“Normal People”: British White Nationalists in Recent Academic Studies

“People are really rather afraid that this country might be swamped by people of a different culture. The British character has done so much for democracy, for law, and done so much throughout the world that if there is any fear that it might be swamped, then people are going to be rather hostile to those coming in.”
Margaret Thatcher, February 1978.

An acquaintance recently forwarded me an interesting news item from England. It would appear that the background of one Duncan Weldon, the new economics correspondent for the BBC’s flagship current affairs show Newsnight, has been sending shivers down the spine of those who stalk the halls of power. Weldon’s unforgivable error seems to be that he “flirted” with the “far Right” in his college days, and participated in a leafleting campaign in 2000 organized by the British National Party (BNP), Britain’s largest movement that explicitly advocates for the interests of the White majority.

Weldon, to my eyes at least, appears to be a political opportunist. He describes his brief “flirtation” with the BNP as “misguided” and points out that he went on to carve out a career for himself as a dedicated Leftist, attacking conservative policies with all the fabled zeal of the convert. While some have pointed out that Weldon might be unsuitable for the position because of his current role at the Trades Union Congress as well as a marked lack of journalistic experience, the heaviest criticism has been laced with insinuations that links to White Nationalism, and in particular to the BNP, render Weldon permanently unsuitable for any position of public prominence. An article at Breitbart.com accuses “the former fascist,” of having a “flirtation with the works of Oswald Mosley” because Weldon once blogged that he read Robert Skidelsky’s biography of the war-time leader of the British Union of Fascists. (It would appear that the author of that particular piece needs reminding that reading a biography of someone is not the same thing as reading their works and that reading the works of someone is not the same as endorsing them. Else, God forbid, I would be accused of endorsing the ethnocentric ravings of Anthony Julius.)

The heaviest condemnation has come from the Conservative party politician, Andrew Bridgen, who has said: “Given the revelations about his secret BNP past, it is clear Mr Weldon is unsuitable for a position in our national broadcaster.”

Those wishing to ensure that a wolf does not penetrate the fold need not be so alarmist. It is likely that Weldon never held a single conviction during his dabble with White Nationalism, and it should put more than a few minds at rest that Weldon has the approval of the Newsnight editor Ian Katz, a South African Jew, as well as that of the BBC Creative Director, Alan Yentob, a British Jew.

Needless to say, the Beeb is in no danger of any enthusiasm for the interests of the  indigenous population of the UK. The “Guardian trained”  Katz has previously been the subject of criticism for being an unabashed and relentless promoter of “diversity.” The ire-provoking incident in question was Katz’s choice of two women, one Black and one Sri Lankan, to discuss what one Daily Mail columnist described as a “report about (White, male) American scientists who’ve detected the origins of the universe.”


Sky at Night presenter Maggie Aderin-Pocock discusses the origins of the universe as revealed by White males on Newsnight.

A former deputy-editor of the Guardian, Katz was once a graduate trainee at the Sunday Correspondent along with fellow Jewish journalist Jonathan Freedland. Freedland is also keen on diversity. Responding to the 2011 British census, Freedland pointed out that “the country is now less white and less Christian. In 2001, white people accounted for 91% of the total population. In the latest census, that figure is down five points to 86%.” Freedland reported gleefully that “White Britons have become a minority in London, accounting for only 45% of the city’s population,” and ended with the astonishing remark that “the main story is surely that this country has undergone a radical transformation in this last decade and the ones before — and it has done so with relative peace and relative calm. No one will hand out any gold medals for that, but it’s a kind of triumph all the same.” A triumph for whom, Mr. Freedland?

While the story of Mr. Weldon’s background and new job is altogether unremarkable in itself, the severe reaction to even the weakest link between a figure of public consequence and White Nationalism is considerably instructive. This is the oppressive culture we face. Our views are deemed incurably irrational, unerringly extreme, and fundamentally dangerous by those in all the positions of power and influence. They are the guardians of the status quo, and these watchmen are fanatically committed to keeping us, and our views, away from any kind of socio-political influence. Backgrounds will be checked, careers examined, and previous writings pored over in order to detect evidence of opinions at odds with this age of inter-ethnic “triumph.” And yet, despite the hysteria, there are studies which have taken place and accounts which have been written, which prove that White advocates are “normal people.”

