|Fascist demonstrators have always been outnumbered by Anti-Fascist demonstrators|
Recently, YouGov, the famous Polling agency that almost correctly predicted the results of the Last Election in 2010, released a set of statistics that suggested that 34% of the British electorate would be uncomfortable with the prospect of an Ethnic Minority Prime Minister. The concerns seem to be most pronounced amongst UKIP supporters, and least pronounced amongst Liberal Democrat supporters. 34% may seem like a disturbingly high figure, and you would be forgiven for having a very low opinion of Britain after this....But are we a country of fascists? Let us look at the evidence:
To examine whether or not we are racist, we have to look at one of the biggest Fascist organizations in the United Kingdom: The English Defence League, or EDL. The English Defence League is a Far-Right Neo-Nazi organization that claims to oppose militant Islam, but has also been accused of Anti-Semitism, and Islamophobia. Its protests frequently turn violent and has been scorned by politicians and intellectuals alike. The EDL claims to be able to get 1000s of its supporters onto the streets wherever they protest. However, protest rallies are often marked by low turnout, sometimes numbering in the 100s, and EDL protesters are often heavily outnumbered by Anti-Fascism demonstrators, sometimes ranging from 3 or 4 times the number of EDL protesters present. Indeed, the former head of the organisation, Tommy Robinson, quit the organisation recently, citing frustration with the EDLs shift to the far-right, and saying that he only intended that it should oppose extremist Islam, not to stoke up anti-islamic sentiment and anti-semitism. One suspects that his quitting was most likely sparked by the inability of the EDL to effect the change that it was seeking and that Robinson was trying to escape all of the death threats that he was receiving from Islamic extremists.
Then, we have far-right political parties that prefer to bring about extreme change from the inside, in the hope that they are elected. One of these is the so-called "National Front." The National Front claims to be a political party that "Respects the right of all men and women to liberty" and calls for a "Free society." However the National Front uses the far-right slogan For race and nation displayed proudly upon its official webpage, and makes no secret of its idea of "Human and phased repatriation." "Repatriation" being, of course, forced. The National Front received as high as 0.60% of the vote in the 1979 UK General Election, taking 100s of thousands of votes across the country. However, since that historic high, membership has dwindled from around 6000 to just 500 today, and the party has never been elected to any level of government, even in tough economic times when it managed to score just 0.11% of the vote in the 2010 General Election, at a time when anti-immigration sentiment was at its highest. The failure of the National Front experiment demonstrates a clear rejection by the British people of fascism...or does it?
Many people consider the BNP (British National Party) to be the successor of the National Front. Whilst not quite being nearly as extreme as the National Front, the BNP is still considered a far-right organisation that feeds from anti-immigration and anti government dissent. It reached its height in the 2009 European Parliament elections when it was able to return two MEPs, the highest level of representation of any fascist party at any level. The BNP fought a highly successful campaign, feeding off Anti-Labour Party sentiment that was at its highest following the expenses scandal. However, the election was marred by the worst ever turnout in a peacetime national election- just 31%, a record that stood until the Police and Crime Commisioner Elections in 2012 when the National Turnout was just 14%. Thus, this result can largely be considered to be a complete fluke caused by a combination of low turnout and anti-government protest votes, and only the 2014 European Parliament elections will show us for sure whether this really was a fluke or whether it represents something deeper in British politics.
To sum up, let me come back to my original question: Are we a country of fascists? The research suggests, that whilst Britain still has significant problems and has yet to come to terms fully with issues of race and religion, the number of people willing to come out for Anti-Fascist demonstrations well exceeds the number who are willing to come out and disturb the public order, and the fact that fascist parties also tend to do extremely poorly in National Elections also shows that we, as a country, overwhelmingly reject fascism as a whole, although there are many significant issues within our beautiful country that still need to be resolved, and which are largely being swept under the carpet. It is my hope and conviction that we will one day live in a society where race and religion do not even matter or have to be mentioned, because that day will truly be a brilliant day for us and for the whole of mankind.