Verso, £14.99 Order at a discount from the Independent Online Shop

Bloody Nasty People, By Daniel Trilling

Media support for racist extremism has helped to make legitimate the new politics of hatred

Daniel Trilling has written an instructive account of white extremism in Britain. For this immigrant Muslim, reading it felt like a trek through a lightless jungle with fierce beasts and unseen, stalking, implacable tribes. The intimations of savagery produced a psychic shakiness I've not experienced before.

Neo-Fascist racism is getting more brazen and popular. Its reach is misread by the left, tolerated by liberals, excused and even encouraged by the right-wing political classes and the media, ignored by apolitical citizens, and denied by the deluded many who still believe members of the BNP, English Defence League and other organised belligerents are just loonies with deviant hobbies. Trilling incisively cuts through all that: "the far right has often been portrayed as an aberration, a foreign malady imported into an otherwise tolerant milieu," he argues. "This has had great strategic value for its opponents: highlighting the Hitler-worshipping tendencies of the National Front's leaders during the 1970s was an easy way to discredit a supposedly patriotic movement. But this obscures the home-grown intellectual traditions on which parties like the BNP draw." He notes that Enoch Powell once remarked "The life of nations... is largely lived in the imagination," and concludes that "If that is so, then the BNP takes us into the darkest corners of this national fantasy."

The book's historical, action-packed narrative is underpinned by moral outrage: very unfashionable, very necessary. Though there are frequent implosive power struggles within crypto-Nazi groupings, their adherents are, with remarkable efficiency, managing virally to spread their hate-filled messages. They scrub up well, de-litter neighbourhoods, offer help, distribute lies about migrants and welfare, stir up aboriginal disaffection, spur poorer white families to loathe "outsiders" and even hurt them. That hostility is today considered "understandable" by many with power and influence, some of whom have spun and a new theology of "reasonable" bigotry.

The dispossessed of all races are victims of government policies, the worst being the curtailment of public housing, with cheap, immigrant labour pulled in to facilitate globalised capitalism, an insatiable beast. Yet every PM since Thatcher has shuffled off responsibility for native misery on to incomers. In the middle of the recession, Cameron made a speech attacking multiculturalism; Nick Griffin was elated at his party's "huge leap" into mainstream politics. They're in it together. From slum to suburb, diversity, Islam and immigration are now demonised without a flush of guilt.

Vitally, the author locates Fascist racism within key British traditions. Rural idealists, gentlemen like Hilaire Belloc and GK Chesterton and island poetics inspire Anglo-Saxon chauvinists. Most supporters of the EDL and BNP are not crazies or demons, but solid, sane Brits with babies and grocery lists and a love of picnics. Some have become councillors and MEPs; recruits include lecturers, millionaire, ballerinas, civil servants and Oxbridge students. I once interviewed an EDL fanatic who looked like Kevin Costner and wore Paul Smith shirts.

The worst happened under New Labour, which capitulated to the extreme right while pretending to denounce it. Trilling provides evidence of joint, populist attacks on outlanders by the Blairite clique and tabloids, and of all mainstream parties "borrowing" BNP rhetoric. Once the liberal consensus between the BBC and conscientious post-war leaders like Roy Jenkins and Michael Heseltine kept this barbarism in the swampy fringes. Since 9/11 it has been brought into civil society. Why, Griffin was even asked on to Question Time by the dilettante BBC.

My only big criticism is that Trilling avoids any censure of separatist Muslims or migrants who live by outdated codes, exploit and despise white people. Self-censorship is unhelpful and unwise in a book of such passion, power and urgency. Read it and be afraid, very afraid. As with militant Islamicism, a worldwide web now connects white extremists. We could get our own Anders Breivik, the Norwegian who massacred innocents to punish his progressive, multiracial nation. Perilous laxity and official appeasement have fertilised fanatical British racism. And now it seems unstoppable.

Arts and Entertainment
Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey in Fifty Shades of Grey

film Sex scene trailer sees a shirtless Jamie Dornan turn up the heat

Arts and Entertainment
A sketch of Van Gogh has been discovered in the archives of Kunsthalle Bremen in Germany
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Eleanor Catton has hit back after being accused of 'treachery' for criticising the government.
books
Arts and Entertainment
Fake Banksy stencil given to artist Alex Jakob-Whitworth

art

Arts and Entertainment
'The Archers' has an audience of about five million
radioA growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift is heading to Norwich for Radio 1's Big Weekend

music
Arts and Entertainment
Beer as folk: Vincent Franklin and Cyril Nri (centre) in ‘Cucumber’
tvReview: This slice of gay life in Manchester has universal appeal
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
‘A Day at the Races’ still stands up well today
film
Arts and Entertainment
‘The Royals’ – a ‘twisted, soapy take on England’s first family’
tvAnd its producers have already announced a second season...
Arts and Entertainment
Kraftwerk performing at the Neue Nationalgalerie (New National Gallery) museum in Berlin earlier this month
musicWhy a bunch of academics consider German electropoppers Kraftwerk worthy of their own symposium
Arts and Entertainment
Icelandic singer Bjork has been forced to release her album early after an online leak

music
Arts and Entertainment
Colin Firth as Harry Hart in Kingsman: The Secret Service

film
Arts and Entertainment
Brian Blessed as King Lear in the Guildford Shakespeare Company's performance of the play

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
In the picture: Anthony LaPaglia and Martin Freeman in 'The Eichmann Show'

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Anne Kirkbride and Bill Roache as Deirdre and Ken Barlow in Coronation Street

tvThe actress has died aged 60
Arts and Entertainment
Marianne Jean-Baptiste defends Joe Miller in Broadchurch series two

tv
Arts and Entertainment
The frill of it all: Hattie Morahan in 'The Changeling'

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny may reunite for The X Files

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Clarkson, left, and Richard Hammond upset the locals in South America
TV
News
A young woman punched a police officer after attending a gig by US rapper Snoop Dogg
people
Arts and Entertainment
Reese Witherspoon starring in 'Wild'

It's hard not to warm to Reese Witherspoon's heroismfilm
Arts and Entertainment
Word up: Robbie Coltrane as dictionary guru Doctor Johnson in the classic sitcom Blackadder the Third
books

Arts and Entertainment
The Oscar nominations are due to be announced today

Oscars 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Hacked off: Maisie Williams in ‘Cyberbully’

Maisie Williams single-handedly rises to the challenge

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Eddie Redmayne in The Theory of Everything and Benedict Cumberbatch in The Imitation Game are both nominated at the Bafta Film Awards
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

    Isis hostage crisis

    The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
    Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

    The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

    Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
    Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

    Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

    Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
    Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

    Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

    This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
    Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

    Cabbage is king again

    Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
    11 best winter skin treats

    Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

    Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
    Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

    Paul Scholes column

    The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
    Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

    Frank Warren's Ringside

    No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
    Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

    Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

    The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
    Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

    Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

    Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
    Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
    Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

    Comedians share stories of depression

    The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
    Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

    Has The Archers lost the plot?

    A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
    English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

    14 office buildings added to protected lists

    Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
    Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

    Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

    Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee