It Happened There (3): Court Cripples British National Party For Being Too, Well, British

[Peter Brimelowwrites: The Orwellian news that a British political party is being forced in the name of “equality” to admit members who oppose its principles got me thinking about another recent victim of what Roland Huntford called “The New Totalitarians”: American Renaissanceand its disrupted attempts to hold its biannual conference. So I called AR Editor Jared Taylor and asked what was happening. Answer: nothing—no police inquiries into the left’s death threats, no outrage or even news reports in the Main Stream Media or  Establishment “conservative” and libertarian (!) outlets. (We hope to publish an update from Jared soon.) Diversity may be strength, but clearly it is not equal protection of the law.]

By Sean Gabb (Published by VDare on the 14th March 2010)

On the most charitable view, Britain has, in recent years, become the world’s largest open air lunatic asylum. You only need open a newspaper to see the evidence—someone arrested for defending his life or home against attack; anti-terror laws used to stop the carrying of hairdryers in public; employers told not to advertise for “reliable” workers, so as not to discriminate against the unreliable.

And so it goes on. The stories almost jump off the page. Some of these may be touched up for a market that is greedy for them. Others may not bear much scrutiny. But enough are true to let people realize that this country has, over the past generation, become a very strange and perhaps a frightening place.

This strange and frightening quality, though, is not the product of insanity. The belief that our leaders have gone even barking mad, if worrying, is preferable to the truth—which is that, regardless of their party affiliations, they have, since at least 1960, been working for the total destruction of Britain as a country and the enslavement of its people.

As evidence for this, look at the way in which the British National Party has been treated.

For those unfamiliar with British politics, the BNP is this country’s most important white nationalist party. It denounces mass immigration and multi-culturalism, and the Politically Correct censorship and persecution that have been used to smother opposition. In the past few years, it has won elections to local representative bodies, and has two seats in the Parliament of the European Union. It may also, in the next few months, win a seat in the British Parliament.

The response of the British ruling class has been wholly rational. Given that these people want a police state and a population too Balkanized along racial and religious lines to offer any concerted resistance, they cannot tolerate a party like the BNP. Before 1999, when Nick Griffin became its leader, the BNP was broadly a national socialist organization. In those days, it had limited electoral appeal, and could safely be ignored, or sometimes held up for ridicule or execration. Now that Mr. Griffin has changed its core ideology, the party is an increasingly credible threat. Therefore, it must be destroyed.

During the past few years, it has been made illegal for members of the BNP to be policemen or prison workers. It is proposed that they should be prevented from working with children. Membership lists have been stolen. Many of those on the lists have come under pressure. Mr. Griffin himself was put on trial under our new hate crime laws for calling Islam—in a private meeting infiltrated by a media spy“a wicked, vicious faith”. If convicted, he would have faced seven years in prison: after two trials, he was acquitted.

The main effort now is to destroy the BNP from within. Not surprisingly, its rules always confined membership to indigenous Caucasians. But a U.K.  Government body called the  Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) decided in 2009 that this rule broke the Race Relations Act 1976 (as amended), and took the party to court.

Needless to say, the EHRC had done nothing about, for example, the various black police organizations, which confined membership to black people. Indeed, the EHRC has never respondedto one complaint of discrimination by these associations against white people. Then again, starting with its head, West Indian-descended Trevor Phillips, the EHRC is filled with supporters and nominees of the ruling Labour Party. Its whole function is to hound enemies of the New Labour ruling class through the courts.

Quite obviously, the prosecution of the BNP was not intended to promote “racial equality” as this might reasonably be defined. Its purpose was to destroy. According to the Blog of Operation Black Vote,

Nic Careem, [Email him]a former Labour activist from Camden in north London, who is now with the Conservatives, said he originally argued that black and Asian people should join the BNP en mass [sic]to cause chaos and expose the extent of racism inside the party of Nick Griffin.”

In other words, the BNP is to be flooded with non-whites, who will then use further legal action—assuming the internal structures of the party are insufficient—to destroy it.

The courts forced Mr. Griffin to drop the restriction on membership. The BNP’s first non-white member was an elderly Sikh opponent of Islamic fundamentalism.

However, Mr. Griffin did impose two conditions on new members to block flooding attempts. First, he ruled that prospective members should be visited in their homes by BNP officials, to see if they were suitable for membership. Second, all members were required to declare support for “continued creation, fostering, maintenance and existence” of an indigenous British race, and action towards “stemming and reversing” immigration.

This second rule seems to have been used to stop a rich Pakistani called Mo Chaudry from joining. He had said he would join the party to fight them from the inside. [Asian businessman fights to join BNP, Channel 4 News, March 12 2010]

This did not suit the EHRC. It took the BNP to court again, arguing that the requirement amounted to indirect racial discrimination.

Last Friday, 12th March 2010, Paul Collins, the most senior County Court Judge in London, agreed with the EHRC. He outlawed the requirement for home visits, saying that this might lead to intimidation—though admitting that there was no evidence it ever had. He also outlawed the requirement to declare support for party principle and policy. The Judge said:

“I hold that the BNP are likely to commit unlawful acts of discrimination within section 1b Race Relations Act 1976 in the terms on which they are prepared to admit persons to membership under the 12th addition of their constitution”. [New BNP membership rules judged to be biased, Manchester Evening News, March 12, 2010]

The basis for this reasoning, the Judge claimed, is that, while no BNP policy breaks the law, no non-white person could support these policies without compromising their “personal sense of self-worth and dignity as a member of their racial group”.

And so the BNP is now required to accept members regardless of whether they agree with BNP policy.

Nick Griffin was forced on the spot to change his party’s membership criteria, or face jail for himself and forfeiture of party assets.

Of course, this is a bizarre ruling. In the first place, the claim that non-whites cannot support the policies of the BNP is untrue in fact. Some do. It is also patronizing for any outsider to tell people how they should view their “personal sense of self-worth and dignity as a member of their racial group”. That is properly a matter for every individual to decide for himself.

In the second place, the principle stated by Judge Collins leads to absurdity. If I am a white supremacist, I will be deterred from joining Unite Against Fascism, because I shall be expected to support policies contrary to my own sense of my “self-worth” and “dignity”.  If I am a devout Christian, I will be deterred from becoming a Moslem, because I shall be required to say that Mohammed is the Prophet of God. If I am a devout Moslem, I will be deterred from becoming a Christian, because I shall be required to believe that Christ was the Son of God. If the principle enunciated by Judge Collins is to be consistently applied, all these groups must be compelled to accept their opponents.

But the principle will not be consistently applied. As in Zimbabwe, the British courts are increasingly creatures of the ruling party. The Judge had no choice but to rule as he did.

Britain is no longer a free country. It is a police state, in which freedom of speech is being narrowed to allow nothing more than polite disagreement with the authorities over things not regarded as central to the 1997 New Labour Revolution—and in which freedom of association means nothing at all.

Within the next few years, it is likely that the BNP will be banned. This may be an honest ban, in the sense that the party is directly outlawed by Act of Parliament. But, more likely, all candidates will be forced to take anoath of loyalty to the established order before they can stand for election. Any candidate who does falsely swear support for the creation and fostering of “diversity, and who is elected, will then face being unseated and prosecuted the moment he opens his mouth.

For the moment, however, the BNP can be flooded by its political opponents. This may be enough to finish the party as a threat. It will not happen in time to prevent the party from fighting its campaign in the general election that must be held within the next few months. But Mr. Griffin was presented the other day with a legal bill variously estimated at between £60,000 and £100,000—is it any coincidence that this money must be handed over just weeks before a general election, and by a party that is already short of money?

Of course, all of this scandalous.

What I also find scandalous is that so few people other than supporters of the BNP are prepared to speak out against it. I am a libertarian, not a white nationalist. I have never voted for the BNP or any similar party. And I seem to be the only person of my kind, and with any degree of prominence in my country, who is willing to complain.

What is being done to the BNP is unfair in itself, and sets a frightening precedent. We have now reached a point in Britain where no one can truly claim to believe in freedom of speech or freedom of association unless he is willing to stand up in public for the right of Nick Griffin and the British National Party to speak their minds and to organize in support of what they believe.

A Nail in the Fuse Box: The Persecution of the British National Party
By Sean Gabb
(Published by Vdare on the 9th November 2010)

The suppression of political parties is becoming an interesting feature of life in the managerial superstate known as the European Union It happened six years ago in Belgium, to the anti-immigration Vlaams Blok. And in London, High Court hearings have just (November 8th and 9th) that will determine the fate of the British National Party. Since judgment was reserved, we do not yet know whether BNP assets will be seized and whether party leader Nick Griffin, who is an elected Member of the European Parliament, will be sent to prison. We do know what has become of England: it is now a soft totalitarian police state.

For those who may be unaware of it, the British National Party is what its name says it is. It opposes immigration and the associated political correctness and attacks on freedom of speech and association. It also opposes British membership of the European Union and British involvement in wars of military aggression that do nothing to secure the peace and prosperity of the British people. And it is contemptuous of the claims about man-made climate change that are an excuse for the massive enrichment of ruling classes everywhere.

Not surprisingly, the BNP is not popular with the British ruling class. This has been hard at work for at least two generations on destroying a constitution that, since the High Middle Ages, had been uniquely effective at restraining power. This is a ruling class that rejoices in having put common law protections through a shredding machine; and in alienating sovereignty to a mass of foreign and even unknown organisations, to the point where democracy has become a joke; and in sponsoring the mass immigration needed to reduce working class living standards and to justify totalitarian “anti-racist” witch-hunts.

Yes, not surprisingly, the BNP is a witch that must be hunted. It is described as a “racist” party, and its members as violent and even psychopathic criminals. Its leader, Nick Griffin, is remarkable for his ability to assemble softly-spoken persons of quality into something like a baying mob.

To describe all the ways in which Mr. Griffin and his party are persecuted would take an essay which would also be a dissertation on the growth of the British police state. I have not the space to write such an essay. Therefore, I will look at the two chief current persecutions.

  • The first was announced on Tuesday the 2nd November 2010: Michael Gove, the Secretary of State for Education, told The Guardian newspaper that he would allow headmasters of state schools to dismiss any teachers known to be members of the BNP.

The ostensible reason for this is that members of the BNP cannot be trusted not to preach “hatred” in the classroom. Mr. Gove said:

“I don't believe that membership of the BNP is compatible with being a teacher. One of the things I plan to do is to allow headteachers and governing bodies the powers and confidence to be able to dismiss teachers engaging in extremist activity.”[BNP members to be barred from teaching |Education secretary pledges new powers for heads to dismiss teachers who are members of groups with 'extremist tenor', by Jeevan Vasagar]

Gove did add that this permission to dismiss would also cover members of other “extremist” organisations. However, it is to be doubted if radical Moslems and members of Trotskyite groups will be at risk of losing their jobs. There are too many of them in teaching, and they are too well-organised and too well-connected.

The permission might eventually be extended to religious Jews and Christians who refuse to celebrate the rich diversity of sexual orientations that is part of our established faith in England. Or it might not. But the permission will certainly be used ruthlessly to seek out and remove all schoolteachers who are, or who might have been, members of the BNP.

  • The second persecution has been under way for a couple of years: the concerted effort by the managerial state to suppress the BNP.

There is in England a taxpayer-funded body called the Equality and Human Rights Commission. This was set up under the Equality Act 2006, and it ostensibly exists to ensure that people are treated fairly and have their rights respected. One of its main actual functions has been to sue the BNP to the verge of bankruptcy in the name of “human rights”.

In August 2009, the Commission began proceedings against the BNP under sections 24 and 25(5) of the Equality Act, on the grounds that BNP membership was confined to natives of the British Isles and white foreigners. Apparently, it was a violation of the Race Relations Act 1976 (as amended) that non-whites were not allowed to join a party committed to keeping Britain predominantly white.

Since then, the Commission has been lavishing the taxpayers’ money on an action that is supposed to vindicate the right of non-whites to join the BNP—a questionable cause of action, bearing in mind that few non-whites can really be aching to join an organisation like the BNP, and bearing in mind that the British State overall has been running the biggest budget deficit in the civilised world.

But vindicating abstract rights has not been the purpose of the action. Its real purpose has been to shut down the BNP. The legal proceedings could achieve this in three ways:

First, the BNP might lose and be compelled to admit large numbers of non-white members. These could then exploit its internal structures or take further legal action until there was no more BNP.

Second, the BNP might lose and then be sued again for breach of the final order. This could result in forfeiture of all party assets and the jailing of Mr. Griffin.

Third, win or lose, the BNP might be forced into bankruptcy by the costs of defending an action that had unlimited funding.

This real purpose became absolutely clear in the March of 2010, when the BNP did change its rules to admit non-whites, and the Commission immediately moved to the second option in its strategy for destruction. The BNP imposed two conditions on new members to prevent flooding attempts. First, prospective members should be visited at home, to see if they were suitable for membership. Second, all members should declare support for the “continued creation, fostering, maintenance and existence” of an indigenous British race, and should support action towards "stemming and reversing" immigration. The Commission argued that these conditions amounted to “indirect racial discrimination”.

The Commission won that round. On the 12th March 2010, a Judge outlawed the requirement for home visits, saying that this might lead to intimidation—though admitting that there was no evidence it ever had. He also outlawed the requirement to declare support for party principle and policy. He said:

“I hold that the BNP are likely to commit unlawful acts of discrimination within section 1b Race Relations Act 1976 in the terms on which they are prepared to admit persons to membership under the 12th addition of their constitution.” [NewBNP membership rules judged to be biased, Manchester Evening News, March 12, 2010]

The reason for this, the Judge went on, was that no non-white person could support these policies without compromising his “personal sense of self-worth and dignity as a member of their racial group”.

And so the BNP changed its membership rules again—it would now accept members regardless of whether they agreed with its policies.

However, these conditions for membership were only suspended by the BNP, not removed. And so the Commission went to court again, this time arguing that the BNP was in contempt for not complying in full with the earlier judgment.

As I reported earlier, judgement has been reserved. We can, however, be sure that, if the Commission turns out to have lost, it will find some other grounds of continuing its taxpayer-funded vendetta against the BNP.

How much more of this the BNP can take before it goes bankrupt is hard to say. As of August 2010, the BNP was said to be £500,000 in debt. This is about a quarter of its annual income. Much of this debt appears to have been run up in legal costs.

Every time I write one of these articles about the persecution of the BNP, I get several dozen e-mails from people who claim that the party really is a national socialist organization, and that its recent conversion, under Nick Griffin, is a convenient lie.

I find this an irrelevant claim. I happen to believe that the BNP is a white nationalist organization. Even if it were not, though—even if the BNP leadership really did believe that non-whites were less than human and that the Holocaust never happened, but should have—the rights and wrongs of this case would be unchanged.

It is unfair to treat people in this manner. What has been done, and is being done, to the BNP is oppressive. It is not the sort of thing that happens in a functioning liberal democracy. In a liberal democracy, people have an unquestioned right to say whatever they please on public issues—and they do not suffer even official discrimination, let alone legal harassment. In a liberal democracy, they have an unquestioned right to associate or not with whomever they please—and are not subject to administrative and legal bullying about “inclusiveness” and the unacceptability of “hate”. The fact that BNP members and the party itself are victims of state harassment—and, as said, there is much more than the two instances just given—indicates just how much England has moved towards totalitarianism.

