|Toryism or Nationalism?||John Tyndall looks at the options for Britain|
Some references in my article last month raised the question of Toryism and the British National Party, and these have provoked a few comments. What I said was that there are some in the BNP with the mentality of Tories, who would like to see our party oriented more closely in that direction, perhaps with a view to some link-up in the not so distant future between themselves and those who now stand on the 'right' of the Conservative Party. All this suggests that the relationship between Toryism and the BNP is worth some further analysis.
It is a common error, because Toryism is regarded as being on the political 'right' and the BNP as being on the 'far right', to imagine that the latter is just a somewhat more militant, not to say 'extreme', version of the former. This would be a grave error. In most ways, our two parties are as big a world apart as we are from Labour and the Liberal Democrats. In fact, the meanings of the terms 'right' and 'left' have become increasingly blurred since they originated in the French Assembly more than two centuries ago. New issues not present at that time and for long afterwards have rendered them almost redundant today, although many of us, including this writer, are sometimes tempted to use them as a kind of shorthand for the purpose of easy reference.
It is true, of course, that we in the BNP have much in common in our ways of thinking with a great many ordinary Tory voters. The latter, like us, are hostile to European integration. Like us, they believe there are too many immigrants in Britain. Like us, they believe that not enough is being done to preserve our national identity. Like us, they are appalled by rising crime and by the softness of the treatment accorded to criminals. Like us, they hold traditional attitudes towards education, with their emphasis on basic leaning skills and classroom discipline. Like us, their instincts are patriotic - albeit that their patriotism is relatively tame and often rests on the wrong foundations; to the Tory, patriotic feeling depends too heavily on the assumption of British moral rectitude - the idea that we are always the 'good guys' - whereas to the nationalist it is much more a tribal thing, based on a view of the world that acknowledges the reality of inter-tribal competition and struggle and the need for our own tribe to be organised for survival.
But to suppose that these similarities, such as they are, are confined to ourselves and Conservative voters would be to ignore the fact that a vast number of grass-roots supporters of Labour think in an almost identical way. I do not have exact statistics available, but conversations with many people in the BNP suggest that at least as many, if not more, of them come to our party from the Labour ranks.
The important thing to recognise is that today in both the Conservative and Labour parties there is a gaping chasm between these parties' ordinary followers and the élites who dominate their circles of leadership.
Further exploration of this line of study could be a most interesting exercise, but we should return, before we stray too far in that direction, to the subject of Tories and the BNP or, as the title of this article indicates, to the question: Toryism or Nationalism?
Keeping within the fold
For years, the Conservative Party has had on its fringe an element whose thinking on race, Europe and several other issues resembles our own but which has remained within the Tory fold for a number of reasons, not all of them ideological. Social snobbery plays a part, with those on the Tory 'right' feeling uncomfortable in proximity to BNP members of working-class background. The largely proletarian origins of the latter have quite falsely been perceived to indicate our own party's intellectual inferiority, whereas the truth is that people employed in the professions see themselves as having more to lose by public exposure as Nationalists than as 'right-wing' Conservatives. Sometimes they are right, although often the fear is greater than the reality. At any rate, the consequence of all this is that the Tory 'right' tends to contain a higher proportion of people of public or grammar school and university educational pedigree than is the case in our own party. In almost any country in the world other than Britain these differences would matter little, but here the social gulf between the respective communities is a legacy from which we have long been doomed to suffer.
The other major factor inhibiting a link up was for many years the political strength of Conservatism as contrasted with the relative political impotence of Nationalism. Nationalists in the Tory Party stayed put because they could see no practical way to give effect to their beliefs if cast outside. The BNP and other Nationalist groups continued again and again to record modest, sometimes derisory, election results - not for any reasons of faulty policy or tactics but simply because the national political climate was not yet ready for their message to get through. New developments on the national scene in the first years of the 21st century - asylum-seekers, riots, crime going through the roof, not least sleaze, corruption and cowardice in Westminster on an epic scale have changed all this. As a symptom of the last-named tendency, Conservatism has wholly failed to rise to the challenge of the new times and grapple manfully with the issues angering the voting public; instead, it has retreated into a self-imposed straightjacket of political correctness which renders it indistinguishable from its opponents.
All this has created the appearance of a narrowing of the gulf between Toryism (at least of the traditional kind) and Nationalism, and has made an alliance of the two superficially more attractive. What does this augur for our political future?
