball bat. I am not, I hasten to add, in touch with them.
Another skinhead pal had a sort of epiphany somewhere along the way, grew his hair and has, for the last 25 years or more worked for the Commission for Racial Equality. He also married a lovely Anglo-Indian girl. I was best man at the wedding. Strange how things work out really.
I think what I am trying to say here is this.
I hold views that some would consider right wing but none that are far right. I also hold views that some would call left wing or, oh dear, liberal.
My wife calls me ‘the random man.’ I’ve never been certain why but perhaps she’s right. I never fly my flag for any side solely. I spread my views across a spectrum political or otherwise. I cherry pick what I want to believe. If I like it I like it. I couldn’t care less if what I like is right, left, liberal or something else.
Yes, I do tend to go on – and on – and on – and on about the numbers of immigrants, particularly Muslim, in Britain who clearly do not respect western British values and are not prepared to even attempt to fit into our country and our ways.
It irritates me intensely – as if you didn’t know.
I do acknowledge that many do fit in though – there are many Muslims serving in Britain’s armed forces for starters.
I have a history. I have skeletons in many closets. I have done bad things. Along the way I hope I’ve done a few good things too – well I’ve helped keep the British beer industry afloat for one thing.
I am not a liberal nor a conservative nor a socialist. I am all of them. I love animals – more than people much of the time. I would die for my wife and daughter albeit I’d prefer not to. I support all and any campaigns to protect the environment or wildlife. I am simple and complicated and flawed and generous and cruel and happy and depressed and confused and human.
Aren’t you at least a little bit like me?
Well, maybe not that ice cream van thing in the middle of a riot obviously. I’ll tell you about that one day.