Tu ne cede malis, sed contra audentior ito

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Economic Nationalism: an idea whose time has come

A Century Ago, a Far-Sighted Politician Warned of the Threat from Immigration and Foreign Imports

Posted by admin on Jun 9th, 2011 to Andrew Brons' BNP Ideas web site.

Joseph Chamberlain (1836—1914) was one of the last radical patriots to hold high Government office in Britain with his political career spanning the zenith of our nation’s power.

He almost became Prime Minister, and had he done so, or even succeeded in implementing his ideas, the long decline of our nation over the past century might have been averted.

From a London non-conformist background, Joe Chamberlain first made his mark as Liberal Mayor of Birmingham from 1873-76. Under his leadership, gas and water supplies were taken into municipal ownership, slums were cleared, and a massive civic improvement programme carried through.

Ordinary Brummies never forgot the man who is still regarded as the greatest civic leader the city has ever had.

The British National Party today should learn from the way in which Chamberlain built on his solid achievement in local government to secure himself a national power base that withstood attacks on him from both major parties in the succeeding decades.

Elected to Parliament as a Liberal in 1876, Chamberlain was appointed President of the Board of Trade in 1880. However he broke with Gladstone and the Liberals in 1886. Partly because he was a staunch Unionist, and partly because the Liberal hierarchy spurned his 1885 radical manifesto, which amongst a number of socially advanced ideas for the time called for rural labourers to be provided with local authority-funded smallholdings. Chamberlain’s “Three Acres and a Cow” plan foreshadowed the ideas of Distributists like Chesterton and Belloc forty years later.

As leader of the Liberal Unionists in the Commons, Chamberlain returned to office in alliance with the Conservatives, serving as Colonial Secretary from 1895 to 1903, when that post meant responsibility for the government of a quarter of the Earth’s land surface. Chamberlain advocated a confederation of the British Empire, with the Dominions and the British Isles governed by an elected Imperial Parliament, controlling defence, foreign policy and trade, whilst Dominion Parliaments, including ones for Scotland. Wales, England, Southern Ireland and Ulster ran their own internal affairs.

Chamberlain also opposed immigration into Britain – pioneering the first restrictions on the previous open door policy, the Alien Immigrants Act of 1905. He also continued to press for radical measures to improve the lot of ordinary working Britons, advocating state old age pensions and industrial injury compensation payments years ahead of their time.

Finally, and crucially, Chamberlain stood against Free Trade, still slavishly followed by Labour, Liberal and Tory a century later! He demanded Tariff Reform, the protection of British industry and agriculture from cheap foreign imports.

Balked at every turn by a reactionary Tory leadership in thrall to big business (no change there, except Labour has joined it now!) in 1903 Chamberlain resigned from the Cabinet to fight four-square for his Radical Imperialist programme, for ordinary British workers against global free trade, foreign immigration and cosmopolitan corporate greed.

In a speech at Limehouse in December 1904, he told his East London working-class audience, in words that are just as true, and now sound prophetic, a hundred years later: “You are suffering from the unrestricted imports of cheaper goods. You are suffering from the unrestricted immigration of the people who make these goods . . . the evils of this immigration have increased during recent years. And behind these people, who have already reached these shores, remember there are millions of the same kind who . . . might follow in their track, and might invade this country in a way and to an extent of which few people have at present any conception.

“If sweated goods are to be allowed into this country without restriction, why not the people who make them? What is the difference? It all comes to the same thing – less labour for the British working man”.

By 1906 the Tories, split between Free Traders and Tariff Reformers, were out of office, and Chamberlain was poised to prevail, take the leadership and lead them back to power, and Britain onward to another century of growth and greatness.

Instead, on 13 July 1906 he suffered a severe paralytic stroke and for his remaining few years was unable to be politically active. His political career was struck down on the brink of triumph. Without their charismatic popular leader, the Tariff Reformers likewise collapsed.

In the battle for the soul of the Conservative Party between radical patriotism and global greed, the patriots had lost. As had our nation, which began its long fall into its present squalid state.

But Chamberlain’s ideas live on. His combination of radicalism and patriotism lies at the root of modern British Nationalism, of which in many ways Joseph Chamberlain is one of the ideological founders.

Britain’s economic survival depends on establishing a technology-intensive manufacturing base, protected from globalisation.

That’s the core of the British National Party’s plan for rebuilding our economy after decades of Tory and Labour neglect.

Globalisation has led to the export of jobs and industries to the Far East and Eastern Europe, and this has brought ruin and unemployment to British industries and the communities who depend on them.

Just by reducing of the number of foreign-made goods coming into Britain, we can ensure that our manufactured goods are, wherever possible, produced in British factories by British workers.

This will dramatically cut unemployment and ensure long-term job security.

The BNP believes that British industry, commerce, land and other economic and natural assets belong to the British people and should be managed for the benefit of the nation.

A British National Party Government will give British workers a share of the profits that their labour creates. This will guarantee that workers are motivated to ensure the success of the enterprise they work for.

All this is the exact opposite to the global policies of the Tories, their Lib-Dem acolytes, and the Labour Party which have all put British workers in the impossible position of competing against sweatshop workers in China and India.

1 comment:

  1. "The need of the immaterial is the most deeply rooted of all needs. One must have bread; but before bread, one must have the ideal."

    Victor Hugo