I go further. If Nick Griffin and the BNP were openly avowed followers of Adolf Hitler, and if they met together in public to listen to the webcasts of Harold Covington, they would probably be more left alone than they are. They are persecuted for their opinions on race and immigration. But they are persecuted still more because of all else they oppose or stand for. For all it did badly in the elections of May 2010 (in terms of seats—as two left wing blogs perceptively noted here and here, it did strikingly well in terms of votes) the BNP remains the one possible voice for working class dissent from the established order of things.

And though unfair in itself, what is being done to the BNP should make any reasonable man worried about the future of England. Anyone who looks at the various manifestos and pronouncements of the BNP will see a party that claims to believe—and possibly does believe—in freedom of speech and association, in trial by jury, and generally in constitutional government as this has always been understood in England. It does not even advocate compulsory repatriation of those non-whites who are legally here. Whatever it may or may not believe in private, the BNP leadership is very distant in what it says from the Hitler-loving caricatures shown in the MainStream Media.

But destroy the BNP, and the result will not be a vacuum. Other movements will emerge. These will be less interested in organising to win elections and debates than in arguing their case on the streets. Already, there is an English Defence League that has no apparent interest in electoral politics. This is almost certainly less thuggish than the ruling class and the MSM claim it to be. Equally, though, it is less constitutional in its aims and methods than the BNP. And the English Defence League may be only the beginning of the next stage in working class dissent from the established order of things.

Until modern trip switches (circuit breakers) became the norm, household wiring in England was protected from overheating by wired fuses. Each ceramic fuse contained about an inch and a half of wire to a stated ampage. This connected power as it came into a property to one ring circuit. Any power surge or appliance failure would result in immediate burning out of the fuse. The fuses were deliberately the weakest point in the whole wiring system. One reason they have now been replaced with trip switches is because many people were in the habit of replacing fuse wires with nails. This meant that fuses never blew—instead, houses burned down.

What the British State is doing to the BNP is the political equivalent of sticking a nail in the fuse box. The destruction of the BNP will buy a few more years of life for the politically correct fantasy of England as a country of enlightenment and universal love.

What may follow is well enough known to any student of history.

John Stuart Mill, The BNP, and Britain's Dying Democracy
by Sean Gabb
(Published by VDare on the 19th January 2011)

For about a year now, I have been writing for VDare about the British National Party (BNP), which is the main white nationalist organisation in the United Kingdom. The essence of my reports has been that the BNP faces a wall of media bias and legal and administrative persecution that put its survival in doubt. Though, as a libertarian, I have my own agenda for England, I do not regard this bias and persecution with any pleasure. What is being done to the BNP is unfair in itself and sets a precedent for the persecution of other dissident organisations and movements. What I have now to report about the BNP must be depressing both to white nationalists and to believers in liberal democracy.

Electoral Embarrassment

First, there is the result of a parliamentary by-election on Thursday the 13th January 2011. The Labour Party won the Oldham and Saddleworth constituency in the 2010 general election. However, the winner was unseated by a legal challenge, and a fresh election was held. The result was very poor for the BNP. It got its lowest ever vote in the constituency. It should, in the nature of things, have done better than to get 1,560 votes and take fifth place. There is no reason why the party should have won this election. The British electoral system has always been biased against small parties, and a BNP victory would have required something like a miracle. But it should have done better. A by-election has none of the pressure of a general election – no one goes off to vote thinking that his vote might decide the next government: people are more inclined to vote for small parties.

Add to this that none of the main parties was looking very attractive. The Labour Party is out of government, and has a leader generally seen as useless. The Liberal Democrats, who came second at the general election, are members of a coalition government that has failed to generate enthusiasm among the public. The Conservatives ran a minimal campaign and effectively invited people to vote Liberal Democrat.

Moreover, the BNP had been claiming for years that Moslem gangs were targeting young white girls for sexual abuse and forced prostitution. This had been ignored by the mainstream media. Then, a few days before the vote, two Asian men were sent to prison for sexually abusing white girls and forcing them into prostitution. A former Labour Home Secretary then admitted that this was a wider problem than people liked to admit.

All this, and the BNP still did badly. Why it did badly can be explained by any number of reasons. We might say that the British people have looked hard at the BNP and not liked it. Or we might say that the media bias against the BNP was so extreme, that 1,560 votes were a good showing. Or we might look at disunity within the local party. Or we might look at any number of other more or less credible reasons. My own suspicion, for what it is worth, is that the BNP did badly in this by-election because of a general feeling that it is not and will not be successful. This may sound an unusual reason, but, in my experience as a Conservative activist in the 1980s, it is – particular excitements aside – one of the main reasons why people vote for a party or not.

And the BNP was not regarded as successful for reasons that many outside England might regard as perverse. This brings me to my second piece of news. On Friday the 17th December 2010, the BNP finally beat off the case brought against it by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC). This meant that the assets of the Party would not now be seized, and its leader, Nick Griffin, would not now be sent to prison. It brought to an end around eighteen months of legal harassment by an organisation that has about as much to do with equality and human rights as the Democratic People's Republic of Korea has with democracy or the people or republicanism – but that does have unlimited amounts of the taxpayers’ money to throw at whoever or whatever may be disliked by the British ruling class.

I have been covering this case for VDare almost since it began. However, not everyone will have read or will remember my earlier articles. I think, therefore, it would be helpful if I were to summarise its course.

The Legal Harassment of the BNP

The EHRC was set up by virtue of the Equality Act 2006. Its alleged function was to bring enforcement of all the “equality” and “human rights” legislation of the past few decades within a central and unified scheme. But it first came to media prominence in August 2009, when it began legal proceedings against the BNP. Its cause of action was that the BNP restricted membership to white people – that is, to “indigenous British ethnic groups deriving from the class of ‘Indigenous Caucasian’" plus “those we regard as closely related and ethnically assimilated or assimilable aboriginal members of the European race also resident in Britain”.[Constitution of The British National Party Eighth Edition, published November 2004] (Which is interpreted to include Jews—thus one BNP elected official, Pat Richardson, a local councillor, is Jewish).

This restriction and others like it had so far been accepted as natural by both members and opponents of the BNP. The party exists, after all, to assert that the British Isles are the homeland of the English, Scottish, Welsh and Irish peoples; and it denies the wisdom and the legitimacy of the mostly state-sponsored immigration of non-whites since the end of the Second World War. Its membership rule was no more controversial than the limitation of places at a Jewish school to Jewish children or the exclusion of practising Moslems from ordination by the Roman Catholic Church. But the lawyers of the EHRC had found that the BNP membership rule might be in breach of sections 24 and 25(5) of the Equality Act and of the Race Relations Act 1976 (as amended). And so began lavishing the taxpayers’ money on an action that was ostensibly about the right of non-whites to join a party that disapproved of their presence in the United Kingdom.

In March 2010, the BNP changed its rules and said it would admit non-whites to membership, and it then admitted an elderly Sikh who was a long-standing British nationalist. However, it also imposed two conditions on new members to prevent flooding attempts – that is, to prevent large numbers of non-whites from joining and then bringing actions of their own against the party, or using its internal rules to destroy the party. First, prospective members should be visited at home, to see if they were suitable for membership. Second, all members should declare support for the “continued creation, fostering, maintenance and existence” of an indigenous British race, and should support action towards “stemming and reversing” immigration. The EHRC immediately argued that these conditions amounted to “indirect racial discrimination”, and continued its case against the BNP.

The EHRC won this round. On the 12th March 2010, a Judge outlawed the requirement for home visits, saying that this might lead to intimidation—though admitting that there was no evidence it ever had. He also outlawed the requirement to declare support for party principle and policy. He said:

“I hold that the BNP are likely to commit unlawful acts of discrimination within section 1b Race Relations Act 1976 in the terms on which they are prepared to admit persons to membership under the 12th addition of their constitution.”

The reason for this, the Judge went on, was that no non-white person could support these policies without compromising his “personal sense of self-worth and dignity as a member of their racial group”. And so the BNP changed its membership rules again, now accepting members regardless of whether they agreed with its policies.

However, these conditions for membership were only suspended by the BNP, not removed. And so the EHRC went to court again, this time arguing that the BNP was in contempt for not complying in full with the earlier judgment. The penalties for contempt of court are an unlimited fine or two years imprisonment (imprisonment of the most senior person if the defendant is a corporate body).

The hearing took place in London on the 8th and 8th November 2010. Judgment was then reserved for six weeks. It was finally given on Friday the 17th December 2010, and the Judges ruled that the BNP had no case to answer.

The EHRC was plainly disappointed with the judgment. But, according to John Wadham, one of its main officials:

“Today's judgment makes no difference to the substance of our action against the BNP… The County Court ruled that the BNP's constitution was racially discriminatory. That ruling remains in place and has now, finally, been obeyed by the BNP."

He added that he and his colleagues would continue monitoring BNP rules relating to members' right to vote and attend meetings and whether such rights were connected with what members thought about mixed-race relationships and the like. "We will be keeping a watching brief on them to make sure they don't break the law," he added. (BBC Report, 17th December 2010)

The End of the beginning – Perhaps not Even That!

So far as the British media were concerned, this was the end of the matter. Once the judgment was reported – and reported rather briefly – it is as if some spell of silence had been cast on the gentlemen of the press. Nick Griffin continues to send out his regular newsletters. His followers continue to agitate. But there has been no editorial comment on the judgement, and no significant reporting on what might have happened next.

This does not mean that the BNP has struck a blow for freedom that will rank with the Trial of the Seven Bishops, or the Treason Trials of 1794. Anyone who thinks that last month’s judgment was the end of the matter is naïve. The EHRC will not go away, and there are so many other avenues of attack on the BNP, from media smears, to private legal actions, to disruption by the security services. And the courts are not neutral. Contempt of court hearings do not usually involve complex issues of law. I find it very suspicious that judgment had to be reserved in this matter for six whole weeks. Rather than for pondering the various submissions, it is more likely that the six weeks were used for asking round among the powerful whether the BNP could decently be put out of the way, or if there was no choice but for justice to be done. I really do not think this will be my last article on the persecution of the BNP.

And this is probably the main reason why the BNP did so badly in the Oldham and Saddleworth by-election. Success of this kind in the courts nowadays indicates that a person or movement has been singled out for destruction.

Liberal Values and the BNP

I will say in passing that none of this can be reconciled with any version of liberalism as it might have been recognised before the name was taken over by American big state managerialists. The only human rights claimed by liberalism are to life, liberty and justly-acquired property. From these follow the specific rights to freedom of speech and freedom of association. This first is the right to say anything about public affairs – no matter how upsetting it may be to others. The second is the right of adults to associate or not as they see fit. No one has the right to be loved. No one has the right to be included. No one has the right not to be hated or ridiculed or despised. We may all have a general obligation to behave decently to others – and it is this on which political correctness is a parasitic growth – but the obligation itself is not one that may rightly be imposed by law.

I could elaborate on the above for several pages. However, I imagine my readers are more interested in the BNP than in libertarian homilies. I have explained that the BNP is marked out for destruction, and that this mark has for the moment depressed its fortunes. Let me then move to a discussion of why a small political party like the BNP is under such heavy and continual attack. If it were the sort of organisation it is claimed to be, it would probably be left alone. A party of skinheads and Hitler-worshippers is a wonderful excuse for people who think themselves “progressive” to sit round the dinner table, competitively boasting how many black and homosexual friends they have, and assuring each other of benefits that “diversity” has brought to England.

The truth, I think, is that the BNP is not a national socialist, but a nationalist party. Whatever it may once have been, it is no longer, or is rapidly ceasing to be. And it is the nationalism that makes it so dangerous. Certain nationalisms can be tolerated, and even celebrated – Scotch nationalism, for example, with its sporrans and whines about Culloden, and its ruthless grasping at English subsidies – not to mention its liking for the European Union. But the big fear is that the BNP has already vacated the dead end of national socialism for white nationalism and an equal embrace for all the nationalisms of the British Isles. If it has done this, it might finally see the logic of its position and become an English nationalist party. It would then be in a position to speak for an unusually ferocious and cohesive nation. This cannot be risked. If English nationalism were to become an active political force, it would mean the end of the present British ruling class. This would be ended for its general uselessness over much of the past century, and for the legitimising ideology it has, with grim enthusiasm, been trying to impose for at least the past generation.

A Legitimising Ideology both anti-Liberal and anti-National

There is, of course, nothing inherently bad in legitimising ideologies. Every ruling class needs some body of ideas that directly justifies its position, and that also supports those institutions and state of affairs that entrench that position. And, so far as ruling classes are inseparable from states, the only question – this side of a libertarian utopia – is how much respect a ruling class ideology pays to the lives, liberties and property of ordinary people. The problem for England, though, is that the present ruling class has taken up a legitimising ideology that involves the flattening of popular rights. It sees itself less as a committee of trustees for the nation than as the senior management for a “community of communities”. Mass-immigration of non-whites has been made a policy of state. Objections to this have been made increasingly illegal. “Diversity” is a blessing, and anyone who fails to agree must be ruthlessly bullied. See, for example, this by Andrew Marr, formerly the Political Editor of BBC News:

“[T]he final answer, frankly, [after miscegenation, school propaganda, and higher taxes to pay for it all] is the vigorous use of state power to coerce and repress. It may be my Presbyterian background, but I firmly believe that repression can be a great, civilising instrument for good. Stamp hard on certain 'natural' beliefs for long enough and you can almost kill them off. The police are first in line to be burdened further, but a new Race Relations Act will impose the will of the state on millions of other lives too.” [Published in The Guardian, 28th February 1999]

Now, the primary motivation of this is not to destroy the white race, or to turn Britain into an Islamic state – though there is always more than one agenda at work in a project of this nature. Nor is it the creation of a heavily-policed theme park in which imams and transgendered lesbians and football fans and rap singers all pretend to love each other. In my book, Cultural Revolution, Culture War: How Conservatives Lost England, and how to Get it Back, I do argue at some length how Britain – and perhaps America – have been taken over from within by a clique of neo-Marxists, who are trying to impose every multicultural and politically correct fantasy of their student days. This is true. There is no doubt that the intellectual and governing elites of both countries are soaked in the thought of Antonio Gramsci and Louis Althusser and Michel Foucault. At the same time, though, I believe that political correctness and multiculturalism are symptoms as well as causes. The gathering attack on representative liberal democracy is more a purpose in itself than a by-product of present intellectual trends.

One of the main reasons for this is that a reasonably homogenous nation state may not be democratic, but it can be democratic. People who have a common identity will often conceive common interests, and stand together against a government that does not respect these interests. They may also trust each other with political power – confident that differences over economic or other policies will not be carried to the point of civil war.

This is a standard argument of nationalists. But it is also accepted within a significant strand of classical liberalism. A hundred and fifty years ago, John Stuart Mill stated the argument about as clearly as it can be. In Chapter 16 of his essay On Representative Government, he says:

“Free institutions are next to impossible in a country made up of different nationalities. Among a people without fellow-feeling, especially if they read and speak different languages, the united public opinion, necessary to the working of representative government, cannot exist. The influences which form opinions and decide political acts are different in the different sections of the country. An altogether different set of leaders have the confidence of one part of the country and of another. The same books, newspapers, pamphlets, speeches, do not reach them. One section does not know what opinions, or what instigations, are circulating in another. The same incidents, the same acts, the same system of government, affect them in different ways; and each fears more injury to itself from the other nationalities than from the common arbiter, the state. Their mutual antipathies are generally much stronger than jealousy of the government. That any one of them feels aggrieved by the policy of the common ruler is sufficient to determine another to support that policy. Even if all are aggrieved, none feel that they can rely on the others for fidelity in a joint resistance; the strength of none is sufficient to resist alone, and each may reasonably think that it consults its own advantage most by bidding for the favour of the government against the rest.”

