31 May, 2004: Progress and the unreasonable man

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So, regular readers of this web log may be interested to discover that my piece on candidates in the European election has attracted some feedback from one of the parties whose policies I summarised. Sadly it was from Steven Uncles of the `English Democrats' and it took the form of a legal threat:

Please remove the following comment from your web-site

``The appearance of the English Democrats, who appear to be some sort of quasi-fascist mob; they're anti-immigration and believers in victims' justice. I read about two pages of their manifesto before giving up in disgust.''

We strongly object to the words `quasi-fascist'.

Please remove this within 24 Hours to avoid legal action.

Well, what can I say? (Other than that `quasi-fascist' is, in fact, only one word.) Since my statement is perfectly fair comment, I don't think that I need live in too much fear of legal action. Not under English law, anyway.

(As an aside, I wonder if this Steven Uncles is the one described on this page as a leading authority on `Managed Equipment Services' and who,

pioneered the concept of `Managed Equipment Services' within first wave UK PFI deals.

Probably not though -- the English Democrats argue that:

The immediate provision of public services should not be gained at the cost of long-term debt. We have no right to defer the cost of services so that they become a burden for future generations.

so it's hardly likely that an ardent PFIcrat would be involved in such a party. Still, it's some coincidence, especially given that the Steven Uncles who emailed me has an address in the domain `unitedhealthcare.co.uk', owned by United Healthcare, which is

a leading authority on all aspects of Managed Equipment Services under the PFI model.

Oh well. What are the chances that a member of a quasi-fascist mob would be a hypocrite too?)

(Update: I've now received more threats in an email from Mr. Uncles titled,

English Democrats are NOT fascists

Absolutely right. Had I thought otherwise, I would have said so. Perhaps Mr. Uncles should more closely read what I actually wrote.)

More updates: Nick Barlow, Anthony Wells and Chris Brooke weigh in. Thanks, guys! There is also an interesting discussion in the comments on Chris Brooke's site on the party, their rhetoric, and their links to the far-right. Chris himself, who is well informed on these matters, remarks: (slightly edited to correct two typos)

But the more I look at the English Democrats' webpage, the more echoes of fascist rhetoric I see. (NB note use of word ``fascist'', not ``quasi-fascist'' or anything else, but, NB also for dim people, the adjective is being used to describe the rhetoric of the webpage, and not the party or the people in it, about whom I maintain a more or less open mind).

There's the reference to the ``young'' party, the claim that the people have been let down by the elites, the flagging of immigration on the front page of the site, the nationalism, and so on. And Chris L. quoted the slogan on the leaflet he's had delivered to him, ``NOT RIGHT, NOT LEFT, JUST ENGLISH!'', which is basically a reworking of the old fascist slogan, ``Neither Left Nor Right But Forwards!''

Copyright (c) 2004 Chris Lightfoot; available under a Creative Commons License.