It’s happening everywhere, it really is. It’s happening in the UK, it’s happening in Greece, in Italy, in Sweden, in India, in Japan, and soon enough, it’s going to hit the States. I’m not talking about the Ice Bucket Challenge, Instagram filters, or mandatory Mandarin lessons. I wish it were Rise of the Tomb Raider for PCs, but it’s not that either.
All jokes aside, it is the rise of far right, nationalist parties. It feels wrong to say nationalist politics since that’s an ideology and I don’t feel comfortable quantifying an ideology, but yes it’s the rise of far right, nationalist politics. It’s happened before (yes, we’re all thinking of the same things and the same periods in history), and it’ll happen again, but it still scares me. I didn’t think I’d be alive when it did, and I hope it doesn’t escalate as quickly as I think it will, but it scares me.
I guess for anyone sewing a ‘Liberal’ or ‘leftie’ patch onto their sleeve, this far right ‘earthquake’ as the media loves calling it would certainly be cause for concern. I associate myself with values broadly aligned with extremely liberal parties; secularism, tolerance, civil unions (for gay and straight couples, basically anyone who wants one), free movement of labour and capital, policies based on evidence and science, and a focus on environmentalism. My choice of alcohol has been called Republican in the past, but that’s about the only bit of my lifestyle that can be. (And as I type this I’m picturing a clear, amber coloured glass of Jameson’s. Double, straight up. Moving on.)
This will be my first attempt to articulate my rather through-the-mill thoughts on far right nationalism. They’ve been on my mind for a long time now and I’m not sure I can get it all out in one go.
I’m not saying there should be a free for all across international borders, or that jobs should be available to anyone who waltzes in through the doors of the local employment office. Border policing is vital to ensure the safety and welfare of a country’s population, but what that is based on is anyone’s guess. Earlier this year, the UK drew up a scheme that would allow the Home Secretary Theresa May to strip foreign born British citizens of their citizenship, if suspected of terror. There’s also an ongoing debate regarding ‘anti-terror powers’, which would allow May to bar Britons entering the country, should they be returning from Syria. (On one level this does scream Samuel Huntington, which I’m not entirely sure is a good thing.) Eliminating extremism is something I’m for, but I’m not sure about the kind that’s being grown locally, i.e UKIP. It’s a mess.
At this point I’d like to bring in the distinction between Euroscepticism and a general dissatisfaction with immigration across the board, both of which are strongly growing in the UK. There’s a great analysis of the current rise of support for UKIP here:
Far right parties are not the same everywhere, for instance comparing UKIP to the Republicans or to India’s BJP party would be like trying to hash out the similarities among a case of Fosters, Heineken and Carlsberg. At the end of the day, they’re all equally rubbish.
But I will say this, what I am extremely concerned about is the lack of personal freedom, religious institutions funded by taxpayers, the intervention of religion in civil life, and an increasing intolerance of minorities. I’m concerned by legislation that tells me what I can and cannot do with my body, and how I’m supposed to dress so I don’t ‘invite trouble’.
More to follow.
Much, much more.