Wednesday, 4 June 2008

How to defeat the BNP: from Searchlight Magazine

(Ed: Compare this with my own comments in 'How to Get the BNP Elected', in March 2002: "Surely what is needed, is rather for the truly decent to listen to the voices of those who feel unheard, however unpalatable their opinions may be, but then to provide real solutions which are consistent with the justice and righteousness of God’s kingdom.")

[...] Liam Smith, deputy leader of the council, believes the government must do far more. “We need to give people a reason not to vote for the BNP and that has to do with policy.

“It is no good to say just don’t vote for the BNP because they are racist. People are feeling squeezed and are struggling.”

In addition to addressing the housing issue, Smith says that the Government needs to do more to support local councils with facilities for young people. “Crime in the borough is coming down but the perception and fear of crime is still very high. We need to encourage young people to get off the streets.

“It is no good building all these new sports facilities if local people are then priced out of using them. Surely if we want young people to stop carrying knives, to stop hanging round on street corners and to show more respect to other people then we have to offer them something to do as part of the bargain.”

For anti-fascists the work for the 2010 elections must start now. Racist myths over housing, crime and health need to be confronted in new and more focused ways. Leafleting can only achieve so much, but we need to find ways to truly engage with people directly.

Likewise the trade unions, which together have over 30,000 members in the borough, must look at new ways to engage their membership and on a level that addresses the underlying issues rather than just superficial anti-racism.

Anti-fascists have to continue to monitor the activities of the BNP councillors and highlight their mistakes and behaviour, but, if we are honest, we have not been good at letting people know. This has to change. To this end, Searchlight will begin to produce a quarterly newsletter.

Rebuilding local communities and a sense of community that unites people of different backgrounds must be a job for everyone and the faith groups could be central in this.

There is also a job for the other main parties. Even though they are hardly represented on the council (there are no Liberal Democrats and only one Conservative), both parties need to be encouraged to rebuild their local organisations. There is a strong anti-Labour vote out there and in the absence of an alternative it will go to the BNP.

None of this work is going to be easy and success requires all the elements to come together. However, it is work that has to be done. Without it we might be heading towards a nightmare scenario. Read more
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