Wednesday, 2 May 2007

A Reason to Vote in Tomorrow's Elections

by Edwin Hesselthwite

A couple of facts about tomorrow's election, when it comes to the party no one wants to talk about, and who are far less interesting to the political classes than The Scottish National Party:

The British National Party are fielding 879 candidates in England And Wales at these local elections.

The British National Party currently possess 53 council seats from the last council elections.

The British National Party have already gained one council seat in this election due to a lack of contest.
The remarkable rise of the BNP over the last decade (from 4 council seats in 2002) is most notable for the negligable resistance that has been provided in the media. Anti-Fascism has become associated with old socialists and young militants, and now it is left up to the Conservative party (here, insulting the BNP always gives the impression of moderation) and Ken Livingstone (here, A solid way of making his leftist friends happy without commiting to any distasteful leftwing policies) to shout them down.

The BNP is Nick Griffin — British minority parties have become increasingly a front for their leader, and their leader's manner — much as Alex Salmond is the SNP, in the same way that Gerry Adams is Sinn Fein, and Iain Paisley is the DUP. In minority politics the actual policies are secondary, what is important is that the electorate trusts the party leader to have the right instinctive reactions on key issues. Nick Griffin has had massive success empathising with the British white working class, who have been disenfranchised from the political process by the metropolitan atmosphere of the modern Labour and Conservative parties (much like Paisley, who has represented equally scandalous positions, the attitude to Griffin is "He's our bastard"). This model works, it should be noted that the other 3 politicians I have mentioned who run personality driven parties are either in power, or in rock-throwing distance of power. Fortunately (at least in this case), this electorate are among those less likely to vote, but should the party gain any more momentum their potential electorate is significant.

Here are a few extracts from their 2005 general election manifesto (a remarkably succinct document, worth reading)

1. We would repeal the Race Relations Acts and all other restrictions on free speech in Britain.

4. We would abolish all government-sponsored ethnicity-specific professional bodies, housing associations, and other organisations.

6. We would abolish all laws against racial discrimination in employment and the government bodies associated with enforcing them.

10. A massively-funded and permanent programme, using and doubling Britain's current foreign aid budget, will aim to reduce, by voluntary resettlement to their lands of ethnic origin, the proportion of ethnic minorities living in Britain, for as long as the majority of the electorate are willing to fund such expenditure.
These are utterly, utterly repellent policies, and show an implicitly racist party. Yet the largest voluntary Anti-Fascism organisation in the UK is Unite Against Fascism, a somewhat underwhelming group with a website that is, at best, sub-standard. These issues used to be driven by trade unionists and the left, and now are covered by no-one. The, frankly meteoric, recent ascent of the BNP is extremely unlikely to end up with them in government but should still be watched with caution. The silence in the media when it comes to a party that has come to represent, above all else, Islam-hatred and repatriation is becoming unacceptable.

These people are the enemy, these people are a threat: Vote.

- Addendum, the best website giving statistics, figures and information on the actions of the BNP is Searchlight, a magazine who document the party's actions in detail. According to Searchlight the BNP's current campaign is targetted at the acquisition of an MEP in the next EU elections, assuming the continuing decline of UKIP.

The mural on Cable Street in London's East End in memory of the last time Britain dealt with fascists.


Charles Pooter said...


Obviously I despise the BNP as the repellent racists that they are (of course that goes without saying). But, of the four BNP policies that you mention, as a libertarian, I only actually oppose policy 10. Abolition of the race relations and equal opportunities laws should be a very low priority compared to the other monstrous infringements of freedom, but they are a nevertheless still a minor affront to free speech and free association.

However, a party that places these minor infringements as a priority is clearly a party with race on their mind and policy 10 ("voluntary" repatriation) is a disgraceful idea which confirms the BNP's racism.

That being said, I don't think the BNP has to be voted in for freeedom to be destroyed. Labour or the Conservatives will do a good enough job themselves.

Edwin Hesselthwite said...


Agree with you completely. The race laws are not a necessary part of democracy and are a minor affront to free speech and association.

However, I included these points because each of them was written for a reason, and (by my interpretation) these readings are utterly repellant.

No 1) the BNP the single most important priority in government is to repeal the Race Relations Act... Doesn't this very much shout "The ball park needs levelling, we have been oppressed"

On to no 4.

4 is a kicker... In many of the BNP's target communities (I have a strong personal link with Barking & Dagenham)a key priority is maintaining their community in the face of local government housing policy towards immigrants. The mention of housing associations is clear code to this community - we will give you back your land. Without this interpretation no 4 is pretty meaningless.

No 6 is, admittedly less important, but hammers the point home.

In theory, yes I do not oppose these policies, in practice their implications are venomous. The electorate they are aiming at can read between the lines just as easily as we can.

I agree with you that the Lab and Con parties are perfectly capable of destroying freedom in this country, however a rising force like the BNP has the potential (particularly following devolution for England) to have casting power in councils and most of all to influence the debate in the larger parties... A strong, vibrant BNP is likely to have its policies adopted and push the debate rightwards in the main parties - as we have already seen happen with respect to immigration under Michael Howard.

The unlikelihood of them ever forming an absolute majority does not remove their ability to move the debate. Paisley is a perfect demonstration of where continuous, uncompromising, extremism can get you in British politics.

It's not the coming of the apocalypse, but you should know your enemies, and they are the enemy.

Pritchard Buckminster said...

The party isn't the enemy, they are just a symptom. It's the repellant fuct'ards that vote for and say things like "I'm not racist, but....." that need "voluntarily repatriating" to whatever parallel dimension they come from. I say give 'em the country they want. Let these scum into power. Let them drive honour and decency into the dirt. It's probably what we deserve.

Pritchard Buckminster said...

