Project Broadside is a vision, an idea to unite people from across the political spectrum in resistance to a growing and terrifying threat which is rising in this country. This land is being corrupted by a poisonous and hateful rhetoric, brought on by the rise of ukip, a political party which, whether you voted Brexit or Remain, has been the source of more fear, anger, and division than any other.
The ‘United’ Kingdom Independence Party is responsible for more division in these isles than any other force in its history. Their narrative has set the young and old against each other, Scotland and Northern Ireland against Wales and England, the cities against the countryside, the native against the ‘immigrant’. No-one has done more to divide this country than the party which claims unity. Project Broadside means a coalition between Green, Lib-Dem, Labour, Plaid, SNP and moderate conservatives against the poisoning of the narrative in this language by a right wing press and politics which seeks to divide us and weaken the common man through mutual hostility.
Nationalism, bordering on fascism is beginning to rear its ugly head in this land. We see a hatred stoked daily by a divisive and polluting press pushing the kind of narratives openly endorsed by the far-right. Recently, we have seen this press become so obsessed with insular, closed-minded nationalism, that when a tiny number of orphaned refugee children seek to re-join with their families in Britain, the headline writers demand ‘medical checks’ to determine their age, even when this has already been effectively and rigorously verified.
There is a truly nasty narrative being pushed onto the British people, and, against our nature, we are slowly starting to succumb, slowly starting to accept the lies. The idea that any form of compassion, any form of solidarity or altruism is evidence of mental deficiency or weakness. Day in, day out, there is a background hum, stoked by ukip and the tory-right of selfishness, mean-spiritedness and cold-heartedness which is not natural to or healthy for our individual collective psyche.
To counter this, Project Broadside calls for a truce, a period of unity between factions which are frequently at odds, an alliance like the one seen between Labour and Conservative which stood up both to the Third Reich abroad and Mosley’s fascists at home. These factions need to recognise that, although they may have fundamental disagreements about the best route into the future, and may view each other’s political outlooks as fundamentally flawed, the divisive and threatening rhetoric brought on by the rise of the far right poses a much greater threat to the integrity and stability of these isles.
Project Broadside proposes a very wide coalition against this danger. A full spectrum laying-down of arms from everyone from anarchist to conservative, communist to liberal, trade unionist to progressive to socialist to free-market businessman – Nationalism and fascism threaten us all more than we threaten each other – we have more in common, than that which divides us. Nationalism and its big brother fascism are an enemy to liberal and conservative alike, to capitalist, communist and socialist, to young and old, to country, town and city.
Project Broadside emphasises its temporary nature. The idea of an Anarcho-Syndicalist and a Conservative uniting in anything other than emergency scenarios is impossible. We can – and must – go back to our old disagreements once this threat is countered, once the sort of braying fiends who comment on articles of children dying on boats in the Mediterranean with a ‘lol’ and a smiley emoji, are kicked back down into the gutter where they belong.
We must come together as one people to extract this cancer. We may disagree with each other passionately the rest of the time, but what threatens Britain right now is more than disagreement about details, it is a fundamental threat to our core values, being imposed upon us by big money, stealth, deception and lies.
This means Blairites working with Corbynistas, because the alternative is worse than both. It involves Liberals and moderate conservatives working together, because now is not the time for division between those who would oppose fascism
It involves people from all political walks who would consider themselves patriotic, rather than nationalistic, uniting. We must all now take a look in the mirror and recognise the ugly head which has been reared in recent years, personified in Theresa May’s harshly nationalist speeches.
We need a progressive union, and that needs to include progressive conservatives.
We call upon liberal democrats who see the horror of nationalism rising
We call on the labour left and the labour centre to cease fighting – now is not the time
We call upon liberal antifascists and militant antifascists to recognise that there can be no room for divisions – antifascism is a multi-pronged fork; all approaches are valid provided they do not deliberately stymie other approaches.
We also call upon those brexiters who have seen a vote which they intended only as a rebellion against a political union, being hijacked by the bigoted and hateful.
This is Project Broadside, and it is the only way to save our country. A full union of moderate conservatives, socialists, business leaders, capitalists, communists, liberals, democrats, anarchists, remainers and brexiters. Conservative, Labour, Lib-Dem, Green, SNP, Plaid, SDLP – everyone needs to recognise that, for a short while, we must forget about our smaller differences and focus on the true threat – Nationalism is toxic to all of us;
- Nationalism/fascism is anti-conservative, because the values of hard work, enterprise, family life, and community cohesion which conservatives value are superseded by the demands of sacrifice for the nation-state and a hatred of foreigners. Many of the hard-working immigrant families targeted by ukip’s narrative would consider themselves conservative.
- Nationalism/fascism is anti-liberal because it demands conformity and has no respect for individual uniqueness.
- Nationalism/fascism is anti-socialist because it does not recognise union rights or the rights of anyone not born in one place and obedient to one leader
- Nationalism/fascism is anti-capitalist because it infringes on the rights of employer and employee to enter into a free contract with one another, and to trade goods freely, without the interference of the state at the borders.
- Nationalism/fascism is anti-progressive because it takes the conservative narrative of ‘traditional values’ and twists it into a hatred of the modern, rather than a love of the traditional. There can be no progress whilst fascism is dragging us back to an animal state.
So you see, there is no ideology as damaging to such a diverse selection of others as that proposed by nationalism and fascism!
