will self on british fascism

daily mail: hurrah for the blackshirts!
why was it fascism never took off in britain? it's not like there's a shortage of authority-worshipping, castrated, ignorant, xenophobic, racist, monarchist morons on our grey, rainy, windswept island.

i've had a hunch that it was something to do with being a nation that tends towards empiricism rather than idealism, or maybe that it's just too whimsical to take itself that seriously. the local religion is based on the king wanting a new wife, for instance, not as it was in germany, over serious concerns with the functioning of the catholic church.

this is doubtless a naive perspective, having more in common with dear old pelham g's view of roderick spode in 'the code of the woosters' - "The trouble with you, Spode, is that just because you have succeeded in inducing a handful of half-wits to disfigure the London scene by going about in black shorts, you think you're someone. You hear them shouting "Heil, Spode!" and you imagine it is the Voice of the People. That is where you make your bloomer. What the Voice of the People is saying is: "Look at that frightful ass Spode swanking about in footer bags! Did you ever in your puff see such a perfect perisher?"

will self has written this excellent article discussing fascism in the uk ("coming sometime maaaybeee"). Discussing the recent success of ukip he says "A benign view of this would be that he and the rest of Ukip are simply plucky small-nation nationalists standing up against an oppressive suzerainty; a darker perspective would be that some Ukip supporters have a more deep-seated antagonism to our current constitutional settlement, one they share with a quiescent sector of our society, that, when the time is right, will blossom not into a lovely English rose but a poisonous xenophobia."

He discusses the "i'm not racist but..." culture and those ghastly, ubiquitous st george flags idiots fly everywhere ("It's difficult not to conclude that their growth has coincided with the move out from the urban centres of ethnic minority Britons, and it is in these black and brown faces that the red, white and blue is being waved.")

He then goes on to say, "There's this, and there's also the flag-caparisoned business of war: the prosecution of the "War on Terror" since 2001 has both manufactured a readymade British Muslim enemy within, and imposed a plangent cognitive dissonance on Tory patriots, whose own unquestioning loyalty to the core institutions of state – the monarchy, the armed forces – has been tested to its limits by what amount to a series of failed and quixotic ventures mounted nominally in support of liberal values – women's education, human rights, democracy – but actually to sustain US hegemony."

he discusses the black shirts, combat 18, edl and the bnp, concluding, that "there remains a sector of our society that still believes parliamentary democracy to be a sham; still thinks that black and brown people are inferior (while Jews are worrisomely and magically superior); remains powerfully xenophobic and looks to a nationalist renaissance; and of course, still reads the Daily Mail." what most caught my eye though was the claim, "Churchill's own opposition to fascism was "non-ideological"." this seems intuitively correct to me but i'd like to know more about it.

i found this quote, which seems to suggest he was fairly pragmatic, "The Roman genius impersonated in Mussolini, the greatest lawgiver among living men, has shown the path to many nations how they can resist the pressures of Socialism and has indicated the path that a nation can follow when courageously lead" -Sir Winston Churchill, speaking to the Anti-Socialist Union, February 1935

a very interesting related discussion (of our own fascistic tendencies, "the memory of the good war", ignoring how 'the good guys' had to become as evil as the 'bad guys' to win) takes place in adam curtis's superb documentary 'the living dead' -

No comments:

Post a Comment