Right. After getting the opinion of ‘no cup of coffee yet’ off my chest it’s time to think about the whole subject of the BNP a little more rationally!

As Edwin has just pointed out to me I live in one of the more fertile breeding grounds for supporters of the BNP and, working as I do with all levels of society, often encounter support for the party that I personally believe would actually embarrass a true member.

I think the real shame of the whole business is that support for the party often hides the fact that the voter and the party aren’t really on the same wavelength. By this I am making a fairly major assumption which is as follows: most members of the BNP are not born-again Nazis but rather misguided individuals that believe that segregation and draconian immigration control truly is the best way forward for a happier Brit…sorry…England. Whereas the everyday bias which I encounter is much more of the “they stole our jobs / get huge benefits / smell / carry disease (genuinely)” nature that is simply ignorance and the ease of hatred mixed together in an uneasy brew. In this regard I believe that a majority of BNP supporters will actually find themselves let down by the party that (falsely) claims to represent them.

I am not suggesting for one second that the BNP is anyway a forgivable off- shoot of modern society but I am suggesting that it is actually better (morally) than many of its supporters would suggest. Herein lies the true horror of it though; if a BNP success opens the door for this kind of hate mongering, how far behind will the English Socialist Party be?

Edwin Hesselthwite said...

I have to disagree with you about the views of the majority of BNP voters Pritchard.

As I suggested above, The BNP is now almost exclusively the Nick Griffin party, they have gone through such contortions in the last 10 years as they have moved towards electoral viability that for the party membership the real, underlying, purpose of the party revolves around a reading of the leader's personality. The question therefore is - who is Nick Griffin, and what does he stand for?

Some links:

Here is a clear article from the Guardian suggesting that the BNP are more radical about race and tactics than they are under their acceptable veneer.

Here is an article directly discussing the tactical contortions Griffin is willing to go through in order to win elections.

Most importantly tho are articles about Griffin himself, because he is what people are voting for, his Wikipedia page is an excellent place to start research on the topic:Here.

It is clear from reading Wiki's references that Griffin has been an active force in British far-right politics (including the much maligned National Front) since the 1970's, and has engaged in homophobia, anti-semitism and holocaust denial. Further he was active throughout the 70's and 80's when British far-right politics had a boots and skin-heads element now mostly forgotten. Therefore in judging the membership of the party, you have to view it through his leadership. Griffin is utterly unprincipled in terms of ideology, and an instinctive racist, his voters know this.

While I agree that the party's electorate are primarily voting from an apolitical position, that doesn't make the party leadership any less repugnant, and they want a man like Griffin in power.

Pritchard Buckminster said...

Ah, but Edwin you have missed the key point here. Nick Griffin the man can say whatever he likes (barring undercover BBC reporters) be it to get his party elected or out of personal ignorance but Nick Griffin the leader cannot - he is far more constrained by the laws he is still required to follow. In essence, whatever his personal beliefs the party must adhere to the rules (after all, who would be more closely watched). The personal views of the people who support the BNP would fall foul of just about ALL the race laws. Ergo, whatever Nick's intention, his actions will fall far short of the hopes of the racist proles.

Ted Hoffman said...

Hmm, I think you are right, if I happened to live in a ward with a BNP candidate with a shout of getting in it would motivate me enough to vote for the nearest opposition. I'm thankful I don't, so I can get back to saving myself 20 minutes and voting for nobody.

However, for the purpose of encouraging people to vote against the BNP, I think describing 3 polices that plenty of decent people would find reasonable as 'utterly repellent' is just self defeating.

Even if the motivation behind them is racist, I don't see how it helps your argument to claim they are in themselves disgraceful, because they aren't. Speaking personally, having someone claim I'm supporting something 'utterly repellent' when I know I'm on fairly firm ground would just make me dig my heels in.

On the other hand, even hardened racists must occasionally feel a bit sick with themselves for voting for policy #10.

Edwin Hesselthwite said...

Hello Ted,

Can see where you're coming from... As I could with Charles's first comment.

To repeat, more forcefully what I said before - It's a matter of tone, priorities and subtext... Wander over to their website and read that manifesto.

Maybe the tone of my article was slightly too hysterical, because clearly I left myself open to this line of attack from more than one source. Condemning them clearly stuck in you guys's craws. I picked those particular points to emphasise the Tone of their manifesto.

A focus above all else on Race issues, local government housing reform (however much the idea of taxation for housing may revolt you as a libertarian, the specifics between different recipients are what matter here, not whether it is there or not) and rebalancing the race agenda is repulsive... It implicitly suggests scapegoating of the ethnic minorities for all societies ills. You can make a series of bullet point statements that are apparently acceptable on any agenda you wish, a manifesto should be read for what is suggests about the party's priorities.

Still, Ted, fair enough... Don't vote. The democratic process is a blunt tool, and voter turnout is the result of many factors. It is still the only tool we have in present politics... Personally, I would be voting if I had the chance.

Ted Hoffman said...

Thanks for your reply Edwin, I honestly wouldn't normally bang on like this, but I'm in a hotel room and quite bored.

With the addition of your comments, I do see what you are saying and don't particularly disagree.

The manifesto does indicate a race obsessed party, I just suspect Griffin loves people attacking exactly the policies you bring up. They are fairly easy to defend and lots of people will nod and say, 'Actually Mr Griffin, you look like a scum bag, but I agree ethnicity-specific housing associations (do they even exist?) should go'. And they would be right.

"Don't vote. The democratic process is a blunt tool, and voter turnout is the result of many factors. It is still the only tool we have in present politics"

Where I live, the hundreds of votes I would have to muster from somewhere in order to turn a Lib Dem councillor into a Tory isn't worth a minute of my worst enemies time.