Comment: 'Bongo Bongo land' and anti-immigration vans - the UK's worrying turn to the far right
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In the UK racists are often viewed as a dying breed of Briton; a creature teetering over the precipice of extinction whilst weakly waving a BNP banner in its final death throes. Indeed, news reports often beadily focus on far-right groups’ failed attempts to cling onto collective support; we chuckle at attempted marches dampened and disempowered by the drive of antifascists that oppose them, such as in June 2013 in London following Lee Rigby’s murder. We are comforted when we compare ourselves to a more racially divided France, whose capital is more often torn by rioting; most notoriously in 2005 when anger captured the country following the accidental death of two young boys of North African origin, after they hid in an electrical substation when mistakenly pursued by police. The slow trickle of racism that still pervades the UK is very easy to underplay when compared to the hazardous volatility of the conflict between French anti-riot police and a growing cohort of young people who feel no attachment to their nation. However, although we do not suffer from the same populist explosion of right-wing extremism as other countries (32% of the French population were shown to be in agreement with Marine Le Pen’s far-right ideology, which is enjoying a marked renaissance) we should not be complacent and assume that British tolerance is a given. While Godfrey Bloom’s recent comments about ‘Bongo Bongo land’ are risible, their ridiculousness does mask what could be the start of very nasty politics. Whilst Bloom is mocked as an outdated relic, the power of parties like UKIP slinks under the radar unnoticed. Bloom claims to be ‘standing up for ordinary people in the pub’ and in doing so he foments appeal; his arguments are distilled into very basic ideas that are easily relatable in times of austerity.
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