A sad time for democracy

We have just had the news that the Nazi British National Party has won its first seat in Europe, in my home region (Yorkshire and the Humber). A party which, whatever their slick PR, stands for racism and homophobia, who wish to do in Britain what Hitler did in Germany. Their candidate, Andrew Brons, is a former member of the National Front. Meanwhile, a member of the “Nazi-lite” English Democrats was elected mayor of Doncaster.

It is true, I believe, as the mainstream parties say, that this does not mean that all (or possibly even the majority) of the people who voted for them are racist. That is not how the BNP are selling themselves these days, as anyone who has read one of their leaflets will know. However, they have gained by their lies about immigration, their lies about Muslims, and by the the failure of new Labour to challenge them on these issues. On the contrary, the government has been falling over itself to “look tough” on immigration and to spread Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt about Muslims. While doing this, they have also betrayed their core supporters, and thus been the most effective recruiters that the BNP could have wished for.

Meanwhile, the electoral left in Britain is weak, after the self-destruction of Respect, and the Greens are just too nice to steal the protest vote from the fascists. The far-right feed on people’s anger. To win voters away from them, there is a need to engage with that anger. By comparison, in France the Front de Gauche (Left Front) has come out in front of the Front Nationale (National Front).

Postscript: Of course, the news followed shortly afterwards that Nick Griffin had also been elected in the North West. I know things must be getting really bad when I find myself hoping for a UKIP victory to keep the Nazis out.

Demonstrate against the BNP

Saturday, 13th June, 2009 at 11am
Art Gallery, The Headrow, Leeds

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