Tuesday, April 25, 2006

UK - BNP twin RESPECT just as bad

Oliver Kamm has thoughts.

No serious commentator would refer to the BNP as an “anti-immigration party” without also mentioning its neo-Nazi antecedent organisations and ideology. To do so would be politically partial, taking at face value the party’s attempt to win respectability by shedding the more violent elements of its propaganda. Yet Respect is habitually characterised as merely an “anti-war” party, without reference to its history, founders and stated positions. Over recent weeks, politicians, newspaper editorial and religious leaders have denounced the BNP, with scarcely a murmur about Respect. Perhaps it is felt that Mr Galloway’s reputation was damaged irretrievably by his antics on reality television. More likely is that Respect is seen as a party of the fringe, but nonetheless one with a legitimate – even colourful – point of view, much like the Greens.

In the interests of reliable labelling at least, opinion-formers ought to exercise greater scrutiny. Even to describe Respect as anti-war is strictly inaccurate. The Socialist Workers’ Party, for which Respect is largely a front, stated during the Iraq War that “by far the lesser evil would be reverses, or defeat, for the US and British forces” — it appeared, in short, to be pro-war and on the wrong side. But more fundamentally, Respect stands in a tradition whereby parties nominally of the Left can on occasion cross over to their supposed ideological opposite.

And the media never point out that the anti-war movement is led by communists.

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