How to quadruple your blog hits without even trying

Write about politics and race, apparently. After the mammoth comment-a-thon, I spent a couple of days pondering. And came to the conclusion that, for me, no amount of evidence of systematic sidelining of the white working class could get me to think more favourably of anyone who votes extreme right. I just can’t have sympathy for anyone, or any group of people, that thinks casting a vote for a political party with division at its heart will help them. This is the politics of the me-first generation, me-above-all-others. Sod what happens to you, I only care about me and mine.

One of the depressing things about doing a degree in History is you get to see how people don’t change. You can take any time period and understand the decisions that were made once you remember that humanity – as a general rule – always looks out for number one. This is why I’ve never believed that a political system which relies upon governance by the populace can work in anything bigger than a commune – ultimately, people will start screwing each other over in order to get more for themselves.

People are shitheads.

And sometimes I think the sooner we all drown, fry and starve the better. Which is why I burn all my waste in the back garden using a patio heater powered by biofuels grown in a former rice paddy in Thailand.

I jest.

Thing is, this isn’t new. I was flicking through one of my books yesterday and, at the risk of having Godwin’s Law invoked at me, came across this passage about the rise of the NSDAP in Weimar Germany:

"There are times – they mark the danger point for a political system – when politicians can no longer communicate, when they stop understanding the language of the people they are supposed to be representing… Hitler had the advantage of being undamaged by participation in unpopular governments… He could speak in language more and more Germans understood – the language of bitter protest at a discredited system, the language of national renewal and rebirth."
(Hitler 1889-1936: Hubris, Ian Kershaw)

Sound familiar?

But the Nazis were around at a time without all-encompassing mass media, they were talking to people less educated than we are (the bulk vote came from the German countryside, not the towns) and their attitude towards the Jews was, at that point, also one of expulsion rather than mass extermination. How can anyone justify putting a little cross next to the BNP or National Front when they live in an age with a media that, while stoking up fear, also has no problem pointing out the far right for the scumbags that they are? When we all grew up with knowledge of the Holocaust and the terrible ramifications of racial politics? Ignorance of the consequences of the rise of the far right cannot be pleaded. Not today. Not by anyone. Unless you’re only looking out for yourself, and you want someone else to blame and to suffer, and you don’t care what happens to them because nobody else matters except you and yours.

And if that’s true, and if that’s you, then I despise you.

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12 responses to “How to quadruple your blog hits without even trying

  1. Nick May 19, 2008 at 12:10 am

    (well post up more erudite views when less drunk)
    “How can anyone justify putting a little cross next to the BNP or National Front when they live in an age with a media that, while stoking up fear, also has no problem pointing out the far right for the scumbags that they are?”
    Because the media have absolutely no credibility, and nor do they deserve any. Times to Sun to Telegraph to Mirror, they are warring armies over a battle ground the size of a postage stamp. Much like the politics they reports on.
    And fuck anyone who might have concerns beyond that.

  2. Rachel May 19, 2008 at 10:43 am

    Um, if you’re honest to god trying to say that the media aren’t telling the truth when they run articles about the BNP being fascist… or that the medium through which you and I have managed to pick up the antics of the far right should somehow be mistrusted by the white working class… actually, no, I don’t know what you’re trying to say 🙂
    What I was trying to do, was draw a difference between the situation in the 1920s and 1930s in how people get their information – back then, there was very little, nowadays we’re bombarded by it. Everyone knows the racist undercurrent of the far right, and if they choose to vote for them anyway knowing, as they must, the consequences of such an action and the message a high far right vote will send to the rest of the country and their ethnic minority neighbours, then those people are choosing to vote for the politics of fear and intimidation because they think that somehow, it’ll be alright for them. Fuck anyone else, fuck even the possibility of a harmonious society, I’m voting far right cos they’ll look after me mate, and fuck over my ‘enemies’. The decision in favour of the one over the good of the many. And for that kind of short-sighted, pathetic, knee-jerk response, yes, I have nothing but derision.

  3. Kate May 19, 2008 at 1:08 pm

    I question the use of the word ‘we’ and some of the assumptions contained therein …

  4. Rachel May 19, 2008 at 1:52 pm

    As in, the sooner ‘we’ all drown? Yeah, the entire bloody human race, we’re all fuckers at heart. Or, the “we” of the penultimate paragraph? Deliberately done, and including absolutely everyone, not just us middle classes 🙂
    I refuse to excuse anyone for not realising that voting for a party with racism at its core might be construed as a bit, y’know, dodgy. That’s why I realised it didn’t matter how much evidence of systematic sidelining I had laid before me – I just can’t condone or excuse far right voting. I can understand extremist voting in Weimar Germany on an intellectual level because of lack of precedent and knowledge, but that’s just not the case today. I know people from back home that my Dad says now vote BNP; they’re not lacking in awareness. They’re voting for their own self-interest. We all have a level of knowledge of the far right and the implications of voting for it – what each person chooses to do with that knowledge is up to them.
    I just don’t have to like them for it.

  5. Tom May 19, 2008 at 1:53 pm

    “Because the media have absolutely no credibility”?
    There seem to be two groups in the country that it’s completely acceptable, or maybe even fashionable, to distrust en-masse: politicians and the media.
    I may be a less than impartial observer, as I suppose I’m a (peripheral at the very best) member of one of those groups, but it’s always struck me that writing off every single politician and journalist as corrupt or inept or blinkered or without credibility is no wiser than suggesting that every single politician or journalist is beyond reproach.

