I understand why some people will vote for the BNP

“Politician’s wear their anti-racist credentials in the same way that Nick Griffin is wearing a Remembrance Day poppy in the picture above.”

I understand why some people vote for the BNP. Saying that doesn’t mean that I will vote for the BNP, or that I support the BNP, or that I am recommending the BNP; it simply means that I have a certain sympathy with people who are so far excluded from the political process that they feel they need to vote for an extreme party in order to make an extreme statement.

People are angry. They are justifiably angry. According to theSunday Times Rich List 2010, the wealth of the richest 1,000 multi-millionaires has increased by 29.9% in the last year. This is at a time when the rest of us are being asked to tighten our belts, to accept wage cuts and austerities and a reduction in our public services.

People can see this. They know that the system is stacked against them. They recognise the political system for what it is: a mechanism for the redistribution of wealth, from the poor, to the rich.

Anti-racism is a diversion. Everyone in the political establishment is anti-racist. Gordon Brown is anti-racist. David Cameron is anti-racist. Nick Clegg is anti-racist. Politician’s wear their anti-racist credentials in the same way that Nick Griffin is wearing a Remembrance Day poppy in the picture above. Being anti-racist is just a radical rosette which any politician can pin to his lapel to make it look like he is a concerned and caring person.

It has become so much a part of the political brand as a whole, that any politician who deviates from the message by just a few ill-considered words is hounded down. What this sets up is a form of self-censorship. Is the average Tory squire any less racist than he used to be? Of course not. He just doesn’t say it in public any more.

Billy Hayes, the general secretary of the Communications Workers Union – and a strong supporter of the Labour Party – is a spokesman for Unite Against Fascism, and has made a number of statements against the BNP. This is all very radical and left-wing and it shows how deeply committed he is to a progressive political agenda.

But Billy Hayes has just negotiated an agreement with the Royal Mail which sees postal workers having to take a reduction in wages and a worsening of our conditions. Maybe this is also part of his anti-racist agenda. We are all going to be shafted equally, regardless of our ethnic background.

The issue isn’t race, it is class. It always was. All working people are suffering under the strains of the neo-liberal attack which politicians have encouraged in the last 30 years; the deregulation of the banking sector to allow the kleptocratsin the City of London to steal our pension funds and our savings; the break-up and sale of our public services at knock-down prices; the export of our jobs to low-wage colonies abroad.

The myth of the asylum seeker being given priority for housing wouldn’t have such a potent appeal if it wasn’t set against the background of poor quality housing and ever lengthening waiting lists. Immigration wouldn’t be an issue if, at the same time, our living standards weren’t being driven down, if we weren’t suffering cuts to our public services and an attack upon the future we always hoped for our children.

The BNP is a vile and morally corrupt political party which has set out to exploit this situation for its own ends, but we don’t defeat it by marching up and down and shouting. The BNP thrives on confrontation. It uses violent opposition to it as justification for its own existence. Allow Nick Griffin to speak and you show him for what he is, a sinister clown with a hate-filled political agenda. Silence him and you encourage the age-old reactionary tendency of the British working class to shove a rocket up the arse of the political establishment and then to stand back and watch the reaction.

Never underestimate the bloody-mindedness of the British working class.

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Don’t go postal over election leaflets

All parties standing in any constituency have the right to one free leaflet drop by the Royal Mail – the rest come from party canvassers. Photograph: Murdo Macleod

Election leaflets might seem a relic in the age of TV debates, but they do serve an important function for smaller parties…

From the Guardian.

Read the rest of the article here.

Election machines

Tony Blair. “It was so obvious he was a Tory.”

I was a member of the Labour Party for years, and for most of my adult life could not conceive of voting for anyone else. It was in my bloodstream. My family were Labour voters, as were my friends. I drank in a Labour Club. I had conversations about Labour politics over a beer in the evening. I was the election agent for a Labour Party candidate in a County Council election one year.

That changed, for me, when Blair became the leader of the Labour Party. It was so obvious he was a Tory. His first act was to involve himself in secret negotiations with Rupert Murdoch. His next was to remove Clause IV. I always thought that those two events were directly connected.

But what puzzled me was the reaction of my friends in the Labour Party to all of this. I would try to talk about my concerns but people would get irritated with me. I was told to shut up, I was being negative. Eighteen years in the political wilderness had made them desperate. They would do anything to get Labour back into power, even, it seemed, electing a Tory as their leader.

I mentioned this to one of the Labour stalwarts down at the Labour Club one day. Where were their principles, I asked?

“What’s the point of principles without power?” came his studied reply.

That says it all really. I suddenly saw the Labour Party for what it was: a machine for getting itself re-elected. It had no other purpose. Principles were merely decorative add-ons to it’s central aim, which was to get elected at any cost.

I suspect this applies to all of the mainstream parties.

When Blair swept to power in 1997 it was on the back of public disgust at Tory sleaze and the cash-for-questions scandal. Thirteen years later and all the parties are mired in sleaze. Blair has left office and amassed a fortune. His cabinet colleagues, Byers, Hoon and Hewitt – all disciples of the Blair doctrine – have been caught selling themselves to the highest bidder. The Tory Party’s association with Lord Ashcroft has shown that their attachment is still to wealth, regardless of the source.

Politics has never been at such a low ebb.

The current consensus seems to be that Nick Clegg offers us a route out of all of this, that he is something new. Excuse me if I don’t get over excited. I’ve seen this before. It’s the Blair effect all over again. Clegg is young and dynamic, better looking than Brown, less of a toff than Cameron, moderately telegenic, and his speech is studded with enough general vagary for it to sound like it might mean something; but it’s all superficial.

Look behind the spin at the policies and you will see where all of this is leading.

The Lib Dems are the most fervently pro-European of the parties, which means more centralised diktats from bureaucrats in Brussels of the sort that brought us “liberalisation” of our postal services, more undermining of our public services, more privatisation by stealth.

In other words: more of the same.

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