Some central trends that jump out at first glance:
- They remain the same race based party they always have been. The BNP is keen to emphasise that they would expel illegal immigrants, but reading between the lines there is obviously a much more sinister end goal. There is an ominous mention of a “long-term resettlement programme” for third world nationals (pg 20), the clause-28 proscription against “the promotion of racial integration in schools and the media” (pg 22) remains party policy, and there is an even a suggestion that the BNP regards all immigration since 1997 as invalid, needing to be ‘reviewed’ (pg 16).
- No compromise with the electorate*. We expected the BNP to significantly row back their more extreme, absurd and authoritarian policies in this manifesto in order to try and appear more moderate to the general public. Instead, the vast majority of their policies remain the same. The BNP still want to legalise guns (pg 41). They still want to censor popular television shows (pg 45). The media is still to be put under greater “democratic … control” (pg 43) and the death penalty still brought back (pg 48). There’s even a new one – the BNP wants to create a new penal colony for the worst criminals on the island of South Gerorgia (pg 48).
- The BNP is trying to excite mass anti Muslim bigotry. During this election campaign one of the BNP’s central strategies has been an attempt to cynically take advantage of the fear of extremist Islamic terrorism. In this manifesto, the BNP seem to cross the line into a grotesque, racist and sectarian full out war on Islam, completely at odds with any sense of traditional British tolerance and liberalism. Not only will the burka and further mosques be banned but as “Islam is by its very nature incompatible with… western democracy… Islamic immigration [must] be halted and reversed” (pg 30).
- The manifesto contradicts itself extensively. Is the money for foreign aid to be used for paying for the BNP’s resettlement programme (pg 21) or paying off the national debt? (pg 68) Or is it for ending poverty in Britain? (pg 64) Or perhaps paying for the NHS? (pg 52) If science is so important to the nation (pg 56), then how come the BNP wants to cut off the industries of the future such as biotech or green energy? GM crops are banned on pg 59 and wind farms stopped on pg 62
- None of the numbers add up. The BNP seem to believe that regularly sprinkling in the magic words “revenue neutral” is enough to make their sums work. But with expensive new plans for schools, hospitals and the military, and commitments to cut income tax, council tax, VAT, student loans, car and fuel tax (oh, and the deficit), its not quite clear how this is supposed to work. Despite what the BNP might have you believe, cutting foreign aid will not plug all budget holes – we’ll be looking in more details at their specific numbers later.
* Or the mainstream. Or sanity.