One of the reasons why England was, in the nineteenth and most of the twentieth centuries the model of representative liberal democracies was that it was remarkably homogeneous. Ireland was always an exception – but it was another island, and could for most of the time be ignored. But the Scottish and Welsh nations were broadly willing to fit themselves into an English structure. This meant that there were none of those national or regional diversities that made representative government difficult or impossible in much of Europe.

To be sure, England never became a pure democracy. The people at large were allowed to give final answers to questions – but the questions themselves were always put by a largely aristocratic ruling class. But this ruling class retained power on the understanding that it would identify itself with the interests of the whole nation.

The old ruling class was destroyed by two great wars. It was destroyed in the sense that disproportionate numbers of its own young were killed in the fighting, and by the high taxes and the socialist challenge that attended these wars. And it allowed itself to be destroyed so far as it had identified with the nation. There was no shirking from military service, and few attempts to conceal taxable wealth. Moreover, these were democratic wars. The first one, in particular, had to be sold at its outset to what might otherwise have been a sceptical public. The necessary lies then generated national hatreds so intense that the war itself ran out of control.

Globalisation + Mass-Immigration = Unaccountable Class Domination

The managerialist ruling class that emerged after 1945 has been resolutely anti-nationalist and anti-democratic. It has signed the county up to every treaty in sight that would transfer power to unaccountable, and frequently invisible, transnational bodies in which it could have a leading place. Most obviously, it lied the country into the European Union. This was the creation of European ruling classes that had faced similar problems of national over-identification; and its central purpose has always been to concentrate real power into a cartel of ruling classes, thereby allowing these to float away from accountability. Few members of the new ruling class in England have any military inclinations – though they are happy enough to sacrifice other people’s sons when it suits their convenience. They derive much of their wealth from involvement in multinational business, or in multinational bureaucracies, or in the implementation of treaty commitments; and they cannot be touched financially short of a revolution.

Mass-immigration has been the domestic counterpart of globalisation. The second transfers power upwards. The first so Balkanises national politics and social life, that no concerted effort can be made to pull power down again to the people. We are moving quickly to the situation described by Mill – where “the strength of none is sufficient to resist alone, and each may reasonably think that it consults its own advantage most by bidding for the favour of the government against the rest.” I think what he had in mind was the Hapsburg Empire, where Slavs had recently been used to put down German and Hungarian revolts, and where German and Hungarian nationalism was then encouraged to keep the Slavs in line. That, minus the high culture, is what the British ruling class has in mind for England. It wants a country in which political argument is either to be suppressed on the grounds of good communal relations, or is worthless because all elections are fought on communal lines, and their results always mirror the census returns.

I am not claiming that there is an overt conspiracy. I have discussed the above analysis with many journalists and politicians. All have denied it. Many have been incredulous. I do not think they were lying to me. This may indicate that I am wrong. Just as easily, it indicates that, while there are individual conspiracies – getting us into and keeping us in the European Union, for example, or getting us into the Iraq and Afghan Wars – there is no single overarching conspiracy of dispossession. But there does not need to be any such conspiracy. Political correctness and multiculturalism did not become parts of a legitimising ideology because thousands of well-connected students just happened to be lectured after 1968 into believing them. Nor was it because the well-connected thought they might be useful as domestic counterparts to globalisation. Without any visible coordination, groups of people often act as if directed. Everything I have mentioned can be explained in terms of ideas, and the material interests conceived in terms of these ideas, and the personalities of those involved.

Equally, the almost fanatical hatred directed against the BNP is not consciously the product of the fear that English nationalism might bring about a revolution. However at variance with the truth they may be, the reasons given for hatred are mostly believed by those giving them. But, I repeat, it is not distaste for what it is said to be that really drives persecution of the BNP. It is fear of what the BNP might become, and of the great reaction it might contribute to enabling.

I will not say that the BNP will be destroyed. Its electoral fortunes may recover. England is not a totalitarian country, and there are limits to what even a frightened ruling class can do. But, purely so far as it might become successful, the BNP is certainly marked for destruction. I do not think this will be my last article on the matter.

From Free Life, Issue 26, December 1996
ISSN: 0260 5112

The Governance of Cyberspace: The Far Right on the Internet
David Capitanchik and Michael Whine
Institute for Jewish Policy Research, London, 1996, 16pp.,

I ordered this report expecting it to be another long moan about the Internet - how it enables holocaust revisionists and anti-semites to have their say, free from the usual means of shutting them up. In the event, I was pleasantly surprised. The report is a very good summary of the debate over free speech on the Internet. It is clear, informative, and - on the whole - balanced. It acknowledges that free speech is important. See, for example:

Arguably, the freedom of speech provided by the Internet and its resistance to controls, especially by governments, should not be lightly abandoned. Throughout history, those in authority have sought to restrict, if not suppress altogether, the expression of independent, critical, and unfashionable ideas and beliefs. [p.13]

Of course, I agree with this, and commend whoever wrote it for writing it so well. The problem with the report is not that its authors are lying bigots, but that they have made a fault of judgement. The above quotation continues:

However, as has often been pointed out, the Internet epitomizes the classic 'liberal dilemma'. In this case maintaining the principle of free speech means extending that right to those who would use it to 'promote violence, threaten women, denigrate minorities, promote homophobia and conspire against democracy'. [ibid]

Here I disagree. There is no such dilemma. There is a case for punishing someone who incites offences against life or property at a time when he knows that his listeners are already out of their right minds. He is then using those people as an instrument of his will, rather as if he were pulling the strings of a puppet. But my understanding of liberalism is that all other forms of speech are to be absolutely unhindered. Indeed, note my use of "rather" in the previous sentence. I can think of very few cases - governments and criminal conspiracies are another matter - where someone acts so completely under the will of another that this other ought to be held responsible for whatever crimes result. Punish those who push lighted rags through a letter box, but leave alone those whose writings condone or even incite such acts.

I know that for many Jews this sounds a bizarre statement. If I had been lectured all my childhood about pogroms and gas chambers, I might feel nervous about some of the literature now available on the Internet. But, though understandable, this is to be resisted. In the first place, there is no international Nazi conspiracy - certainly nothing that needs the kind of attention called for. Most active anti-semites are pitiable cranks, like Colin Jordan or Lady Birdwood. Many others are in the movement for the gay sex or as police spies. The sort of stuff one reads about in Searchlight or in Anti-Defamation League reports is very largely fantasy. Why this stuff is put out, and why so many people claim to believe it, are matters beyond my present scope. But the reason is not always honest mistake based on fears of renewed persecution.

In the second place, most "hate" literature on the Internet is not incitement to illegal acts, but claims about matters of fact - usually about whether the received account of the holocaust is the true one. The reply to these claims should not be calls for censorship, as at present, but open debate. Whatever feelings it may arouse in its victims and their descendants, the holocaust is an historical event like any other. As such, it must be open to any interpretation or view of its reality, no matter how malevolent these may appear. The received account must not be given the same privileged status as the core doctrines of Christianity still - regrettably - enjoy in this country.

And - as is said again and again in this journal - there is no surer way to promote holocaust revision and anti-semitism than to make them illegal. The revisionists are unlikely ever to win an open debate. But their enemies seem determined to lose the shadow debate now taking place. The most obvious effect of censorship would be to raise up a small army of martyrs, their faults obscured by their willingness to suffer. Even to call for censorship is stupid. What are people supposed to think of a truth that is supported less by argument than by threats of prison?

However, the debate covered by this report is about the Internet, not the Jews. Certainly, organisations like the Simon Wiesenthal Center and the Board of Deputies of British Jews have made contemptible fools of themselves in the debate. But it must never be forgotten that there is no such thing as "the Jews". There are Jews on both sides of this debate, and there are Jews on no side at all; and those on our side are among the most relentless and uncompromising advocates of freedom of speech. And even if the Jews on the censorship side were to fall silent, the clamour against the Internet would continue almost as loud as before. If it were not the holocaust, it would be something else. Indeed, in this country, it is something else: it is child pornography. The truth is that what the Internet allows is so powerful, so destructive of so many established interests, that its enemies can hardly be counted.

And what the Internet allows is freedom of speech. Yes, this means freedom for nazis and paedophiles to give endless offence, which is something that must be defended. But far more importantly, it means freedom for public opinion to be reborn as it used to exist before about 1910. Since then in England, the media has at least distorted the news. Instead of reflecting what people are really thinking, and reporting what the politicians are really doing, it has created a world close enough in appearances to the real one not to cause scandal, but in which nearly all the substance has been replaced. It may no longer be able to conceal things like the Abdication Crisis, or Churchill's drunken incompetence. But it can still set a false agenda for public debate. It does this by a subtle yet effective framing of arguments, by turns of phrase, by terminology. We have, for example, the continued use of "right" and "left" - a dichotomy that never meant much at its most relevant, and which now describes political debate about as well as the Ptolemaic system described the universe. It is a dichotomy that, so far as public is concerned, serves to break libertarianism into disconnected fragments and to scatter these across the whole conventional spectrum of thought, and so to reduce its effectiveness as the main opposition ideology of our age. Or we have the repeated conflation of greenery with niceness, of coercive altruism with caring, of markets with throat-cutting greed, of anti-nationalism with a love of supra-national institutions like the United Nations and the European Union. It seems paranoid to say this in a country where no laws exist against propagating any point of view, but the issues are presented by the British media in ways that often prevent their being intelligently discussed. Part of this, no doubt, is due to the idleness and stupidity of most people who get jobs in the media. Part of it, though, is the effect of a centralised media the owners of which have been co-opted into the Establishment.

The Internet changes all this. The West is moving perceptibly into an age of zero censorship. We are not there yet - not even in America, where the revolution is most advanced. But it is plain where we are heading. The intricate web of laws and informal pressures that governs expression in even the freest countries is being broken through. If we want to publish unorthodox opinions, we no longer need to negotiate with editors, hoping at best for a letter to be published or to be laughed at even while allowed on to a current affairs programme. If we want to read such opinions, we no longer need to hunt down obscure little pamphlets and newsletters. It is increasingly irrelevant whether the media barons are offered bribes or threatened with prison: their ability to manipulate what we read or see or hear is withering almost by the day. If still only in small amounts, everything is now available on the Internet, and can be accessed as easily as looking for a Chinese takeaway in the Yellow Pages. And every day, more pages are created on the World Wide Web, and more data flows through the newsgroups. We are increasingly in a position to know what is happening, and to make our opinions about this directly available to millions of other people.

No wonder the Internet is hated. No wonder the established media outlets are choked with lurid tales of what corruption lurks on it, just waiting to pounce on children and the weak minded. It must be controlled before it can destroy the great counter-Enlightenment of our century.

Again, I thank the Institute for Jewish Policy Research for having produced so interesting a report. Even so, I do greatly regret that it is on the wrong side in this debate. I should have expected Jews, of all people, to fear censorship of any kind, and to recall what horrors of arbitrary government can flourish without the censure of a truly free press.

Marian Halcombe (Sean Gabb)

Multiculturalism is part of the legitimising ideology of our present ruling class. It serves many functions, which you will find laid out in some detail in my own book Cultural Revolution, Culture War: How Conservatives Lost England, and How to Get it Back. One of the functions, however, goes like this:

1) You fill the country with strangers, who do not look like us and do not share our ways;
2) When these strangers have grown to a big enough portion of those inhabiting our territory, you announce that we are no longer a nation in the old sense, but a "community of communities;"
3) You then announce that a new kind of people needs a new kind of constitution;
4) You go ahead and produce a constitution that, beneath its headline talk about the protection of fundamental rights, leaves out all those outmoded things like freedom of speech and association, trial by jury, due process protections at common law, and the slightest chance of holding the authorities to account.

The result is the same for white and black and brown, for Christian and for Moslem - we all get stuffed forever. We are still several years from (2), but this book should be seen as part of the softening up process. Notice particularly how often the author uses the word "simplistic" to describe any critical views of his thesis. It is normally believed that facts are best explained by the smallest hypothesis - or, in other words, that simplicity is a sign of truth. This is not the case where legitimising ideologies are concerned.

I was sent this book as a review copy. I read it very carefully, so to avoid making it look used; and I am now offering it second hand on Amazon as a service to England. Anyone who buys the book from me will not be paying money to the author or publisher.  

Review Article by Sean Gabb

Attack the System: A New Anarchist Perspective for the 21st Century
Keith Preston
Black House Publishing Ltd, London, 2013, 473pp, £16.50 (pbk)
ISBN: 978-0-9927365-0-7

I first came across Keith Preston in October 2008. In those days, the Libertarian Alliance was able to put up £1,000 every year for a prize essay. The title I had set for that year was “To what extent can a libertarian utopia be described as Tesco minus the State?” I wanted someone to analyse the frequent identification of libertarianism with the defence of big business. Though I had my own view of the question, the conclusions reached were less important than the quality of the analysis. Sadly, my question brought me a flood of autopilot defences of big business, all in the house style of the Adam Smith Institute. One of them began something like: “I’ve never heard of Tesco, so I’ll write about Wal-Mart.” It continued with a love letter so gushing, even Madsen Pirie might have given it a funny look.

One morning, while brooding over which of these submissions was least undeserving of our £1,000, another big envelope arrived from America. It was by Keith Preston, and its title was “Free Enterprise: The Antidote to Corporate Plutocracy.” I read it with astonishment and delight. I set aside that I agreed with it, and read it as I would an undergraduate essay. Even so, long before the final page, I knew that this had to be the winning entry. It had a clarity and force of analysis that placed it and its writer in the highest class. Indeed, if there had been no other payback for the six years that we ran the prize essay, being able to give £1,000 to Keith would in itself have justified the enterprise.

Obviously, then, I commend this book, which is a long selection of Keith’s writings on politics and philosophy. They range from Nietzsche to Ernst Junger, from attacks on Marxism and mainstream libertarianism to calls for the overthrow of the American Empire. It is hard to say which essay is the best. All of them are excellent. This is the first review book I have had in several years that I wish I could put on my shelves, rather than keep on hard disk.

I turn to the generality of what Keith believes. For him, the biggest threat to freedom in what can be called Anglo-America is not Communists or neo-Nazis, or the Moslems, or Christian fundamentalists, or any other of the groups the media preaches against. The real threat is our own ruling class of “totalitarian humanists.” These are a coalition of three forces. There are the cultural leftists – people who have abandoned any pretence of concern for the working classes, and replaced it with an obsessive political correctness. There is the old corporate elite. There are the various agencies of state repression. Together, they have created a police state at home and a foreign empire, both of which combine varying degrees of self-righteousness and brutality.

Until about thirty years ago, the cultural leftists were denouncing their new allies. Today, while still posing as outsiders, and even as dissidents, they provide a legitimising ideology for a power more total than anything known in Anglo-America since the puritan ascendency of the 1650s. Theirs is an ideology embedded in business and education and the media, and in politics and law and administration, and in every medical and professional bureaucracy. It is supreme in every transnational bureaucracy. Excepting only Islam, every main religion bows before it.

