Archive for the ‘far right’ Category

What is fascism and how to fight it

February 16, 2020

(Talk given to Leicester Socialist Alternative, Feb 2020)

Fascism is one of those political words which is much abused and misused. We need to know its origins and what it represents in order to arm ourselves with the tactics necessary to tackle the threat it represents. We must not overstate and oversimplify events by labelling draconian measures taken by right-wing governments as “fascist”.

The term “fascism” was coined by Mussolini in the early twentieth century. Fasces is a Roman term for a “bundle of sticks”– one stick can be easily broken, but tied together, they are much stronger – like the communist symbol of the fist – one finger can be easily broken, together, they can pack a punch. Fascism deliberately employed socialist iconography in its early days in order to gain a foothold in a section of the working class. It drew support also from the upper-middle class and was funded by donations from big businesses such as IG Farben.

In a short time, it is only possible to give a sketchy outline of complicated and prolonged events – for more inspiration and information – read: Trotsky’s authoritative pamphlet What is Fascism and How to Fight It; Jan Valtin’s, Out of The Night; Jack London’s, The Iron Heel; Clara Zetkin, Fascism

Hitler came to power in 1933. This was only possible due to a smashing of the German labour movement, which made tragic mistakes. Firstly, the premature attempted revolution of 1919 ended in the execution of its leaders Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Leibknecht.

There was a period of hyperinflation and Germany suffered from the reparations demanded by the West after the First World War. The German Communist Party (KPD) and social democratic parties had a huge base, but the were fighting each other instead of the Nazis, treating them as if they were another democratic party. Fascism is based on violence rather than discourse.

The KPD labelled centre parties as “social fascists”, in accordance with the Stalinist dogma of the time, and attacked their meetings. Trotsky described it using an analogy of cattle being driven to the slaughter house. The fascists are represented by the butcher, the social democrats as the cattle dealer. Let us close ranks and jack this executioner up on our horns. “How is he worse than the cattle dealer who drove us here with his cudgel?” “We shall be able to attend to the dealer as well afterwards”. “Nothing doing”, replied the bulls, “you are trying to shield our enemies from the left, you are a social-butcher yourself. They refused to close ranks. According to the Communists, the choice would be between fascism and communism, once social democracy had been smashed. Their vote in the last democratic elections held in Germany before the Second World War increased and they won 100 seats, but they did not reckon that the Nazis would destroy all open opposition to their regime, executing trade union leaders, attacking and imprisoning the Communists.

After WWII, there was an attempt by capitalism with the UN Declaration of Human Rights to ensure fascism would not happen again. Freedom of assembly (curtailed to specific places), freedom to protest (curtailed by police’s powers to stop public protests). Impossible to overcome the contradictions and limitations of this capitalist system, however. The roots of both right wing populism and ultimately fascism, and are still around today, and the threat of the far right will keep popping up in different forms. You cannot legislate away discrimination: it is illegal to discriminate against people in the UK on the grounds of disability, for example, yet the government do this all the time!

The biggest threat to the working class today is right populism, not fascism in the classic sense. However, fascism still exists in the form of the far-right BNP, National Front, the Golden Dawn in Greece, Austria’s Freedom Party, Jobbik in Hungary, Vox in Spain, Marine Le Pen’s National Rally in France (who is trying to get rid of her father’s fascist ideology, and trying to portray her party as right-wing populist). It is still a threat. It is characterised by a militaristic presence, intolerance of democratic opposition, and the use of violence. Fascism is a last resort for capitalism, when normal methods of governing – elections, the media, tame socialist and trade union leaders, in the mould of Dave Prentis or Tony Blair – have failed and there is a risk of losing control. It is very unlikely that fascism will consciously be used as a tactic by capitalism and big business again. However, the same processes, due to the acute failure of capitalism to provide for the vast majority of people – are still in play. And the threat of right-wing populism only makes fascist ideology more acceptable.

So what is populism and how is it different? Bolsanaro, Nigel Farage, Trump, Boris Johnson, Modi. How can a political programme which only benefits a small minority sustain itself in a democracy? Capitalism has always divided people by religion, racism, culture, etc. It is in the interests of a small establishment to seek to blame a country’s problems on outsiders and set the working class against itself.

