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13 February 2013, 11:42
Hertfordshire's Deputy Police & Crime Commissioner has resigned
Dr Rachel Frosh was coming under increased pressure after re-tweeting a Nazi themed post from another user.
In a statement the Police and Crime Commissioner David Lloyd said:
Commissioner Lloyd has accepted the resignation of Dr Rachel Frosh this morning (13th February).
Commissioner David Lloyd said: “I am sad to have to accept Rachel’s resignation. She has taken the honourable course of action by making this decision and I will miss her valuable contribution to my work to further improve policing and crime reductions for the public of Hertfordshire.”
Dr Rachel Frosh said: “I appreciate that David must have constructive relationships with all political parties. I recognise that I am not able to fully comment on some political issues whilst remaining as Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner. It is therefore with great regret that I have tendered my resignation this morning.”
On Dr Frosh's own website she said:
I have been frustrated in the last two days that I have not been fully able to answer the press and twitter enquiries about that retweet – where I retweeted someone else’s link to Nazi-ism and Socialism.
I am conscious that the Police and Crime Commissioner needs to have constructive working relations with local politicians of all parties. Working for him has made it difficult to answer the questions about why I retweeted the comment in the first place. So I have therefore resigned – because he needs to get on with his job, and I want to answer these questions, and also be able to comment on national political issues.
So, my full answer is this:
First of all, I don’t remember retweeting it, and I do believe most Labour politicians to be honourable decent people who do not have any truck with the politics of hate. The modern Labour party bears no resemblance to the BNP or similar parties.
However, there is an accepted mainstream view that the origins of Nazi-ism lie in Socialism, or that they have common roots. Nobel Prize winning Economist Hayek described this his book “The Road to Serfdom” . As Wikipaedia says on the topic “Hayek challenged the general view among British academics that fascism was a capitalist reaction against socialism, instead arguing that fascism and socialism had common roots in central economic planning and the power of the state over the individual.”
The subtitle of the 1976 edition of The Road to Serfdom, is “A Classic Warning Against the Dangers to Freedom Inherent in Social Planning.” Nobel Laureate Friedrich Hayek argued that socialism undermines human liberty and, if pursued far enough, must result in tyranny.
This matters because in recent years we have seen some electoral gains by the BNP, even winning two MEP seats. It is important to understand why, to prevent it from happening again. Commentators state that most BNP votes come from disaffected Labour supporters, not from other parties. It is important to make sure that this doesn’t happen again.
Other commentators such as Iain Dale argue that the BNP is a left wing fascist party. His full comments on it in 2009 were:
“In a Tweet earlier this morning Plaid Cymru AM Bethan Jenkins described a comment by Michael Rock., chairman of Conservative Future, that the BNP is “left wing”, as a “disgrace”. I looked up Rock’s comments and can’t really see how any sane person could disagree with them. His full blogpost is HERE.
The consistent miss-labelling of extremist parties is very damaging to liberal democracy, as it creates false tensions and misaligns people with causes they do not understand fully. I’ve yet to meet a Tory who believes in clamping down on free-trade and the nationalisation of private companies. The BNP are both racist and fascist: all fascist parties have left wing tendencies as they predominantly believe in nationalisation, collectivism and forbid free expression, which makes fascism the very antipathy of right-of-centre politics.
I can understand why those on the left don’t wish to be branded in the same political mindset as the BNP. Now they know how those of us on the right feel. But the fact remains that BNP beliefs DO have more in common with Socialism than with Conservatism – centralised command control, trade tariffs, state owned businesses … I could go on. I struggle to think of a single issue which joins the BNP and mainstream conservatism. The Nazis were called National Socialists for a reason. Fascism is invariably described as a creed of the right. It isn’t. As with the BNP, fascism has far more in common with the left, at least in political theoretical terms.
I say this not to whip us some “you’re more fascist than me” type argument between left and right, but merely to explain to Bethan Jenkins why I am bemused by here disgust.”
Iain Dale has a point.
My considered view is that the origins of Nazi-ism do lie in traditional socialism, and when the BNP do well it is with disaffected Labour voters. That does not however mean that people in the Labour party or any other mainstream party have views that are in any way akin to the BNP or other racist parties. They should be placed apart from other parties on the spectrum – but it is still important to understand the origins of any support they have, or used to have to ensure such parties never gain power again.