As the UK goes to the polls, fascists wet their lips at prospect of Tory collapse

By Searchlight Team

By Paul Gale

After all the flags of convenience, dog-whistles and evasions of this election campaign, how does the British far right look on polling day, and what are its plans for the new Parliament?

We can start by looking at one constituency that British fascists have been heavily publicising this week. Leigh and Atherton is the new version of a seat once held by Greater Manchester’s Metro Mayor, Andy Burnham. It’s very likely to be a Labour gain today, with Reform UK competing for second place with the Tories.

Voters in Leigh & Atherton have every right to be confused. In May 2019, when Theresa May’s Tories were in disarray and distrusted in strongly pro-Brexit areas like Leigh, Craig Buckley (above, second left) was a UKIP candidate, finishing runner-up in the once safe Pemberton ward of Wigan Borough Council with 28%.

By the next local elections two years later, Buckley had quit UKIP and he soon turned up among the former BNP and National Action nazis recruited by Mark Collett into Patriotic Alternative.

A few weeks ago, two new versions of Craig Buckley were presented to voters. The UKIP Buckley was long gone, and the PA nazi Buckley remained in the shadows. For the General Election there was a brand new “English Democrat” Craig Buckley, but in a simultaneous local council by-election for Leigh South the same day there is an independent Craig Buckley.

All these are the same man. But how does he expect the voters of Leigh and Atherton to see him as an “English Democrat”, when his real political leader is not Robin Tilbrook of the EDs, but Mark Collett, star of Young, Nazi and Proud?

Despite his protestations to the contrary, which were given the soft soap treatment in the local press (above), Buckley’s true allegiance is to a party whose leader has Adolf Hitler and the former Belfast terrorist leader Johnny Adair among his political heroes, and whose deputy leader idolises Sir Oswald Mosley.

In case anyone was in any doubt, Peter Rushton, the assistant editor of Britain leading nazi publication Heritage and Destiny was part of Buckley’s canvassing team on the last weekend of the campaign.

So what are the objectives of these nazis, since they must know that the votes for their handful of candidates (whether standing as independents, British Democrats, or English Democrats) will be minuscule?

On their many social media accounts, Collett and his main rival Kenny Smith (leader of the Homeland Party that broke away from PA last year) have both endorsed Nigel Farage’s Reform UK in the vast majority of constituencies, where there will be no BDP or ED candidate.

Their reason is not just that Farage’s dog-whistle racism is the closest thing to the old National Front or BNP available on most ballot papers.

Collett, Smith and others genuinely believe that the terms of political debate in the UK are shifting in their direction, and that mainstream political leaders and journalists are so blinkered and pusillanimous that this trend will be allowed to continue.

They expect an explosion of anger among Reform voters after results are declared on Friday, and they expect that Nigel Farage will continue to stoke that rage for his own cynical purposes, without building any genuine political party that will give it a voice.

PA and Homeland are themselves a long way from having any serious infrastructure of branches and local candidates, but if the Conservative Party is reduced to a rump of fewer than 150 MPs, Collett and Smith believe that the main obstacle to British far-right growth will have gone.

All the more so if the new Parliament seems to represent such a distorted picture of the nationwide vote that there is unstoppable pressure for electoral reform.

A lot will then depend on what type of new electoral system is proposed, and then on whether the far right is able to mobilise and unify around a 2020s version of the 1970s NF or the 2000s BNP.

But the responsibility of anti-fascists and mainstream politicians will be to avoid obsession over process, and lift our vision above petty parliamentary point-scoring.

Farage has made an impact at this election because the major parties avoided talking about issues. Until the last few days of the campaign, Rishi Sunak and Keir Starmer avoided labelling Farage as an extremist because they didn’t want to alienate a certain section of the electorate.

But many voters saw through this. The only way to respect Farage’s electorate is to level with them. To expose Farage’s poisonous agenda (as has happened only at the very end of this campaign since he dropped the mask and repeated his pro-Putin views). And to explain immigration policies rather than pander to knee-jerk hatred and scapegoating.

Britain’s fascists, even though for now they have had to hide their swastikas and their Mosley worship, their terrorist connections and their poisonous racism, will hit the ground running within days of the election.

They will be planning exactly how to take advantage of the new political landscape. And anti-fascists will need to be prepared for an uncompromising response.

Comments are closed

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *