Home truths from abroad

Austria-1

 

By Adrian Davies.

 

While the panic-stricken Greek state sends hooded, black uniformed paramilitary police to arrest the elected representatives of the Greek people in the birthplace of democracy, better news has come through from Austria, where the Freedom Party (FPO) has just polled 21.4% of the national vote in Sunday’s elections.

Postwar politics in Austria have been dominated by two parties, the conservative People’s Party (OVP) and the centre-left Social Democrats (SPO), but the days when they could poll 93% of the vote between them are long gone now. Austria now has truly multi-party politics, and the Freedom Party is forging ahead.

The remarkable scale of what the Freedom Party has just achieved can be tested by comparing their vote with the big two of Austrian politics, who respectively polled 27.1% in the case of the Social Democrats and 23.8% in the case of the People’s Party.  The Greens polled a very respectable 11.5%, while the Eurosceptic Team Stronach polled 5.8% and the neo-liberal New Austrian party polled 4.8%, getting over the 4% hurdle needed to take seats in the Austrian legislature.

It must also be borne in mind that 3.6% of the electorate voted for a splinter group from the Freedom Party, the Alliance for the future of Austria (BZO), founded by the Freedom Party’s charismatic but highly erratic former chairman, Jorg Haider, so that one in four Austrians voted for an openly nationalist party.

The BZO’s share of the vote is in free fall as its electors return to the Freedom Party. It polled 10.7% of the vote in 2008, but this time it failed to secure any representation in parliament, falling below the 4% cut off point, which effectively leaves the Freedom Party as undisputed winner in the struggle for the soul of Austrian nationalist politics.

What is more, many supporters of the People’s Party hold not dissimilar views to those of the Freedom Party, so it is not surprising that the leader of the People’s Party, Michael Spindelegger, is testing the water for a PP/FP coalition, much to the dismay of Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann, who wishes to continue with the grand coalition between his Social Democrats and the People’s Party that ran the Austrian government before Sunday’s poll.

Heinz-Christian Strache, the very able leader of the Freedom Party, faces difficult choices. It will be tempting to go into coalition, and show that nationalists can hold office and help to rule the country competently, but there is much to be said for leaving the system parties to govern together, rather than being junior partners to the People’s Party, a mistake that Jorg Haider made when he joined a coalition led by the PP.

Being outside the system and its politics of messy compromise and fractious coalition can have its advantages. Going in can lead to big problems, as Nick Clegg has found in England, and other junior partners in coalitions have found elsewhere in Europe.

The Irish Greens, for example, were wiped out at the last Irish elections, after some years as junior partners in a coalition led by the “faintly constitutional” Fianna Fail party.  The OVP is a more salubrious party than Fianna Fail, but the principle of not going in as junior coalition partner has generally held good across Europe. Herr Strache, be warned!

What lessons can we in the United Kingdom learn from the welcome news that has just reached us from Austria?

One lesson is that it is certainly possible for well run, well led parties of the populist and nationalist right to score great successes in electoral politics. We are not bound to give up the electoral arena to UKIP and perforce confine ourselves to seeking to influence the process indirectly through think tanks, web sites, journals etc., though all these things are of themselves both necessary and desirable. The party is not (necessarily) over.

On the other hand, it is necessary to be professional, voter friendly and credible, without betraying core principles. We must present as winners, in order to win.

Lastly, we need to cast our dead wood adrift once and for all. It is to the lifelong shame (could he but feel such a sentiment!) of the wretched creature who has run British nationalism into the ground for the second time in his miserable life of divisiveness, failure and bankruptcy that, while successes of this kind are being recorded by our European counterparts, we may expect next year to see UKIP take first place in a national poll, and no British nationalist to be returned to elected office at any level above parish council. The wise will leave the one-eyed captain to go down with the leaky ship that he has sailed straight onto the rocks, and get on board a life boat!

 

12 thoughts on “Home truths from abroad

  1. Yes, it is undoubtedly very sad for our country that just when we need a credible nationalist alternative gaining in the polls we don’t have one and are left with the Tory rejects of UKIP.

