The final nail was hammered into the coffin of fascism in Britain today, writes Sunder Katwala, as the Electoral Commission struck the BNP off the register of political parties. The party had failed to submit its registration details on time – but it was the British public who really condemned fascism to death at the ballot box, with a 99% drop in support at the 2015 General Election.
Having won 563,743 votes in the General Election of 2010, support for the BNP plummeted to just 1,667 in 2015, with the party only fielding eight candidates.
The far right have never secured mass appeal in this country because they never shed off the jackboot image. Defeating fascism in the second world war is one of the proudest moments of this country’s history and it’s part of our identity as a people. Maybe that’s why, when Nick Griffin got a platform back in 2009, the public didn’t like what they saw.
This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be vigilant. There remains a small minority of people with fascist views. But they’re out of step with the rest of Britain: young people have grown up in our modern, diverse country and they’re comfortable with what they see. Angry men with far-right views who want to kick out their friends and neighbours hold no appeal to them. Fascism, as a political force, is a thing of the past.
In 2014, after the BNP was effectively wiped out as an electoral force in British politics after winning no seats at the European elections, British Future held a “funeral for fascism”. A horse-drawn hearse carried a coffin, with flowers reading “RIP Fascism”, down Cable Street, location of the 1936 “Battle of Cable Street”, one of the pivotal moments in Britain’s rejection of fascist ideology.
The procession culminated in a “wake” at Wilton’s Music Hall in the East End, where a party celebrated Britain’s rejection of fascism with music and speeches from those who have stood up to attempts to introduce fascism to Britain