What I hope to do in the following short article is to cover some of the findings of a small number of academic studies conducted on white advocates in Britain, predominantly supporters of the much-maligned BNP. While by no means perfect, and certainly not sympathetic to our vision, these studies do provide a useful counterpoint to the common refrain that our stance in relation to race and nation is by its very nature pathological.

The most prolific, and in my opinion most astute, writer on British ethno-nationalism is Matthew J. Goodwin. Goodwin is an Associate Professor within the Faculty of Social Sciences at England’s University of Nottingham. To reiterate, Goodwin is no friend of our cause, but he does approach the subject of our activism and politics with a more rational, indeed fairer, mind-set than that seen in such institutions as the SPLC or the ADL. Goodwin’s studies also stand very favorably against such trashy Leftist productions as Daniel Trilling’s Bloody Nasty People: The Rise of Britain’s Far Right (2013).

On his university website profile Goodwin styles himself a “leading expert on radical and extreme politics, especially in Britain,” and claims to have carried out “extensive ‘life history’ interviews” on “right-wing extremist activists.” Having obtained and examined his works I must say I take issue with his claim that his interviews were “extensive,” numbering no more than twenty-four individuals in any given study. His adoption of the terminology of the status quo, in which any ideas sufficiently distanced from the “norm” become saddled with the labels “extreme,” “far Right,” “radical,” is also deeply irritating. Irritation gives way to incredulity when, tangled up in his own inadequate lexicon, Goodwin finds himself occasionally labelling socially-engaged old women as “extremist” simply by virtue of them holding one or another political opinions which can’t be reconciled to the “mainstream.” With these limitations acknowledged, let us proceed.

White Nationalism in Britain – A Brief History

Britain’s first White advocacy movement of consequence was the National Front, founded in 1967. The Front brought together a number of small groups which had been formed in reaction to increased waves of non-White immigration to Britain, and shared an anti-immigration viewpoint. One of the primary impulses for the creation of the Front, and one of the most significant reasons for its early success, was the neglect of immigration and race-related issues by the “mainstream” political parties. During the 1970s, both the Conservative Party and the Labour Party lost voters to the National Front. Its membership peaked at between 14,000 and 20,000 during the years 1972 to 1974, during a series of public controversies over the arrival of vast numbers of ethnic Pakistanis and Indians who had been ousted from Uganda by Idi Amin. Ugandans had come to see these ethnic minorities, not unjustifiably, as ethnically separatist, culturally unassimilable, and economically parasitic. Because of the legacy of Empire, many of these ethnic South Asians had citizenship of “the United Kingdom and Colonies” and took advantage of this by moving on to Britain. Fearing the continued rise of the Front at its expense, the Conservative party under Margaret Thatcher attempted to draw support from Front sympathizers by adopting a policy of “talking tough.” The clearest example of this policy was Thatcher’s ‘swamping” statement which I cited at the outset of this article.

Although lacking in substance, tough talk was sufficient to lure the ideologically weak from the Front, leading to a sudden and dramatic fall in levels of support. By the late 1970s the Front also came under attack from leading Jewish communists like Gerry Gable, Reg Freeson, and Maurice Ludmer, who in one way or another were instrumental in creating such organizations as Searchlight, the Anti-Nazi League, Unite Against Fascism, Rock Against Racism, and Campaign Against Racism and Fascism. Many of these organizations sought to push the Front out of public life with violence, as witnessed during the so-called “Battle of Lewisham” in the summer of 1977, when around six thousand self-styled “anti-fascists” attacked eight hundred peacefully marching members of the Front.

Faced with the superficial hijacking of its anti-immigration platform by Thatcher’s Conservatives and the Jewish-orchestrated onslaught on the public expression of the movement, morale and support collapsed, leading to slow decline and the fracturing of the Front.

Out of the embers of the slowly dying National Front, the late John Tyndall, a former Chairman of the Front, founded the British National Party (BNP) in 1982. The early BNP largely eschewed elections for the first two decades of its existence, partly due to the fact that the costs were beyond its financial capabilities, and partly because of Tyndall’s belief that the movement would be best served by a “march and grow” tactic of holding street rallies to raise its profile and attract new recruits. However, as Matthew Goodwin points out, ‘since the election of Nick Griffin as party chairman in 1999, the BNP has focused more strongly on building electoral support, with impressive results.”[1] In 2010, following the capture of 50 local council seats across England in addition to two seats in the European Parliament, the BNP reached its highpoint; it was described as “the most successful extreme right party in Britain’s electoral history and is the fastest growing party in twenty-first century Britain.”[2] This success attracted the attention of a small number of academics who sought to understand this growth by gaining an understanding of BNP activists. Were they, as the Frankfurt School would have us believe, socially-marginal pathological extremists?

