How sad it is that the racist vote continues to rear it’s ugly head. Canvassing has become a pretty full time occupation lately, but for the most part I am enjoying it. But every now and then (and twice on Saturday):
ME: ‘Hello, I’m Steve Guy, one of your Liberal Democrat cand…’
VOTER: ‘…and you can f*** off, because your lot won’t send the f***ing immigrants back!’
ME: ‘Err, no – thank you’. Walks off slightly depressed and ticks ‘ANTI’ column on canvass card.
One of the most commented upon threads in this blog is this one criticising the BNP. Most of the comments are full of spelling mistakes and look like they should have been written in green crayon – but just how many of these nutters are there?
Of course, we don’t expect anything else from the BNP. Despite the attempts to disguise themselves as a bona fide party concerned with Britishness and patriotism, most of us here know the kind of nasty people at the heart of the organisation and their true agenda. But something else I saw recently worried me more. A voter handed me a UKIP leaflet, with a banner headline which screamed ‘500,000 Immigrants’. The leaflet then went on at great pains to point out that UKIP were ‘not a racist party’. But the headline is clearly designed to appeal to the green crayon wielding brigade.
My message to UKIP is simply this, to claim not to be a racist party whilst clearly courting the racist vote in such an obvious way is just rank hypocrisy.
Blogging, as I do, from High Wycombe is an interesting perspective at the moment. There’s an air of disbelief at the arrest of bomb plot suspects. There’s still a trickle of pro-BNP comments arriving in my inbox in reply to a post I made a couple of months ago. There’s so many misconceptions and falsehoods among those comments that it leaves me shaking my head in despair. The final comment reads “Rather then calling the BNP racist why don’t you actually look at their policies?”- so I did (not that I didn’t have a good idea anyway). You don’t need to dig very far into their website to find policies like “We also call for preference in the job market to be given to native Britons” and “we, the native British people, will be an ethnic minority in our own country within sixty years”. For the term “native British”, I presume they mean “white”, and whatever way you dress it up, “white supremacy” is racism – or even Naziiism.
I’d be interested to know if the term “native British” refers to “all white Britons”, or just those who are short with red or black hair – since the majority of us “white Britons” will be a genetic mixture of Roman, Viking, Germanic and Norman? Because these islands have been enriched by peoples from futher afield for some two thousand years! The British Isles must be populated by the most culturally and racially diverse mix of peoples on earth. Quite clearly, the most recent immigrants – those of the last 60 years – are still viewed as “different” by some. I suppose the BNP would claim that they are the “least British”. But the fact remains that most of those who attend the mosque at the end of my road were born here, and have just as much right to call themselves “British” as I do.
I am naturally shocked to find that a handful of my neighbours feel so alienated that they could be tempted to support extremists. But whose failure is it? Who built the walls? I contend that we all did. In our democracy, we are lucky enough to elect our representatives and legislators. Every British Citizen has a voice, and every British Citizen can put himself forward to become involved in the political life of his or her country. We have to find ways to reach out to the disaffected and the alienated. We have to build bridges of mutual respect and understanding, and break down the walls of suspicion.
The alternative does not bear thinking about
Sky News: Sky Poll Shows Backing For BNP Policies
For those without Sky, this was a worrying YouGov survey where over half of respondents agreed with BNP policies on immigration, and even when told that they were BNP policies, only a few less still supported them.
I have tended in the past to dismiss the BNP as irrelevant extremist nutters. I still think they are extremist nutters, but I’m becoming very uncomfortable with the number of people who think we can turn back the clock on our multi-ethnic society (even if we wanted to).
Protest votes are dangerous. Thanks to protest voting, we are lumbered with a dozen useless, half-baked UKIP MEPs. If people think voting BNP as a protest vote is a good idea, they would be well advised to seriously contemplate finding that the balance of power on their local council is now held by a group of fascists who pretended that their nasty, racist ideas had something to do with patriotism and freedom.