A local example is the Operation Dharmic Vote campaign, set up by a Tory supporter from Rugby, angry at Labour’s proposal to outlaw the caste system, which claims that Hindus, Sikhs and Jains should vote against the pro-Muslim Labour Party. It has campaigned in London and in Leicester East, where Keith Vaz was friendly with Mahendra Modi’s BJP. This is playing a very old and very dangerous game: splitting communities along ethnic / religious lines. Fortunately, the left-wing MP Claudia Webbe was still elected in Leicester East – but across the country Farage’s Brexit Party dealt a blow to Labour’s chances – because of Labour’s muddled position on Brexit, and because the Brexit Party did not stand against the Tories. It shows, for all Farage’s pretence at being in touch with ordinary people, that Brexit’s class interests stands with the bosses.

By contrast socialists and trade unions emphasise the unity of workers, that we share common concerns and the need for tolerance of different religious and cultural traditions. We oppose racism. We confront fascists and seek to no platform them when they try to speak, by organising mass demonstrations of people, such as when we played a part in opposing the English Defence League when they came to Leicester and we stood with the community of Highfields.

Members of our party have gone over to Ireland in the past weeks to aid in the campaign to re-elect non-sectarian socialists to the Irish Parliament. A small fascist party, the National Party in Ireland reported one of our candidates, Mary Vallely, in Limerick to the police, misquoting “a Trotsky novel” – you can only assume she got Trotsky mixed up with Tolstoy! – as saying, “we need to acquaint fascist’s heads with the pavement”- what the quote refers to is that where persuasion fails, we need to defend ourselves against violent attacks and be wary of the threat that fascism poses to the ideas of socialism and to any civilised society. This has also been summarised more succinctly as “socialism or barbarism”.

The best way to defeat the poisonous ideas of fascism is to build strong trade unions and to develop socialist ideas, to build an international workers’ movement which will be capable of transforming people’s lives across the globe.


September 26, 2017

A heavy word. Not one to be tossed easily,
Grenade-like into polite conversation.
A threat, a lie, a swindle to
Set us against each other.

But tyrants are mortal.
You cannot set in stone,
When wind erodes,
Time crumbles to dust.

National pride wrapped in bundles of sticks.
Together we are strong, individuals can be broken.
In basements, under spotlights, in gas chambers.

The Roman salute, Hail Caesar!
Mussolini stole such
Patriotic guff. Clothed his men in uniform
To inspire fear, to stand aside from
Crowds of unbelievers.

For fascism to take hold
It first has to rid itself
Of opposition. Crush resistance
From those who conspire and
Dream of freedom, democracy.
Label others with stigmata.

Hitler failed at art.
If only his school teachers
Praised his scribblings,
Galleries showed his work,
His ego may not have found
Such an outlet.

He was also a thief.
Cloaked distasteful ideas, at first,
In talk of socialism,
Freedom from wage tyranny.
But hate and terror prevailed,
The world blazed in agony.

Together, humanity defeated such ideas:
Or so we may talk ourselves into believing,
Sitting here, discussing politics and struggle.
Yet still there are people

Who swallow lies of superiority,
Deceit of supremacy.
Visions, of returning to
Non-existent golden era.

Rome taught them the art of carving up
Ruling supreme. Keep tribes squabbling
With petty concerns,
Or if revolt threatened,
Throw their chieftain a juicy bone.

Corruption still gnaws at our society.
But there is human solidarity,
Kindness, and comradeship,
Which, if it stands firm,
Can overcome racism and division.

When we realise that we are all just
Part of a fragile, blue bauble in space.


Build an alternative for ordinary people, not the bosses.

June 2, 2014

In the recent council elections, TUSC (Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition) stood an historic 561 candidates nationwide – this represents the biggest left-of-Labour challenge for 70 years. Despite this, we were largely ignored by the media, with only two interviews on the Daily Politics. Our candidates achieved some very good results, in spite of this lack of coverage, getting around 1000 votes in St Michaels ward in Coventry, and electing a councillor in Southampton. We also achieved excellent results in Doncaster, Sheffield and London. In total, TUSC’s candidates received over 65,000 votes.

