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Let Diversity inspire a vote against the hate-filled BNP

Posted on 31 May 2009 | 12:05pm

For part of Saturday night I was channel-hopping between Britain’s Got Talent and the second part of Robert Carlyle’s portrayal of  Adolf Hitler on Channel 4.

On BGT, I voted for Shaheen, with a sneaky side vote for Stavros Flatley, my daughter voted for Aidan Davis, and Fiona voted for Susan Boyle in part out of anger at the way the press had built her up to knock her down. But by the time of the final result, I had seen enough of Hitler to be glad that Diversity had won. Great name, great act, and their victory further evidence that Britain should be, and largely is, proud and happy to be a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, modern country.

‘Largely is …’ of course some are not happy that we are anything other than all white. Turn to Pages 6 and 7 of the Observer today, and there’s Hitler again, popping up in the mouth of someone called Barry Bennett … ‘whatever’s good enough for Hitler is good enough for me. God rest his soul.’

Bennett is a BNP candidate for the South West in Thursday’s local elections. His views alone should justify the pushing to one side of the current expenses furore for the length of time it takes to turn out and vote, preferably Labour if you’re asking me of course, but if not then one of the other non-racist parties.

Well done to the Observer for exposing the reality of a party attempting to portray itself as the reasonable voice of the man and woman in the street.

Eddy O’Sullivan, candidate in the North West, (Facebook status ‘wogs go home’), is quoted as saying of blacks ‘they are nice people – oh yeah – but can they not be nice people in the Congo or bongo land or whatever.’

Russ Green, candidate in the West Midlands … ‘Indians, Africans etc … the British multi-National party. I really do hope that never happens.’

In there too quotes from senior party officials and organisers enjoying the beating of Rodney King and a stabbing in a place they call ‘Coon town,’ condemnation of David Beckham for being ‘not white, he’s a black man, an insult to Britishness,’ the greeting of America’s new President as ‘Obama wog dollar’, and another joining an internet debate about the death of David Cameron’s son Ivan by saying we cared too much about ‘the weak and unproductive.’

More evidence of their so-called moderation under Nick Griffin (guilty of incitement to racial hatred) from the mouth of his running mate in the North West, Garry Aronsson, who lists his hobbies as ‘devising slow and terrible ways of paying back the Guardian-reading cunts who have betrayed the British people into slavery and poverty,’ and adds ‘every time you change your way of life to make immigrants more comfortable, you betray our future.’

Hard to know who the BNP would have voted for in Britain’s Got Talent. Certainly not Diversity. But I suspect they would have been over on Channel 4, getting their rocks off on the scenes where Hitler whips crowds into a frenzy of hatred of the Jews, then later shedding tears at his downfall in the bunker.

Mainstream politics is not flavour of the month at the moment. The economy is not in great shape at the moment. They were twin pillars of Hitler’s rise. I am not pretending for one moment that the thugs and misfits surrounding Griffin could ever attract the support that the Nazi leader did.

But one vote for them is too many. And the Euro election system means that by not voting, we don’t just register apathy, we help the BNP chances of winning a seat in the European Parliament.

Get out and vote Diversity.

  • Tom

    Why are these not published in every major newspaper as a daily column?

    The country needs to hear a voice of reason that isn’t pandering to the Tories simply because they will win the next election, and they don’t want to seem stupid.

  • Andrew Bell

    I too have opted for the ‘if you cant vote Labour, dont vote BNP’.
    Ive slogged my guts this past week ‘promoting the voting’ for Labour and im absolutely ashamed of some peoples responses as they try to justify voting BNP.

    No doubts that the BNP lot would of thoroughly enjoyed C4’s Hitler drama. Sort an XXX for some.
    The BNP are sick and vile and i think there is great ground to ban them from running for anything whether it be as an MP, Mayor, Councillor, MEP or in a flipping egg n spoon race. People would then say thats not a democracy, but where will our democracy be if they rule!

    VOTE LABOUR

  • James Williams

    What do you think about the strength of the anti-facist campaigning that has been going on recently.

    Eddie Izzard was at our Uni (Birmingham) on Friday and I know he has been involved in the Hope Not Hate campaigns, but I think they are weak and not best way to tackle the BNP.

    Where do you stand on the no platform debate as it has even more relevance now leading up to thursday ?

  • Peta Stuart-Hunt

    Hi Alastair

    Perhaps you should join the Facebook Group ‘1,000,000 United Against the BNP’

    All the best
    Peta

  • Colin Morley

    Well said! Anything that discourages a vote for this despicable bunch is to the good. The BNP has no place in the UK and most certainly no place in Europe. I hadn’t realised they were represented on Facebook – particularly with racist commentary. Perhaps we could form a FB group to get them banned??