Within these areas, no open dissidence is allowed. Within society as a whole, there is dwindling shelter from the power of the ruling class. Intermediary institutions are subverted. Ancient liberties are swept away. We have censorship. We have detention without trial. We have police forces and welfare and social worker bureaucracies clothed with what amounts to absolute and arbitrary power. We have wars fought by terror bombing of civilians, and occupations in which torture and looting are central concerns.

All this is cried up as “progressive,” or an extension of “human rights.” When its existence is admitted, we are told that power is only bad when used for bad ends. Because the ruling class insists on the total goodness of its legitimising ideology, and the total evil of anyone who resists, no atrocity is forbidden – or is, by definition, an atrocity.

The emergence of this tripartite ruling class has made obsolete many of the assumptions absorbed by libertarians and market anarchists in the 1960s and 70s. The main oppressed groups in those days were ethnic minorities, women and homosexuals. It was reasonable for libertarians to take their side. But times are now altered. These groups are no longer oppressed in any reasonable sense. They are protected by anti-discrimination and often by hate speech laws that amount to legal privilege. There are libertarians and libertarian allies in all three. But the main discontent among ordinary members is that the privileges are not yet great enough; and their leaders are full members of the ruling class.

The main oppressed groups nowadays are the white working classes, religious minorities and people whose opinions about the official oppressed groups are not considered sufficiently enlightened. These include white nationalists, Christian fundamentalists and Moslems.

Anyone who is serious about freedom, therefore, should give up on posturing in a battle that ended some time in the 1980s. The battle has always been to destroy the police state at home in Anglo-America, and to end our imperial wars in the third world. This is not to be achieved by taking over the system, and trying to humanise it – but by destroying the system. We must overthrow all centralised systems of control, and replace them by a vast diversity of autonomous and voluntary communities. That is our goal. The alliances we need to make to get there are determined by forces outside our control. Our natural allies at the moment are people we may deplore. Our opponents are often people we used to support  – and whose legitimate rights we still wholeheartedly support.

Keith asks:

Which is more authoritarian: a Nazi community on the top of a mountain whose members voluntarily choose their way of life or a massive, centralist, “democratic” state that seeks to impose the narrow values of a self-serving elite on the whole of society? [p.61]

Good question. Keith answers it without hesitation. Liberal democracy was always something of a fraud. It has now been destroyed. Its institutions are corrupted beyond repair. If this were not enough, state-sponsored mass-immigration has balkanised both England and America. There is no middle way left between totalitarian control and radical decentralisation. He accepts that this will not bring utopia. There

might be associations or communities of such a puritanical nature as to put Calvin or Khomeini to shame…. Some of the institutions that would form in an anarchist world might be hallmarks in human progress and achievement while others might be hellholes of incomparable ghastliness. This is what authentic liberty and authentic diversity are all about. Individuals and communities alike must be left to succeed or fail on their own terms.[ibid.]

It is also the only answer to the problems brought by state-sponsored mass-immigration:

Forced integration only exacerbates hostility between social groups. Allowing different groups to practice mutual self-segregation and sovereignty may be a partial way out of this predicament. [p.80]

As for economics, Keith broadly endorses the small-scale localism of writers like Kevin Carson. He sees big business and big government as close allies. Destroy the state, thereby taking away the privileges – incorporation laws, patent laws as they currently are, transport subsidies, etc – given to the corporate elite, and there would still be an economy based on market exchanges. But the actors in this market would be smaller and more integrated into their communities. There would be sole traders and partnerships and workers cooperatives, and the occasional firm employing wage labour in the conventional sense. Keith’s ideal is a world with no masters and no bosses. Anarchy may not take us there. But it will take us closer to it than the New World Order will.

I could easily say more about this book. It is, after all, very long. So far, I have drawn only from three of its essays. However, I have given something of its flavour, thereby discharging my first duty as a reviewer. My second duty is to say how far I agree with it.

In part, I do agree with Keith. My 2007 book, Cultural Revolution, Culture War, gives a similar critique of the ruling class. Mine differs so far as I concentrate on England, and he on America. It also differs in emphasis. I saw the cultural leftists as the dominant actors in the new ruling class. The State agencies and business had been captured by these people. Keith sees the ruling class much more as a coalition of equals. I am not sure if this is an important distinction. Indeed, since I have not read my own book since it came out, I may not remember exactly what I said. My main difference with Keith is over the nature and extent of what needs to be done. Here, I think it would be useful to speak of where each of us stands, and of the different paths by which we came there.

Keith arrived at his present views from starting as a conventional anarchist of the left. Also, he is an American. Even before the waves of mass-immigration that started around 1880, Americans had little sense of national identity. What little they nowadays have is a creation of the Federal State. I began as a Tory, rooted in the English past. I was brought over to classical liberalism in my late teens, when I read J.S. Mill and Macaulay and Lecky. I have become somewhat more radical with age. But the default position to which I always return is to want a reaction to something like the England of the 18th and 19th centuries.

If I ever came to power, I would ruthlessly destroy the new ruling class. I would shut down agencies and institutions and whole departments of state. I would throw functionaries by the hundreds of thousands into the street, and cancel their pensions. I would tax the already pensioned into shelf-stacking and telesales. I would strip away every corporate privilege. I would unleash a revolution as fundamental as the dissolution of the monasteries by Henry VIII, or the destruction of the Tudor and Stuart State in 1641. This done, my imagination reaches hardly beyond restoring the Old Constitution.

I despise Elizabeth the Useless, but think well of constitutional monarchy. I hate corporate elites and plutocracies, but not the old landed aristocracy. I suspect that every present Member of Parliament is there for the sex or the bribes, or both: I still take comfort in the drone of a returning officer’s voice. I want England back as it used to be – though probably more like it used to be than it ever was.

For this reason, I find Keith’s taste for dissolving the nation state not to my own. And yet, I am sensible enough to doubt if what I want is remotely on offer. The moral and institutional bases of the old order crumbled away before I was born. It cannot be brought back. In particular, the non-European immigrations of the past sixty years have brought fundamental changes. Since I and most other people recoil from the thought of ethnic cleansing, we need to find some way of living together that does not involve a total state to keep the peace. All this brings me to a scared reading of Keith Preston and Kevin Carson and Hans-Hermann Hoppe and the other radicals. I arrived without their influence at a similar analysis of what has gone wrong, and of what needs to be done to stop the downward progress. I am less comfortable with their longer term solutions. But it may be that their visions of a stateless future are the only ones that have any chance of working.

And so I thank Keith for sending me a review copy of his book. It confirms many of my own opinions. It challenges others. Though sometimes disturbing, it is always brilliant. I have no hesitation in calling it the most significant book our movement has produced in the past year.

The British State vs. The BNP—The Post-Modern Tyranny of “Human Rights”

[Peter Brimelow writes:The U.S. may shortly have“Hate Crime”legislation, which will of course immediately metastasize into an attack on “hate speech”. Wanna bet that what is happening in the U.K., described below by a distinguished British libertarian, can’t happen here?)

By Sean Gabb (Published by VDare on the 31st August 2009)

Also by Sean Gabb: England: The Peasants are Revolting

On Monday, August 24th 2009, the British Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) began legal proceedings against the British National Party (BNP). Its cause of action is that the BNP restricts membership to white people—"indigenous British ethnic groups deriving from the class of ‘Indigenous Caucasian’"plus "those we regard as closely related and ethnically assimilated or assimilable aboriginal members of the European race also resident in Britain.".[Constitution Of The British National Party Eighth Edition, published November 2004(PDF)] (Which is interpreted to include Jews—thus one BNP elected official, Pat Richardson, a local councilor, is Jewish).

The BNP rule is said to be illegal under the Race Relations Act 1976 as amended in 2000. If successful, the court action will force the BNP to open its membership to all applicants regardless of their colour.

This is a politically-motivated prosecution. The BNP has long upset the people who now rule Britain. Its denunciations of mass-immigration and of multiculturalism disrupt what would otherwise be an almost smooth wall of praise—or at least of caution—by the other parties.

Despite universal condemnation in the media, the BNP has made considerable gains during the past few years in local elections, and managed to win two seats in June this year to the European Parliament. It may win a seat in the British Parliament at the next general election. Stopping the BNP is high on the agenda of the powers that be.

This being said, shutting down a political party simply because it dissents from the established multicultural faith is not something that is yet done in Britain. It is too openly an attack on freedom of speech. It may also be illegal under the Human Rights Act 1998, which enacts the European Convention on Human Rights into British law.

Nevertheless, the party stands to be ruined partly by the costs of legal action, and partly by the effects of losing the legal action.

These effects have been clearly spelled out by some of the BNP’s enemies. According to the Blog of Operation Black Vote,

“Nic Careem, [Email him]a former Labour activist from Camden in north London, who is now with the Conservatives, said he originally argued that black and Asian people should join the BNP en mass [sic]to cause chaos and expose the extent of racism inside the party of Nick Griffin.”

In other words, the BNP is to be flooded with non-whites, who will then use further legal action—assuming the internal structures of the party are insufficient—to destroy it.

This attack on the BNP is abhorrent for a number of reasons.

  • First, it is indirectly an attack on freedom of speech.

We in Britain are endlessly told nowadays that freedom of speech does not involve the right to preach hatred and “intolerance”. But it does. Freedom of speech means the right to say anything at all on any public issue, and to make any recommendation on what the law should be.

I was born into a Britain where this understanding was broadly accepted. I live now in a country where it is not. Thus Simon Woolley [Email him] of Operation Black Vote dismisses freedom of speech as an almost sacred cow. He even appeals for support to the majesty of the British Constitution:

“Over centuries our unwritten constitution has given us a framework for our democracy. From Magna Carta to the Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000, our democracy has evolved to reflect our changing times. This framework gives us a democracy which, for all its limitations, seeks to balance individual freedoms with fairness and tolerance.”

In the technical sense, Woolley may be right. Being unwritten, the British Constitution is whatever the authorities decide it to be.

But his claim is irrelevant. A constitution does not legitimise oppression. Rather, it is legitimate so far as it protects rights. If the British Constitution no longer guarantees freedom of speech, so much the worse for the Constitution.

  • Second,as said, the authorities are frightened to make a direct attack on freedom of speech. Instead, they are relying on laws that abolish freedom of association.

But this is barely less important within the liberal tradition than freedom of speech. The two rights complement each other. Freedom of speech is the right to say anything. Freedom of association involves the right to propagate what is said. It means the right of people to come together for any purpose that does not involve aggression against others.

Obviously, it also means the right not to associate. Laws imposing equal access to employment, or paid services, or membership of private associations, are not an extension of rights, but a denial of rights. By forcing people to associate with persons whom they would otherwise reject, anti-discrimination laws are a form of coerced association. They also allow dissident organisations to be taken over and destroyed.

  • Third, if the form of the attack is hypocritical, so is the substance. The BNP is not the only organisation that seeks to confine its membership to members of a particular race. But it is the only organisation the EHRC is taking to court.

The Lincolnshire Black Police Association, for example, declares on its website —rather, it declares on its section of the official web site of the  Lincolnshire Police Force—that

“Membership applications for the LBPA are invited from everybody. Full Membership is available to all Black Minority Ethnic staff of the Lincolnshire Police. Associate Membership is open to ALL members of the Lincolnshire Police and outside agencies who wish to support the work of the LBPA.”

I am told that these confessions of racial discrimination are being hurriedly taken down from the Internet. However, the BNP has published a selection of screen shots from the Lincolnshire and other branches of the Black Police Association. The EHRC has so far refused even to acknowledge complaints of this racial discrimination.

And even if the Black Police Association should take down the offending words and open its full membership to all, there is no chance of its being flooded by hostile whites. There are no white equivalents of Operation Black Vote or other ethnic advocacy groups.

Any whites groups that did form would soon be prosecuted or harassed out of existence. Any individual whites who joined would themselves be evangelists of the multicultural faith. If not, they would be chased out with violence or threats of violence that the modern Politically Correct British police—memorably described by  purged National Review editor John O’Sullivan as “the paramilitary wing of the Guardian, the leading left-wing newspaper—would now do nothing to investigate.

  • Fourth, it is at least interesting to see how the language of rights has been perverted into a cover for oppression. The Equality and Human Rights Commission promotes equality by discriminating against whites, and protects human rights by attacking freedom of association as a means of neutering freedom of speech.

It is also interesting that the EHRC Commissioner overseeing the BNP prosecution is John Wadham. He was once Director of Liberty, which is supposed to be the main independent guardian in this country of civil and political rights.

At a public meeting in 2001, I accused Mr Wadham of not caring about the liberties of anyone perceived to be on the political “right”. This sent him into a rhetorical frenzy. A few weeks later, I felt almost guilty at how roughly I had treated him when I read this in a letter of his to The Daily Telegraph:

[H]uman rights are primarily about limiting the power of the central state in its dealing with the individual citizen.”

According to the accounts of the body that the EHRC replaced, Mr Wadham’s salary in the year to the 31st March 2008 was £78,548. [VDARE.COM: roughly $127,735 US] I will limit my comments on this fact to observing that his salary—and it has probably risen by a third in the past 18 months—is at least three times his probable worth in any market-based employment.

By way of a conclusion, I feel I ought to give my opinion on the BNP. This is that I fear its success.

The next Conservative Government will fail to reverse the disasters that Labour has brought on the country. This is because the Conservatives do not even intend to try for a counter-revolution. When the failure has become manifest, people will turn to the only alternative party that has forthrightly denounced the Labour revolution and has an existing electoral base. This will be the BNP.

I fear that the BNP will, by default, become the only viable champion of counter-revolution.

Now, I am not frightened that the BNP is a party of national socialists, and that its leaders are counting the days till they can rip off their business suits, to show the black and red uniforms beneath. Under its present leader, Nick Griffin, the BNP has become a white nationalist party. The party believes in the expulsion of illegal immigrants, an in some voluntary repatriation of non-whites who are legally here, and in dismantling the Equal Opportunities police state from which people like Mr Wadham benefit. Other than this, a BNP Government might easily show more respect for the forms of a liberal constitution than have the Labour governments of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown—after all, this would not be difficult.

The problem is that the BNP and much of its leading personnel used to be national socialists. There are too many published statements in praise of Hitler or denouncing the Jews.

Of course, people change their opinions over time. Middle-aged men are not necessarily to be judged on what they said or wrote in their late teens.

That excuse has been made and accepted for the Ministers in the Labour Government. Many of these in their younger days were Trotskyite street bullies. Peter Mandelson, who is effectively deputy Prime Minister, joined the Young Communist League three years after the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia, and used to sell the Communist Morning Star. John Reid, who was aHome Secretary in the Blair Government, was a member of the Communist Party in his late twenties, and was noted for his admiration of Josef Stalin. It would be easy to fill an article with the disreputable pasts of those who have ruled this country since 1997.

If there were any fairness in politics, they would be regarded as no less disreputable than the leaders of the BNP.

But there is no fairness in politics. A man can deny the Soviet holocaust—or even admit that it happened but try to justify it—and remain in good standing with the media and educational Establishments. The slightest whisper of approval for the lesser horrors of National Socialism, and a man is tainted for life.

This is unfair, but it is a fact that must be accepted. I can easily imagine how the BNP might replace the useless Conservatives as main opponents to what has been done to this country. I can also imagine how the movement then led by the BNP might be smeared and discredited out of existence.

