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Mainstream has a duty to vote against BNP

Posted on 1 June 2009 | 11:06am

After posting my blog on the BNP and Diversity yesterday (apologies to Diversity for having them in the same sentence as the BNP) I went for a long bike ride, with the wind behind me all the way back from Chipping Barnet, read a bit, wrote a bit, watched a bit of the French Open before checking on responses to the blog.

The avalanche on Facebook suggested that if only people are exposed to the reality of what the BNP say and stand for, they can be provoked into action.

It was not all one way. Whilst most took the opportunity simply to add their own forms of condemnation, or historical context, there were a few ‘I’m not racist but…’ contributions in there, a few blaming Labour’s record on helping working people (which I can defend against any government record you like to name) and some saying we should not be taking them seriously, all of which provoked fresh debate through the day.

Watch out in the next 24 hours for a letter whose signatories are headed by Gordon Brown, and include sports stars, actors and trade union leaders, urging people to ‘vote for a Great Britain’ in the European elections on Thursday.

The letter celebrates our tolerance and diversity and draws attention to some of the views of racial-hatred-inciting, Holocaust-denying BNP leader Nick Griffin, a man it describes as ‘not only racist but fascist.’ It was obvious to me from some of the comments yesterday that Griffin’s strategy of concealing his extremism has had some effect, helped of course by MPs’ expenses which have created a sense of a political elite divorced from the mainstream majority.

I would argue that it is extremism and fascism that is divorced from the mainstream, and which the mainstream has to defeat, by voting against the BNP on Thursday.

** I can’t let the morning go by without pointing out that had a Labour Cabinet minister been responsible for the expenses claims of David Cameron, both wisteria clearance and second home allowance, we would have heard an awful lot more of it.

In an explanation so convoluted I don’t have the time or the will to put it up here in full, Dave insists he has done nothing wrong, that the taxpayer has had value for money and if his party’s scrutiny committee thinks he should pay it back he will. That would be the three-man scrutiny committee with his chief whip and his chief of staff on it. Some ‘new politics’ eh?

  • Alan Marsh

    Good to see the Independent running your blog this morning. That too suggests it hit a nerve. I hope this is not happening too late. Glad to hear Gordon doing something, but maybe he could have done earlier, but was preoccupied with expenses

  • Jenni Hay

    Your old paper carries a good piece by the Prime Minister too so he has obviously decided to get into the debate against the BNP a bit more. I have been alarmed how, apart from the Mirror and the piece you referred to in the Observer, the media seem to be giving the BNP an easy time, almost willing them to do well because that would be another stick with which to beat Labour and Gordon Brown in particular

  • Freddy Hanson

    I am not racist but … I sure as hell am not voting Labour.

  • Richard

    I’m not racist either but I’ll vote Tory – and got my mum to do so also.

  • Terry Evans

    I’m pleased that you’ve gone with this subject again as you will see by the message I left on your wall yesterday. These vile people have a drip drip effect that does get through to some people. The politics of the BNP are so vile and hateful it is scary that they may even just get a semblance of power. Glad thay GB is becoming more proactive but I fear his time should be up and for the benefit of the Labour party we need a new leader. My preference would be Alan Johnson.

  • Alex

    The BNP might be a gang of red necked racists, but unlike you they have not told lies and spin to lead the UK into a war where thousands of women and children have been killed. WAR CRIMINAL

  • Pete B

    “a few blaming Labour’s record on helping working people (which I can defend against any government record you like to name)”

    The suggestion that entrenched social disadvantage is a major force behind votes for the BNP is not incompatible with the view that Labour has done infinitely more for the most disadvantaged in society than the Tories did during their 18 years in power. Nor does it deny that a fourth Labour term would be a much better prospect for those who suffer from entrenched disadvantages than a David Cameron government ever could be.

    However, appalling poverty has certainly not been banished from our society. Until it is, Labour cannot claim to have done enough. As I said yesterday, when people are in a situation where they feel helpless and excluded, they are much more likely to vote for racist parties whose messages resonate with their feelings of exclusion and injustice.

