December 4, 2023

The 70s 80s 90s Blog

Three Decades of History with TV historian Tony McMahon

1970s National Front manifesto is grim reading

2 min read
A 1970s manifesto from the National Front shows how far mainstream political parties today have drifted to the right with many policies now echoed by them
National Front 1970s

Digging up this 1970s National Front manifesto from my archives, I was struck how far to the right mainstream political parties have moved these days.

There was the National Front in the 1970s calling on Britain to leave the Common Market (forerunner of the European Union) and we’ve now gone the whole¬† hog and voted for Brexit.

On immigration – the main parties haven’t advocated repatriation but the assumption that immigration is a ‘bad thing’ has become the conventional wisdom.

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Back in the 1970s, the National Front wasn’t shy about talk of “sending THEM back” – even if the people they were referring to were second even third generation black and Asian Britons. Today, UKIP has called for the children of immigrants to be classed as migrants and all parties have promised to ‘get tough’ on immigration and remove benefits.

The National Front in the 1970s made great headway spreading lies about immigrants grabbing social housing – yet that assumption goes unchallenged today by many mainstream politicians. Ditto the health service being overrun by so-called “health tourists”.

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And we’ve had British jobs for British workers rhetoric from politicians on the left that would have been screamed down as utterly racist 30 years back.

Interesting to see that the National Front were advocating monetarism in the 1970s to keep inflation under control – the economic policy that Margaret Thatcher would embrace between 1979 and 1982 to disastrous effect.

“Crack down hard on disrupters in industry” was presumably aimed at the trades unions – another Thatcherite policy and not expressed all that differently from some of her supporters. Of course in fascist states there are “vertical” trade unions where bosses and workers are in industry bodies under state control with no democracy.

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