There is a hot debate in England rather than in the entire UK over the British National Party – the BNP. It is essentially an English beast although it adopts the name of the total nation.
Let me start by saying that I totally reject everything this far right group of hate stands for.
Equally I reject everything those who say they are anti-fascist, supposedly of the far left, who come out on to the streets to protest against the BNP and give a policeman a good kicking whilst they are at it, stand for too.
They are twin yolks from the same egg.
I would not want to live in either of their worlds – and equally I have no doubt my presence would not be tolerated.
That having been said I have no problem with the BNP being given a platform to speak from in the national media. The party won seats at council and European level at recent elections therefore its representatives were democratically elected.
In a democracy you have to take the rough with the smooth. I know that in some US Conservative circles, especially those expounded on Fox News, the belief is that people only have a right to democracy if they think the same as these Republicans do. Mercifully few of us chant their mantra.
Ironically I believe the BNP can be good for British democracy. The party has only gained prominence because the section of people who support this rabble believe the mainstream parties are not even addressing let alone answering their concerns.
Labour, Conservative and Liberal politicians have become far removed from the everyday problems faced by those who see no hope in their lives. Nick Griffin comes as a timely kick up the backside.
However ultimately the rise of the BNP is due to the disastrous decline of the Labour Party in its traditional heartland. The majority of BNP votes were Labour votes – you only have to look at the seats they have won to see this truth.
“What about the workers” used to be the socialist cry? Now under New Labour we are all workers – or rather we are all middle class workers, except of course we are not... nor do we inhabit the Blair, Mandelson dreamland. There every minority has a voice, has its rights set in stone – not surprising really as Blair and Mandelson are minorities themselves. Indeed they have been so busy giving voice to the New Labour project that they left the majority abandoned, rooted in silence.
What Labour has to address is the plight of the unemployed, the fears of those who live on the borderline, those who are scared because they are foreigners in their own communities, those who dare not walk on their streets or go out at night.
The Labour Party used to be their mouthpiece and refuge. If the party doesn’t rise to the challenge and take back that role the BNP will step in to fill the void. It would not give Nick Griffin the votes to rule the once green and pleasant land but it would change the political landscape... and the Labour Party then eventually democracy would be the losers.
(Of course right wing extremists are not just a British phenomenon. As Nick Griffin was proclaiming the BNP doctrine on the BBC the Guardia Civil were arresting five members of the Falange in Navarra and Zaragoza. They are alleged to have carried out violent actions in the Comunidad Foral and Pais Vasco in the name of the Falange y Tradición. The Falange was the party of the Franco dictatorship).