The British Labour Party is running like frightened rabbits from the right-wing consensus on immigration, a consensus that stretches all of the way from the extremes of the BNP and UKIP, through the Daily Mail and wannabe far-right websites like Harry’s Place, through the conservative press, and clasps at the ankles of New Labour.
During the BBC coverage of the Euro Election results, New Labour Health Secretary Andy Burnham responded to the election of the first BNP MEP by saying
Clearly, there are concerns about immigration. The government has got to respond to those concerns.
This is echoed in the campaigning of the nationalist popular front No2EU — Yes to Democracy (but only if you have the ‘right’ passport) and the line of supporting websites, such as ‘Socialist’ Unity, with their cretinous division of workers along national lines into ‘indigenous’ and ‘immigrants’, the latter purportedly ‘disadvantaging’ the former.
Acceding to the right-wing consensus on immigration is doing the work of the BNP for them. Instead of challenging the consensus, the centre-left and a worrying section of the ‘far’ left is surrendering to it. They should stand up to the the racism, homophobia and antisemitism of the BNP, not jump to every dog whistle and allow the BNP to set policy.
The right-wing press repeatedly complains that it is ‘silenced’ on the ‘question of immigration’. How then does it manage daily to unleash a torrent of hatred against migrants and asylum seekers, with the outright lies about ‘uncontrolled mass migration’, scare stories of Britain changed beyond recognition, of ‘race-replacement’ and the ‘cosmopolitanisation’ of town centres, demonising dark-skinned ‘foreigners’ as criminals and disease carriers — confident in the conviction that it is normal to hate and fear people who have a different skin colour or accent, that is normal not to want to see people with darker skin than you walking down the street where you live? How is it able to publish racist scaremongering claims of institutionalised state ‘discrimination’ against white Britons — discrimination which exists entirely in the heads of Melanie Phillips and Nick Griffin.
It’s not time “that the BNP’s arguments must be addressed”, it’s time, instead, that we focused on the real roots of the Nazi support, not in some alleged spontaneously-occurring working class racism, but in “[a] popular media which propagates a constant sense of hostility and anxiety towards non-white, non-Christian groups, and a government which derives its idea of consensus from the opinion pages of the press and vomits up the rhetoric of fear and hate.”
There are minor political differences between the BNP and the rest of the far right — the BNP blames ‘the left’ for orchestrating attacks on it, while Melanie Phillips, writing in the Spectator, tries to draw some mad line between ‘racial prejudice’ and ‘racism’, and thinks the BNP are ‘the left’. Observers are forced to suspend disbelief that Phillips’ head doesn’t implode under the weight of contradictions inherent her belief that ‘socialism’ at once allows both vicious racism and open borders — nature abhors a vacuum. Differences aside, if Griffin and Phillips looked at one another it would be though they gazed in a mirror. After his election Griffin referred to British identity and Christian heritage. Phillips inveighs against the ‘Islamisation of Britain’ and appeals to the notion of British ‘identity’ based on ‘Judeo-Christian ethics’ and ‘shared particulars of religion, law, history, traditions and culture’.
The contention which pervades the right-wing consensus is that society is under attack, that ‘our way of life’ is mortally threatened by alien and devious unknowable foreigners, accompanied by a strong conviction of personal injury. This is the tactic of ‘blaming the victim’ — it turns existing power relations on their head, and the powerless, voiceless minority is is made out to be the aggressor.
the blind murderer has always seen his victim as a persecutor against whom he must defend himself
It was not Labour voters switching to the BNP in droves who elected nazis to the European Parliament. A great number of Labour voters simply stayed at home — New Labour’s problem is the failure to motivate and mobilise traditional Labour voters. The Labour Party’s forthcoming electoral annihilation will present an opportunity for political reorientation.
To start off, they can tell the truth about the economy — about why we have boom and bust cycles. It is not the fault of migrants that jobs pay only £5.78 an hour, it is the greedy bosses screwing the workers. Stop taking voters in the ‘heartlands’ of Wales, Scotland and the North for granted, while housing rots and jobs steadily drift to London and the Southeast. Tell the truth about immigration. Stand up to the fascist parties and the right-wing media which repeat over and over and over again ‘they are to blame, they are the reason you are poor’. When constituents, in their ignorance, complain about migrants and supposed ‘special privileges’, ask why they believe such things. Instead of pandering to the racist consensus, make it clear that none of this is true, that it’s a big stinking lie put about by vile racist scum to divert attention from the real problem — the elephant in the room: capitalism.
It is time for them to stop triangulating, and bury once and for all the thoroughly discredited experiment with Thatcherism.
 The Nazis had ‘socialist’ in the name of their party you see. Followers of Phillips should await her forthcoming trenchant denunciation of the conservative, Catholic CSU (Christlich-Soziale Union in Bayern), as a ‘socialist trade union’ and a jeremiad against the concept of ‘democracy’, the essential qualities of which are exposed in the name of the military-industrial gulag, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
 The formulation ‘ Judeo-Christian’ properly belongs in the mouths of the right, conflating as it does the people who were subject to 2000 years of pogroms, murder, forced resettlement and ultimately genocide, with the very perpetrators of those crimes.
 Max Horkheimer and Theodor Adorno, The Dialectic of Enlightenment, 1944.