On flicking through the Evening Standard this evening, I was met with an article written by someone named Sam Leith. He draws attention to the fact that
“According to reports in yesterday’s newspapers, “almost half the country would back a far Right party” that dissociated itself from violence and fascist imagery. The reports [were] based on the results of a poll of 5,054 people conducted by the anti-fascist organisation Searchlight…”
The original report will, presumably to continue to indulge typical far-left self-importance, be apparently available online tonight from 9pm at this web address. I had briefly heard about the poll, but thought little of it.
However, this little quote is fascinating. Presumably, the ‘far right’ in this context refers to those who believe that immigration should be halted. I cannot reconcile this with a far-right belief system at all. If one looked at the manifesto or political ideologies of the truly far-right political parties/groups/organisations, such as the BNP or National Front, they would not be met with a ‘halt all immigration’ message unless it was deliberately tied to the qualifier ‘and then begin a process of repatriation’. The aforementioned quote, however, makes no reference to this whatsoever.
But this is by no means the end of the story. Mr Leith continues:
“When you look at the question that this 48 per cent figure (“almost half the country”, natch, rather than, say, “less than half”) answered yes to, the story unravels. These interviewees were asked whether they would “definitely support” or “consider supporting” a non-violent political party that “wants to defend the English, create an English parliament, control immigration and challenge Islamic extremism”.”
So which ‘country’ was this survey carried out in? If it’s ‘Britain’, then it’s unrepresentative; the Welsh, Scots and Northern Irish are divided on whether devolution to their own assemblies or parliaments is beneficial to them, let alone whether it would be beneficial to England. If, however, it was England and England alone, it is fascinating. It could be construed that it represents a comprehensively failure of the English Democrats to communicate their message at recent elections, or conversely that the English Democrats now have much to capitalise upon.
Of course, a question like this is not without its complications and mitigating factors. Such a result is largely meaningless in the context of the political system we have in place, and would only really be significant under proportional representation. Even then, that would be
Mr Leith is right to point out that the designers of the poll have written a loaded question:
“Are these the four key indicators of fascism? “Defend the English” is an almost meaningless phrase – and could just as easily cover the people who bore on about celebrating St George’s Day or campaign for authentic Cornish pasties as neo-Nazi boot-boys.”
But as the author asserts elsewhere in his article, Searchlight’s actions are entirely politically motivated. The question is almost not aimed at the people it is being asked to; indeed, it deliberately attempts to connect ‘English nationalism’ with ‘immigration’ and possibly ‘Islamophobia’. (This is fatally compromised by the fact that other publications have suggested that British Asians are more anti-immigration than their white counterparts.) Furthemore, the selection of the word ‘defence’ is by no means an innocent choice… they have the EDL in their sights here.
What is bizarre is that they have included an English parliament in this mish-mash of ideas. The exasperated author makes clear his view that
“The creation of an English Parliament is no more than the logical conclusion of New Labour’s wet-blanket plans for a succession of regional talking shops.”
An eloquent analysis of devolution if ever one was to be seen. And a good point is raised herein- why has it taken until this poll, blighted by political dogma, for people to seriously question the notion of an English Parliament? Why are the people of this country not given the say that the citizens of their fellow home nations take so much for granted as to reject it? Why was New Labour allowed to simultaneously fundamentally undermine the constitution and, perhaps more pertinently, what actually constitutes ‘the country’ with no consideration for the effects? Or even a voice to oppose or reason with it?
With serious questions being asked quite casually about the commitment to the Union of other countries – the people of Wales goes to the polls about their own devolution status very shortly, albeit to a chorus of apathy – it beggars belief that we can allow the political representation of the majority of the population of Britain to remain a silent injustice.
Those who care about England, or even about fairness and equality within the Union of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, must create serious debate whenever and wherever possible, with reasoned analysis rooted in the very stark facts that we are faced with. This broad church, one that contains people of all political allegiance, must encourage people to consider their position on a matter too important to avoid, ignore or deride.
We simply cannot and must not allow the far-left, who deliberately mislead people about ideas that defy or even provide a different viewpoint to their antequated utopianism, to put words into the mouths of informed citizens of our nation. We cannot expect the media to treat our cause either fairly or accurately.
We must redouble our efforts. We must be equal to the challenges. We must speak whenever there is misrepresentation. We must present facts and speak for our country.
The hesitation of UKIP and the squabbling of the English Democrats do us no favours. We must have political parties that take decisive action and present their view of the travesty of devolution. Together, we can make a change.