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While the left will soon tire of bullshitting each other that the Euro elections were in fact a tremendous victory and return to pointing the finger and apportioning blame to everyone else, we should be asking ‘Do you ever think it might be you?’

25 years ago, the deputy leader of the Labour Party Roy Hattersley declared that the ‘working class would vote Labour whatever the party did.’ Strike one. 15 years later, Guardian columnist Nick Cohen insisted that ‘Europe votes fascist, we don’t’. Within twelve months the BNP would take close to a million votes in the European elections. Strike two.

A decade on, and almost to the day, Guardian columnist Martin Kettle would suggest Britain’s current political climate is reminiscent of Weimar Germany, with the implication being that in opposing right wing populism the liberal left were taking the role of the ‘resistance’. Of course while appearing glamorous in hindsight, the ugly truth is that out of a population of 40 million as few as 200,000 were actively involved in the French Resistance, with the working class disproportionately represented. As for the Weimar Republic analogy the less said about that the better, as the near decade long fight against the Brownshirts from 1924 onwards was conducted exclusively by the communist and to a lesser extent social democratic parties (see the 1932 Battle of Altona for what that could involve), with the middle classes and their parties either sitting it out or cheerleading for the other side. Strike three.

Flaunting the same lack of awareness, fellow Guardian columnist Gary Younge asserted just days before the Euro elections that the populist “electoral victories are largely but not exclusively the products of age-old prejudices: not because everyone who voted for them was racist, but because all the racists who did go the polls voted for them. The intensity of that racism is now growing as the victors use their podiums and dispatch boxes to amplify their bigotry by giving confidence and licence for people to spread their poison. Bigotry once embedded in a political culture is difficult to excise.” Indeed. After all, what other possible reason could there be for large swathes of any country’s population to resent and resist the impact of a new liberal driven globalisation but out and out prejudice? Strike four.

Now the liberal left has enjoyed cultural hegemony for the last forty years. Which meant for four decades a liberal agenda, that involved first and foremost the working class as a whole being kicked to the kerb, while at the same time amplifying and inflating the importance of every possible racial, sexual, gender and more recently faith based difference, has been zealously promoted with the assurance that one last push would lead to the sunlit uplands. But, as militant anti-fascism has long warned, what we have is the whirlwind being reaped instead. Accordingly, once the left tire of bullshitting each other that the Euro elections were in fact a tremendous victory and return to their day job of pointing the finger and apportioning blame to everyone else, ‘Do you ever think it might be you?’ is the first question the rest of us ought to put to them.

This article first appeared on the Independent Working Class Association facebook page on the date given above and has been transferred here in August 2019.

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