The groups battling to prevent the British National Party gaining a seat in the European elections on June 4 will launch their final offensive this week.
The Board of Deputies-backed Your Voice Not Theirs initiative, the Hope Not Hate campaign and the anti-fascist magazine Searchlight will be putting all their efforts into getting voters out to polling stations.
European elections are decided by proportional representation. The BNP needs as little as eight per cent of the vote to win a seat and that could be enough in the North West, if voters stay at home, to send BNP leader Nick Griffin to Brussels.
If the BNP wins a seat, it will give them an income of around £250,000 plus expenses. It will also give Griffin the opportunity to forge stronger links with other far-right parties in Europe, such as the National Party in the Czech Republic, which has just run a broadcast calling for a “final solution” for the Roma, provoking echoes of the Nazis’ Final Solution for the Jewish people.
The anti-BNP alliance has realised that their task has been made harder by the revelations of the Westminster expenses scandal and the effect this has had on the electorate. However, they believe they can still keep the BNP out of Europe.
Searchlight founder Gerry Gable said: “There will be a moment of danger if people don’t come out to vote. We hope everyone thinks it’s worthwhile to do so. There has been considerable coverage in the daily papers and television and the BNP has been roundly criticised. In the North West area, about one million pieces of anti-BNP material have been distributed. In other areas, we have asked postmen to exercise the conscience clause not to give out their material”.
Ruth Smeeth of Your Voice Not Theirs said: “The message to everyone is simple: get out and vote. We must do everything to stop the BNP being given legitimacy as a political party”.