Why is it all you read about the European Union election on June 4th is how you must use your vote lest the Nazis get enough of a vote to get a seat? Is that really the most compelling reason that can be found for us to go out and vote?
Two points worthy of comment spring to mind, the first being the illogic of what the general public appear to be afraid of, and the second is the underlying structural problem we are not addressing.
Firstly, this call to voters to go out and vote primarily to block the BNP threatens to backfire in a couple of important ways. This will be seen by proponents of authoritarianism as an open admission that democracy is dangerous, i.e. extremist elements like the BNP can get an influence. The same quarter will also take this as an open admission that democracy is failing because nobody actually goes out to vote. What I think is really happening is a knee-jerk reaction against proportional representation. We are not used to the idea of extreme elements getting a seat because of our first-past-the-post system. The real problem to address is voter apathy.
Voter apathy is caused by having no genuine choice in the election because ‘politicians are all the same’ and the system appears to most voters to be designed to prevent change, especially on a local level where they might be tempted to engage. Ironically this is an indictment of our particular first past the post system. If we were to have greater influence as voters by having a proportional representation, the BNP would have less chance of being elected because of wide participation. As it is we are now being asked to simulate an enthusiastic electorate to keep them out for the period of european involvement. This is merely British paranoia about coalition government. Other countries end up incorporating a lunatic fringe because their system is more representational, but keep them in check by actually voting with real hopes in mind. If we want to slam the BNP then we cannot afford to add to their sense of victimhood by openly marginalising them. We need to defeat them in the open by having a fair system wherin they have a chance of inclusion and yet it fails to become manifest through their own unpopularity. Our current system inflates their threat and increases their influence by conspiring to deny them a seat. This demands a proportional system, education against racism and national insecurity, legal action against the red-top press when it distorts issues like immigration, and pallatable alternatives to the BNP in mainstream parties.
This brings me to the second point, which is escaping public attention. Our system is designed to create a semi-authoriatarian governing body, effectively a wartime government, probably because of needing to control a massive empire in the past. We no longer have this empire, and a strong side of the house with a bent towards accomodating perpetual struggle, possibly armed, is very similar to a Nazi philosophy of government. There’s the irony. The dominant party is almost able to bring in things like ID cards, start war with impunity, indulge in biopolitics… Looks like the nazis already have a pretty big share of the vote!
If we want to prevent the slide into totalitarianism, as we obviously must, we should remember history clearly. The Nazis in Germany got influence because they had a lot of public support and were able to exclude the Communists through underhand scheming. We are not going to become a racist state by the BNP getting one seat and 8%. If we are up to 8% racist we need to address the root causes and not try and ameliorate this at the ballot box by half-heartedly excluding 8% of our population who are racists. We must not confuse the BNP, who are racists, with the Nazis, who were biopolitical and totalitarian in addition to being racists. The truth is that it is the mainstream parties who are utilising all the old Nazi tricks and conflating biological and political motives, and part of the reason they get away with it is pointing to the racist fringe and calling them the Nazis.