Imperative of national unity
Let us begin with an acknowledgement of political reality. Nationalists of the BNP and other similar groups must come together with patriotic Conservatives if there is ever to be a movement of sufficient power to take control of Britain. But for that matter we must also come together with a large mass of ordinary Labour voters for the same purpose. The sheer pressure of modern demographics occasioned by immigration and the ethnic minority birthrate will push us all towards this imperative. The real British people will have to unite to retain their country; if they don't they will lose it.
But the fundamental question still remains: do we come together with these people on our terms or on theirs? To put it another way, do they join us or do we join them?
Here is where the distinctions between Toryism and Nationalism must be clinically examined and acknowledged.
The first step in this direction is for us to understand that what passes for Toryism (or, as some would prefer, Conservatism) today is neither Toryism nor Conservatism at all. It is 19th century Liberalism under another name. Today, Conservatism has adopted the essentials of Liberalism while those calling themselves Liberals have embraced the essentials of far-left Socialism, even Communism. The entire centre of political gravity has been moved so far to the left that the old nomenclature is quite useless as a guide to what is happening.
And some Conservatives have moved further to the left than others. I would say, as a personal estimate, that the ruling consensus in the Tory Party of today is well to the left of the Labour Party in the Attlee period, and even more to the left of the Labour Party as it was in the 1920s and 1930s.
The present ruling Tory consensus is globalist and internationalist: the party is as committed to a One-World agenda as its opponents in Westminster. It embraces multi-racialism with the same commitment. On these core issues its differences with its rivals in Parliament are ones of trivial detail: arguments about the when and the how rather than the what.
But what of the Tory 'right'? Ideologically, it stands today probably where W.E. Gladstone stood just over a century ago; and here is where it is time to examine some articles of faith.
Gladstonian Liberalism rested on three vital pillars. First, there was the assumption that individual freedom was the highest aim to which society should aspire; second, and as a corollary of this, there was the principle that economic freedom was a self-evident good - meaning that the forces of business and commerce should be left to fight it out among themselves, with the absolute minimum of intervention by government; third, that high-church ideals of 'morality' should regulate all dealings between nations, and that foreign policy must follow these teachings rather than be determined by the national interest.
In fact, it was the combination of these doctrines that laid the foundations of subsequent British decline.
Tory obsession with 'freedom'
On the modern Tory 'right' one finds all these strands in positions of primacy. The 'freedom' fetish is in the forefront. Freedom is exalted as an axiomatic good, regardless of context. In every manifesto, the freedom of the individual and the apparently self-evident evil of state power are set against one another as if this were the be-all and end-all of politics. Here the Nationalist view is at total polarity with the Tory one. The Nationalist does not decry the idea of human freedom but he places it some way below the top of the list of priorities. To the Nationalist, group survival - the survival of the nation, the tribe, the race - comes before everything. What is necessary for the group to survive and prosper as a group must be accepted, even where it may involve the curtailment of individual freedom and the individual will or interest. What is good for the group - in this context the nation - must override the desires of the individual. Of course, in the final analysis the good of the individual can only best be served through the survival and welfare of the group, so that the conflict between individual and group is largely an illusory one, hatched in the shallow waters of the liberal mind.
Nations have to be mobilised for great efforts, whether in war or in peace - though it goes without saying that in the former case the urgency is all the more heightened. Nations with the benefit of such mobilisation will always prevail, other things being equal, over those which consist just of so many millions of individuals, each pursuing his own selfish interest and following his own whim. This is an elementary principle accepted by Nationalists; it does not seem to exist in the thinking of Tories.
Preparedness to accept the subordination of the individual will to the national will is what defines the patriot, and without it talk of patriotism is just hot air. Least of all, as indicated earlier, does patriotism rest on the attribution of some mythical moral virtue to one's own nation - an ever-recurring Tory supposition best illustrated by the excruciating national moral conceit dripping from articles in This England magazine.
