The Advertiser took to the streets of Oldham to ask the public what they think about the European Elections and the BNP’s success:
Julie Williams, who works for Oldham Adult Learning Disability Service, did not vote. "I am ashamed of myself, and anyone who didn’t vote should be as well," she said. "When I found out the BNP had won I was absolutely incredulous. I will never not vote again."
Randy Arthurs, 41, from Alt, a father of one who is half Jamaican, fears of a repeat of what happened in 2001. "I am so angry and worried," he said. "I remember seeing the cars on fire and the bad feeling around Oldham. I would hate us to go back to those dark days. We’ve moved on so much."
Damian Hall, 41, from Moorside, said the BNP success is a backwards step for Oldham. "If people disagree with the current Government they should use their vote constructively. This is an ethnically diverse town. There are a lot of organisations and groups that work towards ethnic cohesion. I don’t think Oldham can move forwards with a BNP MEP. You can’t call yourself British or nationalist if you won’t let someone join your party because of the colour of their skin."
Anthony Bromiley, 21, and Jamie Whittleworth, 26, from Shaw, welcomed the BNP victory and said it was a wake up call to the Government. "The country at the moment has gone to the dogs," Anthony said. "Me and my mates feel like our rights and our jobs have been taken off us by immigrants. The Government need to get its priorities sorted and look after those here first who need help."
Jamie said: "I have mates who have left the army because they don’t believe this country is worth fighting for anymore."
Mauaz Ahmad, 23, from Coppice, voted Conservative and is offended that Oldham helped the BNP win. "The BNP is a party which doesn’t acknowledge what the thousands of soldiers who died on D-Day were fighting for," he said, "These men died so we could all be free. The BNP will now have a platform to spread their ‘Nazi’ policies and ideology. It worries me what may happen in Oldham. We have spent the last few years really getting on."
Kirsty Khan, 17, from Shaw, said Oldham will only improve if people become more intergrated. "If you are to live together in a community, you have to contribute to its success. My experience of volunteering for the Princes Trust at Groundwork opened my eyes to the diversity in Oldham. It gave me a different point of view which I will build upon for the rest of my life. If you have a problem with immigrants, you need to remember that these people came here to build a better life for themselves – many escaped torture and war."
Shama Arif, who runs a newsagents on Yorkshire Street said she was scared of the BNP. "There are still issues between people of different backgrounds but it is improving," she said. "I have to agree that the way the Government has handled immigration is appalling and, as a result, all those from different backgrounds are being tarred with the same brush. I’d hate for us to go back to the bad days, but must remember, it is a minority of people that hold such views."
Emma Milligan, 23, from Derker, said: "The political system may be shocking and a lot of people have steered clear of voting, but the BNP is not a serious option for this borough or the country."