I campaigned for Labour from 2008 to 2010 to ensure the British National Party would lose their seats on Barking and Dagenham council in east London. With me were people from all backgrounds, races and sexes. We worked hard to make the case not only for the Labour Party but also for democracy itself. It was a tough campaign. The ‘activists’ of the BNP were very well built and aggressive-looking men whose intent towards anyone not having a white skin or speaking English was blatantly obvious. They were scary, messed-up people.
After they had taken their campaign through the streets in Mayesbrook Ward, which I would later serve as a councillor, people would refuse to answer their doors and would speak to us only through their letterboxes or from their first-floor windows . . . they were frightened.
The BNP did not knock on doors as much as peer through windows and record on their clipboards which residents were white and which were not. This was intrusive and intimidating. We were careful to keep Left-wing platforms such as Hope not Hate away from the canvassing and campaigning as they were a front for the hard Left and were as antagonistic to the general public as they were to the BNP. For them, anyone who was not ‘pure’ and of a Communist persuasion would be shouted at and called ‘Scum!’
I would later leave the Labour Party for the Conservatives following profound misgivings about the culture surrounding the leadership of the party under Ed Miliband and the direction it was travelling in, seemingly no longer concerned with the electorate or the welfare of the people living in the UK. Additionally, the intimidation being meted out to councillors by the hard Left, Mafia-like council officers and their union cronies was so like the very BNP we had battled against, and equally undemocratic.
Now a Conservative activist and political blogger, I determined to find if the fiery old colleagues and friends I had made in east London were up to the challenge of planning the defeat of the hard Left under Jeremy Corbyn. To ascertain this after the successive failures of Blairites to challenge and defeat him, I contacted an old colleague. Our discussion was friendly, and said person exhibited deep concerns indeed about Corbyn. Unfortunately there was more.
It was made clear to me that communications between us would have to be conducted with care. Nothing had changed there. However the understanding of my old colleague on what constituted ‘extreme’ had changed considerably from the days when we campaigned against the terror and darkness of the BNP. He was quick to highlight how terrible Corbyn was, but he also made comparisons to Jacob Rees-Mogg. The proposition that Rees-Mogg is a political extremist who wishes to murder people of a non-white and non-English speaking heritage stretches reality beyond its limits. But it showed that my old colleague’s primary concern was Brexit, and that those who did not vote to remain were the same as the BNP animals we defeated back in 2010.
Jacob Rees-Mogg is of course a constitutional wonder, having a technical understanding of the functioning of Parliament; a democrat gently tempered with a kind and polite manner that few achieve. He is a true advocate of civility and peace as well as a highly successful businessman. At the Conservative conference he debated and worked with business people of all creeds and races without animosity or malice – in fact with good humour and kindness. His popularity is well earned.
For Rees-Mogg to be bracketed with psychopaths who terrify residents and whose intent is clearly violence seems impossible. Yet this is the view of a man who once worked with people of all mainstream colours to defeat the BNP. I grieve for my old colleague because his perception of Rees-Mogg sits all too comfortably with the views of Corbyn’s allies such as Hope not Hate, whose hatred of anyone who does not support their Leader is all too apparent.
Disappointment descended upon me like a chill blanket when I realised that if this is what has become of the fiery and moral characters I used to know, they will never challenge Corbyn. They have lost all sense of perspective, balance and moderation, and see only evil in their opponents. They are comfortable in Corbyn’s party, compliant and tamed, for though they dislike him holding the position of power in the party, their real animosity is reserved for those who disagree with them. Their contempt for democracy and the result of the Referendum clearly reveals the bond they now share with a deadly ideology that should have perished when the Soviet Union collapsed. Corbyn will not be successfully challenged within Labour. Only the Conservatives can defeat the Communism he advocates. The Blairites’ war is against anyone who voted to leave the EU, because in their eyes these are enemies no different from Nick Griffin.
Truly as Nietzsche stated: ‘If you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss also gazes into you.’