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The rise of the BNP and the decline of political engagement

Submitted on Mon, 08/06/2009 - 2:46pm

In the last few days the political make-up of the UK has changed radically. The County Council elections have destroyed Labour and the Lib Dems came fourth in some regions. The BNP won seats in both the European Elections and the County Council elections; there are now 3 BNP County Councillors (1 in Hertfordshire) and 2 MEPs.

The vast majority of the British public is against the BNP and ordinary people are making a stand. Twitter and Facebook is currently full of user comments/status updates expressing outrage of the recent BNP success. There are several anti-BNP online petitions, including the Hope Not Hate petition set up by the anti-fascist organisation Searchlight. This petition has already been signed by over 13,000 people and has high profile supporters including Unison, National Union of Students (NUS), The Mirror and comedian Eddie Izzard. Sadly, even though the public maybe against the BNP, they were still democratically elected and are here to stay.

Anyone who thinks that the BNP is not a racist political party should have a quick look at their website. Within a few minutes I found material that I found offensive and xenophobic. In an article entitled 'I Have a Dream' a BNP supporter describes how he disapproves of mixed marriages and that members of Ethnic Minorities can join the BNP if they apply to the 'Ethnic Liaison Committee'. Underneath the suits and the smiles, the BNP are what they always have been, white supremacists, but now they are white supremacists with power.

Twitter maybe full of anti BNP slogans and sentiment, but one twitterer (hmmm_tea) hit the nail on the head, 'the problem isn't with the people who voted BNP, it's with the people who didn't vote!'. Whilst many of us are disgusted by BNP members and policy, the only way to stop their rise to power is to vote them out of government. This election has proven that voter apathy results in extreme parties gaining power. Ironically the media described the turnout as 'acceptable', but 40% of the population voting is simply not good enough. This means that 60% of the population either couldn't be bothered or don't have any faith in politics. This needs to change.

At East Herts People we also have a dream; we want to see local people engaged in political debate. The only way to stop extreme ideologies is for ordinary people to believe that their representatives actually listen to them. There soon will be two by-elections for Hertford Town Council and if you think you have the necessary skills to be an Independent Councillor please get in touch.

Sign the Hope not Hate petition here: http://action.hopenothate.org.uk/page/s/notinmyname

09/06/2009 - 11:03 by John Brown

A very succinct and informed blog on the BNP's rise to power.  I totally agree with you that the BNP capitalised on the poisonous political apathy that plagues our country right now. 

What we need is greater education for the masses on the importance of political involvement and the value a vote has.  African states, although having elections rife with corruption, are a prime example of the power of politics and the value of the vote.  Millions of people from townships 100s of km away make the long journey to polling stations filled with thousands of people wishing to have their voice heard.  If the UK could replicate half the enthusiasm these people show for the chance to be actively involved in their country's future, then I imagine parties such as the BNP would not have a hope in getting anywhere near the power they now weild.

The problem is that we have become ignorant and apathetic.  We treat the vote as if it is a burden rather than an incredibly powerful responsibility. 

We need to put the political passion back into the populous and make sure that each and every person knows they have the ability to change the course of this country.

01/09/2009 - 09:44 by Anonymous

I do not want to see the BNP in power as I completely disagree with most of their policies.

One thing that does seriously concern me though is the rise of radical Islamists and the sheer cowardice of the present government in regards to it.

It is not racist to present concerns about the rise of a fascist and totalitarian ideology, that is exactly what radical Islam is. What most people fail to realise is that Islam is not just a religion, it is a system of government and law too and it is diametrically opposed to western democracy. The two simply cannot peacefully co-exist.

Please don't take my word for it, do your own research, Islam is not a religion of peace, if it is then how come it leaves thousands of dead bodies worldwide in it's wake every single year? It is violent, very violent. It is also brutally mysogonistic.

The west needs to wake up, I welcome minorities, I am of the firm belief that most have enriched and continue to enrich our society beyond comprehension. Islamists however, are a very real danger to our civillisation. Do you think that you'd have the power to vote them out if they ever took power in the west? Democracy would be a thing of the past, as would your 'human rights'. Islamic countries don't have a very good record in this respect do they?

Look at the pattern, the Netherlands have just lost their right to free speech against Islam, really check for yourself. While you are at it look at Malmo in Sweden, they have a 25% muslim concentration and life there is hell for everyone else.

Luton? Bradford?

 

 

02/09/2009 - 12:09 by Editor

Dear Anonymous,

Thank you very much for your views on the BNP and Islam in the UK. I understand your concerns regarding extremist religion in the UK, but I disagree with your views on Islam. Islam is fully compatible with western values and is a peaceful religion.

You can find out more about Islam here: http://www.religioustolerance.org/islam.htm

http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/islam/

http://www.beliefnet.com/Faiths/Islam/index.aspx

http://www.quilliamfoundation.org/

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