With so many Commons thieves about, the electorate no longer knows which politicians to trust. My personal selection process for future elections will continue to involve in-depth reading of leaflets and manifestos. It will involve, as usual, trying to assess whether or not the sitting MP has done a decent job.
But, most importantly, before casting my vote, I will require to see a complete set of the member's expenses. Candidates aspiring to the job will have to present a detailed budget of claims they intend to make on the public purse if elected. A list of the names of any family and friends they intend to employ would also be appreciated.
Lord Tebbit has come up with a better way of being sure you are not let down by Labour, Conservative, or LibDem. Don't vote for them. Opt instead for one of the smaller parties. I have never knowingly agreed with anything the Chingford Skinhead said but he is definitely on to something with this concept. Tebbit was talking about a temporary boycott of the main parties, just for the European elections, but I think his idea could be extended to Westminster. A parliament full of odds and sods could not do any more damage than the present lot.
There is one small problem about this breaking of the mould. The British National Party is high on the list of those who hope to benefit from the present public disaffection with politicians. Lord Tebbit was careful not to offer advice about which minority party to support. But he did urge people not to vote for the BNP, which he described as "Labour with racism".
Various anti-fascist action groups react to the BNP by direct confrontation. Others who find the BNP distasteful ignore them and hope they will go away. Normally, I would opt for the latter. Instead, I decided to examine, as dispassionately and forensically as possible, the BNP's policies and pronouncements.
The BNP has a slogan: "Before you listen to them talk to us." "Them" are presumably the major parties, the anti-fascist groups, and the media. I didn't have to talk to the BNP. There is enough information on their websites and online BNPtv to see where they are coming from.
In his speech to a party conference last year, Charlie Bailey of Baillieston, who is number two on their European election list in Scotland, was quite clear: "The BNP stands for white British people. There are no new Scots, only Scots. Our ancestors are the Picts."
The BNP's mission statement goes back even further than the Picts: "The British National Party exists to secure a future for the indigenous peoples of these islands We use the term indigenous to describe the people whose ancestors were the earliest settlers here after the last great Ice Age and which have been complemented by the historic migrations from mainland Europe." The BNP welcomes "those of closely kindred European stock". Question: Do these kindred Europeans include Polish plumbers? And Latvians and other Europeans who do a lot of the work round here?
Ethnicity is a major concern for this party. So what is to be done with the non-white British and the white non-British who currently live here? The BNP favours "voluntary resettlement whereby those immigrants who are legally here will be afforded the opportunity to return to their lands of ethnic origin assisted by generous financial incentives". Question: How will we repopulate large areas of our towns and cities vacated when non-whites and non-Brits are resettled? Who is going to run the fruit shops and halal butchers on Woodlands Road?
The BNP economic policy is British goods made by British workers with the "economy and the land restored to British ownership". Question: So, no iPods, flat-screen TVs, BMWs, or clothes out of Primark?
BNP on shopping: "We will take active steps to break up the socially, economically and politically damaging monopolies now being established by the supermarket giants." Question: So, it's goodbye to a case of lager for £8, three bottles of wine for a tenner, and six Scotch pies for the price of four?
On health, the BNP vows to "revitalise the NHS by boosting staff and bed numbers" and "will see to it that no money is given in foreign aid while our own hospitals are short of beds and the staff to run them". Question: Will there be a hiatus in the quality of service while the NHS replaces non-white and non-British doctors and nurses packed off to their lands of ethnic origin?
On agriculture and fisheries, the BNP promises British fish caught by British fishermen for British people. They also "will ensure a major shift to healthier and more sustainable organic farming". Question: Do Italian fish fryers come under the heading of closely kindred European stock? And will we be allowed to put curry sauce on our organic chips?
On education, the BNP "will end the practice of politically correct indoctrination" and "seek to instil in our young people knowledge of and pride in the history, cultures and heritage of the native peoples of Britain". Question: Will there be politically incorrect indoctrination instead? Will our schoolchildren be encouraged to march at torchlight processions? Will tomorrow belong to them?
Leaving no stone (or even a hundredweight) unturned, the BNP pledges to restore traditional British weights and measures. I feel no need to return to the days of bushels and pecks and rods and furlongs. In fact, I can see nothing in the BNP manifesto or pronouncements which ticks any of my boxes.
Anyone contemplating voting BNP should not listen to me. Listen to the BNP instead. Watch their videos on YouTube and BNPtv. You may come across a speech by a Rhodesian chap called Arthur Kemp who is a BNP adviser and philosopher.
Kemp tells his BNP audience how British patriots have given their blood and how it is "now time for the tyrants to pay with their blood". He adds: "We promise when we come to power we will put these people on trial for treason. The only issue is whether we will bring back the death penalty for treason before or after the trials."
I don't think Mein Kemp is talking metaphorically here.
Gary Raikes, a resident of Turriff in Aberdeenshire, fancies his chances of becoming Scotland's first BNP MEP. Before casting any ballots to promote Raikes's progress, voters may like to ask the candidate about this business of treason trials and executions.