In Ireland, there were elections at the same time, but with a completely different system of proportional representation, which tends to give smaller parties a fighting chance. We also faced, in the European Elections, a challenge to get our MEP, Paul Murphy re-elected for the Dublin constituency. With the Irish section of the SWP (as People Before Profit) standing against us in his seat, this meant that it was going to be even more of a difficult battle. With the resulting split in the Socialist vote, this meant that despite him getting nearly 30,000 first preference votes, it wasn’t quite enough. However, this is still a strong showing for us and we should be well-placed to regain the seat in the future. Elsewhere in Ireland, anger against austerity meant that it was a great night for the Anti Austerity Alliance, which the Socialist Party took part in – we won 14 councillors and Ruth Coppinger was elected as a TD in Dublin West (the Irish equivalent of an MP).

In the European elections in the UK, UKIP were the recipient of an anti-EU protest vote, winning votes from both Tories and Labour, while the Lib Dem vote collapsed. However, UKIP, a right-wing split from the Tories, will be exposed in the future, as their anti-working-class policies offer people no real alternative. Of course, the vast majority of the electorate simply stayed at home, seeing little point in voting in the European elections, reflecting a generalised anger at establishment politicians in general.

While in some countries, the far-right have made gains, this is not the case across Europe as a whole. In Greece, Syriza were the largest party, with a programme opposing austerity, and in Spain the United Left gained 10% of the vote, along with Podemos, a party which rose from the Indignados  movement. Podemos gained  five MEPs and 1.5million votes in the European elections. From  The Guardian: “Podemos’ lofty list of election promises includes doing away with tax havens, establishing a guaranteed minimum income and lowering the retirement age to 60.  “Voted in by Spaniards tired with persistent unemployment, austerity measures and corruption scandals, Iglesias said Podemos MEPs would act accordingly. Rather than the standard salary of more than €8,000 (£6,500) a month, “not one of our MEPs will earn more than €1,930, an amount that’s three times the minimum wage in Spain. The remainder would either go to the party or a chosen cause.” This is similar to what TUSC is putting forward in Britain. The need for an alternative is clear, as Milliband’s Labour has made clear that it “cannot afford” to roll back Con-Dem cuts.

While some countries looked for alternatives on the left, others, like voters in France, expressed their disappointment with the soft-left Francois Hollande, who is continuing with austerity measures, by voting for the far-right Front National. I think the most effective way to defeat the divisive and racist ideology of the far-right is to build a political alternative for ordinary people. UKIP has benefited from a protest vote against all the main parties, who are carrying out vicious cuts to public services. We say these cuts are not necessary – the resources are there in society to fund decent services for all, but the problem is the money is in the hands of bankers and speculators. To fight back, join the Socialist Party (which is part of TUSC, the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition) —

The TUSC video the media wouldn’t show...

Patiently explain . . . thoughts on the local election results

May 5, 2013

If you want to see what Britain will be like in a few years’ time, if the trend of the Con-Dem’s planned spending cuts, continued wholesale privatisation of our NHS and further erosion of our living standards is not overthrown by mass strike action on the part of the labour movement, then look at Greece.

With wages stagnating, and workers simply not being given the money to enable us to buy back what we make, the economy will continue to bottom-out, or go into another nose-dive into recession. Without any jobs being created for young people, without the prospect of a decent, free education, then it is not surprising if people look to blame each other for their situation, rather than the real culprits – the super-rich who made money speculating on loans which people could not afford to pay back (the reason for the financial crisis in 2008), and tax avoidance by large companies to the tune of £120 billion a year. Combined with the constant coverage of UKIP in the media, and the usual barrage of anti-immigrant propaganda in the right wing press, the rise in vote for UKIP in the local elections last Thursday is not surprising, as this was an easy way for voters to voice their discontent with the government. Labour hardly benefited at all, and the Lib Dems face political oblivion.

However, when the 147 newly-elected UKIP councillors are actually put to the test, voters will inevitably find an odious, corrupt party of the establishment, with racist undertones. This will hopefully in turn be rejected, just as the BNP have been wiped out in these elections. The question then is, where are protest votes going to be channelled? Without a mass, left-wing opposition, this could develop into far-right, neo-fascist sympathies, as has happened to some extent in Greece with a rise in support for Golden Dawn, an openly neo-Nazi party.