From this it follows that the subordination of the individual interest to the national one is essential in all economic activity, and here again is where the nationalist approach differs fundamentally from the Tory/Liberal one. To the extent that individual initiative supplies a dynamic that assists a nation's economic development, it should be valued and encouraged; but the moment that it comes into conflict with the national good it must be curbed. Again, this elementary truth seems to be completely beyond the range of Tory thinking. To present-day Tories, as to 19th century Liberals, free trade and the free market are sacrosanct institutions. Instead of being what they should be, expedients which in certain situations may benefit the national economy and in other situations not, and therefore things to be employed or discarded as circumstances dictate, they have become a religion, to challenge which is blasphemy. Economic freedom in the Tory mind (and here we are speaking of the Tory right as much as the Tory mainstream) can permit no exceptions, no contingencies in which it may be inadvisable. If it means that British industry is starved of investment while British capital is frittered all over the world in pursuit of the proverbial 'fast buck', then that must be accepted. If it means that British factories have to close down because British consumers can obtain their needs more cheaply from foreign sources, then that must be accepted too. Indeed, it is the consumers' 'right'. Again, the primacy of the individual asserts itself, and the good of the national economy as a communal asset counts for nothing.
Of course, the consequences of this nonsense are all around us. British manufacturing industry is in ruins, while British farming is far advanced in that direction. Much of this must be laid at the door of that heroine of 'right-wing' Tories, Margaret Thatcher, who did a great deal to hasten the process during her 11 years of office - all in the name of 'economic freedom'. Yet the Tory right does not get the message; it hankers back to the Thatcher days as if they constituted some kind of 'Golden Age'.
To Nationalists, the economic resources of Britain are a priceless national asset - to be retained - yes, conserved - at all costs. Economic activity has only one purpose: to benefit the nation as a whole, not merely certain parts of it. Where private forces serve this purpose, they should be supported and encouraged; where they operate counter-productively to it, they should be curbed and redirected. If controls are necessary to this end, then controls must be introduced. Everything should be subordinated to the building up, and then the preservation, of national economic strength. This means, in Britain's case, the recreation of powerful manufacturing and farming industries and then their retention at all costs. If any part of those industries then is found to be operating at below the desired efficiency, the remedy must be sought by internal action, that is the overhaul of the sectors in question by the imposition of better management methods, never by leaving them to collapse as 'lame ducks'.
And much more than mere book-keeping considerations are involved here. Over and above them are the need for economic independence and simple national pride. It is intolerable that a nation with such a great tradition of making things should now be dependent on imports for cars, commercial vehicles, ships, aircraft, railway equipment, domestic goods, industrial machinery, military hardware and a whole galaxy of other products which we should be producing ourselves. Strangely, Tories who purport still to value 'patriotism' are able to square this with acceptance of British de-industrialisation.
Liberal rules of foreign policy
In foreign affairs, the legacy of Gladstone lives on. To Tories as to the older Liberals, the world is seen as a gigantic parish, with the British cast in the role of parish priests. Moral rectitude - or at least the currently fashionable perception of it - governs policy. Thus Tories rush blindly into support of the Iraq fiasco, and why? Because Saddam was a naughty boy and had to be brought down. He was a 'dictator', and all dictators have to be got rid of, don't they? This is the mentality that set us on the self-destructive path to World War I - the pretext in that event being the supposed tyranny of Kaiser Wilhelm and his violation of the neutrality of Belgium - with a lot of hogwash about German 'militarism' thrown in. Tens of millions of the finest stock of Europe had to be sacrificed on the altar of these principles. Then the same thinking prevailed in the suicidal rush to World War II, the freedom of Austria, Czechoslovakia and finally Poland then being the grand justification. Nowhere in any of this did the simple question of Britain's interests intrude - or if it did it was a question examined from the perspective of cretins who hadn't a clue about international politics, geography or strategy.
Of course, we are speaking here about perceived rights and wrongs. The realities underlying policy were, and are, vastly different; but perception here is important. It represents the way people of a particular political outlook see things and decide what they have to do. Conservatives with a sane grasp of what was good for Britain and her then Empire would have resisted all this to the last man and woman. Instead they provided the premier who led us to pyrrhic military victory and subsequent imperial eclipse.
And the Tory 'right' of today still honours this blunderer as its tribal deity.
Conservatism in Britain has taken on its own unique characteristics; elsewhere it is in some ways different, not only in its ideological orientation but also in its human content. American Conservatism, for instance, is not exactly the same as British Conservatism and is, perhaps, just marginally less feeble. In the United States P. Buchanan is regarded as a Conservative whereas here he would be kept well at arms' length by the Tory Party. Buchanan is to all intents and purposes a Nationalist, though he has eschewed any connections with true Nationalist organisations.