Even so, if I can have no longing for a BNP breakthrough at the next but one general election, neither can I regard the legal proceedings against it as other than a classic illustration of how to run a post-modern tyranny.

The British State has no Gestapo, no KGB. But why would it need one when it has the Equality and Human Rights Commission?

England: The Peasants are Revolting

By Sean Gabb (Published by VDare on the 8th June 2009)

So far as I can tell from England, the American media gives little real coverage to events in the United Kingdom. Either events are not covered at all, or they are covered without enough context to give them meaning. I think this has been the case with the results of the European elections and the House of Commons expenses scandal that is said to have led to these election results.

The European Elections

Let me begin with the facts. On Thursday the 4th June 2009, the British people voted in elections to the European Parliament. This is supposed to be the legislative body of the European Union, and it has around 750 Members, of whom 78 are from Britain. It has no meaningful functions, and its only effect is to give a democratic veneer to a multinational federation that cannot by its nature be democratically governed. Despite the best efforts of the pro-Establishment BBC, hardly anyone takes European elections as other than an excuse to pass judgement on the government of the day.

The results came out on Sunday, 7th June. The ruling Labour Party, with 15.7 per cent, got its lowest share of the vote in any national election since 1918. The Conservatives won the largest share, with 27.7 per cent. They are celebrating their victory—but this is hardly the sort of percentage share of the vote that promises a Commons majority in a general election. It may be that the 16.5 per cent won by the UK Independence Party would probably go to the Conservatives in a general election. But it did not go to them in the European elections.

The result may have been to complete the disintegration of the Labour Government. Already in trouble, the Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, may now have little choice but to resign.

The main shock, however, has been the election of Nick Griffin and one other British National Party candidate to the European Parliament. The BNP stands for a complete halt to non-white immigration, expulsion of illegal immigrants and voluntary repatriation of non-whites legally here. It also believes in an end to multiculturalism and political correctness, and in withdrawal from the European Union.

These were the first victories for the BNP in any national election, and they have been greeted by the British media and political class with hysterical rage. The favoured explanation is that the BNP—plus UKIP and the other small parties that did so well in the European elections—is to blame the House of Commons expenses scandal. The idea that people might have voted as they did because they liked what they saw cannot be entertained.

The Expenses Scandal

But, rather than just sneer at its use as smokescreen, let me explain something about the expenses scandal. Members of the House of Commons are allowed to claim expenses that are "wholly, exclusively and necessarily incurred for the performance of a Member’s parliamentary duties." This is supposed to mean that a Member who lives in Scotland or some other distant part of the country can claim for the cost of running a second home in London, and for travel between London and his constituency. Because payment of expenses has been confidential, and because receipts have not always been required, the system has been open to abuse. For several years, occasional stories have been appearing in the establishment media about abuses of the House of Commons expenses system that amount to fraud. These have been only occasional stories. They have usually caused a few days of comment, and then been forgotten. Then, The Daily Telegraph obtained a disc giving a million pages of expenses claims going back over the past four years. Every day since the 8th May 2009, The Daily Telegraph has been publishing details of the more lurid and fraudulent claims.

Examples of these claims have been:

  • Nominating and renominating second homes. As said, expenses are paid to cover the costs of running a second home. Running costs include renovations. Members have used the rules to designate as their second home whichever of their two properties was most in need of work. This might be their home in London or in their constituency. Many have then nominated their other property as their second home to claim for a fresh set of renovations.
  • Subsidised property development. Several Members have pushed these rules to the limit. They have bought derelict properties, nominated them as second homes to claim the full cost of improvements, then have sold them at profits that are free of tax.
  • Subsidised luxury. Even without profiting from a rising property market, Members have been claiming for expenses not reasonably incurred for the performance of their parliamentary duties. The Daily Telegraph has published details of claims for landscape gardening, for tampons, for cosmetics, for trouser presses—even for court fines and for charitable donations.
  • Possible fraud. Several Members have been caught overclaiming for Council Tax, or claiming for payments on mortgages already paid off. In a disclosure separate from The Daily Telegraph publications, one senior Minister was shown to have claimed for the cost of renting pornographic videos for her husband. It is likely that some of the non-receipted expenses were for prostitution services or the purchase of recreational drugs.

There are many other examples. But the four given are of the same nature as the others.

The results of The Daily Telegraph disclosures have been—depending on who you are—catastrophic or highly entertaining. Promising careers have been blighted. Distinguished careers—that is,"distinguished" within the rules of the political game—have been cut short in corruption scandals that will forever put all else in the shade. So far, about a dozen Members of the House of Commons have announced that they will not stand again at the next election, or have been blocked by their parties from standing again. The Home Secretary has resigned from the Government. The Communities Secretary has resigned It is possible that the Chancellor of the Exchequer will be sacked within the next few days. Other Ministers will probably leave the Government. The Speaker of the House of Commons has been forced to resign. Dozens—perhaps hundreds—of Members are expected to lose their seats at the next election, as an angry electorate delivers its own verdict on the general scandal.

The Real Causes of Disenchantment

Now, the expenses scandal may have been the immediate cause of current electoral upsets. But no one who is honest or can think longer than four minutes at a time will regard it as anything approaching the ultimate cause. The British people are outraged—that much is certain. The stories published have shown a grossness of behaviour we used to think confined to the political classes of lesser foreign countries. On the other hand, the total cost of the illegitimate claims—even including those merely questionable—does not amount to more than a few million pounds. Since 1997, our Labour Government has burned its way through two trillion pounds of our tax money. This has been mostly used to buy Labour votes or to oppress us—usually both. During this time, the Government has put an ancient and highly successful Constitution through the shredder. It has abolished common law protections of liberty, and replaced them with the powers and institutions a police state. It has limited its own political accountability by alienating national sovereignty to the European Union. It has engaged us in wars of imperial aggression against Serbia, Afghanistan and Iraq.

It has also encouraged legal immigration on an unprecedented scale, and done nothing about a possibly greater illegal immigration. According to official figures, the non-white population of the United Kingdom is about five per cent. The probable figure may be as high as 20 per cent. The Government statisticians themselves admit that the figure may pass 50 per cent as early as 2040. This immigration has been facilitated by positive discrimination and hate crime laws that give preferential treatment to the newcomers and suppress complaints. If it has raised gross domestic product, and if it may have raised the living standards of the middle classes, the immigration has noticeably reduced the living standards of the working classes. And it has raised obvious questions about the survival of at least the English people and their liberal institutions.

We have put up with all of this and more. The Labour Government has won two further elections since 1997. There have been no riots. There has been no irresistible rise of new political forces. Now, if the whole political establishment appears on the brink of public rejection, we are supposed to think is because a few dozen Members of Parliament have been fiddling their expenses.

The reason for this, I suspect, is that the expenses scandal has been seized on by the people as the surrogate for the far greater complaints already mentioned. These cannot easily be made in public. Some cannot be made because it would be illegal to make them—or, if not illegal, making them would be attended by informal sanctions. Most cannot be made because it is almost impossible to breakthrough the wall of lies behind which our rulers have sheltered themselves.

For years now—and the Conservatives were nearly as bad in this respect—British Governments have been refusing to tell the truth about their actions or intentions. Every lunatic or evil change has been accompanied by the flow of unpersuasive but unanswerable chatter most of us can remember from childhood.

To take one example of this, there is the European Constitution. Back in 2005, the European Union decided to sweep away the tangle of treaties and lesser agreements under which it operated and replace them with a single constitution. This was an impenetrable document, but appeared to bring about the final transfer of sovereignty from the Member States to the European Union. It was rejected by the French and Dutch in referenda. It was then withdrawn. In Britain, the three main parties solemnly promised before the general election of that year that they would not sign up to a revived constitution until after the British people had been consulted in a referendum.

In 2008, the Constitution was edited into the Treaty of Lisbon. This appears to achieve exactly the same as the Constitution by amending earlier treaties. It is shorter than the Constitution, (which runs over 400 pages [PDF]) but also still more opaque. This was rammed through Parliament by the British Government, with support from the Liberal Democrats. The justification was that the election promises had governed the Constitution, not another treaty. Every Government Minister and every Liberal Democrat leader joined in the fraud—and did so with arguments that could only be countered by a closer reading and understanding of the relevant documents than any normal person could reasonably be expected to make.

And the Conservative opposition has been little better. For electoral reasons, it made a great show of insisting on the promised referendum. It then promised to hold a referendum if it won the next election. This promise, however, seems to have been limited to a referendum if, after the next election, the Treaty has not come into effect following ratification by all the Member States of the European Union. When asked what they would do if the Treaty had already come into effect, the Conservative leaders have refused to give a straight answer.

A decent construction can be put on this refusal to make the further promise. But decent constructions can no longer be credibly made of any promise made by any of the main British parties.

We could not shake these people on their smug, emollient drivel about the European Union or mass-immigration, or handing out unimaginable amounts of our money to privileged banking interests. But we can take hold of them and rub their noses in the dirt of their expenses claims. Those are things anyone can understand—and that no one can credibly defend.

We are like the child who has been lectured into silence over having his dog put to sleep and his best friend excluded from the house and his pockets searched every night—but whose parents have now broken a clear promise to watch him play in the school pantomime. We are angry, and what would otherwise be the pettiness of what has made us angry is no longer important.

What Will Happen Next?

A further question is what will come out of all this. Labour has done badly, and its days in government may be numbered. The Conservatives will almost certainly win the next general election, and the only reasonable question asked is how big will be their majority.

But none of this may be very important. The Conservatives are part of the political cartel that rules my country. They cannot be worse than Labour. But they will almost certainly be little better. They may take enough of the hard choices to stop the country from disintegrating in the short term. But the longer term problems will not be addressed.

What we have at the moment, therefore, is not a revolution—as some of the newspapers have claimed—but a peasants’ revolt. We have grievances. But we lack the organised articulating body for those grievances that will bring about meaningful change.

This may, though, be one of the precursors of revolution. It may be our equivalent of the Diamond Necklace Scandal in ancien regime France. That did not bring on the Great Revolution. But it did prepare the way by showing the greed and stupidity of the people who ruled France.

It is to be hoped—though not necessarily expected—that the longer term result of what has just happened will be to enable the emergence of new political forces in the United Kingdom—or perhaps just in England. I do not think these have yet made an appearance. I voted for the United Kingdom Independence Party. But this is a protest party. It has neither the personnel nor the ideology for mounting a challenge capable of overturning the established order of things.

Several people I know voted for the British National Party, and are rejoicing in its successes. This party has the best leader any nationalist party in England has had since the Establishment itself stopped being recognisably pro-British. He is clever. He is articulate. He is brave. He and his party, nevertheless, are tainted by their national socialist past. Too many of the party’s leading members have said or done things that most people in this country regard as disreputable.

Whatever successes it may now be celebrating, I do not think the British National Party has much of a future. Or, if it does have a future, this must be under a new and untainted leadership.

However, just because I cannot see where it will lead, I can take pleasure in watching the modern equivalent of the Peasants’ Revolt, and hope that it will ultimately lead us out of the gutter into which our political class has dumped the British people. 

Free Life Commentary,
an independent journal of comment
published on the Internet

Issue Number 113
13th October 2003

Not Socialism, but Post-Socialism:
The Nature of the Enemy
by Sean Gabb

Preface

Around this time of year, I give much of my writing time to complaints about the Conservative Party. There is little directly on this matter I have not already published; and I see no reason for saying it all again with a present set of examples. What I will do instead is to provide a sociological analysis of why the Conservatives are doing so badly. I begin this with an abstract that summarises a longer argument.

Abstract

The problems now faced by the Conservative Party are not fundamentally a matter of policies and personalities. They are instead the effect of a set of assumptions—more or less accepted by all involved in politics—that makes the advocacy of conservative ideas almost impossible. Using the terminology and analysis of Antonio Gramsci, the Italian Marxist thinker, this set of assumptions may be called a "hegemonic discourse". Propagated by all the instruments of administration and law and education, it sets the terms of public debate—what questions may and may not be asked, and how those allowed may be answered.

The discourse is not supported by overt propaganda of the kind used by the totalitarian states of the middle and late 20th century. It is instead imposed by three primary methods. There is the control of terminology—"left" and "right", "progressive" and "outmoded", and so forth—thereby enabling arguments to be conducted in terms already biassed to one side. Periodic shifts in terminology - "gay" for homosexual", for example—also allows one side to come to any argument from an already established position of moral superiority. There is control of the news media. This does not involve actual lying. It is rather a matter of selection and emphasis of true facts: articles and news items can be constructed that in the formal sense are wholly neutral, but that create an entirely prejudicial effect on their audience. Then there is control of the entertainment media. Again, this does not involve the crude propagandising of the National and Bolshevik Socialists. It is the use of drama and comedy to normalise attitudes previously regarded as unusual or even offensive, and to associate their opposites with all that is bad.

Conservative opposition to the New Labour project is based on the assumption that it is essentially about economic policy. But it is not about economics—or is so only at the periphery. This project is one of cultural deconstruction. Socialism of the familiar kind is for the moment dead. This project is its replacement. The established order of liberal democracy is still to be overturned, but not by the traditional means of seizing the means of production. Though not socialists in the traditional sense, the directors of the project were all influenced—at university or by example—by the writings of Gramsci and Foucault and Althusser, and the various other philosophers of the "New Left".

To understand what is happening needs an understanding of these philosophers. Indeed, to understand their writings is of the greatest importance—just as understanding those of Karl Marx was in the earlier debates over socialism. The critiques of liberal democracy contained in these writings are all variously false or questionable. But the analyses of how the ruling class gains and keeps power - through the control of culture and the construction of hegemonic discourses—may be seen as a set of instructions for how the new non-economic socialists can themselves gain and keep power.

These writings are also useful to the opponents of the project. For over a generation, the enemies of liberal democracy have been complaining about "repressive tolerance" and "labelling" and "moral panics" and "hegemonic ideologies". All these terms and the analyses they express can now be used with far greater justice against these enemies of liberal democracy. They can be used to spread embarrassment and confusion, and also to recapture the moral high ground of debate.

For this to be achieved, however, it is necessary to educate conservatives in general—and Conservatives in particular—so that they can understand the nature of the present threat, and to use these captured tools of analysis and attack. Arguments based on the economic calculation debate won against the socialists from the 1920s onwards are for the moment largely useless. It is now accepted that the State cannot bake bread better or more cheaply than the private sector. It is still useful to complain about high taxes and the growing burden of regulation. But these complaints must be grounded on an understanding of the reasons why these taxes and regulations are being imposed—their purpose being to advance an agenda of cultural transformation.

How this education is to be achieved is a matter for further discussion. Briefly put, is there anyone out there who will give me the money needed to buy the time for educating the conservative movement?

I can be reached by the usual means.

Sean Gabb
13 October 2003
sean@libertarian.co.uk
07956 472 199

Introduction

For at least ten years now, the British Conservative Party has been in serious trouble. It has lost two of the past three general elections, and does not seem likely to win the next one. The reasons for this collapse of support can be divided under two headings. There are local and general reasons. The local reasons are obvious. Since Margaret Thatcher was forced from office in November 1990, the Party has had three more or less ineffectual leaders. At the same time, the Blair Government has been reasonably able and very lucky. It has faced no serious challenge to its authority, and has done little immediate harm to the strong economic position inherited from the Conservatives in 1997.

