So the Bastard Nazi Party have got a European Parliament seat in Yorkshire, and may well have one in the North West where I am. They have done this on a turnout of something around 43%. That means that, statistically, more than half of you reading this and eligible couldn’t be bothered to vote.
I didn’t think I had done very much campaigning in this election, but I did a couple of days of Hope Not Hate stuff, and I spent the whole of Thursday working for the Lib Dems. And believe me, it was fucking work, leafletting in that heat I walked so much my bus pass dissolved in my pocket and my legs were still aching this morning. I have a lot to say about the stuff I heard when doing telephone canvassing too – the utter, total lack of faith in the political system which has been brought about by decades of corrupt, authoritarian right-wing governments, which I’ll write about later. But practically no-one was out doing this.
On the days I did Hope Not Hate stuff there were maybe thirty or forty people doing it. On the election day there were eight doing active campaigning where I was (which is not to say there weren’t other Lib Dems campaigning in other areas – with it being a regional thing people were hitting target areas).
And I want to personally praise John Leech, the MP for Manchester Withington, to the skies – he was out there leafletting from five o’clock in the fucking morning when I didn’t drag my lazy arse out of bed til gone ten. He also gave various people lifts – while certain other MPs in nearby constituencies have chauffeurs, he was driving a bunch of us around in a tiny Mini that I had immense difficulty getting into and out of.
But the only election leaflets I got through the door this year were from the BNP and Greens, the only paid advertising posters I’ve seen were for racist UKIP (votes for whom I can at least understand, as they at least make a half-hearted go at pretending not to be racist). I’ve not seen a single person with a Tory or Labour poster in their window, and only one with the Lib Dems “Winning Here” diamonds (my friend Dave Page, so he’s one of the people exempted from the general ‘fuck you’ here).
Like I say, I didn’t do much to stop this happening – almost nothing, in fact. Just a couple of days’ work. But that’s a couple of days’ more work than almost anyone else, and fifty-six percent of you couldn’t even be bothered to put a cross in a box. You didn’t even have to go to a polling station to do it – you could have used a postal vote. And don’t tell me that on a ballot with twenty-odd parties on there’s not one you could have voted for.
Anyone I see claiming they’re upset, annoyed or sickened by the BNP getting a seat had *BETTER* have been out there actually doing something to stop them. Otherwise you’re part of the reason why my tax money will now be going to supporting a party that wants most – if not all – my friends and loved ones dead.
Were it not for the fact that innocents will be harmed because of this – seriously harmed – I’d say it serves you right to be getting incompetent thugs representing you (and indeed ‘representing’ me). But the money the BNP will get from the EU will be spent on things like defending party members who go out ‘Paki-bashing’. The BNP will now have a legal right to airtime on the BBC. This fucking matters.
So come on. What, if anything, did you do to stop this? And I don’t mean going #thebnparetwats on twitter, ho ho ho very amusing – what did you actually do? If you can’t answer that, then you’re at least as much to blame for this as the corrupt Labour and Tory politicians, or the fascists themselves…
You’re emotional, it’s to be expected, but the only people that are the blame here are those that didn’t vote, and those that failed to make the proper arguments. Even as much as you went leafleting, the leaflets were all useless. I didn’t see one euro election leaflet that made any kind of case for why people should be voting for a mainstream party, or even just a party already there, let alone why the EU is something worth engaging in sceptical or otherwise.
Dump shit loads of paper on peoples doorstep, but if it does nothing but make people roll their eyes and lament on the same old politics then it’s not going to change anything either.
Hey! Don’t include me! I was leafletting in Bedford for the Lib Dems at 5am on Thursday!
The biggest problem we have in this country, especially in the European elections, is the right wing British Press (especially the Daily Mail – never beleive anything you read in the Daliy Mail). They officially condemn the BNP and probably aren’t really opposed to our membership of the EU but they jump at any opportunity to have a go at foreigners in general and the EU in particular because it sells newspapers and the big 2 Tory parties (AKA Conservative & New Labour – can you tell the difference?) avoid the issue because promoting the good work of the EU is seen as a potential vote loser.
The real problems we face are apathy and disinterest in politics. Too many people won’t bother to vote because they see all parties as the same (not too surprising as the 2 parties ruling in the last 30 years have the same policies) and they don’t bother to read political leaflets or watch TV broadcasts so they don’t know what we have to offer that is different.
What really annoys me are the people I have heard say that they didn’t know there was an election because there was no publicity! Admittedly the news has been sidetracked by the expenses row but we have been bombarded with Party Election broadcasts for both local and Euro elections over the last few weeks, not to mention leaflets in the post and hand-delivered by us party activists. Unfortunately there are idiots who deliberately refuse to read these leaflets or watch the broadcasts (they are only 5 minutes long for heavens sake!) so it’s there own fault if they don’t know what’s happening or what parties stand for.
How we can change this situation and persuade them to (A) vote, and (B) vote for the right party is beyond me. I just hope they wake up before the BNP storm troopers start rounding up anybody with a suntan, some of whom are actually stupid enough to vote BNP! I’d love to see their faces if they actually tried to join the party.
If 110,000 people in Yorkshire choose to vote BNP, it’s not because they made an effort ( such as the effort you made campaigning for the Lib Dems ) to vote, it’s because they refused to make an effort to THINK.
No amount of campaigning for legitimate political parties will change the fact that a small, but unfortunately influential, proportion of the British public are ignorant and naive malcontents.
If politicians want votes, they need to pursue votes…not expect them. It could be argued that the BNP’s success reflects the complacency of the mainstream political parties, rather than the complacency & disinterest of the general public.
The mainstream parties gave the public a “reason” to vote BNP. Those people who did not vote at all cannot be held responsible for the deeds of the politicians they did not elect, any more than those who voted for New Labour are in part to blame for the hundreds of thousands of dead in Iraq.
Whilst I despise the BNP and their fascist ideology, I also recognise that they are a party who did not, for instance, introduce Britain to Margaret Thatcher or Tony Blair & any damage that the BNP’s ideas may inflict on this country pale into insignificance in comparison.
I’m less concerned that the BNP has support in Britain, than I am that the British public has expressed greater outrage at politicians claiming expenses than it did when this country backed the invasion of Iraq.
I very much agree with your last paragraph, and I actually was disgusted that this, rather than all the other incompetent, authoritarian and otherwise evil things this government has done (like the war, like removal of the right to a duty lawyer, like the 10p tax debacle) was the final straw for many people. But my canvassing experience put that in a new light – which I will write about shortly…
Very much agree on the apathy thing, as at least in Yorkshire the BNP actually received less votes than in previous years, but a higher percentage of the much reduced turnout.
This highlights the most worrying impact of their gain, which is the message it sends to other parties. As I say it’s not mostly an illusion: the BNP’s support base is fairly stable and probably hard-capped due to the obnoxiousness of their policies. But we only have to look at the adoption of One Nation immigration policies in Australia following hard-right victories to see the possible effects this might have on the main parties agenda.
Well don’t blame me, I live in Australia and only started reading this blog for comics and dr who stuff…
I’m slightly baffled as to why the big item in the press is the BNP getting two seats, whereas the UKIP ran 2nd and got 16 seats, which seems to me much more significant.
We had these sort of borderline parties in Australia, including ‘One Nation’ and ‘Australians Against Further Immigration’, and the best they ever got was one senate seat federally, and a few seats in various states which vanished when they generally blew up and couldn’t deliver.
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