Project Broadside, thus, aims to unite the whole spectrum from the left to the centre to the centre-right. Britain is better than this, more humane than the narratives coming from ukip, through the tory right, into Theresa May’s speeches.
Nationalism is inherently anti-worker.
I think that there is actually much intuitive, aesthetic, and compassionate agreement between the lib-dems and Labour, both the centre and left of Labour. A pro-business lib-dem may never vote for anything they consider far-left, but this is not what uniting these different factions is about. It is about recognising and uniting against the hate which has hijacked Brexit, lib-dems may consider far left philosophies dangerous, but, at this moment in time, it is not the far left which threatens us. Unite against the far-right, neutralise it, then go back to the old disagreements.
The most intuitive part of the Project Broadside is the progressive alliance, a cessation of hostility between Labour, lib-dem, green, SNP, and Plaid. Whatever differences these groups have ever had, whatever bad blood you may feel for one or more of them, the threat rising in the UK from the far right is worse than anything else.
People may dislike Labour because of PFI in the NHS, but what’s worse is the empowerment of people who believe we should have religious purity tests on the border.
People may not like the lib-dems because of tuition fees, but a collapsing economy due to inwards-looking nationalism is worse. There are legitimate grievances between Labour, Lib-Dem and Green voters, and we must return to these disagreements once the nationalist threat is countered. But for now, the Progressive Alliance MUST come about. The greater challenge, but one which must be met, is to include into this alliance the moderate, liberal conservative.
Project Broadside put into practice simply means voting for the strongest progressive candidate in our area out of the Lib-dems, Green, Labour or SNP or Plaid or, if you are a moderate conservative, writing to your conservative candidate to let them know that your vote is no longer taken for granted – that of they fall to the divisive rhetoric of ukip, then they no longer truly represent you.
I now realise I am asking capitlaists and socialists to join hands, free marketers, businessmen and trade unionists to unite, employers and employees to join as one to fight this danger. Because you see, though I identify in some ways as a socialist with a small s, I know that fascism is as detrimental to true capitalism as it is to everything else.
A true capitalist believes the best man should get the job, a nationalist believes the closest man should get the job – and industry, enterprise, and entrepreneurship suffer as the feckless and lazy are given preference over the industrious and smart, just because they were born in a certain area. Competition is stifled, and profits stagnate as a result.
Historically, the times when all sides join together, when we strike down the divisions of the extremes, we succeed and prosper. After ww2, capitalism and socialism worked together to usher in a new dawn, a new boost in living conditions and opportunity. Britain flourishes when we proceed as one along the middle way. The far right, if they continue to influence our politics, if they continue their stealthy journey into the heart of the Tory party, will see this land wither.
Capitalism, when left to go stagnant, may contain the seeds and soil of fascism, but fresh capitalism, capitalism without unfair inherited advantage and cartels and corporate complacency, is as opposed to fascism as all the other ideologies.
To conservatives, Project Broadside asks you to look at the ideology being peddled by ukip, the so-called conservative press, and certain sections of the Tory party and ask yourselves – does this really represent my values? I may not consider myself a conservative, but I hope I am right in my understanding that conservatism is about the value of family, the self-respect gained by hard work and self-sufficiency, the idea of a stable community, and the advantages which can be gained through enterprise?
Another group which must be part of Project Broadside are Brexiteers.
First and foremost, I will lay my cards on the table; I voted Remain. However, I respect the result but argue that Brexit does not mean the country has to become some kind of ultra-fascist police state. We can make Brexit work without resorting to the divisive and dangerous politics of the far right.
The question on the ballot paper was not “Shall we ‘send them back’”. It was not “Shall we end immigration”, it was “shall Britain Remain part of the EU, or Leave the EU” – what form this eventually takes was never voted on. Norway and Switzerland have free movement, but are not in the EU. If just 1/30 Brexit voters changed their vote if they realised it would unleash the kind of ultra-nationalist maniacs which have begun to hijack their cause, then the result would have gone the other way.
Brexiteers may have voted as they did for any number of non-racist and even non-nationalist reasons – the political influence of Brussels, the cost, questions of sovereignty or democracy or over-regulation. They may also have been ‘lexiteers’, who voted against what they see as a capitalist and corporate union. These people may be horrified to see the sorts of influences which have now hijacked their vote. Even if you voted Brexit out of concerns over immigration, the sorts of extreme far right ideas concerning ‘vetting’, ‘quotas’ and ‘lists’ and ‘medical checks’ of immigrants (even including legal immigrants!) may strike you as more extreme than you would ever have been willing to endorse, as must some of the more extreme rhetoric seen from ukip, the right wing press, and the comments boards.
I say to anyone who voted Brexit – we can still leave the EU without descending into the kind of fearful, hateful, divisive nationalist dogma coming from the conservative right wing – from blukip. You may have voted to leave the EU because you saw it as undemocratic – this does not mean you signed up to have entirely legal foreign born workers put onto ‘a list’. You may have not wanted a corporate or socialist union trampling on your sovereignty – but you never expected the government to enact the kind of horrific, 1984 style ‘rat out your friends, neighbours and co-workers’ rhetoric present in May’s speech.
There are people who voted Brexit who would be horrified to associate themselves with the kind of ultra-nationalist ghouls who comment on news articles about drowning refugee children with a ‘laughing’ emoji, who hear of a human being dying under a lorry and respond with “shame it was only one – lol!”
Brexiters have as much a part to play in Project Broadside as anyone else, it is the Brextremists we must unite against.