A major difference between Greece and the UK, apart from the savage depth of the cuts – leading to malnutrition amongst children, for example – there is a party called Syriza, which has opposed austerity measures. It has been the vessel into which much of the intense anger against the main parties has poured (particularly PASOK, their equivalent of New Labour). Syriza is now jointly in the lead with New Democracy, the Conservative party of government (both on 20% in the opinion polls). Rewind back a few years, before the cuts impacted on Greek society, when PASOK was the main opposition – then Syriza’s vote could be counted in terms of 5-6%.

I support TUSC, the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition. Like Syriza, it is the beginning, I think, of something much bigger, as the cuts continue to bite. What direction and character such a mass party of the working class will have is yet to be determined. One thing is clear – all the other parties, from the Greens on the soft-left, to New Labour on the centre-right, to Tories on the right wing, to UKIP on the far-right – they all stand for cuts. Only TUSC is opposed to all cuts in services, for a decent, living minimum wage for all, to investing in and renationalising our NHS and rebuilding a comprehensive, publicly funded education system, free for all, from nursery to University. Another similar vision is Ken Loach’s Left Unity project, and I hope that the two can work together to provide an alternative to cuts.

Visit TUSC’s website for the election results.
TUSC’s election results 2013
These elections were held under difficult circumstances for the hard-left. There has been the usual lack of coverage of our campaign, and Labour were much more visible in opposition to the Tories. However, our 120 candidates achieved some remarkable results in this context. As cuts start to bite even further, the need for a co-ordinated, left-wing challenge to the austerity agenda is ever greater.

Having completed writing this, I am just off now to canvass for TUSC in a by-election in Abbey Ward, Leicester, where the political landscape is somewhat different, with 52 Labour councillors and just two others – 1 Lib Dem and 1 Tory in the council. Yet the lack of opposition to cuts is still overwhelming. Labour are carrying through the bedroom tax, axing homeless places and council-funded care homes. If a TUSC councillor were to be elected, this would be a massive step forward for the people of the city. We are standing to provide, in a small way at this stage, opposition to the mantra that the poor, the disabled, those on benefits must pay for the economic crisis.

Just as has happened in Greece and throughout Southern Europe, opposition to cuts will definitely grow. We urgently need a mass party of the left to be there for ordinary people. The choice is between socialism or barbarism.

Update – Election results Abbey Ward by-election 9th May
Labour (Vijay Riyait) 1190 elected 47.9% (+0.9%)
Conservatives (Dipak Joshi) 562 22.6% (+9%)
Independent (Terry McGreal) 352 14.8% – this was a NIMBYist campaign against traveller sites
Lib Dem Focus Team (John Taylor) 212 8.6% (In 2011, the Lib Dems and Liberals got a combined total of 602 votes)
TUSC (Tessa Warrington) 165 6.65%

This result gives us a good base, in an area of Leicester where we have not stood before, to build real opposition to cuts and to the bedroom tax.

The end of the NHS?

March 17, 2012

We are facing the end of the NHS, as the Lords vote through the Health and Social Care Bill. The NHS was born out of Old Labour’s triumphant 1948 manifesto, which demanded a “land fit for heroes”, in the wake of the devastation caused by the Second World War.

In the manifesto, the great socialist Aneurin Bevan brought his experience in the South Wales valleys, of  a local system of communal healthcare, on to the national stage. The result was the National Health Service. Free prescriptions, free dentistry, free opticians – all paid for through central taxation. With the introduction of prescription charges, Bevan had the principles to resign his position. If only we had opposition Labour politicians with a fraction of his foresight, determination and courage today.

The Tories, along with many Labour right-wingers and many doctors were against the introduction of the NHS. It was mass protests of ordinary people, and the lessons of the First World War, with the threat of revolution and the General Strike of 1926, as soldiers in particular backed the left wing Labour government over  Churchill. This heralded the introduction of the NHS, amid a fear by the ruling class that a revolutionary movement could return to Britain, unless something radical was done to improve conditions for the poor.