But between British and American Conservatism there is a certain common thread. It was best described by the late Dr William L. Pierce, who pinpointed the fact that Conservatives are for ever on the retreat. After the dust has settled from each of the battles with the left, he said, it will be found that the left has won half of what it was going after, while Conservatives have lost half of what they were supposed to be defending. But, said Pierce, they will carry on as if nothing had happened, retreat to new position in their rear and then defend that with the same ineptitude as they did the one they have just vacated. I can think of no better description of the record of British Conservatism over the last half-century.
All of what has been said so far may perhaps give the impression of lumping Tory right-wingers together in a single thought pattern. That, of course, would be misleading; they constitute a diverse bunch, as some of them are indeed Nationalists - albeit of a closet kind - who intellectually are firmly on our wavelength. In fact, but for various personal reasons they might well be in the BNP.
But here we come to questions outside the area of political philosophy and more connected with character and temperament. Again, too much generalisation should be avoided, but is fair, I think, to make this observation:-
The modern Conservative Party is like a hothouse. It nurtures the growth of fragile plants, ill-equipped for survival in the tremendous struggles that lie ahead of us. Even in its politically more enlightened circles, it fails to provide an environment in which strength, courage, honesty and a spirit of real self-sacrifice come to the fore and assert themselves. Recollecting my experiences of the 1970s, which have been constantly duplicated since, I have found that people who serve their apprenticeship in that milieu retain a certain mindset which, if they cross over to Nationalism, they bring with them as encumbering baggage, conditioning so many of their reflex actions. The whole idea of our cause as a crusade, demanding the warrior qualities, is alien to them. Politics, to so many, remains the art of intrigue, backstairs plots, cheap tricks and the prevalence of display over substance. It is still assumed that people enter political work for self-seeking motives. It is still taken for granted that lying is acceptable. And a common feature of Tory and other 'establishment' politics continues to assert itself: personal mediocrity is cherished - and woe betide anyone who dares to rise above it!
The convert to our cause is, and must be, always welcome; but if he is genuine he will acknowledge, if only to himself, that his past loyalties have been an error, and he will embrace his new loyalty wholeheartedly; he will not retain a spiritual foothold in the camp from which he has come, hoping perhaps to scamper back there if he finds the new environment not entirely to his liking. He will not, like the butterfly, flutter from bush to bush in an unending quest for political and social comfort - abandoning the last one as quickly as he settled upon it.
I believe that it is the differences in human character - even more perhaps than differences of ideology - that distinguish the Nationalist movement from the ranks of Conservatism. And indeed, precisely because of this, ideology and belief in the Conservative camp are brittle quantities - things constantly changeable as personal convenience and opportunism dictate.
As I have said before, the true convert is always welcome; but not a few ex-Tories I have known have joined the Nationalist ranks essentially because of thwarted ambition in the party of their former allegiance and the hope that their path to high office and candidature will be quicker and easier in the 'smaller pond'.
Jumping the sinking ship
I expect that, as British Conservatism continues to disintegrate, there will be an ever-growing rush of disillusioned Tories to quit the party. Some may knock on the doors of the BNP but I suspect many will come up with an alternative political solution of their own, perhaps yet another party, shaped to steal the most attractive of the BNP's clothes. In assessing their value we should always remember two things. The first is that the Tory Party has done even more than Labour to create the national evils with which we are now beset, notably in the fields of Immigration and Europe. The second is that during the Tory Party's long career left-wards over the post-war years those elements comprising its patriotic 'right wing' have shown singular ineptitude in halting the process. This applies particularly to those comprising the various Tory 'rightist' pressure groups which have formed, reformed and then formed again under a bewildering succession of names - always insisting that action for change within the party is preferable to opposing it from without. In fact, such action as these people have taken has been spectacularly ineffective; and that fact, I would submit, thoroughly disqualifies them as leaders for the future.
Yet with the arrogance that is often typical of folk who are political failures many of them will no doubt maintain that their strategies and tactics for taking us forward are better than ours, that a reformed Tory movement is preferable to a full-blooded Nationalist one.
But the fact remains that Toryism as a political creed has failed the test of modern times, while Tories as people have failed equally.
The bottom line of all this is that only through Nationalism can the struggle to rescue this nation be won.