Don't be fooled
Following on from my rant about the odious Simon Darby and the foul BNP I ended up reading the Guardian editorial. It's line that we all need to get out and vote to stop the BNP getting in is one that I whole heartedly endorse, however it is in the readers comments below it that the real interest lies. Two points fall out of this.
First the BNP is gaining support from what would naturally be Labour strong holds. Think about where they do well. East Lancs and East London. Neither of these are exactly true blue Torie areas now are they? BNP are doing well by appealing with a combination of policies which are, on the face of it, Old Labour. And that on the face of it seems to make a mockery of them being extreme right. I say seem though, I have more to add later. They make these appeals though based on old policies updated from their use by Old Labour with a good dose of racism, ignorance and bigotry.
Now in a first past the post electoral system like the UK that is all very well because it just means that concentrated support results in maybe one or two seats in a local council and odds are nothing in Parliament. Now while I believe in proportional representation on the basis that is more democratic I do acknowledge that FPP does help keep the extremists out.
Yet we are coming up to the European elections which are based on PR and that gives us a problem because many people are holding main stream politicians in increasing levels of contempt and, more importantly, are failing to see the differences between them. They see 3 main stream parties saying the same thing as each other, mean while people are increasingly unhappy with how the country is going.
The result is that more and more people are failing to get out and vote. The main stream that is. The fact is that the BNP are still mobilising their supporters at elections, and they do need any extras, if large numbers of the main stream are failing to vote the proportion that they are getting naturally increases. And that is a dangerous thing as it means eventually you end up with a big enough proportion that they will get seats and that means funding and eventually they may end up communicating in a way very different to the amateurish ramblings on Darby's blog that I wrote about earlier.
Anyway as a footnote I thought I'd just comment on this idea that the BNP are left wing.
They are a bunch of extremist racist who have simply latched onto what it sees as the most vulnerable area of the electorate and offered them the policies that they want. While that may be exactly what democracy should be all about it is also what political cynicism is all about and the BNP are full of it, just not as competent as they could be.
It is possible that this whole post sounds a little contradictory talking about how dangerous this lot are while saying how incompetent they are. And to that I say I still don't think that they are competent enough (yet) to get a grip on main stream politics but with the sense of anger in the population at large with the main stream parties the way it is at present they could well establish a foot hold. Not enough to do much damage perhaps, but does anyone want any of these odious people anywhere near a decision making body?
I know I don't.
So get out there and vote.