Anti-racism campaigners were delighted with news that the BNP’s only remaining district councillor will not stand in the local elections on 3 May – the last before Britain leaves the EU. Along with the announcement that UKIP are putting forward 75% less candidates than four years ago, it seemed the tide had turned against the far right.
That delight didn’t last as people saw the far right’s decline as a result of mainstream parties adopting their policies.
Founder of the anti-racist HOPE not Hate group, Nick Lowles, announced the BNP’s demise as a victory for anti-racism:
BREAKING: The last BNP councillor in office isn’t standing for re-election. It’s been clear the BNP was finished for a while, but now it’s official – and it’s thanks to the work of anti-racists across Britain.
— Nick Lowles (@lowles_nick) April 7, 2018
Back to reality
But social media users didn’t buy it:
Or, at least partly, because the views they expounded from the toxic fringes have now moved into the mainstream?
— James O'Brien (@mrjamesob) April 7, 2018
That's what I was thinking – more seasoned politicians – & rags like the DM – learned to harness the underlying bigotry through innuendo and insinuation to divert BNP votes towards other parties & causes. Peaked with Brexit.
— Andras Zoltan (@RealLordZoltan) April 7, 2018
The tories are now the home of the extreme right and brexit is enabling a far right coup.
— Tom Burke (@TomBurke01) April 7, 2018
Far-right policies move centre stage
The far right might be in decline as a political party but disturbingly their policies are not. As The Washington Post pointed out, they have been adopted by the mainstream:
Across Europe, in countries such as Denmark, Austria or Britain, mainstream conservative parties have adapted to the rise of the far-right by co-opting some of their largest issues, particularly in regards to immigration. So far, that strategy has proven mostly successful.
It has even lead UKIP to accuse Theresa May of stealing its policies.
Theresa May and far-right policies in action
- Theresa May’s voting record shows she has voted against laws to promote equality and human rights.
- She has voted against paying higher benefits to those unable to work due to illness or disability.
- May is adopting UKIP policies on education, the NHS and immigration.
- There is a stark contradiction between May’s claims to stand up for the “ordinary worker” and voting against a compulsory jobs guarantee.
- She has declared that EU migrants “must be treated differently” when Britain leaves the EU.
- May’s manifesto for the general election contained many similarities to the BNP. Some even put the Conservative Party to the left of the BNP.
The BNP not standing any councillors should feel like a victory. But instead it appears the Conservative party is just moving further to the right and adopting the policies once championed by the BNP and UKIP.
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