Saturday, May 06, 2006

BNP raises its ugly head

The most disturbing feature of the election is the gains by the BNP. They now have 46 council seats (they won 11 in Barking and Dagenham to become the second-largest party). There are probably a number of factors here: disillusionment with the mainstream parties; New Labour’s obsession with “Middle England” and neglect of the inner-city white working-class; the rise of “Islamophbia”; the fiasco at the Home Office forcing “immigration” up the agenda; Margaret Hodge’s gift of free publicity; and probably– I hate to say it – effective campaigning by the BNP. It is also possible that if the Conservatives under Cameron move to the centre a gap on the right opens up into which parties such as UKIP and the BNP can move. The most propitious circumstances for the far-right do seem to be Labour in power and the Conservatives pitching for the middle ground. I seem to remember that the last time the far-right appeared on the political map was in the mid-to-late 1970’s. With the election of Thatcher – who quite cynically played the “race card” in the 1979 election – the far-right bubble burst. Lets hope this isn’t the only way the threat can be countered.


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