Labour sought to slay five “giants” – “ignorance, squalor, want, disease and idleness” – deliberately evoking traditional English imagery of Jack the Giant Killer, to the soundtrack of Jerusalem. Blake’s great poem was unfortunately put to patriotic music around the time of the 1st world war and actually is not a right-wing verse. Blake would be turning in his grave if he knew how his work has been mistreated by the far right.

Fast forward 60 years, and the gap between rich and poor is greater than ever – the giants are still stalking the land and the monumental gains of 1948 – the welfare state, our NHS, nationalisation of major industries and utilities – have all either been consigned to the history books or are under threat.

Because of the failures of New Labour and their craven betrayal of the working class, the far right are still present, bringing with them the threat of fascism. The far right are fighing not just against Muslims, who have been scapegoated for the problems of Britain, just as Jews were in Nazi Germany, but also against those who are trying to fight for a better society. Threats have been made to those in the Occupy movement, against trade unionists and against socialists.

Our mainstream politicans (Labour, Tories, Lib Dems) are all corrupt. They slavishly follow the bidding of lobbyists paid for by the interests of big business. They are slashing pensions and jobs, because they see that workers organised in trade unions can pose a threat to their plans. The argument that the country’s debt is out of control and needs to be kept in check, that these cuts are necessary is a disingenuous lie. Public sector pension funds, for example, were renegotiated in 2008 to be affordable for the next 50 years. The only thing that has changed since then is the banking crisis, caused by inherent contradictions in capitalism. But the Con-Dems are asking ordinary people to pay the price for this mess.

Since the magnificent demonstrations and strikes of November 30th, unfortunately some trade union leaders have de-escalated the strike action. This is a fight for everything we care about in our society, and we need to increase pressure on the government. Private sector workers should join the fight as well and join trade unions. If their leadership is incapable of leading the struggle, it needs to be ditched. France had a general strike in 2010 over a pension age increase from 60 to 62. We deserve union leaders who will not back down so easily. Their members will not forgive those who sold out.

There are reasons, in the teeth of these attacks on our class, to be optimistic. People will be forced into struggle. However, the conditions which raise the consciousness of the working class and cause some of them to demand socialist answers to their problems, can also cause the rise of support for far-right ideas. Unless we build a new mass party, on a democratic, principled opposition to all the cuts, to attract those looking for an alternative, then people can be drawn to the blind alleys of racism or rioting, as seen in the summer of 2011.

This is why I support TUSC, the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition, which is standing in the London Assembly and in many local elections in May to offer a real, fighting alternative for working people.

Young people united – Peace on the streets

August 9, 2011

Thanks to Becci Heagney for the picture.

On my way into Leicester this evening, I noticed a large number of young people wearing hoodies also making their way into town. There was quite a large police presence for a Tuesday evening in Leicester. However, there was no violence or rioting.

I was going with members of the Socialist Party – we always have our regular meeting at the Turkey Cafe on Tuesdays, where I was talking about religion and socialism. Halfway through, we heard a group of people chanting “Peace on The Streets”, emblazoned across a banner with a young person smiling, whilst wearing the ubiquitous hoodie. They were making their way towards the Clocktower. We immediately abandoned the meeting to join them, with copies of our paper advertising the Jarrow Youth Fight For Jobs March.

Then a small group (about 10) EDL supporters riled up the people with “E-E-EDL” chants. They pretend to be against Islam, but the people making up the demonstration were from all backgrounds. It was entirely peaceful. The police could have simply escorted the EDL away and left the youth to make their point peacefully. Instead they over-reacted completely – charging down the street with batons raised. One window of a clothes shop was smashed, but no-one even attempted to get in the shop.

Later there were some windows smashed, on Granby St and High Cross St, after the police provoked the youth. There were no press at the demo itself, other than radio Leicester – so the Leicester Mercury article is talking from hearsay.

The Socialist Party demands that cuts to young people’s services be reversed urgently. We are fighting for secure jobs for all – youth unemployment is around 1 million and amongst black youth the unemployment rate is as high as 50%.

We need a united fight against racism, police oppression and for a mass working class party to stand up for ordinary people. Otherwise, anger and frustration will continue to spill over into rioting. The answer, as we decided in our meeting, is working-class unity.