  6. Jamie May 19, 2008 at 9:44 pm

    “This is the politics of the me-first generation, me-above-all-others. Sod what happens to you, I only care about me and mine.” Sounds like Thatcherism to me.
    “Times to Sun to Telegraph to Mirror” sounds like a rap song to me.

  7. Rachel May 19, 2008 at 9:56 pm

    Thatcherism? TOO FUCKING RIGHT, MATE.

  8. Kate May 20, 2008 at 3:35 pm

    It’s the ‘less educated than we are’ line that jars – not everybody who voted in this year’s elections has GCSEs, A-Levels, a degree. Not everybody has the sense of historical and cultural perspective that a little travel brings. And that doesn’t make them thick, or inherently racist.
    Sometimes people think things that are wrong; I know I have in the past. People who know those things to be wrong need to explain why they are wrong, and what the alternatives are, in a way that is comprehensible and relevant.
    Being wrong isn’t a sin. It’s just being wrong.
    It’s the people who’ve understood the explanation and disagree with it that we ought to worry about.

  9. Rachel May 20, 2008 at 9:31 pm

    I know not everyone got 5 A-C at GCSE, but I know that, at least, the people I know who are now BNP voters (look at me, trying to distance myself) are very aware of the background of the BNP and the first thing they do is start justifying it.
    I just find it very hard to believe that the majority of people – not just ‘us’ – don’t know what the BNP ultimately stands for. As much as I believe humans are all fuckers, I also credit everyone with the intelligence to know what they’re doing when they BNP; that the BNP is a far right party and racist as hell doesn’t need to be something that got taught in school. Who the BNP are is very well known in their target neighbourhoods; after all, it’s only recently they started to position themselves as fluffy. The Sun is only too happy to slag off the BNP (while, admittedly, simultaneously brewing up the feelings that cause people to vote BNP) and while us middle classes might deconstruct our media, The Sun is the voice of the people, innit.
    I’m sure there are a small number of people who have swallowed the re-positioning, but for most people a vote for the BNP is their way of registering their fear of non-whites. They wouldn’t beat up a black guy, they probably use their local Asian newsagent. They’ve seen the Celebrity Big Brother racism scandal, been at crowds during Kick Racism Out Of Football demos and they know what society at large feels about racism. It’s a passive-aggressive way of venting how they feel, doing something they know would be deemed to be “wrong” but doing it as an act of defiance. Knowingly. I should engage with them, but frankly I’m too disgusted and wouldn’t be doing the cause any favours by turning red and spluttering…

  10. Rachel May 21, 2008 at 11:20 am

    Oh, and Kate clearly has much more faith in the human race than I do… I just think we’re all evil. Can you send me across a little smidgeon of your optimism pls? I will cultivate it in a jar and then inject it straight into my stone cold heart.

  11. Nick May 21, 2008 at 12:14 pm

    “Um, if you’re honest to god trying to say that the media aren’t telling the truth when they run articles about the BNP being fascist… or that the medium through which you and I have managed to pick up the antics of the far right should somehow be mistrusted by the white working class… actually, no, I don’t know what you’re trying to say :-)”
    No I am saying that I think that like with the political system the mainstream press fundamentally address only a small audience. I also believe that when it comes to history most people are, well, thick. The BNP are fascist but I think a lot people fail to see that within a wider historical context, the origins of the fascist movement, links links it had with pro-Empire movement in the early 20th century etc. Even the recent stuff to do with the NF/BNP split.
    I think there is a two way split among those who vote for the BNP: There are those who are just racist, either in the inner city areas where they feel ‘swamped’ or all the bigots in the suburbs who want to keep the area white (because as has been shown a lot of BNP support actually comes from the middle classes as well as the working classes) and those who feel it is a protest vote against the system against immigration, against a perceived assault on culture, against everything. Yesterdays report on the massive rise in the number of British passports being granted is exactly the sort of that will fuel this perception.
    There is also the perceived ‘alieness’ of Islam in recent years and its vocalness on a wider scale. I think religion again is playing a far wider part than racial conflicts of old. Blacks and Asians vs whites throughout the C20th laregly lacked this religious element, which as we know is an element which seems to cause everyone to lose their heads. Unfortunately for Muslims within this country, especially those keen to fit in, the radical Islamist elements who have been vocal in recent years state the one message which people find threatening “You are Muslim beofre all other identities”, something which is a real barrier to integration within society.
    I think there is a real difference between lazy prejudice and real active Combat 18 style racism.
    Have a look for the BNP’s London election video. It is rather unsophisticated, and spouts such tiresome phrases as “Britain is full up”, but is also pushes the buttons on bread and butter issues.
    I think, to go back to my orginal point, that there is a real gulf between the BNP people read about in the mainstream press and the BNP that operates at a grassroot level. And I think it is a the misuderstanding of this gulf where we fail to see why a BNP vote may be acceptable to poeple and not be seen in the context of wanting to usher in a 4th reich.
    Not sure if any of that is clear.

  12. Will May 23, 2008 at 2:05 pm

    Wait, I think you’re all missing an important point here – did Kate just say she was wrong once?

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