  • Em

    In the nineties, there was a movement which helped US towns, very successfully I heard, get rid of white supremacists group without coming anywhere near breaking the law. It involved different types of pressure tactics, using local by-laws against them at every corner, public shaming, and so on.

    I don’t care about unemployment, frustration at the political class, poverty, I don’t have any sympathy for those who take their own hardship, or that of others, and turn it into hatred of the meek. The BNP doesn’t exist in a vacuum. It’s not only those who vote for them who are accountable but people who tolerate them. Respecting someone else’s free speech doesn’t mean being silent. If the BNP didn’t have a buffer zone, if all who didn’t support them used their own human rights to fight them, they would vanish into the ether.

  • Alan Marsh

    Agree with every word Alastair but why do I only hear and see this kind of insight and agression on your blog? Where are the Labour MPs? They all seem scared of their own shadow. I know it must be tough being an MP at the moment when all anyone is talking about is expenses but they need to show some bloody fight

  • Samantha Hills

    I was not channel hopping. I stuck with the Hitler programme throughout. It made me think, watching Robert Carlyle, that Britain had talent long before BGT came along

  • Thetidos

    Part of the problem with having this BNP scum rising is that politicians are too scared to talk about the positives of unpopular things, eg imigration, Europe. See http://tinyurl.com/qxxdej. It was great that The Observer showed them for what they are in today’s paper but it is not enough. We can’t just say they are bad — which they are — we have to say the alternative is good.

  • Thomas Rossetti

    Good article, Alistair, but I think you and your Labour colleagues should take more of the blame for this state of affairs. This is pure conjecture, but I think the vast majority of those thinking of voting BNP aren’t doing so because they actually want to send black people back to Africa (one of the BNP’s more comical policies) but as a protest at the way things have been run recently.

    You say that Britain “should be… proud and happy to be a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, modern country.” Wasn’t it those very values of “multiculturalism” that led to the 7/7 bombings and hateful protests when our soldiers returned home?

    For years the Labour party cynically dismissed any question about immigration as racist or “likely to whip up racial hatred.” One Labour minister said there was “no upper limit” on the numbers of people that could settle in Britain. Now your chickens are coming home to roost.

    America is not a multicultural country, in my opinion. Whatever the colour of their skin, people are brought up to believe in the values and institutions of the United States. Religious freedom is tolerated, but there’s not even a hint of a suggestion that Sharia law should be tried out. No protests accompany soldiers’ return from the theatre of war, merely pride in those serving their country.

    Yes, the BNP are wrong and hateful, but some of the blame must be laid at you and your colleagues’ door.

    (I am a British citizen currently living in Washington DC.)

  • Diversity

    Being New Labour seems ot be a matter of staying on a message decided by someone at the centre. Diversity is not that sort of thing; it is all sorts of difference.I am not surprised it is also a gifted dance group.

    Me, I generally vote LibDem; and I have been using the pen name Diversity for quite a while.

  • Jane A

    The BNP are a toxic risk to the UK, in my opinion. Our country has been multi-cultural, multi-racial, multi-faith since time immemorial, and all the better for it. We have a positive human rights record in this country because we have acted to accept and defend people of others races, faiths and nationalities, rather than repel them. Long may it be so.

  • Facebook Friend

    I read AC’s blog every day and have a look at his Facebook page too. I haven’t kept records but I reckon today has produced more FB comments than anything he has ever put on there, which suggests it struck a nerve/chord. Lots of people saying the message needs to be got out more widely about what the BNP really stand for. It has also led to a few people defending Labour record in other areas. About time. I agree with the post that said we need to show a bit of fight. I also agree with the ones who say AC should be back in there

  • Thomas Rossetti

    Thank, Alistair, for publishing my comments. A few days ago I said that Labour didn’t “get” the blogosphere because you only seem to publish comments that are complimentary. I completely take that back now. Even John Prescott seems happy to allow criticism of his mock Tudor beams on his blog.

    With regards to Colin Morley’s suggestion, below, that the BNP should be banned from Facebook, this is extremely misguided and, in a way, plays into their hands. Such suggestions merely fuel the idea that it’s unacceptable for people to have different opinions in Britain.

    If members of the BNP physically attack ethnic minorities or incite racial hatred, they should be arrested and taken to court. But if they calmly outline their opinions, we should engage them in civil debate and show that they are wrong.

    Many in the establishment would like to have seen Nick Griffin sent to jail for describing Islam as a “wicked” faith. It may be an ill-informed opinion, but he is surely entitled to it.