Police bias against anti-EDL protestors

April 24, 2011

A highly critical report has been published by the Network for Police Monitoring. It covers the build up to the EDL coming to Leicester on the 9th October 2010 and the demonstration itself.

The report finds that the police had a deliberate strategy of intimidating people from entering the city, putting on distraction events and using the Childrens Act against young people. This is in contravention of the right to peaceful and democratic assembly in the European Convention of Human Rights, and was discriminatory against an ethnic group. But after all, who polices the police?

This is an excellent report and well worth a read. However, there is one slight error. It states that a contingent of the UAF demo arrived in Highfields to support the local, largely Asian, population against the EDL. The contingent was made up of Socialist Party members and non-affiliated anti-fascists, not the UAF, who remained in their protest in the city centre. A more accurate account of the day was published in the Socialist newspaper. It concludes, “Above all, we need to build a political alternative to cut across the dangers of division and racism. A movement that fights for jobs and services, a working class political alternative, is required.” This is one reason why we are standing as trade unionists and socialists against cuts (TUSC) candidates in opposition to the main parties in Leicester’s local elections.

I also wrote a poem to celebrate the defiance of Highfields residents on the day.

Also shameful (mentioned in footnote 14 in the report) was the role of Hope Not Hate (HnH), who actually helped the police and council carry out their dirty work for them, by persuading people to stay away and building instead for a festival of multiculturalism the following day.

Between them, the police, the council and HnH handed a small victory to the EDL thugs who rampaged round Leicester on the 9th October.

The whole of Leicester needs to be waiting for them if they ever come back.

Leicester United Will Never Be Defeated

March 11, 2011

Leicester United Will Never Be Defeated

Pillowcases are not just for resting your head on.
Take a cheap pillowcase
Slit open the seams,
Improvise a banner.

Pregnant with anticipation, I joined the protest.
I unfurled the banner stuffed up my jumper.
“Jobs and homes not racism” flew aloft.
I was told to put it away by the boys in blue,
Because I was not in a “designated protest zone”.
I thought this was supposed to be a free country.

There wasn’t much point in staying, getting kettled
So I walked through the eerily, deserted market,
Past ghosts of absent fruit sellers,
The tranquility of New Walk, the hubbub of the train station.
I waited, with the whole community.
Everyone was there. A thousand strong.
We would show them.

They came spinning out of their coaches.
A rampage round the ring road later,
Smashing up kebab shops, frightening customers.
Shouts rang out behind vans, dogs, blue suits and riot shields,
But Highfields stood firm. They did not pass.

I didn’t get to speak to them. But this is what I would have said:
Why put your problems on people with a different face?
People of another race, who come from a different place?
Is it that we speak another language, not fighting or racism,
But community, friendship and standing together?
You should try it some time.

You call yourself the EDL, the E – E – E D L
Standing there, swaggering like a school bully,
Full of beered-up bravado. A red and white cross
Smeared across your drunken fizzog.
Defending England? Against who – the English?
We are all in this together. Not the toffs, the rest of us.
We’ve got more in common than you might think.

But you don’t think, you just read the Sun.
Scapegoating asylum seekers, gypsies, Poles and Muslims.
Don’t believe Murdoch’s red-top lies.
Let’s fight the real enemy – the sharp-suited, slimy sort of scum
You can find them with their blue, yellow or red rosettes,
Smarming and charming their way through interviews,
Faking expenses and taking backhanders.
They are the true thieves.

We can show you how it should be done.
We stand together in unity. Unafraid.
Neighbours – old, young, black and white
In this comforting patchwork quilt that is Leicester.

The BNP sink to a new low

April 15, 2010

Two days ago, Hope Not Hate used the image and words of Normandy Tank veteran Kenneth Riley to encourage people to combat the danger of the far right, by voting against them wherever possible.

Dear Friend,

When I enlisted in the army 66 years ago, I did it for Britain.

Now I need you to do something for me.

The BNP is trying to strangle our great nation with the same extremist and fascist agenda that Hitler’s Nazis threatened us with decades ago. Today, the war isn’t being fought on the battlefield – but in the ballot box.