If these were the only reasons for Conservative weakness, the solution would be fairly easy. It would be a matter of looking for a better leader, or waiting for the recession to hit, or both. The problem is that, behind these local reasons, there are general reasons for weakness that make it very hard for any Conservative leader to be effective, or for any but the most serious failure by Labour to bring its legitimacy as the governing party into doubt. Indeed, even given some unexpected upset that might bring them back into office, it is unlikely that the Conservatives would find themselves in power. For all they might be able to form a Conservative Government, they would not be able to pursue conservative objects in defence of liberal democracy. The great problem for the Conservatives, regardless of whoever leads them, is that they are the target of a highly effective Gramscian project, and they show not the smallest sign of understanding the nature of their enemy.

A Gramscian Project

The administration of this country should not be regarded as a neutral machine, to be directed as the elected politicians please. It is instead best seen as a web of people and institutions. There are the civil servants. There are the public sector educators. There are the semi-autonomous agencies funded by the tax payers. There are journalists and other communicators. There are certain formally private media and entertainment and legal and business interests that obtain power, status and income from the policies of government. Together, these are the true government of this country. The elected politicians are not unimportant parts of the administrative web. But they are required to work within limitations imposed by the web as a whole. These limitations are set by the ideas that hold the various parts of the web together.

These ideas may be called a hegemonic ideology. They set the agenda of debate and policy. They determine what questions exist, how they can be discussed, and what solutions may be applied. They provide a whole language of debate. Ideas outside the range of this hegemonic ideology—as especially those hostile to it—either have no words at all for their discussion, or can be discussed only in words that implicitly discredit them in advance. Once achieved within the administrative web, ideological hegemony can be spread, through education and example, to the rest of the population.

The function of ideological hegemony is to legitimise the power and status of the ruling élites in a society, and to marginalise dissent where it cannot altogether be prevented. It supplements—or can even entirely replace—the more overt forms of repression.

These functions were first analysed in systematic manner by Antonio Gramsci, an Italian Marxist imprisoned by Mussolini. By the early 20th century, it was clear, in spite of what Marx had predicted, that the industrial working classes in Western Europe and America would not rise in spontaneous revolution. Rather than conclude that the whole theory had been falsified by events, Gramsci and his followers developed the "rescue hypothesis" that the workers had been prevented from understanding their real interests by their acceptance of the dominant bourgeois ideology. Because they thought in terms of national identity and the amelioration of hardship through social reform, they could not see how exploited they were, and how no true improvement was possible within the existing mode of production.

The purpose and use of this analysis has tended to limit its reception among conservatives. However, once developed, any set of ideas can be detached from the circumstances that produced it. It makes no more sense for non-socialists to reject the concept of ideological hegemony because of its origins than it did for the German national socialists to reject the theory of relativity because it was originated by a Jew. Where ideas are concerned, all that matters is whether they are true or false.

Now, when applied to the institutions of liberal democracy, the analysis was false. These were reasonably open societies, with a high degree of toleration of dissent, and economic institutions that had raised and were raising the living standards of all social groups. Nevertheless, it does exactly apply to those people who have taken control of the administrative web and are using it to impose their own, profoundly anti-conservative hegemony in Britain and throughout the English-speaking world.

A Quasi-Marxist Ideological Hegemony

In a sense, the administrative web has been dominated for at least the past three generations by ideas hostile to conservatism. Ever since the 1940s, conservative governments in both Britain and America have found it necessary to govern mostly within the assumptions of the administrators and of their allies. However, the old anti-conservative élites—headed by people like J.M. Keynes and Paul Samuelson, and Roy Jenkins and Warren Christopher - by and large accepted the assumptions of liberal democracy. There was a commitment to open and reasonably fair debate, and to the proposition that justice should remain separate from politics. It was bound together by a belief in its superior wisdom and goodness and by a contempt for opposition. But its hegemony was rather mild and amateurish, and little attempt was made to preserve that hegemony after its claims had been falsified in the 1970s. Since the 1970s - even as conservatives were celebrating the death of socialism—a new and far more professional and ruthless hegemony has been established within the administrative web.

This hegemony proceeds from the progressive domination of the universities by radical socialists. From Sociology and the other social studies, they spread out to colonise virtually every other discipline with the exceptions of Economics, Mathematics and the natural sciences. They are particularly strong in most departments of Education and in teacher training programmes. Since the 1960s, they have been turning out generation after generation of graduates exposed to the ideas of Marxism and quasi-Marxism. Few of these graduates, of course, became committed activists. But, from early middle age downwards, there are now hundreds of thousands of intellectual workers—the key personnel of the administrative web - whose minds have been shaped within radical socialist assumptions.

How the Death of Socialism Has Strengthened Socialists

When socialism collapsed in the 1980s as an economic ideology in the West, and as the legitimisation of tyranny in the East, it seemed at first as if the world had been made safe for liberal democracy. Francis Fukuyma, for example, felt able to argue that the next century would see the progressive triumph around the world of capitalism, democracy and the rule of law. More than a decade later, though, we can see that his optimism was at least premature.

If we look at the leading personnel in the Blair and Clinton administrations—and, perhaps more importantly in the administrative webs below them—we see an almost unvaried hold on positions of importance by people whose minds have been at least shaped by the general ideas of radical socialism. They may no longer be socialists in the economic sense. But their most basic assumptions—from which their old economic analysis had proceeded—has remained intact.

The Relevance of a Gramscian Analysis

What makes the various kinds of Marxist and neo-Marxist analysis so peculiarly appropriate to their actions is that these analyses accurately describe how their minds work. Speech in the old liberal democracies was reasonably free. There was an attempt to separate news from comment. Justice was fairly impartial. But since our new rulers spent their younger years denying these truths, they are quite willing, now they are in power, to act on the belief that they are not true. Because they believe that tolerance is repressive, they are repressive. Because they do not believe that objectivity is possible, they make no attempt at objectivity. Because they do not believe that justice is other than politics by other means, they are politicising justice. Because they believe that liberal democracy is a façade behind which a ruling class hides its ruthless hold on power, they are making a sham of liberal democracy. In this scheme of things, the works of a whole line of Marxist and neo-Marxist philosophers, from Gramsci to Foucault, are to be read not as a critique of liberal democracy, but as the manifesto of their students.

What the Socialists Want

That these people cannot clearly describe the shape of their ideal society, does not at all weaken the force of their attack on the one that exists. The old socialists were notoriously vague about their final utopia, but this did not stop them from producing mountains of dead bodies wherever they took power. We may doubt if the present generation of socialists are sincere when they talk about justice, peace and good will between all people. But we can have no doubt of their immediate end. This is the destruction of the old social and political order—the overturning of its traditions and norms, its standards and laws, its history and heroes. Every autonomous institution, every set of historical associations, every pattern of loyalty that they cannot control—these they want to destroy or neutralise.

The Lack of Conservative Response

As said, this is a Gramscian project carried out by Gramscians. These people spent their younger years reading and thinking about ideological hegemony, and they are now, in their middle years, trying to achieve it. Again, as said, conservatives do not understand the nature of the attack. They understand armed terrorism, and know—at least in theory—how to deal with it. They also know about economic socialism, and are fluent in all the necessary modes of refutation. But the anti-conservatives are not really interested in armed violence—why should they be when they dominate the administrative web? Nor are they really interested in nationalising the means of production, distribution and exchange. No doubt, the Blair Government has raised taxes since 1997, and has imposed a mass of regulations on business. But the tax rises have not been high enough, nor the regulations heavy enough, to give serious inconvenience to the important big business interests.

The real area of conflict is cultural. That is where the engines of destruction are now most concentrated. And this is a conflict in which there is no overall strategy of defence. There are local defences, and these sometimes succeed. But there is no strategy, nor even the realisation that one might be needed. The engines of destruction may be ranged against fox hunting, or unfashionable humour, or Remembrance Day commemorations, or the Churches, or the nuclear family, or received opinions about the past, or national independence, or the Monarchy, or standard English, or private motoring, or whatever else—but the object is always to delegitimise dissent where it cannot be made impossible.

The strategy of attack is easily described. It involves controlling the language of public debate, control of the news and entertainment media, and the use of these to control perceptions of the past and thereby to shape the future. As Orwell said in Nineteen Eighty Four, "who controls the present controls the past: who controls the past controls the future".

The Control of Language

Most obvious is the control of political taxonomy. The distinction between "right" and "left" is an extraordinarily pervasive force, shaping general understanding and judgement of political concepts. Hitler was on the "extreme right". Conservatives are on the "right". Therefore, all conservatives partake of evil, the extent of evil varying with the firmness with which conservative views are held. Any conservative who wants to achieve respect in the media must first show that his conservatism is of the "moderate" kind—that intellectually he more of a social drinker than an alcoholic. Equally, libertarians and those called "neo-liberals" are on the "right". Therefore, they must be evil. The humorous accusation that someone is "to the right of Genghis Khan" serves the same function.

The use of this taxonomy allows the most contradictory views on politics and economics to be compounded, and all to be smeared without further examination as disreputable. Therefore, the "extreme right-winger" David Irving, who is a national socialist and holocaust revisionist; the "extreme right-winger" J.M. le Pen, who wants to reduce the flow of immigrants into France, but is not a national socialist and who apparently has much Jewish support in his country; and the "extreme right-winger" Enoch Powell, who was a traditional English conservative and a notable champion of liberal economics - all these are placed into the same category, and hostile judgements on one are by natural extension applied to the others.

At various times and in various ways, the trick has been played with other words—for example, "reform", progressive", "modernisation", and "outmoded". This first is among the earliest modern examples. From around the end of the 18th century, concerted efforts were made to alter the qualifications for voting in parliamentary elections. The advocates of change were arguing for the abandoning of a system that had been associated with the rise of England to wealth and national greatness, and that had allowed a reconciling of reasonably stable government with free institutions. In its place they wanted a franchise that had never before been tried —except perhaps in some of the revolutionary upheavals in Europe. Perhaps they were right. Perhaps they were proved right in the event. But their way was made easier by calling the proposed changes "reform"—a word they charged with positive associations - and leaving their conservative opponents to argue against "improvement". Modern politics are less intellectually distinguished than in the 19th century. Therefore, less effort has been needed to play the trick with "outmoded" - which allows ideas and laws to be rejected simply on the grounds that they are old.

Then there are the periodic changes of permitted terminology. Every so often, conservative newspapers report that a new word has been coined to describe an established fact, and laugh at the seeming pedantry with which use of this new word is enforced within the administrative web. For example, homosexual became "gay", which became "lesbian-and-gay", and which is now becoming "LGBT"—this being the acronym for "lesbian-gay-bisexual-transgendered". Words like mongol, spastic, cripple, single mother, and many others, have likewise been replaced and replaced again. In a sense, this is a misguided but well-meaning attempt to mitigate the hardship of the thing by finding new words that contain no added hurt. But its effect—and therefore part of its intention, a Granscian project being granted—is to remove conservatives from the moral high ground in any debate over policy on such people. When conservatives must think twice before opening their mouths, consulting their opponents on what language of description is now appropriate, they have conceded a very important part of the agenda of debate to their opponents. They have conceded an authority over words that must be gradually extended to a general authority. Conservatives may laugh at the clumsy acronyms and circumlocutions that are coined to replace existing words. But the intention is far from comic; and the effect is highly dangerous.

A similar effect is achieved with the frequent and often seemingly arbitrary changes of name given to ethnic groups and to places. Gypsies must now be called "Roma" or simply "Rom", and Red Indians must be called "Native Americans". Ceylon has become Sri Lanka, Dacca has become Dhaka, and Bombay has become Mumbai. Again, words are no longer the neutral means of discussion, but are charged with a political meaning, and judgements can be made on whether or not they are used as required.

Sometimes, words are imposed with a more immediate effect than forcing the deference of opponents. Take a word like "underprivileged", which has largely replaced the older word poor. This came into general use in the 1970s, and was soon used without apology or comment even by Conservative Cabinet Ministers. It carries a powerful ideological charge—the message that anyone with money in the bank or a good set of clothes has somehow received an unfair advantage, and that those who lack these things have been deliberately excluded from the distribution. Though frequent use has tended to blunt its effect and make it no more than a synonym for poor, its acceptance in any debate on social policy puts conservatives at an instant disadvantage.

Control of the News Media

Noam Chomsky, another radical socialist, is useful to an understanding of how the news media are controlled. There is no overt censorship of news—no bureau through which news must be cleared, no restrictive licensing of media outlets, no closed order of journalists, or whatever. Instead, only those journalists and media bureaucrats are ever appointed to positions of public influence who already share the hegemonic ideology. They censor themselves.

Again, the Chomsky analysis was intended to apply to the media in a liberal democracy, and was false. When liberal democracy was in its prime, there was a truly diverse media in which all strands of opinion found open expression. But, as ever, his analysis does apply to any media dominated by those he has influenced. Nobody tells BBC reporters how to cover stories. Instead, all BBC positions are advertised in The Guardian, and most are filled with graduates from the appropriate Media Studies courses.

Now, the propaganda thereby spread by this controlled media is not usually so overt and as that of the great totalitarian tyrannies of the 20th century. Techniques of influence have much improved since then. News is reported, and with seeming accuracy. The propaganda lies in the selection and presentation of news. To take a notorious example, everyone knows that the overwhelming majority of interracial crime in Britain and America is black on white. Yet this is not reflected in the media coverage. When the black teenager, Stephen Lawrence, was killed in South London back in 1992, the story received lavish coverage in the media; and the story continued through failed trials, a public enquiry, and the official and media harassment of the unconvicted suspects. The much larger number of black on white murders—known rather than suspected murders, and containing an obvious racial motivation—are either not reported at all or covered briefly and without comment in the local media.

Then there is the presentation of news. A skilled journalist can cover a story in such a way that no fact is untrue, and dissenting views are reported in full—and still manage to produce an article so biassed that it amounts to a lie. It is a question of selecting the right adjectives, or suggesting doubts or motives, of balancing quotations, of carefully taking words and opinions accurately reported but framing them in settings that suggest the opposite. The greatest single exposure of these techniques is the 1993 article "How to Frame a Patriot" by Barry Krusch. But, to give a brief example, look at the way in which almost all coverage in The New York Times and on CNN of the Oklahoma bombings include some reference to the American militia movement. No connection has ever been proven between the bombings and any militia, yet the connection is still made in reporting of the bombings - without making any overt accusation, the association is still made out. Or look at the way in which nearly all media coverage of the British Conservative Party smuggles in some reference to the personal corruption of several Ministers in the John Major Cabinet. The exception to this rule is Kenneth Clarke, the leading Conservative supporter of British adoption of the Euro: his role in the arms to Iraq scandal is forgotten. Equally, any reporting of the far worse corruption in Tony Blair's Cabinet is usually accompanied more by pity than condemnation. Without any actual lies told, the impression conveyed is that the last Conservative government was so corrupt that the known examples may have been a fraction of the whole, while the present Labour government is a model of virtue compromised only by the Prime Minister's inability to realise that not all his colleagues reach his own standards of honesty.

Control of the Entertainment Media

Control of the entertainment media is an area almost uncovered in Britain, except for the radical socialist analyses of the 1960s and 1970s. But it is probably far more important than any control of the news media. Fewer and fewer people nowadays pay much attention to current affairs programmes on the television, or read anything in the newspapers beyond the sports pages—if they still read newspapers at all. But millions watch the entertainment programmes; and these have been recruited as part of the hegemonic apparatus.

