I have not watched the BBC’s new period drama Ridley Road because I knew it would be impossible for the corporation to commission any series about anything without grafting onto it facile and usually pig-ignorant observations which suggest that history always reveals that the BBC left-liberal mindset is right about everything.
So it seems to be from reviews I have seen from the likes of Melanie Phillips and one or two others. Ridley Road concerns the 62 Group’s struggles against fascism and anti-Semitism in east London in the 1960s, and especially Colin Jordan’s National Socialist Movement (NSM). The 62 Group were ‘anti-fascists’, an amalgamation of communists and Jews and fellow travellers who combined to battle what the series suggests was a terrifying threat to democracy and the safety of Jews in the UK.
Needless to say, the fascists use language such as ‘taking back control’, drawn directly not from the times but from the vocabulary of pro-Brexit campaigners 50 years later, just so you get the point. Further, this ‘terrifying threat is overstated to a degree which any sane person would consider absurd. The ragtag and bobtail far-right lunatics — including the NSM, the British National Party, A.K. Chesterton’s hilarious League of Empire Loyalists and the National Front — achieved a pinnacle of public support in the 1979 general election when the NF polled 0.6 per cent of the vote. In other words, almost nobody supported them, at any point.
The purpose of Ridley Road is to suggest that it is the left — and in particular the commies — who can be relied upon to fight racism and especially anti-Semitism, and that anti-Semitism is solely a manifestation of the kind of right-wing populism prevalent today. This will come as a revelation to the many British Jews who have felt a little discomfited these past few years by the patent anti-Semitism on the left of the Labour party.