Saturday, May 6, 2017

The UKIP wipeout: was UKIP's Assadism partially to blame?

UKIP has been wiped out in UK council elections: it lost every single seat it had acquired in past elections - all 115. This stunning rout has been overshadowed by the collapse of the Left: Labour, which as we know has been heavily infiltrated by communists, lost 334 seats.

The Center Left - which these days is mostly indistinguishable from the Far Left - in Western countries has suffered badly in the past seven months: it lost the US presidential election and was wiped out in the Dutch House of Representatives election and the French presidential election. The Western electorate seems to be moving rightwards, and in the case of the UK at least, towards the Center Right and away from the Far Right.

The late American journalist and supply-sider Jude Wanniski compared electoral politics to business and believed that the customer - in this case, the electorate - was always right. Just as investors as an aggregate arrive at the correct valuation of the worth of companies in a stock market indice at the close of a trading day, the electorate, as a whole, shows a wisdom greater than its parts and always chooses the best candidate, or the least worst one. Wanniski would say that the UK electorate made the right choice in rejecting Labour, and UKIP, to the extent that it did.

The question is: why was UKIP so thoroughly trounced? The most obvious reason is that UKIP, after the Brexit referendum, has served its purpose and can't justify its existence any more. After the referendum, UKIP tried to re-invent itself as a more conventional populist and civic nationalist party - something akin to the BNP under Nick Griffin - but didn't succeed.

But I think the answer lies somewhat deeper. Suppose you are a communist running for office who is explicit in his support and admiration for Lenin, Trotsky, Stalin, Mao; the electorate could be forgiven for thinking that you, once in power, will attempt to introduce policies which are in accord with the ideologies of these four men. The electorate, not being stupid, knows that Stalinism, Trotskyism, etc., add up to poverty, misery, starvation, terror and the rest and so will rightfully reject you and your party.

Suppose you, as a British politician - whether it be on the Far Left or Right (and it doesn't matter which for the sake of this example) - tout Assad. It's reasonable to assume that you, once in power, will behave like Assad. Perhaps you and your family will stay ensconced for 41 years, and after the British people rise up against you, you'll make war on them, torture and slaughter them in the hundreds of thousands; your soldiers will rape boys and gouge out peoples' eyes with drills. Perhaps some masochistic voters will want this; most won't.

Paul Nuttall, the leader of UKIP, has made no secret of his admiration for Assad; neither has Nigel Farage, the former leader of UKIP (and still the public face of the party). Nuttall and UKIP could have taken up the Tory line on Syria - that Assad is doing terrible things, that Assad must go, etc., etc. - and this wouldn't have been inconsistent with UKIP's platform; but UKIP was forced to take up Assadism because of its commitments to Putinism.

Putin has hijacked UKIP and just about all the major parties of the European Far Right:

Europe’s far right parties have been particularly enthusiastic about Putin. Unlike most other European political groupings, they applauded his war against Georgia and military meddling in Ukraine. When Putin invited representatives of their parties to observe the referendum to have Russia annex Crimea, they dutifully attended the event, after which France’s National Front, Britain’s UKIP, Austria’s Freedom Party, and Italy’s Northern League endorsed its legitimacy. Hailing Russia’s president as a true patriot, Le Pen lauded him as a defender of “the Christian heritage of European civilization.” Farage, asked which world leader he most admired, responded without hesitation: Putin! The leader of Austria’s Freedom Party, Heinz-Christian Strache, praised Putin as a “pure democrat.” Indeed, Europe’s far right parties blame the EU and NATO for the crisis in the Ukraine, support lifting EU sanctions on Russia, and back Russia’s military intervention in Syria. In the European parliament, their representatives vote in favour of Russian interests nearly all the time.
In turn, Russia’s president has assisted these parties in their struggle for power. In 2014, the National Front received an 11 million Euro loan from a Russian bank to help finance its successful municipal election campaign. During the current French presidential campaign, the National Front applied for a substantially larger Russian bank loan, Russian media outlets are working hard for Le Pen, and Putin has received her in Moscow with the kind of buildup usually accorded a head of state. In Germany, Russian media and social networks played up a false story of an alleged gang rape of a 13-year old girl by migrants, prompting tens of thousands of Germans to take to the streets in protest and generating startling electoral gains by Alternative for Germany. That party has denied allegations that Russia is providing it with funding, but not the possibility that Russia is behind the mysterious appearance of millions of copies of its campaign newspaper and thousands of its election signs. Meanwhile, the youth group of Alternative for Germany has forged an alliance with Putin’s United Russia party.
The story is much the same in other nations. In Austria, the Freedom Party appears to be receiving Russian financial assistance through a thinly veiled intermediary, a prominent Russian oligarch. Russian cooperation with Austria’s far right became official in December 2016, when the United Russia party signed a cooperation agreement with the Freedom Party. In Britain, the Russian government, despite formal statements of neutrality, clearly sided with UKIP’s Brexit campaign. Enamoured of Farage, it provided him with frequent guest appearances on Russia Today and, following passage of the Brexit referendum, even offered him his own show on that state-funded network. In the Netherlands, Russia’s disinformation and propaganda arms have worked to assist Wilders and his Party for Freedom by trumpeting false news stories.

UKIP has been transformed from a Eurosceptic party to a party which, among other things, works as a front for Russian geopolitical interests; in this way it resembles the Communist Party of Great Britain, which received extensive financial backing from Russia and wound up after the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991.

Geopolitically speaking, a British Far Right party - or any British party - in 2017 is faced with two choices: either go with America or with Russia. No 'Third Way' exists. Britain has been run by Jews, communists and Tories since the mid-1930s, and has been in the American sphere of influence since that time. A party which declares itself to be outside this arrangement is aligning itself with Russia, which is unpalatable to most in the British electorate. In order to succeed, then, a Far Right party has to make peace with at least one of the three dominating factions - the Jewish, the communist, the conservative - and place itself at their disposal.

Perhaps a 'Third Way' does exist: a real 'Third Force' nationalism, whose slogan is, 'Neither Trump nor Putin, neither Netanyahu nor Assad'. From the time of the end of the war and up to around the 2000s, the British Far Right had been striving for a similar goal. But by around the mid-2000s, it gave up. Nick Griffin of the BNP, and then UKIP, saw that 'Third Force' nationalism was not paying great dividends electorally, and so attempted steer the Far Right towards Toryism - and Judaism - and away from the ideologies of white nationalism and Neo-Nazism, both of which are hated and feared by the British establishment. But Griffin's quasi-Toryist venture folded, and Griffin, Farage and Nuttall slid into Putinist populism.

Can the British Far Right pull itself out of the ditch? After the UKIP defeat, it must; it needs to clean house and purge the Putinistas from its ranks if it is continue to maintain the winning of elections as its primary goal. Putinism is fast becoming an electoral liability.

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