Normal People – The Activists of the BNP

For decades, academic studies on white advocates have been heavily influenced by the efforts of the Frankfurt School of Social Research to pathologize Gentile group allegiances. As Kevin MacDonald has very lucidly demonstrated in The Culture of Critique (2002: pp.159–60), Horkheimer and Adorno were keen to argue that “cohesive gentile group strategies are fundamentally based on a distortion of human nature. … A consistent theme of The Authoritarian Personality is the idea that gentile participation in cohesive groups with high levels of social conformity is pathological.” Alluding to the legacy of the Frankfurt school in his 2010 article “Activism in Contemporary Extreme Right Parties: The Case of the British National Party,” Goodwin notes that “early attempts to theorize support for fascist or right-wing extremist movements stressed the role of authoritarianism, social isolation or status anxiety. Yet these earlier models have since been met with considerable criticism, not least for failing to adequately distinguish the level of commitment under examination (i.e. voters or activists?), focusing disproportionately on the assumed reactive nature of participation, and interpreting support as simply a by-product of psychological abnormality.”

Goodwin further asserts that such modes of viewing White ethno-nationalists are unsustainable in light of recent research such as that conducted by Bert Klandermans and Nonna Mayer for their 2006 Extreme Right Activists in Europe: Through the Magnifying Glass. Klandermans and Mayer heavily criticized the earlier Frankfurt School tendency to attribute a suite of negative traits to joiners and supporters of White advocacy groups, and instead began with the (then radical) assumption that participation in “far Right” organizations “is as equally rational as in any other political parties and social movements” and that just like any other political activist, those on the “far Right” have “incentives to participate.” The central finding of their study was that activists in so-called “right-wing extremist” groups across Europe were “normal people, socially integrated, and connected in one way or another to mainstream groups and ideas.”

Taking the research of Klandermans and Mayer as his starting point, Goodwin sought to cut through ubiquitous and negative propaganda about BNP support and discover instead “who votes for the extreme right in Britain and why,” in addition to shedding light on the backgrounds, activities and beliefs of BNP activists. Referring to earlier studies on membership of the National Front, Goodwin stresses that rather being a mob of social misfits at the bottom of the socio-economic ladder, “the NF polled strongest among young, skilled working class males in urban districts…suggesting that the NF attracted followers where competition between indigenous and immigrant populations for scarce and valuable resources is felt most acutely.”[3]

In other words, participation in the politics of the “far Right” was not conditional on the assumed pathological mentality of the participants, but in the rude awakening of those participants to the harsh realities of ethnic competition. Goodwin adds that “more recent aggregate-level research on the BNPs social bases of support has produced similar findings: as in earlier years support for the party appears to stem not from the most deprived groups but skilled and semi-skilled workers who perceive the local neighborhood and collective ethnic in-group as under threat from immigration and demographic change.”[4]

Of course this class of people, the men and women who keep the water running through your faucets and the lights on in your home, are much like the fabled canary in the coalmine. Whether in Britain, the United States or any other White nation, they are at the sharp end of competition for jobs, ethnic criminality, the destruction of community, and demographic catastrophe. And they turn to us not so much because they are attracted by White Nationalism – but rather because they need White Nationalism. Goodwin finds that “most interviewees are self-starters in that they directly approached the BNP themselves.”[5] These are individuals who first felt threatened, and then sought out an organization that genuinely cared about their situation.

I feel that this point is very instructive. This is a class of people under dire threat, completely ignored by the majority of better-off Whites who aren’t yet feeling the sting of multiculturalism because they reside in pristine White enclaves, are inoculated with the propaganda of the media age, or are actively and treacherously benefiting from the “triumph” of the internationalists. This is a class of people derided and scorned as bigots by their own government. They are the working poor. (Goodwin actually finds that the work-shy and chronic welfare recipients are less likely to be attracted to White Nationalism, presumably because the current system offers them material rewards which satisfy their limited aspirations.)

