Engage the BNP or shout them down!
By David Jennings
There is general agreement in the British political spectrum from
Harriet Harman to Daniel Hannan that, as The Spectator puts it,
the BNP‟s domestic policies are inspired by racial supremacist
ideology. It is after that general acceptance that attitudes toward
them appear to change. Part of this is ideological and part of it is
The political part is easier to understand. The BNP gained 6% of
the vote in the last euro elections with data suggesting that the
Labour party gave up most of those votes. Labour’s response has
been to try to brand the BNP as racists, pure and simple. Racial
and cultural fear is the driving force behind the BNP along with a
simple feeling that the Labour government isn’t addressing things
that we the people fear. Traditional Labour voters don’t see the
Tories as an alternative but somebody with a new song can capture
David Blackburn, writing in The Spectator, says Peter Hain and
others have refused to share a platform with Griffin and his
cronies. That position is now untenable. Centrist parties must
engage with (and I mean engage with, not shout down) the
BNP‟s policies on housing, immigration and so forth.
This drew the ire of prominent lefty blogger Sunny Hundal who
responded on Liberal Conspiracy with except he does on to say
centrist parties “must engage with (and I mean engage with, not
shout down)” BNP policies. What a muddle. „Engage‟ is a
mealy-mouthed word that usually means „follow‟.
This brings us into the ideologically different approaches of
tackling the BNP. Engage is not a mealy-mouthed word that means
follow. Conservatives have recognized that the BNP is on to
something. They separate the racial aspects and rightly denounce
them while acknowledging that Griffin has aptly tapped into the
subliminal fears of a small percentage of voters.
Fear festers in the dark. Liberal ideology leaves fear in the dark
and tries to pretend it isn’t there and will go away. It’s like not
making a credit card payment and pretending you don’t have it.
Then when the next bill comes with interest and penalties, you
shout about how unfair it is.
Engaging Sunny means that you tackle the charge head on,
acknowledge its validities and defeat it where it is wrong. Tim
Montgomerie at ConHome is right when he says but I do think
part of any anti-BNP strategy means addressing popular
concerns about immigration, access to housing and championing
people‟s patriotic instincts… while ALWAYS attacking their
The problem for Labour is that they are against popular concerns
about immigration, their housing policy is unbalanced, and they
ignore people’s patriotic instincts. Unless Labour addresses these
things, they continue to expect defections to the likes of Nick
Griffin who a growing number see as someone who speaks for
David Jennings is the founder & editor of Spread the Word Radio.
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