    We must ensure the BDP fills this void in British politics by ensuring the loons and cranks that are found on forums such as Stormfront DON’T join us as this is our VERY LAST CHANCE.

    1. My experience is that nationalism’s problems are no different from those of the big parties.

      Very common is ‘entryism’ where people who have little or no interest in your main objectives try to climb aboard to insinuate some private small obsession and get you to advance it. They are very persistent and can get quite nasty if they are not accommodated. Often, they are data mining for people they think worth approaching with their particular idea.

      Parties are broad churches, of course. People are entitled to forward issues they are concerned with. The problem comes when it’s obvious that what they want is not additional to your objectives but intended to replace them.

  2. Of course, we should be a ‘broad church’ but do need to ensure that the very extreme elements found in nationalism as exemplified by the loonies on Stormfront don’t find a home within our party. If they do, the party will lose any form of crucial credibility with the people we need to persuade ie NOT the media but the voting public.

  3. (Party member) Fantastic news from Austria! Great article and YES our B.D.P. is sensible and voter friendly. Also it’s true WE WILL NOT BETRAY OUR CORE PRINCIPLES as a proper study of our Policy Document shows. Finally, thank God for British Nationalism. There IS a lifeboat with a top calibre steering committee. It’s called the BRITISH DEMOCRATIC PARTY.

  4. I don’t wish to indulge in inter-party sniping but I do understand from a reliable source that this year’s BNP “conference” was a bigger farce even than last year’s – indeed I understand that the small number of members who did actually attend had to pay either £15 or £25 for the “privilege”. Having to pay to attend your own annual conference – incredible! Then again, money-grasping has long been at the core of this debased party and its problems. The day when “Captain Cyclops” departs the British nationalist scene for Hungary (or whatever) should thereafter be nominated an annual day of celebration in the nationalist calendar. I raise a glass to that day.

    1. Those who still belong to the BNP must be massive personal fans of Nick! Nick will probably lose his seat next year. Unfortunately, UKIP will win more seats and as a result it will be harder to establish ourselves. Nick should have stood down when he was elected as an MEP. I am sure that at least some of the BNP’s subsequent problems can be put down to the fact he attempted to do two jobs at once ie being an MEP in Brussels and being a party leader at home!

  5. That article is not entirely true the BNP will have at least one elected at borough level beyond 2014 in East Goscote, which is up for re-election in 2015. The reason parties of the patriotic right are polling well in mainland Europe is because they accept fresh ideas, people, evolve and understand how to market themselves. In the UK we had the opposite historically and this is still the case. Nick Griffin wasn’t the sole factor in the decline of the BNP, 50% of the problem was its history; John Tyndall, name, branding how the public saw the party. It underperformed in most elections bar possibly the 2006 and 2007 local elections.

    1. The points that you make are well argued, indeed, I agree with them. It would be wrong to attribute sole blame for what has gone wrong to one individual. Collectively and historically, we have presented badly. One of the reasons for UKIP’s success is that Nigel Farrage goes with the grain of the British people, not against it. We need to change our presentational style, while not abandoning our core beliefs.

  6. That is true Paul. John Tyndall didn’t want to adapt at all really and Griffin did reform the party in certain ways but not enough in some of them and the public caught onto that fact. It is a real shame because the party didn’t perform too badly in 2010. The powers-that-be were clearly scared of its potential but Griffin didn’t take advantage of the opportunity.

    Now, we have UKIP filling the void and that is to this country’s long-term detriment. There is no reason why a reformed nationalist party along the lines of France’s FN for example can’t take on UKIP, who are just ultra-Thatcherite Tory rejects in the main, and the main parties in a significant way. It is up to US and we alone to create that viable political vehicle. If we don’t, the British people will vote mistakenly for UKIP or the main parties and we will continue to decline as a nation.

  7. Good news from Austria and Norway . The Americans about to run out of money. And us to follow. Voting patterns are about to change. People will be voting for the real picture soon.

  8. Billy Smith is correct. But this was and is happening now, at a time when here in Britain the right is incapable of making its presence known. We should have been ready for this inevitable collapse of the debt finance system of capitalism. Once it all goes, we have had it.

Leave a Reply