Friday, 4 May 2007

Dark days

I'm still in a state of shock over the fact that two BNP councillors have been elected to my local authority, North West Leicestershire District Council, including one representing my home village, Whitwick (it's a three-member ward). When you look at the results, it's easy enough to see how he managed it, as Labour, the Liberals and the Tories put up three candidates each. Their votes were accordingly split, and he made it in, but I still find it astonishing that 900+ people actually voted for such a party.
I'd find it pretty astonishing anywhere, in fact, but Coalville and Whitwick are hardly obvious BNP territory. They've both fought back pretty well from losing their main industry - coal mining - in the 80s, and although the jobs that have come in aren't so well paid as the pit was, there's low unemployment and a general feeling that the area is on the up. There's certainly nothing even approaching racial tension, which the BNP usually try to stoke and feed off. So how have they done it?
Apathy, I suspect. Apathy on the part of the local mainstream parties, who have been content for years to carry on playing party politics in the council chamber, rather than really tackling local issues (thus allowing the BNP to mount an intensive 'we care' door-knocking campaign), and apathy on the part of mainstream voters. You can bet that pretty much every BNP voter in the ward DID vote, and it proved just enough.
I'm clinging to one ray of hope. I've never believed in gagging or outlawing the BNP, because that would just give them the martyr status they want. So, now they have two councillors, whose work and every public utterance is hopefully going to be reported, I'd like to think the emptiness, dishonesty and downright unpleasantness of their true nature will emerge.


Rob said...

Let's hope your final paragraph is right, Matt.

Matt Merritt said...

I hope so. So far the Leicester Mercury seems to have been trying to downplay their election. Presumably that's with worthy motives, but I'd rather see them hold this pair to account, and pick holes in the very contradictory promises they were making in their campaign literature.