    Suppressing free speech only causes bigger problems later on. If only the BNP had been properly challenged on their policies earlier — rather than ignored — they wouldn’t be in danger of doing so well on June the 4th.

  • Thomas Rossetti

    Alastair, I have just realised that I have been repeatedly spelling your name incorrectly. Sorry about that.

  • Charles Letterman

    So we should ‘push aside’ the MP’s expense scandal because the BNP are nasty bits of work should we?

    What next, ‘push aside’ Moira Hindley and Ian Huntley’s crimes because Adolf Hitler was so much worse?

    Unbelievable. The BNP will benefit from the exposure of the corrupt MPs who no longer have the moral high-ground they had over what, unfortunately, is a perfectly legal political party.

    Spin it as you want, if the Observer had broken the expenses story they would have no need for such a story to sell papers.

    http://www.charlesletterman.wordpress.com

  • Pete B

    The reasons why some people vote for the BNP undoubtedly stem from highly complex social, economic and cultural factors which need to be closely scrutinised by the mainstream. It seems probable however, although I have no concrete evidence for this, that BNP voters feel alienated from mainstream society. They feel that they are at the back of the queue for jobs, benefits, social housing and access to good schools. These people are from backgrounds where social disadvantage is deeply entrenched. The BNP offer a simple (wrong, obviously) explanation for what stands in their way and seems to share their anger.

    This suggests that warning people away from the BNP is likely to be far less effective in combating hateful tendencies in our society than working even harder to empower people who have suffered from entrenched social disadvantages. People who are empowered and thus able to live fulfilled lives, are very unlikely to powerfully resent other people within society.

  • Rufous

    You consistently argue that we’re all too negative about politicians, and dispute our take on government. That’s a difficult view to equate with a system where even in the midst of public outcry, those in power can defend their right to continue on the basis that ‘you might not like us, but just look at the alternative.’ Especially given that, as you concede, the BNP halfwits are not about to assume power. (And one Euro-seat is worthless given the party-blocks system.)

    Aren’t you making a tacit admission that the system itself is fundamentally incapable of allowing dissent a voice?

    And in that case, surely abstention is a perfectly honourable course of action for those who wouldn’t mandate any of the choices on offer?

    How else might we motivate candidates, parties, and the system itself, to do better?

  • Joanna

    I also read the Observer today and found the article fascinating. I worry that people see all the banker’s greed and ridiculous MP Expenses and might be seduced by the BNP’s propaganda. Lest we forgot ordinary people in Germany were seduced by Hilter’s charisma and promise of protecting German people and their rights during a time where everyone was struggling. I would like that the Nazi concentration camps will never happen again. But I know the reality is if we let it, it will.

    To the ignorant BNP members, Britain become an empire and what it is today because of the blood, sweat and tears of foreigners, immigrants and yes Africans! Many British companies have become wealthy because of immigrant workers.

    I reiterate the point this country has flourished because of its diversity so PLEASE DON’T LET the BNP change that.

  • Thomas Rossetti

    Joanna, your — and others’ — comparisons between the BNP and Hitler are very misguided. Hitler was able to assume power by becoming Head of the Government, then Head of State, then he convinced the German people no elections were needed*.

    Do you seriously, seriously imagine that Nick Griffin would be able to pull off a similar feat? Hateful as they are, it is beyond the realms of fantasy to suggest that Britain could turn into a 21st century Nazi Germany if the BNP win a few seats. Democracy has got a pretty strong hold in Britain.

    * The details and timeline might be slightly wrong but this is, in essence, what happened.

  • tracey

    To be fair to Alistair Campbell, I posted a harsh comment yesterday not expecting it to be published but it was. Try posting anything critical about the BBC or any British newspaper (apart from the Guardian) on their websites and they simply won’t print it; another example of what incredible hypocrites they are, dissent being great as long as it’s not aimed at them or their chums.

  • michael

    The pleasing thing about Britian’s Got Talent is that is was truly socially inclusive and ethnically diverse without any notion of quotas or Harriet Harman’s silly positive discrimination legislation. The voters were truly colour blind. I fancy the BNP will not do so well on Thursday – but UKIP and the Greens probably will do much better. Labour has had it though Alistair. I’d be interested in your thoughts on why this has happened one of your posts.

  • Caz

    Must admit I was furious when BNP put a leflet through my door. So, childishly, tore it into smal pieces and mailed it back to their head office with no stamp on it. It may be petty but I get satisfaction from knowing that it will cost them £1.40 or so to retrieve it

  • Matt

    For what it’s worth… it was actually Searchlight who did all the heavy lifting on the BNP story yesterday. Neither the NOTW nor the Observer (who had identical details) saw fit to give them more than one passing credit. Credit where it’s due!!