    Only through working to free the most disadvantaged members of our society from poverty can the threat from the BNP be avoided. Even more money needs to be invested in schools which serve deprived areas and more doctors, social workers and drug treatment programmes need to be provided too. Campaigning directly against the BNP is only likely to make them more of an appealing way for people to rebel against the political mainstream.

  • Brian

    I twittered a few days ago regarding MP’s expenses and how it had been open to ‘interpretation’ for years, but surely the British mainstream are not blind to the fact of what the BNP actually stand for. A vote in that direction as a protest to Labour or any other credible party would be huge error in terms of expressing dis-satisfaction with the handling of current issues and the latest financial revelations.

  • Ian Eastwood

    In the current economic and political environment the BNP must be rubbing there hands. How many free votes have been handed to them in the wake of the expenses scandal? Tied in with rising unemployment and public disaffection, this creates a breeding ground for many extremist views. These must be fought against at every opportunity. To hand any power to these people is dancing with the devil, something people will regret when it’s to late.

  • Max

    Hi, Alastair,

    I watched the repeat last night of Comic Relief: The Apprentice, and was again reminded of how disappointed I am in you, in that despite all your apparent beliefs in socialism and equality, you revert to worst kind of chauvinistic, even paternalistic, schoolboy bully whenever you get the chance. I do not expect you to agree with this. It is my observation, and I am not sure you can do much about changing your behaviour. But it is remarkable to me that it always seems to be those from the Left who display these supposed “alpha male” characteristics, almost as a badge of working class honour. I find it really unattractive. I think that, if I were a woman, I would find it even more off-putting. Am I supposed to admire it?

  • Des Currie

    I am a white man, born and lived in Southern Africa most of my life, and worked extensively with populations across racial divides, and can categorically state with the firmest of convictions that there is a racial divide amongst the various population groupings bordering on the choice of civilisation to be followed. And so it is throughout Africa and the rest of world. We are not “equal”, common sense should tell you that.
    Like values tend to keep company with like values, and civilisation should be all being civilised, without having to cart those kicking and screaming into it, those who have chosen some other route.
    There are exceptions, of course, but the exceptions are in so small minority as to be inconsequential.
    So it may be said that though Nick Griffin denies the holocaust, he is doing so at the same time Israel is following its own decimation of the Palestinians.
    And so it goes, civilisations, passing slowly in the night.
    Des Currie

  • Chris M

    Alistair Campbell…communicator, writer, bullshitter.

    This is a man who played his part in the wholesale destruction of our country and all he can waffle on about is his love for diversity.
    The mainstream has no duty to vote against anyone. The mainstream has a duty to vote for the party whose values they believe in, if thats the BNP, then so be it. Its called a democracy, not that you would know too much about that 🙂

    Its down to the mainstream parties to “listen” to the publics concerns, not the other way round!!!!

  • Steve

    I will be voting BNP on June 4th, I’m sick and tired of the multi cultural message being forced down the throats of the British people as a smokescreen for the continued invasion of our lands by anyone who has the desire to set up home here. Politicians need to be sent a clear message that the people of the UK have had enough.

  • mary

    Much of what you say is probably correct Alastair, but it is coming across as smoke and mirrors. Never mind the coduct of the Home Secretary and the Chancellor, lets talk about the BNP instead. You really need to acknowledge that a Labour government has chosen to ignore the expenses issues for 12 years. Even now, it seems impossible for Mr.Brown to get on with identifying and dismissing the major wrong doers. Why keep waiting for the Telegraph?

  • Em

    I mentioned your FB page at a dinner party last evening and I was surprised to see that many of the guests knew very little about the BNP. It was difficult to convince them that such a party can exist in the U.K. today. Anyway, I set them straight.

    Don’t want to defend Dave but could it be that the wisteria threatened the foundations of the house? In that case, the expense would be necessary, if not an emergency. That plant should be classified as a terrorist threat. I’ll go read his excuses after writing this but with every new extravagant story regarding expenses, every time I try to imagine what thought processes were at work at the time the expense was claimed.

