The re-emergence of fascism in Britain is highly inconvenient for our political parties, it is a distraction from the election campaigns they are all so overly keen to begin. They deal with the BNP by ignoring it, by banning MEPs from parliament to make sure no one has to pass Nick Griffin in a corridor. They pretend the BNP is a strange anomaly, too small to be dangerous with ‘only’ a million voters, and they claim to be baffled as to how such support could emerge. The events of this week left two large clues.
The first is the fascist march being called in Wiltshire. No one describes Islam4UK’s proposed anti-war protest in Wootton Bassett as a fascist march — but as Melanie Phillips argued here recently, it is. It’s the reverse side of the fascist coin. The BNP should no longer be regarded so much as a racist party: it never succeeded much in winning anti-black votes. Its new support is now coming from the reaction to Islamofascism: those openly declaring war against the British way of life and using the freedom they enjoy here to stage marches in protest at it.
The six million who gawped at Mr Griffin on Question Time three months ago were looking at the wrong person. The real recruiting sergeants for the BNP are the likes of the loathsome Anjem Choudary, the self-styled ‘preacher’ who knows he needs just enough fellow travellers for a photoshoot and his ‘protest’ will be national news — it already is. As Rod Liddle observes on page 17, the instant reaction to his plan was ‘angry white boys cruising the high street’ of Wootton Bassett, spoiling for a fight. Just as the early Nazis needed the communists in Weimar Germany, the BNP now need the Islamofascists.