Look at the BBC soap Eastenders. This is a programme in which almost no marriage is happy or lasts for long, in which anyone wearing a suit is likely to be a villain, and in which the few sympathetic characters are worthless but presented as victims of circumstances. While they may not have invented them, the scriptwriters have introduced at least two phrases into working class language: "It's doing my head in", and "It's all pressing in on me". These are usually screamed by one of the characters just before he commits some assault on his own property or another person. It means that the character has lost control of his emotions and can no longer be held accountable for his actions.

Then there is its almost comical political correctness. One of the characters is a taxi driver and his mother is an old working class native of the East End. Neither of them raised the obvious objection when one of his daughters decided to marry a black man—not that such a marriage would be in any sense wrong: what matters here is the deliberate absence of the obvious objection as part of a project of delegitimisation. But this is a flourish. The longer term effect of the programme is to encourage intellectual passivity, an abandoning of moral responsibility, and an almost Mediterranean lack of emotional restraint.

Or look at how the BBC treats its own archive. Every so often, black and white footage of presenters from the 1950s is shown, with parodied upper class voices talking nonsense or mild obscenity added in place of the original sound. Is this meant to be funny? Perhaps it is. But its effect—and, again, its probable intention at least in part—is to sneer at the more polished and sedate modes of communication used before the present hegemonic control was imposed.

It is possible to fill up page after page with similar examples of the use of popular entertainment as a reinforcer of the hegemonic ideology—the careful balance of races and sexes in positions of authority, the vilification of white middle class men, the undermining of traditional morals and institutions, the general attack on all that is targeted for destruction. Any one example given may seem trifling or even paranoid. But, taken together, the function of much of the entertainment media is to subvert the old order. Hardly ever are people told openly to go and vote Labour. But the overall effect is so to change perceptions of the present and past that voting Conservative or expressing conservative opinions comes to be regarded as about as normal and respectable as joining a Carmelite nunnery. And barely a word is raised in protest.

How to Win the Battle

I do have a complete strategy of opposition, but have none of the financial means needed to implement it. This analysis is offered, therefore, in the hope that someone will agree with me sufficiently to fund the strategy.

Free Life Commentary,
an independent journal of comment
published on the Internet

Issue Number 114
2nd November 2003

Thoughtcrime and The Secret Policeman:
A Case Study in Discourse Theory
by Sean Gabb

I have just watched a recording of The Secret Policeman. This is a documentary programme first shown by the BBC on Tuesday, the 21st October 2003. In this, a reporter posed for six months as a police cadet and then as a police officer, while secretly filming his colleagues. Some of the language caught on film expresses strong dissent from the established opinions on race and immigration. One of the officers put on a white hood and discussed the merits of burying a "Paki bastard under a railway line". He also insisted that Stephen Lawrence—a black youth whose death ten years ago led to a report all about "institutional racism"—had deserved his end. He added:

Isn't it good how good memories don't fade? He fucking deserved it, and his mum and dad are a fucking pair of spongers.

Another officer said of his Asian colleagues:

Truthfully? Fuck them all off. I'll admit it—I'm a racist bastard. I don't mind blacks. I don't mind black people. Asians? No.

Another said of Asians in general:

A dog born in a barn is still a dog. A Paki born in Britain is still a fucking Paki.

As soon as the programme was shown, the chorus of disapproval swelled to full volume. The Acting Deputy Chief Constable of the North Wales Police said:

I felt physically sick as I watched The Secret Policeman.(1)

The Deputy Chief Constable of the Manchester Police said:

I was shocked, sickened, ashamed and saddened by what I saw.(2)

The newspapers and the electronic media not only reported, but joined in the expressions of outrage. Five of the officers filmed resigned the day after the showing. Another was suspended.

Even forgetting the nature of the language used, it is hard to feel sorry for these officers. They are police officers. They are "the pigs". They are the unintelligent, semi-literate dregs of their section of the working class, who have been given a supervisory power over everyone else, including their betters—and who use and abuse this power to the full. They are inefficient. They are incompetent. They are corrupt. So far, only five of these people have resigned. It would be a better country by far if they could all be persuaded to resign. We could then save on the costs of their well-padded salaries. As for crime control, we could go back to the good old days of arming ourselves and otherwise relying on the hue and cry and private prosecutions.

We need, however, to look away from the beastly nature of the people concerned, and look instead at why the programme was made and why the responses to it were so emphatic. Look at the response of that Welsh police chief—he described himself as "physically sick" at what was said. "Physically sick"? When was the last time any of us felt that about something read or heard? For myself, cat droppings, rotten meat, certain medical conditions - these can set my stomach heaving as if I were some teenage anorexic. But I really doubt if, once in the past forty years, I have read or heard anything that came near to provoking a physical response. And these were the words of a senior police officer. It has long been his professional duty to acquaint himself with matters that require a greater than average firmness of mind. "Physically sick"? I somehow doubt it.

But what those police officers said was not merely tasteless and uncharitable. Nor was it merely embarrassing to their senior officers. So far as their senior officers were concerned, and so far as the authors were concerned of virtually all media and political comment, what they said was the equivalent of heresy or treason. It was a duty not merely to deplore what they said, but to denounce it in the strongest terms that came to mind. Any faintness of utterance, it seems to have been felt, might leave one open to suspicions of agreement oneself with what had been said.

Marxist Theory Is Marxist Practice

At this point, I must beg the indulgence of my readers. In my last article for Free Life Commentary, I wrote at some length to show the usefulness of neo-Marxist sociology in analysing the nature of any social order ruled by Marxists or by those influenced by Marxism. Here, I will continue the theme, using this present case as an example of how the analysis can be made to work.

According to Marx himself, the political and cultural shape of any society is determined by ownership of the means of production. There is the economic base, and piled on top of this is the superstructure of all else. Let the base be changed, and the superstructure will be changed as surely and automatically as the appearance of a forest is changed by the varying distance of our planet from the sun. I know there are inherent ambiguities in his theory and many possibly varying interpretations of it. But this summary is accurate enough for our current purposes. As here summarised, there is a rough grandeur to his claim. It is, however, false. We have now been waiting over 150 years for the inner contradictions of liberalism to reveal themselves, and so bring on the next stage of human development. There has been no immiserisation of the proletariat, and no general overproduction crises.

Aside from dropping the whole system as a failure, two responses to this problem emerged in the early 20th century. The first was to look around for some half-convincing rescue hypothesis - see Lenin, for example, on how exploiting the colonies had replaced exploiting the workers at home. The second was to keep the messianic fervour of the original ideology while dropping its economic determinism. The three most important projectors of this change were Antonio Gramsci (1891-1937), Louis Althusser (1918-91), and Michel Foucault (1926-84).

According to their reformulation of Marxism, a ruling class keeps control not by owning the means of production, but by setting the cultural agenda of the country. It formulates a "dominant" or "hegemonic" ideology, to legitimise its position, and imposes this on the rest of society through the "ideological state apparatus"—that is, through the political and legal administration, through the schools and churches, and through the underlying assumptions of popular culture. There is some reliance on the use or threat of force to silence criticism—the "repressive state apparatus"—but the main instrument of control is the systematic manufacture of consent. At times, this hegemonic ideology can amount to a "discourse", this being a set of ways of thinking and talking about issues that makes it at least hard for some things to be discussed at all.

Though much ingenuity has gone into proving the opposite, it is hard to see what value even a reformulated Marxism has for analysing the politics and culture of a liberal society. In this country, between about the end of the 17th and towards the end of the 20th centuries, there were ruling classes, and there were what can be called dominant ideologies. But the rulers legitimised their position by reference to standards which were not imposed by them, but had largely emerged spontaneously throughout society as a whole. The function of the ideological state apparatus was not to enforce values on the governed, but to reflect and thereby reinforce values that were already taken for granted. I remember once seeing a print of the Queen and Prince Consort sat with their family round a Christmas tree. This was not a creation of values, still less an imposition of them. It was instead a royal identification with ideas of family stability that were already accepted—ideas that were accepted even by those who, for whatever reason, chose not to take them up, and that had not been noticeably accepted in several earlier reigns.

There were strong disagreements—over religion and land ownership and the extent of the franchise, and the extent of state intervention in the economy, among much else—but the underlying values of society were generally shared and did not need to be imposed. The neo-Marxist analysis only becomes useful for providing a terminology to discuss what happens when a ruling class turns oppressive. Such is the present case.

The Ideology of the New Ruling Class

We have in this country a new ruling class. It is no longer the Monarchy and the network of land-owning and mercantile interests that clustered around it, or anything identifiable as the old—alleged - working class movement that competed with them. Instead, we are ruled by a coalition of politicians, bureaucrats, lawyers, academics, media people, and businessmen who look to an enlarged state as the source of their income or status. When it came to power is hard to say with precision. It had taken over the ideological state apparatus long before the 1997 general election that gave it formal political office; and that election result more intensified than redirected the course of events. Undoubtedly, though, it is now supreme.

The ideology this ruling class has taken up to produce internal unity and to justify itself before the ruled has nothing to do with the national past or the currently perceived interests of the majority. It is incidentally about regulating everything that moves in the interests of health and safety, and sometimes banning them, and incidentally about preventing alleged dangers to the environment, and incidentally about making us all into the subjects of a centralised European state. But these are only incidentals. They are not the core ideology. Though it has not entirely broken with the past, and though it may appeal to tradition as convenience requires, the new ruling class defines its basis of legitimacy lies in the proclaimed right and ability to bring about a transformation of the country into something entirely new. The old ethnic and cultural homogeneity are seen as evils. In their place, we are to have "a rich diversity of communities". Some of these are to be sexual, some religious. But the real passion is for ethnic diversity.

To take one instance of this, in 1998, the Government set up a Commission on the Future of Multi-Ethnic Britain. Its purpose was

to analyse the current state of multi-ethnic Britain and propose ways of countering racial discrimination and disadvantage and making Britain a confident and vibrant multicultural society at ease with its rich diversity.(3)

Chaired by Bhikhu Parekh, an academic placed in the House of Lords by Tony Blair, the Commission was a sub-division of the Runnymede Trust, a formally private body "devoted to promoting racial justice in Britain". Its Report can be seen as a digested expression of the transformation intended for this country. Among the recommendations were a formal declaration by the State that Britain was now a "multicultural society", and a commitment that

deep-rooted antagonisms to racial and cultural differences [should be] defeated in practice, as well as symbolically written out of the national story.(4)

There was also some discussion of giving the country a new name:

[The Name Britain] has systematic, largely unspoken, racial connotations.... Englishness and therefore by extension, Britishness, is racially coded.(5)

No new name was suggested, though it was emphasised that the country from now on should be regarded not as a community, but as a "community of communities".

"Multiculturalism" and "Anti-Racism" As Hegemonic Discourse and Legitimation Ideology

The ruling class has yet to take full notice of Dr Parekh's recommendations. However, its behaviour and language all proceed from the same assumptions. See the endless official fussing over criminal conviction rates and examination passes, the emphasis on "diversity", the careful blending of races and sexes and appearances in all official photographic opportunities, the changed emblems and mission statements of governmental agencies. In the neo-Marxist terminology, the ruling class and its ideological state apparatus are imposing a new hegemonic ideology of multiculturalism.

The great apparent problem with this new ideology is its impossibility. It is a false ideology. It is easily possible for small alien minorities to be accepted into a country. Orthodox Jews are a good example. They live in the nation, but do not regard themselves as of it. What makes them acceptable is that they do not make nuisances of themselves and can never by their nature be other than a small minority. Even hardened anti-semites have little objection to the Orthodox, being more concerned about the alleged doings of the assimilated. It is also possible for large numbers of aliens to be accepted into a nation so long as they assimilate and embrace its culture as their own. The United States in the century to about 1970 is a good case here. During this time, settlers of British ancestry went from being the majority to a large minority, but the American nation they had created continued to exist and to prosper by just about every reasonable standard. But a large and rapid immigration in which the burden of adjustment is thrown not on the newcomers but on the natives—in which, indeed, the newcomers are positively discouraged from assimilating—that is an obvious cause of resentment and even disorder.

There cannot be one society made up of widely different communities each of which loves and respects all the others. There cannot be a society in which the ethnic composition of every group - from university vice chancellors to hairdressers, from lunatic asylum inmates to fashion models—exactly parallels that of the census returns. Instead, there will be a retreat into ethnic nationalism among all groups.

In this context, the words of that police officer quoted above - "A dog born in a barn is still a dog. A Paki born in Britain is still a fucking Paki"—take on a grim significance. The words show a hardening of spiritual boundaries more typical of Eastern Europe or the Balkans or Africa than of the Britain we have known for many centuries—a nation of which membership has been more defined by allegiance to the Crown and adherence to certain norms than by race or colour. Given such attitudes, most of our constitutional arrangements must tend to become unworkable. What is the point of democracy—national or local—or trial by jury, or any public service, when decisions are made not on their merits but on differential group voting power?

Dual Consciousness and the Coming Crisis of Multiculturalism

The ideological state apparatus can be set to work on proclaiming the joys of diversity. But the result is at best what Gramsci calls a "dual consciousness"—a situation in which values are imposed but only partially accepted. Multiculturalism is a discourse, so far as many now cannot find neutral terms to oppose it: see more of the words quoted above—"I'm a racist bastard" - where the immorality of an opinion is conceded even as it is expressed; but the discourse cannot secure plain consent.

The inevitable result is a sharper use of the repressive state apparatus. We cannot be made to love and respect each other. But we can be made to act as if we did. Therefore we have a frequently absurd but always searching inquisition into matters regarded until just recently as private. There are laws to censor speech and publication, laws to regulate hiring and promotion policies, and to regulate the selection of tenants and membership of private bodies, and increasingly stiff criminal penalties for breach of these laws(6). Every few days, the media gives space to some official expression of rapture at the benefits we have gained from multiculturalism. Its most notable fruit, however, has been the creation of a police state.

In a sense, though, the falsehood of the ideology is not so much a disadvantage as a great benefit to the ruling class. Because it is false, it can only be accepted on faith; and faith can give rise to more passionate attachments than any sober acceptance of the truth. And with passionate attachment goes passionate rejection of the opposite. In the word "racism", the ruling class has acquired a term of venomous abuse that can silence most criticism. That the word has no fixed meaning makes it all the better as a weapon of ideological control. It can mean a dislike of people because of their race or colour. It can mean a belief in differences between people of different races. It can mean a propensity to violence. It can mean no more than a preference for one's own people and values—even a belief that one has a "people". As "institutional racism", it can exist in the structures and assumptions of corporate bodies without the intent or knowledge of those employed within.(7) Or it can arise when every effort is being made to avoid it.(8) It can mean a mental disorder(9) or a sin.(10) It can mean any of these things or all of them(11). Whatever it means in any particular context, it soils and discredits all who are labelled with it, placing them outside any claim to respect or tolerance or fair dealing. Modern English contains no greater instance of the power of words to terrify and subdue.