Hope Not Hate is on the front lines of our fight. They’re organising to make sure modern-day Nazis aren’t elected on 6 May and to preserve the Britain for which I fought so hard. If I had my health I would be out there with them. But I can’t – so I’m writing to ask you to volunteer for me.

Please join Hope Not Hate’s Day of Action this weekend – the campaign has laid on transport to help you get to the areas in which you are needed the most:
I was barely in my twenties when I went to fight for Britain. I left home with friends – all young lads like myself – and many never returned.

Today, the BNP salute and say “Heil Hitler” – and they support the same all-white Britain. They’re proud of what the Nazis did to my friends, and what they did to millions of innocent people throughout Europe.

We didn’t fight with our lives on the line years ago just to be right back here today.

We need to do everything we can to stop the BNP from being elected to local councils and to Parliament. Those boys lost to the war would proudly go door-to-door with Hope Not Hate to fight against the fascist BNP today.

There are no tanks and no guns in this fight – but we still need your courage to speak out.

Attend a Hope Not Hate event this weekend and join the fight against fascism:
The elections on 6 May are personal to me – and I hope they will be to you. I’d like to thank you in advance for your service.


Kenneth Riley
Normandy Veteran – Tank Division

Amazingly, the BNP stole his words and used them in their own twisted version of his appeal:

Dear Fellow Patriot,

When I enlisted in the army in 1942, aged 18, I did it for Britain.

Now I need you to do something for me.

The old-gang parties and their fellow cohorts in the media are dismantling and destroying the Britain we fought so hard to defend and preserve. Today, the war isn’t being fought on the battlefield — but in the ballot box.

The British National Party is on the front lines of our fight. Our party and our courageous activists are working around the clock to save the country that our war heroes fought and died for. If I had my health I would be out there with them. But I can’t — so I’m writing to ask you to volunteer for me.

I was 18 when I went to fight for Britain. At just 20 years old I was involved in the Normandy invasion, and spent the last year of the war fighting with my fellow heroes through northern France, Belgium and into Germany.

I was attached to the 51st Highland Division under the command of the legendary General Bernard Montgomery (‘Monty’ as he was affectionately known). I also took part in the Battle of the Bulge in late 1944 and Operation Market Garden.

Today, look at the terrible state of our country! Many cities and towns resemble third-world slums; crime is out of control; pensioners are freezing to death in winter; we are ruled by the EU; our politicians are greedy and corrupt, and our British national identity is being dismantled and abolished!

We didn’t fight with our lives on the line years ago just to be right back here today. Our war heroes have been betrayed!

We need to do everything we can to help the BNP get elected to local councils and to Parliament. Those heroes lost to the war would proudly go door-to-door with the British National Party to fight against the destruction of our beloved Britain.

There are no tanks and no guns in this fight — but we still need your courage to propel the British National Party to its goals. Get active: leafleting, canvassing, speaking to people; get the word out!

Could you spare £20 towards our election campaign? £20 is not much, but it could be crucial to the BNP’s chances of winning:

If you are not a member, then don’t you think now is the time to join? We veterans fought for this country; now it’s your turn:

The elections on 6 May are personal to me — and I hope they will be to you. I’d like to thank you in advance for your service.

Yours sincerely,

Bob Head

Normandy Veteran

51st Highland Division

One thing which makes this unlikely is his surname “Head” which is common in Norfolk and Berkshire, but very uncommon in Scotland (he claims to have been with the 51st Highlanders Division). Also, search as you might on Normandy Veteran websites, there seems to be no mention of a “Bob Head”. Furthermore, the 51st Highlanders were stationed at Arnhem during the Normandy campaign (thanks to 1 million united’s blog for pointing this out).

I hope that this will backfire on the far right and that people will begin to see through their lies.

So how can we best fight against the lies and propaganda of the far-right BNP?

I think we need to support a new workers’ party – people have had enough of all three main parties and are looking for an alternative. A genuine alternative for ordinary workers is standing in 42 constituencies across the country – vote TUSC (Trade Union and Socialist Coalition). If they are not standing, then vote for any left candidate that is. In any case, it is important that we use our votes against the lies and racism of the BNP.