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Taking liberties with the Veritas

Salman Shaheen

 

Kilroy covered in...Like him or loathe him, you’ve just got to love him! Who am I talking about? Why that maverick former Labour MP, that bane of the far-right, that champion of the left! No, not George Galloway, but Robert Kilroy-Silk! Kilroy is possibly the best ally the left has had since Hitler made the case for fascism being more than a little immoral. And with what style, what charisma, what showmanship; in all his baby-kissing glory, Kilroy has done us all proud.

Throwing his weight behind UKIP during the European elections, clearly not happy with the resident bunch of right wing nutters in parliament, or for that matter the opposition, Kilroy confidently declared that he wanted to kill the Conservative Party and replace it. With just enough room to fit his ego into the space that they vacated, Kilroy did wonders to split the right vote in the European elections, and damage the Conservatives' chances of presenting themselves as a credible opposition to a floundering New Labour government.

But harming the Conservatives was not the only service Kilroy would perform to the left. With the BNP throwing perhaps more vitriol at Kilroy and UKIP than any other party, it was clear he had them worried. The rise of UKIP, thanks to Kilroy, was quite possibly the greatest factor preventing a BNP breakthrough into the mainstream, and the cause of their failure to win any seats in the European elections.

Toffs

Alas, instead of a bunch of popular fascist thugs, we were left with a bunch of popular fascist toffs, with UKIP stealing the spotlight in the aftermath of the European elections. But Comrade Kilroy had one final ace up his sleeve to split the right yet further. What with the bitter enmity between himself and party leader Roger Knapman, Kilroy would have more likely dropped the IP and added an UNT, as he left to form his own party, Veritas - some form of Latin doublespeak for truth. The far right must rue the day Kilroy ever got fired from his show; if he was going down, like any good "suicide bomber, limb amputator and women repressor" he was taking everyone with him. Not that he’s bitter or anything.

With Kilroy doing all the work in taking on the far right for us, it may seem there’s little that the left has to do. Unfortunately, however, the existence of so many far right parties currently is not necessarily a cause for celebration. No doubt such a crowded field will do much to prevent any serious electoral success, but we cannot ignore the fact that their policies are gaining support from the public.

When someone begins their sentence with the qualification; “I’m not racist but…” you can be almost certain the next thing they’re about to say bloody well is! With the tabloid press popularising the issue, and the government’s policies playing into the hands of the fascists, the hatred directed against asylum seekers is nothing more than legitimised racism, pure and simple. Kilroy is just another populist politician seeking to capitalise on such a contentious issue.

Expose

The left, through organisations such as the Anti Nazi League and Unite Against Fascism has done much to expose the BNP and the National Front for the Nazis that they are. But when these parties, and others such as UKIP, and now Veritas, seek to play on the issue of asylum, we must take notice. Not everyone who votes for the BNP is racist, we know that for a fact. Racism is not acceptable to most of the population who have at least a number two hair cut or above, or at least a similar level of IQ. But people often separate the issue of racism from asylum. Nevertheless it is just another form of "acceptable" racism.

The task of the left must be to counter the work of the tabloid press in legitimising racism. Just as slavery and anti-Semitism were shown to be morally bankrupt, so we must show that the hatred against asylum seekers is just another form of racism. We must promote understanding, enlightenment, tolerance, respect and solidarity within communities. Cultural events, art, music, poetry and such like can do much to promote such things, just as factual information can help to dispel the spin of the right wing press. We must build bridges between communities.

Multiculturalism is the future of all societies, and that is why the reactionary far right will attempt to whip up popular fervour in a backlash against it. But multiculturalism can be beautiful, if only we can promote mutual understanding. We must be there to counter the lies of the far right, and show people that the truth, the veritas, is not a world of us and them, not a world of black and white, but a world of both. There is but one race, the human race. Only by building these bridges of understanding can we do to racism what the BBC did to Kilroy’s appalling show, and shelve it once and for all.

 

 

February 2005

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