Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Ying and Yang of identity politics?

There has been quite a lot of hand wringing from the mainstream political parties over the past couple of days about the 'success' of the BNP in the Euro elections. I put the word 'success' in quotes because the one thing that has been lost is some perspective.

The BNP now have two MEPs from 72 British MEPs (2.7%) in a Parliament of just over 730 MEPs (0.2%). They join the other 70 or so loons, 9/11 truthers, etc that don't agree with each other and are in no formal group in the European Parliament (9.7% of the total Parliament).

To put it as bluntly as I can. Britain has nothing to feel bad about, or to be ashamed of, in sending a couple of moonbats funded by us to sit with a bunch of other moonbats funded by us that will exercise bugger all power or influence on an EU whose agenda is diametrically opposed to theirs. The world is no falling in, no matter what politicians of sound mind (and by that I mean sane mind) say.

Saying that though, whilst the politicians stand up and try to find some explanation for why 943,598 people out of a potential 45 million chose to vote for them, most of them are getting it wrong. As expected we've had the claim, by the new Health Secretary Andy Burnham in fact, that it was the "ultimate protest vote". As mentioned the other day there is a big problem with that analysis.

It's certainly true that there are some who voted BNP because they felt the other parties, especially Labour, had let them down. This was shown in the YouGov poll for Channel 4. However, what that poll also showed was something that has been brewing for sometime and in fact, arguably at least, caused the inevitability of the BNP in securing votes.

Specifically, the poll showed that over 70% of BNP voters believed that being white meant that you were discriminated against. Now, whether one accepts that is the case or not, it is the perception of what is the case that matters, and that perception is surely inevitable when you look at the growth of "identity politics" coupled with a guilt-ridden Hegelian worldview of the Western white man as an oppressor with reparation of some sort to pay?

Just take a look at the cultural climate in which we live today. There are political pressure groups based upon all manner of differing identities, whether its based on sexuality, race, ethnicity or gender. All of them start from a presumption that they represent a distinct identity group that is discriminated against, and in most cases have an historical reference point for that presumption.

Don't get me wrong here, I'm not saying that they don't have a right to exist or make that case. Rather what I am saying is, is it any wonder that an identity group in the form of the BNP would also form to represent what it sees as the discrimination of the white man at the hands of, ironically, other groups who's starting base is one of identity seeking equality?

Let's just take one such group as an example. The Afro-Caribbean community has its own newspaper, The Voice, to give that community a voice where it argues non-exists in the mainstream. There is nothing wrong with that, but just imagine if there was an equivalent newspaper for white Britons arguing along similar lines. There would be uproar. Yet if you're going to have genuine equality then it should stand to reason such a newspaper ought to exist, irrespective of whether one likes its views or not.

This is the inevitable paradox of the politics of identity, and its also why the BNP are vitally important in the discourse and philosophical questions that the Western world has to ask itself in general. Identity politics has at its core a desire for equality, and yet, in the process of seeking that equality, every single group engages in some form of unequal treatment of its non-members.

Whether it comes in the form of the extreme views that argue for mass repatriation of all non-whites from a particular nation; or simply takes a view that calls for, affirmative action, also known as "positive" discrimination, but which remains discrimination nonetheless towards those that are not in the given group.

Is it any surprise therefore that those who are on the 'negative' side of positive discrimination should seek to mobilise against it? Of course, in the case of the BNP, it is equally ironic that they say they want to fight this so-called "political correctness" (the catch all phrase for issues arising from identity politics) whilst at the same time being part of the very same politics of identity and desiring political correctness to be in their favour instead.

As I said at the beginning, we need to keep the 'success' of the BNP in perspective. Likewise we need to realise that the 'success' is the inevitable consequence of the path that we've taken in political thought over the past few decades. If people really want to take the BNP's platform away from them they will need to start taking other platforms away too.

I recall a conversation I once had with a gay colleague and personal friend of mine. He said the "fight" was about getting people to treat gay people like human beings and just accept that some people of the same gender fancy each other. It was not about making gay people a special interest group that needed special treatment. It was about 'not being in the stocks or on a dais'. He was right.

Basically, I guess what I'm trying to say is that as long as special interest and special treatment (perceived or otherwise) remains the orthodox world view, then the BNP will continue to exist and 'succeed'. Either accept it as the inevitable consequence of the postmodern politics of identity, or get off that path and head down the meritocratic one instead.


Gareth Williams said...

A great post and a point of view that I would guess most people would agree with in this country. Which is why when you describe 'the orthodox world view' in your last para it's not quite right. It's orthodox for a small policy making section of society but certainly not the majority.

The Tories are our only hope of getting this 'world view' eradicated. But I wonder whether in their current desire to co-opt LibDems they'll have the guts to do something that's not just popular but populist. It needs to happen though - Thatcher destroyed the National Front and Cameron needs to do the same to the BNP.

Cinnamon said...

Spot on Dizzy.

Also see:

Dino Fancellu said...

Very true. If there's no one else to speak up for Whitey, step in the BNP.

Whitey, like all groups, just wants someone to care about them. said...

Best post I've read for a while

dizzy said...

Generally or just here? If the latter I shall try harder.

Lola said...

Hear bloody Hear.

Letters From A Tory said...