This skilled working class, arguably our natural constituency, work hard, are socially responsible, and aspire for their children. Most don’t have a college degree, and therefore haven’t been subjected to the same level of multicultural indoctrination as those who have. They have higher than average rates of employment – they’ve attended the “University of Life.”[6]

Rather than being socially isolated pariahs, Goodwin found that BNP activists were able to detail involvement in organizations such as children’s charities and local residents’ associations, that many were volunteers for various social justice groups, and that some owned local businesses.[7] The picture emerges of a community-minded, hard-working, aspirational class which cares deeply about the well-being and future of the nation. They are the backbone of any nation — and yet the research indicates they are in despair and are overwhelmed with pessimism. Goodwin states that “in the British case, an overwhelming majority of BNP activists traced their decision to become active to the perception that the very survival of the native in-group is threatened by immigration, minority ethnic groups and more general demographic change.”[8] This is a group of people increasingly and profoundly aware of its impending destruction.

Goodwin points out that this class forms the core of support and activism for the BNP, and that they are uniform in expressing “intense discontent” and pessimism about all aspects of Britain’s future prospects.[9] He adds that “BNP voters are overwhelmingly concerned with immigration: almost 60 per cent of them rate it as Britain’s most important problem. … Concern of BNP voters with this issue is not unique: immigration is rated as one of the top three problems by supporters of all parties.”[10]

The continued support of the other classes for the “mainstream,” despite their concerns about immigration, can be attributed to a number of reasons. As regards the White petit-bourgeois, they may already see problems on the horizon and in some instances the “vibrancy” of the new age may already have touched painfully upon them — but they remain entangled in the need for “respectability” and social acceptance. They are slaves to social norms which are long passed their useful life, and are now deadly to the very prospects for racial survival. Some may even believe that the politicians are earnest when they, like Margaret Thatcher almost forty years ago, claim to be “tough” on immigration — even when all evidence indicates that this is nothing but hot air. The White wealthier classes remain, for the time being, relatively untouched by the onslaught, and in some cases are benefiting from it. These are the kind people who point to one or two ethnics of their acquaintance and believe it sufficient to counter the gargantuan weight of evidence that non-White immigration on the scale we are currently witnessing is nothing less than the drip-feeding of toxins into the national body.

However, as the racial problem intensifies, and as surely as the sun will set this evening it will, we can fully expect these other classes to come to a rude awakening. Already Goodwin notes that “the BNP has not emerged from nothing but rather represents a combination of old and new elements, having recruited activists from across the political spectrum and among the previously uncommitted.”[11] The new elements will be those who turn to White Nationalism once they realize that there is, in Goodwin’s terminology “a collective incentive” to join and become active.[12] These people will turn to us because they have, through some experience or another, arrived at the realization that “designated out-groups pose a threat to the collective resources of the in-group” and have subsequently developed “a corresponding desire to defend the latter and their resources from such threats.”[13]

I’ll finish by returning to the response of Andrew Bridgen to news about the “BNP past” of Duncan Weldon. Bridgen said that “Given the revelations about his secret BNP past, it is clear Mr Weldon is unsuitable for a position in our national broadcaster.” Behind this statement, of course, Bridgen is making a whole list of assumptions about the kind of person who becomes a BNP activist. Given that studies have proven that BNP activists are in fact likely to be hard-working, socially-conscious, people concerned about the future of their race and nation; and given that the BBC is run on the agenda of the Katz’s and Yentob’s of this world, I would have to agree that had Mr Weldon been a BNP activist it really would be most unsuitable for him to dirty his shoes by stepping inside such an establishment.

[1] M.J. Goodwin & R. Ford, “Angry white men: Individual and Contextual Predictors of Support for the British National Party,” Political Studies Vol 58 (2010), 1-25, p.3.

[2] Ibid, p.1.

[3] M.J. Goodwin, “Activism in Contemporary Extreme Right Parties: The Case of the British National Party,” Journal of Elections, Public Opinion and Parties, 20:1 (2010), 31-53, p.41.

[4] Ibid, p.41.

[5] Ibid, p.45.

[6] Ibid, p.16.

[7] Ibid, p.42.

[8] Ibid, p.45.

[9] M.J. Goodwin & R. Ford, “Angry white men: Individual and Contextual Predictors of Support for the British National Party,” Political Studies Vol 58 (2010), 1-25, p.12.

[10] Ibid, p.11.

[11] M.J. Goodwin, “Activism in Contemporary Extreme Right Parties: The Case of the British National Party,” Journal of Elections, Public Opinion and Parties, 20:1 (2010), 31-53,  p.44.

[12] Ibid, p.46.

[13] Ibid.

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