Reform UK gets its first MP

Yesterday Reform UK obtained their first MP when Lee Anderson (former deputy chairman of the Conservative Party) joined their ranks. But in doing so he merely illustrated how weak and shallow this party (and the rest of civic nationalism) truly is.

Anderson is a former Labour councillor who defected to the Tories and won the former mining area of Ashfield, his home town in Nottinghamshire, under his new Tory colours at the 2019 general election.

In a desperate attempt to shore up Conservative support among ‘red wall’ voters and offset his own image as a former Goldman Sachs banker, Rishi Sunak appointed Anderson as a deputy chairman of the party in February 2023.

As usual, the Tories were attempting to be all things to all voters. Sunak has tried to reassure the ultra-liberal wing of his party by bringing back the most liberal leader in its history – David Cameron (now Lord Cameron) – as Foreign Secretary. In addition to this ultimate ‘woke Tory’, Sunak’s cabinet is packed with ministers of African and Asian origin.

Yet at the same time Sunak loses no opportunity to sound ‘dog whistles’, hoping to convince White working class voters in particular that he is on their side against the inexorable tide of wokeness.

Prime Minister Sunak with Lee Anderson, whom he thought he could recruit as a tame White working class stooge

The contradictions couldn’t last forever, and last month Anderson went too far for his leader, when instead of a dog whistle he blew an ear-splitting blast on a football referee’s ACME Thunderer.

Absurdly, Anderson accused London Mayor Sadiq Khan of being influenced by “Islamists”. Speaking on GB News (which offers well-remunerated berths to spokesmen for “kosher nationalism”, even semi-literate ones like Anderson), the Ashfield MP said that these unnamed Islamists had “got control of Khan and they’ve got control of London… He’s actually given our capital city away to his mates.”

At first it seemed as though Anderson was semi-apologising for his remarks. He’s certainly never clarified them, which is unsurprising as Anderson seems incapable of clear thinking.

But in the absence of either an apology or an explanation of his remarks, Anderson was suspended from the party of which he had (until a month earlier) been deputy chairman.

From that point on it became almost inevitable that Anderson would join Reform UK, but yesterday’s press conference (introduced by his new party’s leader Richard Tice) showed some of the problems Reform UK face.

Their comical inability even to organise the press conference properly, leaving Anderson hidden from the cameras behind a Union flag as he began reading his prepared statement from a computer screen, was somehow emblematic of Reform UK’s lack of any serious campaigning infrastructure.

And the party’s entire ideology struggles to replicate the Brexit-winning coalition of 2016.

While many British families are struggling to pay bills and educate their children, Tice’s party presents them with the warmed-up leftovers of Thatcherism, promoting deregulation, tax cuts, and even more reductions in government spending (without ever explaining where these spending cuts will be found).

Reform’s neo-Thatcherism is combined with the usual civic ‘right-wing’ obsession with queers and transsexuals, and of course an ‘Israel-first’ foreign policy.

Many observers assume that Richard Tice is a temporary stand-in for Reform UK’s real leader Nigel Farage, but Farage seems unwilling to commit himself to the hard work of party leadership, and doesn’t want to risk electoral humiliation.

Tice and Anderson might imagine that White working class families around the UK share their intense concern over whether demonstrators in London have made insulting remarks about Jews.

But if they think this will be an election-winning priority in 2024, they are likely to be disappointed.

As ever, the biggest tragedy is that clowns like Anderson and City spivs like Tice and Farage are by far the highest profile ‘right-wingers’ in today’s Britain.

Racial nationalism has never been more relevant, and H&D hopes that the positive signs of recovery for our cause that are now beginning to spring up around the country, can grow into a serious defence of race and nation. Tice, Anderson and Farage – not to mention ‘Tommy Robinson’ – are merely part of the problem. It’s up to us – in whatever party or organisation we can be active – to provide the solution.

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