Leading article: An unwelcome Seventies revival

 

Share
Related Topics

Recent years have seen a great revival of interest in the Seventies, the decade that brought us, among other things, male perms, flared trousers, the Winter of Discontent and Abigail's Party. But it's not all so innocent. Another Seventies phenomenon that most people will recall with less nostalgia was the National Front, which, as we report today, is also attempting a revival of sorts, fielding 35 mayoral and local election candidates in May, the largest number it has put up for election since 1983.

Most people will probably be surprised to find out that the Front still exists. After a brief, violent sortie on to the political stage in that decade of political and industrial strife, it fizzled out, overwhelmed by its internal divisions and the passionate hostility it had aroused in the wider community. What remained of the far right metamorphosed into the British National Party, which, after briefly scoring some significant successes in the European elections of 2009, gaining two MEPs, then also fell apart, wracked by leadership battles, financial muddles and defections. Only a few years on, the BNP is a shadow of its former self, which is why the ghost of the National Front has returned.

It is something of a mystery why the far right in Britain is so unable to get its act together. The NF hopefuls can only look on with envy at the extraordinary success of similar parties in France, Holland, Belgium, Austria, Italy and Hungary, all countries where the far right is shaking the political establishment and regularly taking between 10 and 20 per cent of the vote. Partly this may be down to the Conservative Party's traditional success in luring most people on the right of the political spectrum into its big tent. The other factor appears to be the peculiarly fissiparous nature of far-right politics in Britain, as a result of which a fairly small number of voters is spread over a whole range of parties, from Ukip and the BNP to the English Democrats and now the NF as well.

Long may this remain the case. At a time when the economics of austerity are opening up fresh divisions in society, the last thing Britain needs is a return to the politics of intolerance and extremism.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: National Account Manager / Key Account Sales

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for a...

Recruitment Genius: Operations Manager

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity to join...

Recruitment Genius: Recruitment Consultant

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We have an excellent role for a...

Recruitment Genius: IT Support Analyst - Bristol

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: An IT Support Analyst is required to join the ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Britain, we have a drink problem

Stefano Hatfield
 

In Sickness and in Health: Cheers Jacko, the kindness of strangers is a great tonic

Rebecca Armstrong
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

Marian Keyes

The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick