..but what is the big deal. Germans had to go through the same agonizing spectacle ca 20 years ago, when for the first time a racist, ugly, right wing, anti-immigrant party emerged that people actually voted for. ‘The Republicans” (Die Republikaner) had a charismatic leader, had some lawyers (there’s always lawyers, isn’t there…) and busisnessmen as partymembers, didn’t make any obvious Nazi noises in the open, and hey presto: they suddenly got voted into councils and local governments.
Their then party leader even got invited on the (rather poor) German equivalent of the Letterman show and was able to sprout his nonsense, again and again declaring he wasn’t a racist, but that “Germany is for Germans”.
Sounds familiar? The Republicans are still lingering around in the ‘other parties’ spectrum and, apart from causing some serious soulsearching about the state of the German democracy and some sneering from outside, German democracy is still vibrant, alive, intact (and yes, there are still some rather ugly right wing parties on the fringe of society, some even getting MPs in regional parliaments), but as a society we will have to expect that there always will be some individuals who’s political worldview most people oppose, who are violent and utterly condemnable.
This is exactly what’s happening in England now. An anti-immigrant, racist party with thuggish members has exposed the latent racism in this society. Racism is unfortunately prevalent in most western democracies (there’s fascists in Italy, Le Pen in France, the Ex-Haiders in Austria, those paramilitary nutters in Hungary), and England is not alone.
Fortunately, this is a vibrant, racially mixed society with strong views on racism and equality. Let Nick Griffin go on TV and get himself exposed as the leader of this exclusively white, socially deprived club with grievances against those ‘bloody foreigners’. He might even garner some extra votes from those who care enough to stay up late to watch him and -who knows- even get some MPs elected.
English society (and yes Margaret, there is such a thing) will be able to move on. People who believe in a racially pure Britain (made up out of Normans, Vikings, Picts, Germans, Irish and plenty of other foreigners) will always exist on the fringes of society, but the rest of us will cherish the fact that our friends are from every corner of the globe and enjoy living on this funny little island.