Calling the BNP “far right” or “far left” ignores its real nature

Every month or so, someone on the right will protest that the BNP aren’t a “far right” party, they’re a “far left” party. This isn’t wrong, sometimes the BNP are a far left party but it’s rather beside the point. They flit between the ideological spectrum because they only have one firm belief: racism.

The BNP are deemed to be on the right wing because right wing parties generally hold ideas of nationhood as important, whereas the left traditionally identify more with class and particular groups which are discriminated against. The BNP’s form of nationalism – discriminating against those who it spuriously defines as “unBritish” (such as English footballer Ashley Cole) – is too extreme to warrant it being called a right wing party like the Conservatives so they are dubbed “far right”.  To call both merely right-wing would be akin to grouping the IRA with Westminster Cathedral Choir School as faith groups.

Yet calling the BNP “far right” still irritates conservatives because it still associates them with the virulent racism of the BNP. They seek to distance themselves from the BNP by calling them a “far left” group, which if you look solely at the socialist element of the BNP’s national socialism, also applies.

We reach a problem that, mostly because of political point scoring, we can’t identify the BNP without irritating upstanding people on either the left or the right. There is an answer: call them “extremist” instead.  To do otherwise tries to pin the BNP down into a spectrum only useful when examining more regular political groupings.

Labelling the BNP on anything other than their racism is a misnomer as they frequently change and adapt their other policy positions to whatever they think is most politically expedient. Only their racism is a constant, and so only a label such as extremist applies. Anything else is beside the point.


2 Responses to “Calling the BNP “far right” or “far left” ignores its real nature”

  1. Geoff Taylor Says:

    National Socialism (a term coined by Hitler to appeal to both ‘wings’) had little that was socialist or left-wing about it, except for some nationalisation (a.k.a. state capitalism).
    The BNP ‘s nature is essentially extreme right but you have a point that the extremism is the most essential feature.

  2. Geoff Taylor Says:

    After a good night’s sleep, I must amend my previous comment slightly.
    ‘National Socialist’ was a term used by two or three varied groups half a century before Hitler; the latter merely contracted the German version to Nazi.
    As you say, there was little common policy between the various groups other than nationalism (“…the last refuge of scoundrels” Dr Johnson).

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