    It is indeed unfair that Labour is getting more scrutiny, but it is hardly surprising. With great power comes great responsibility and after three terms in office, the media isn’t interested in assessing Labour in a just manner. It seems to me that the Blair/Brown dichotomy was created and perpetrated both by individuals in Labour and the media. This myth-making (the cupboard they first shared at Westminster, the Granita pact, etc…) was fated for a bad end. Brown was never given a fair shake, not from the press and, perhaps, I’m not sure, not from his own party either.

    DES, your comment is elusive but I’m guessing this so-called “choice of civilisation to be followed” is part of the newfangled frills white supremacists have added to their repertoire. Interesting how, just as contemporary society has renewed interest in genetics, the great white hopes are talking culture rather than nature now. Retarded as always and in every way.

    (Retarded: delay or hold back in terms of progress, development or accomplishment)

  • Boudicca

    The rise in the BNP is entirely due to the policies Labour has carried out for the past 12 years of unfettered immigration coupled with lax asylum procedures and appeasement of Muslim terrorists.

    I won’t be voting BNP – they are extreme socialists (National, rather than international) and I’m not – but I don’t need someone partly responsible for their rise to tell me not to.

    As for a letter signed by Gordon and various luvvies, sport stars and dinosaur trade union leaders …. do you seriously expect that to change anyone’s opinion of the incompetent residing in No.10 and the bunch of expense-fiddling members of his Cabinet?

  • Thomas Rossetti

    Alastair, I entirely agree with you that “…if people are exposed to the reality of what the BNP say and stand for, they can be provoked into action.”

    This however, was not done by mainstream politicians or journalists for years. As I’ve stated before, people just pretended the BNP didn’t exist. This is what was tried with Jean Marie Le Pen and his Front National in France during the 1980s and didn’t work. M Le Pen’s party now has seven seats in the European Parliament and the man himself came second in the presidential elections of 2002.

    I think the reason that people feel the need to pre-empt their statements with “I’m not a racist but…” is that, in the past, *any* concern expressed about asylum or immigration was met with accusations of racism or hate-mongering. (Tony Blair and Simon Hughes shamefully did this to William Hague before the 2001 General Election.) It is good to see that this lazy slur will no longer wash and that mainstream politicians — and the mainstream media — are finally taking on the likes of the BNP.

  • Ian Davies

    The mainstream majority do not sense that the political elite are divored, they know.
    Extremism and fascism are on the rise throughout Europe due to the inactivity of politicians to control immigration allowing thE fanatics to scaremonger.
    The PM needs to do more than head a letter, he needs to get out there and be the PM.

  • James Brunton

    Maybe Alistair, if your beloved Labour party had so badly let down the people they are elected and purport to represent then ordinary people wouldn’t feel such a need for ‘real’ change … from the corrupt governing party who has now tainted most MP’s (of course other parties MP’s were caught with their hands in the till too). You also cannot dictate one person’s political views to anyone else…it’s immoral and goes against what a ‘Great Britain’ stands for. Furthermore, if I thought that it would rid the country of the incompetent idiocy of Gordon Brown I would be sorely tempted to put aside my misgivings about the BNP in order to oust the PM, to show those governing the country that this country is no longer willing to accept the currently shoddy standards of leadership!

  • dcrowley

    Keep up the good work Alistair. I cannot believe that the Telegraph gave Cameron such an easy ride in today’s edition.

  • Wyrdtimes

    Perhaps the Telegraphs coverage was balanced by the coverage from governments mouthpiece the BBC.

    Last week the lead story was about a tory sleaze every day and barely a mention of the grubbyness of of whiter than white new labour with their flip flopping of 2nd, 3rd and 4th homes. Or most disgracefully of all putting accountancy fees on expenses – using taxpayers money to avoid paying taxes themselves.

    We expect the tories to be selfish money grubbing scoundrels. But Labour are vile hypocrites to boot. Holier than thou, we care for the poor etc. But robbing from all and worming their way out of paying their full share of taxes themselves. Vile.

    Still Ed Balls will be happy eh? What a man to be chancellor. Annihilation awaits Labour and it is so, so deserved.

  • gary Enefer

    What a mess we are in.

  • Des Currie

    Em, old chap, when one is writing on the master of spins blog one should be wary of little spin coming from the respondents. I got my message across, and it had nothing to do with the colour of my skin or the the passing of ships.
    Des Currrie