May 03, 2007

Use your vote, stop the BNP

By attending your local polling station today you can help to prevent electoral gains in Britain by the far right.

The far right British National party (BNP) is fighting a record 800-plus seats in today's elections - fielding more than twice as many candidates as in previous votes. At stake are seats in the Scottish parliament, the Welsh assembly and local councils in most parts of England outside London.

The BNP is aiming to double its number of councillors. This is the biggest electoral push the party has ever mounted. There are widespread fears that the BNP will make significant electoral gains and strengthen its foothold in dozens of local authorities - unless voters turn out to block its advance.

The BNP tends to do well when there is a low turnout. Voter apathy allows its candidates to come through the middle and snatch seats.

That is why it is so important for you to vote today, if you live in a constituency where elections are being held. Make sure your family, friends and neighbours vote, too. A high turnout will reduce the BNP's share of the vote and lessen its chance of winning seats.

The BNP is, sadly, no longer entirely insignificant. Its recent growth in places like Barking and Dagenham, where it won 11 council seats last year, is a serious worry. There is no room for complacency. The BNP is a racist, anti-semitic, anti-Muslim and homophobic party. It is a threat to democracy and human rights - and needs to be stopped.

A disturbing number of past and present BNP members are on record as denying the holocaust. Some have criminal convictions, including for racist hatred, threats and violence.

Realising that this thuggery turns off the voters, the BNP is moderating its image. Its game-plan is to copy the tactics of successful European far right and neo-Nazi parties, such as the Front National in France, the Vlaams Blok in Belgium and the National Democratic Party in Germany.

In the last year or so, the BNP has undergone a major make-over in a bid to widen its popular appeal. Slick city suits have replaced the old bovver-boot image. Moving away from overt neo-Nazism, the BNP is attempting to reposition itself as a mainstream nationalist patriotic party, defending the rights and culture of what it calls the "indigenous" British people.

Ex-BNP activist turned anti-fascist campaigner Matthew Collins is a director of Searchlight's Operation Wedge. He says the new-look BNP is nearly all spin and PR. The party may have toned down its open racism and street violence, but behind the smiling face of its leader, Nick Griffin lurks a hateful Islamophobia, racism and homophobia. The BNP is a menace to democracy and to minority communities, posing a particular threat to the welfare and security of black, Asian, Jewish, Muslim and gay people.

For all these reasons, it is important that we make Nick Griffin a loser. Use your vote today.

While I would personally prefer you to vote Green, in this instance I don't care who you vote for, as long as you vote for a non-BNP party. In constituencies where the BNP is strong, vote tactically for the candidate most likely to defeat the BNP. Together, united, we can block the rise of the far right.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good stuff. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.