As for the police state laws, these are welcomed. At the very least, the various inquisitions set up provide jobs and status that would not otherwise exist. They are also enjoyed for their own sake. Governments by their nature like to oppress, and the degree of their oppression is limited only by the prospect of resistance and their own beliefs about what is seemly. As an article of faith, multiculturalism obliterates regard for old conventions. Just look at the self-proclaimed "civil libertarians" of the past behave now they are in positions of authority. In the 1970s, they could be trusted to demand every refinement of due process when some picketer was in the dock, or someone accused of revealing official secrets. Now they have incorporated "racial aggravation" clauses into the law which in effect make opinions into crimes. They are calling for the abolition of the double jeopardy rule because it prevents their vendetta against the alleged killers of Stephen Lawrence(12). Multiculturalism also undercuts the old grounds of peaceful opposition to misgovernment. Arguments from ancestral right can be delegitimised by a mere raising of eyebrows and a polite question about whose ancestors are being invoked. Everyone knows the next response will be an accusation of "racism". Therefore, the argument is dropped more often than not, while those who dared raise it must go about protesting their belief in the official ideology.(13)

Nor is the destruction of accountability unwelcome. Democracy has always been something of a fraud in this country—and perhaps with good reason. But rulers were vaguely answerable to the ruled, and could, given the right provocation, be removed. Multiculturalism turns us from a nation to which ultimately the rulers had to defer into a gathering of mutually hostile groups—all with different ambitions and complaints, all capable of being turned against each other in the manner that imperial ruling classes throughout history have used to nullify opposition. In the words of Margaret Thatcher,

Thus the utopia of multiculturalism involves a bureaucratic class presiding over a nation divided into a variety of ethnic nationalities. That, of course, looks awfully like the old Soviet Union.(14)

Thought Crime and the Police State

And so we find ourselves living in a country where conformity to the dominant ideology is imposed by threats of force accompanied by an increasingly hysterical propaganda. It is as if the ruling class were waving a stick and turning up the volume on a television set - so it can stop others from talking about something else and give them no choice but to watch the programme. And it is still not enough. Dissent has been driven out of the establishment media and out of respectable politics, but it continues to flourish in private and on the Internet. We live in a country where almost no one would describe himself openly as a "racist", but where the British National Party seems to stand on the edge of an electoral breakthrough.

That explains the chorus of outrage when those police officers were exposed: there could be no public expressions of sympathy for them—indeed, the knowledge that there was much private agreement with at least the sentiments expressed, if not with their manner of expression, required the public denunciations to be all the more unsparing. It also explains the demand for still greater supervision of speech and action. As in some gentle parody of Stalin's Russia, it is accepted as necessary for conformity of speech and action to be so generally compelled that even the slightest expression of dissent stands out like a black swan among white.

This is the wider significance of the undercover filming of those police officers. It is worth asking why only white officers were filmed, when black and brown officers might not in private be oozing love and respect for their white colleagues. It is also worth asking in what context the words were uttered, and to what extent the reporter had made of himself an agent of provocation. And it can be asked whether the opinions expressed could be shown to have had any effect on actions. But, while it would be useful to have some on the record, the answers are obvious. Witch hunts need witches. When none can be found in public, they must be searched out in private. When none can be found at all, they must be invented.

However obtained, such dissent from the multicultural ideology can be used to justify its more intrusive imposition. Therefore, these words from the Home Secretary:

What's been revealed is horrendous. The issue is... what we can do to ensure police services across the country adopt the new training programmes on diversity to root out racists before they can get through the training programme.(15)

In other words, he promised to make it impossible for dissidents to be employed as police officers.(16) His theme was immediately taken up by the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police:

[h]is force intends to plant informers in its classrooms to root out racist recruits. It will also allow community representatives to sit on recruitment panels to prevent racist applicants entering the force. At the Met's training school in Hendon, which trains 3,500 new officers a year, one recruit in a class will be secretly selected to inform on colleagues. Their identities will remain secret for the rest of their careers and they will act as intelligence gatherers. If racism is discovered by undercover officers, it may be used to provide evidence for a criminal prosecution for incitement to racial hatred.(17)

Police officers are already bad enough. But the known presence among them of informers—and perhaps also agents of provocation - can only tend to remove them still further from the rest of the population. They will become a sort of Janissaries, quite separate in outlook and perhaps in nationality from those they are employed to coerce into obedience.

Nor will these undercover means of gathering information be confined to the police. Once they are established as normal, they will be used against other targets. One of the recommendations of the Report into the death of Stephen Lawrence was

[t]hat consideration should be given to amendment of the law to allow prosecution of offences involving racist language or behaviour, and of offences involving the possession of offensive weapons, where such conduct can be proved to have taken place otherwise than in a public place.(18)

This was rejected as unworkable. However, the use of undercover filming to gather evidence makes it workable. The informers and agents of provocation will spread into every area of private life. New friends or partners taken to dinner parties will constrain discussion even when no one intends to discuss the forbidden issues. We shall have to start learning the rules of private conduct that East European have been forgetting since 1989. Life will become grimmer and more oppressive.

How will all this end? Not, we can be sure, in Dr Parekh's "confident and vibrant multicultural society at ease with its rich diversity". I see one of two outcomes. The first is that the ruling class will keep control until it has finished remodelling the population. According to the 2001 returns—and these probably understate the truth—the non-white population of England rose by 40 per cent in the 1990s.(19)

According to an anonymous demographer cited three years ago in The Observer,

Whites will be an ethnic minority in Britain by the end of the century. Analysis of official figures indicate that, at current fertility rates and levels of immigration, there will be more non-whites than whites by 2100.(20)

With a small and credible adjustment to the extrapolated trends, minority status could be reached as soon as 2040. Long before either date, though, national life would have been wholly transformed. For this would not be accompanied by an assimilation in which white Englishmen were joined by black and brown Englishmen, and the nation went on much as before. Ethnic change would bring with it cultural displacement. Whole areas of the country would become alien; and within them, the physical appearances, place names, festivals, rituals and general customs of the past would be effaced—in much the same way as happened when, from the 5th century, the northern barbarians displaced the Romanised Celts who had inhabited this country before them. Then, the ruling class could be safe. It would be presiding over an empire, not a nation, and would be safe from effective challenge.

The second outcome is that the English—or British—will turn nasty while still the majority. I do not think this would be an original nastiness. The French would probably turn first, or the Israelis. But there may come a time when the harsh ethnic nationalism of that police officer becomes the consensus. Then there will be a spiritual casting out of "strangers" from the nation, followed by ethnic cleansing of the strangers, and severe legal and social disabilities for those allowed to remain. And among these strangers will be many who are now unambiguously accepted as of the nation and who regard themselves as of the nation. It is worth recalling that, until the National Socialists redrew the spiritual boundaries of the nation, many Jews were German nationalists. I suppose I should add here that I do not want our own spiritual boundaries redrawn, nor will I lift a finger to help redraw them. But I can easily see their being redrawn if present trends are allowed to continue.

There is a third possible outcome. This is that present trends will not be allowed to continue, that the multicultural discourse will be overthrown before it is too late, that freedom of speech and action will be restored, and that private and public arrangements will be made to encourage assimilation of all British citizens to the cultural values of the majority. This will not bring us to Dr Parekh's land of harmonious diversity. But it is the only basis on which people of widely different appearances are ever likely to live at peace with each other.

Sadly, I need only close my eyes to see the lips of my readers curling at these words. It may already be too late.

A Brief Reading List for the Interested

Althusser, Louis, For Marx, Allen Lane, London, 1969
Foucault, Michel, The Order of Things: An Archaeology of the Human Sciences, Tavistock, London, 1974
Foucault, Michel, Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison, Tavistock, London, 1979
Gramsci, Antonio, Selections from the Prison Notebooks, New Left Books, London, 1971
Meek, Nigel, Modern Left Multiculturalism: A Libertarian Conservative Analysis, Political Notes No.175, The Libertarian Alliance, London, 2001
Parekh, Bhikhu, The Future of Multi-Ethnic Britain, Profile Books, London, 2000

Notes

1. Jaya Narain and Adam Powell, "Five racist policemen quit force in disgrace", The Daily Mail, London, 23rd October 2003.

2. Ibid. One police officer claims it took him over a week to recover from the shock of watching the programme. See Bryn Lewis, "Police racism is a challenge to the ethnic minorities", letter published in The Independent, London, 30th October 2003.

3. Report of the Commission on the Future of Multi-Ethnic Britain, published in 2000 by the Runnymede Trust—Introduction available at

www.runnymedetrust.org/projects/meb/reportIntroduction.html

4. Ibid.

5. Ibid.

6. See, for example, this from 1998:

"A couple of weeks ago, the Commission for Racial Equality recognized what black actors have known for a long time; namely the 'unjustifiable under-representation of ethnic minorities in theatre, opera, cinema, television drama, etc.' The Commission announced that it will press for legislation to close a loophole in the Race Relations Act which allows directors to use 'authenticity' as an excuse for all-white casting. A black Nelson Mandela or a white Winston Churchill will be acceptable; but an all-white production of Hamlet will be in contravention of the act. In this, Britain is merely catching up with the USA, which has had a quota system long enough to ensure that black faces are now run of the mill across the media."

(Lesley Downer, "Theatre: Wanted: a brand new caste", The Independent, London, 2nd September 1998)

7. On this point, see The Stephen Lawrence Inquiry: Report of an Inquiry by Sir William MacPherson of Cluny, HMSO, London, 1999, CM 4262-I&II:

"The collective failure of an organisation to provide an appropriate and professional service to people because of their colour, culture, or ethnic origin. It can be seen or detected in processes, attitudes and behaviour which amount to discrimination through unwitting prejudice, ignorance, thoughtlessness and racist stereotyping which disadvantage minority ethnic people." (6.34)

8. The Stephen Lawrence Inquiry:

"Such failures can occur simply because police officers may mistakenly believe that it is legitimate to be "colour blind" in both individual and team response to the management and investigation of racist crimes, and in their relationship generally with people from minority ethnic communities. Such an approach is flawed. A colour blind approach fails to take account of the nature and needs of the person or the people involved, and of the special features which such crimes and their investigation possess." (6.18)

9. See this from America:

"Dr. Alvin Poussaint, a Harvard Medical School professor and perhaps the nation's most prominent African-American psychiatrist... urged the American Psychiatric Association [in 1999] to 'designate extreme racism as a mental health problem' by including it in its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.....

"Poussaint gets support from Dr. Walter Shervington, president of the National Medical Association, an organization of more than 20,000 black physicians. When he took over leadership of the NMA last year, Shervington, a New Orleans psychiatrist, called for a discussion of adding racism to the APA's list of mental disorders.

"'When (racism) becomes so severe in its expression, should it not come to the attention of a psychiatrist or someone working in the mental health field in relationship to identifying what some of the core struggles are around it?' Shervington asks....

"Sabina Widner, a clinical psychologist who teaches at Augusta State University, is blunt about the human rights implications of classifying racism as a mental illness.

"'When I hear these types of things, I think about Russia,' she says, 'where people who are dissidents, people who don't hold majority views, are subjected to psychiatric treatment.'"

(Extracted from John Head, "Can racists be called mentally ill? Debate strikes a nerve", The Atlanta Journal and Constitution, Atlanta, 23rd January 2000)

10. See:

"The [Roman Catholic] church has come close to acknowledging the problem. Earlier this year, guidelines for parishes to review their practices described institutional racism as 'a form of structural sin and primarily a sin of omission'.

(Stephen Bates, "Racism in Catholic Church 'driving minorities away'", The Guardian, London, 16th October 2000)

"The Pope, clad in purple as a sign of penitence, said sorry on behalf of his flock for all past wrongdoings, from treatment of the Jews to forced conversions, the Crusades and Inquisition, and more contemporary sins such as discrimination against women and racism."

(Frances Kennedy, "Pope confesses 2,000 years of Church sins", The Independent, London, 13th March 2000)

"The Archbishop of Canterbury yesterday apologised for wars, racism and other sins committed in the name of Christianity."

(Laura Clark, "Christian leaders say sorry for wars", The Daily Mail, London, 30th December 1999)

11. In conversation, Dr Chris R. Tame says this about racism:

Anti-racism is a useful ideological tool since the contemporary concept of racism is a portmanteau one, that combines a large—and apparently ceaselessly growing—number of quite distinct ideas. "Racism" is used to describe or mean, amongst other things:

  • • the scientific view that important aspects of human intelligence and/or emotional disposition vary according to racial group and are transmitted genetically;
  • • the attribution to anyone holding such views that their belief is held on the basis of prejudice or blind hatred;
  • • that believing that there are average/general differences in IQ/emotional disposition between racial groups means that one hates other races, or seeks to deny them equal rights or just treatment;
  • • the denial of just, fair and meritocratic treatment to individuals on the basis of their race, ignoring their individual character, IQ or achievement;
  • • the practice of violence against, or denial of individual rights to, individuals of different races.

As soon as we look critically at the varied meanings associated with the word "racism" it is clear that one is dealing with what Ayn Rand calls an "anti-concept", a word designed to actually confuse distinct meanings and ideas, and to smuggle all sorts of unjustified assumptions into political discourse.

12. The Stephen Lawrence Inquiry, Chapter 49, Recommendation 38:

"That consideration should be given to the Court of Appeal being given power to permit prosecution after acquittal where fresh and viable evidence is presented."

13. For an interesting case of bold heresy, followed by immediate recantation, see:

"A village bonfire society has been accused of racism and divided a community after burning an effigy of gypsies during a Guy Fawkes celebration night.

"The Firle Bonfire Society in East Sussex put to the torch a caravan with images of children at the windows just days after gypsies were evicted from fields near the village.

"The caravan was paraded through the streets as part of a procession before it was set alight. It had the registration number P1 KEY painted on the side. 'Pikey' is a term of abuse for gypsies.

"According to local people who saw the parade, the organisers encouraged bystanders to shout 'burn it, burn it'.

"The society was last night facing calls for those responsible to be prosecuted for incitement to racial hatred -an offence that can lead to a jail term of up to seven years.

"Richard Gravett, chairman of the Firle Bonfire Society, defended its actions yesterday, claiming that they were not racist. 'There was no racist slant towards any of the travelling community. If anything, it's actually completely the other way,' he said.

"'It was done to try to make people realise that these people obviously, as we all do, need somewhere to live.'

(Thair Shaikh, "Villagers burn an effigy of gypsies", The Times, London, 30th October 2003)

14. Margaret Thatcher, "Resisting the utopian impulse", American Outlook, Spring 1999; quoted in "Culture, et cetera", The Washington Times, Washington DC, 22nd June 1999.

15. Jaya Narain and Adam Powell, "Five racist policemen quit force in disgrace", The Daily Mail, London, 23rd October 2003.

16. A friend to whom I showed the draft of this article took exception to my use of the word "dissident" to describe racists. My answer is that these are the real dissidents in this country. What other ideology or set of opinions or prejudices make someone dangerous to know? What else can get him the sack from his job, and prevent him from booking rooms to hold meetings?

17. Helen Carter, "Informers will be planted at training colleges", The Guardian, London, 23rd October 2003.

18. The Stephen Lawrence Inquiry, Chapter 49, Recommendation 39.

19. Paul Brown, "Minorities up 40%, census reveals", The Guardian, London, 4th September 2003. The official figures are:

England by Ethnic Group (000s)

  1981 1991 2001
White 44,682 44,848 44,925
Black 707 917 1,286
Asian 1,031 1,487 2,102
Orientals 414 626 825

20. Anthony Browne, "UK whites will be minority by 2100", The Observer, London, 3rd September 2000. The demographer "wished to remain anonymous for fear of accusations of racism".