That's the issue - giving everyone the same opportunities in life is absolutely essential, but putting any group's interests ABOVE the interests of another group will always cause resentment and anger.

Good analysis.

Alan Douglas said...

Roll on the White Police Association, mainly for the furore that would erupt if it was formed.

Great post Dizzy.

NB I am not a blotchy-pink supremacist. More of a sardonic.

Alan Douglas

McKenzie said...

You have grasped it Dizzy. You have smacked the nail square on the head. My hope is that if you can see this, then so will others. I will caution here though that you will attract accusations of racial hatred.

Nobody was listening, they bloody are now, if you get my point. Of course all the bad things will have a foundation, this is the effect.

On Cranmer's blog he posted a story of a white, Christian man preaching the Gospel. The man was approached by a police officer and asked to move on because he was in contravention of section 5 of the public order act, because someone had complained that he was saying homophobic things.

Now imagine if this police officer was Asian, and a member of the Black and Asian police Federation, what would be this man's suspicions? The BNP is a white only party, the B&APF is by its description exclusive. Police are forbidden to join the BNP because it discriminates against equality of race, and we cannot have police who have ideas about discriminating on race. Yet we have police who are members of an exclusive organisation based upon racial exclusiveness.

These are the kinds of antics which are pissing people off big style.

PS. Watching the extreme left attacking the extreme left the other day was intriguing.

UB41 said...

Couldn't have put it better Dizzy. Very articulate and "nail on the head".

What saddens me the most is NuLab convince themselves it's only a protest vote. One may say they think differently in private, but I don't think so.

This lot seem to repeat the mantra so often that they actually believe it.

Whilst everyone is moaning about bad days for democracy etc, I believe it is one of the best days.

It shows that democracy actually works, and also (hopefully) the main parties will wonder why almost 1 million people voted for the BNP.

I don't like the BNP but I do believe the best way to deal with them is as with any other political party.

let them have their say, let's debate it and show up their flaws.
Once the public see this, I'm sure they will be switched off.

Just an addendum to your post, the BNP have chosen topics in their campaign which the main parties need to get a grip on.
Things like housing, jobs, improve NHS etc etc.

megablogger said...

Really good well argued post. It's so depressing mainstream politicians either can't or won't articulate the points you make.

DDIM 'n HOFFI said...

This is the sort of objectivity that will be necessary if any ground is going to be covered.

I have posted my own thoughts and conclusions about the subject on my own blog: How to Beat The BNP, basically stop trying to 'beat' the BNP.

Intruder said...

Well put.

"He said the "fight" was about getting people to treat gay people like human beings"

This will always fail because as soon as you identify yourself as a gay person, rather than a human being, you deserve to be treated as a gay person.

Some will think that is a homophobic statement, and those people just don't see their prejudices.

We're all human beings, and the day we identify ourselves as anything else, or allows others to do so, is the day we've lost the argument.

Dave said...

Good post. Good points.
Totally lost on the MSM who think that the BNP is right wing when it's ultra left wing.
They just don't get it

Sam Duncan said...

Excellent post. It pretty much sums up why I ended up as a libertarian individualist, and have no truck with identity politics. It fosters a sort of social balkanisation, with one “group”'s interests being pitted against another's.

It should also be noted that, as Nigel Farage pointed out in the UKIP press conference the other day, Griffin won by less than 1000 votes. They only just won two seats.

Anonymous said...

Well put.

There is a need for caution because the last thing we need is for the BNP to become martyrs. I did not focus on PMQs but believe that both Brown and Cameron said that any change to the system of voting must not allow the BNP to benefit. This is not the way to deal with them, if anything such deliberately biased alienation would potentially increase their attraction. Frankly any manipulation of the voting system that sets out to marginalise any political point of view is very dangerous ground. I have no doubt that the EU would love any measure that re-enforced it's existence and stability. As it's puppet Brown would love to marginalise UKIP in a similar way. How long before we are told that there is no point electing eurosceptics to the EU because they frustrate rather than accelerate EU policy making?

T England. Raised from the dead. said...

I’ll tell you another reason I think the BNP will start to do well!
That’s when more people like myself, who didn’t know until recently & only got to know thanks to Nick Griffin on Sky news the other night, find out that David Cameron is not only a supporter but a patron of the UAF, who many see, including a certain blogger as no better than fascists.

I think something someone said to me tonight on Iain Dales site is a good example!

" T England,

I've come to the same astounded conclusion about Cameron as you have.

For more elections than I care to remember I have always felt that the UK has not had an election where there was truly a choice.

This thing about him supporting the UAF only clarifies this, and is nothing short of a betrayal.

Hopefully the rise and rise of smaller independents like UKIP and the BNP will start to redress this.

Nick Griffin to my mind has been a breath of fresh air.

You don't have to like what he says but he at least introduces a bit of honest dialog, unlike the bad joke that mainstream politicians and pundits have become with every nauseating cliche".

I think it’s a good point & one others may start to think!

JonnyN said...

I missed this. I did some analysis in a similar vein here.

Not sure about meritocracy though: it's one of those ideas that people rarely think through the consequences of.

JonnyN said...

PS. The paper by Kurzban, Tooby and Cosmides referenced in my post linked above should be required reading for anyone involved in identity politics.