Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Keep the BNP out of London

I've still got a couple more election-related posts to put up before tomorrow. Yesterday, I did a couple of posts on the London Assembly "yellow" ballot, for local members (1,2). Today, a couple on the "peach" ballot (see image left). The peach ballot paper has a list of all the political parties and independent candidates that are standing in the election and one column. There's a complicated formula, but basically 5% of your votes equals a seat in the GLA.

There is, therefore, a real danger that the fascist British National Party will be sitting in the next London Assembly. I believe, therefore, that it is vital that you vote on the peach ballot, even if you vote on no other ballot.

This does not mean you need to vote for one of the "mainstream" parties to keep the "extremists" out. (As Ross notes here, the actions of the "mainstream" parties have helped fuel the BNP's rise.) Nor does it mean that election time is only time to fight fascism - like owning a dog, that's an all year round responsibility on all sensible people. And, finally, it doesn't mean you have to swallow the spectacle of politicians the BNP themselves endorse mouthing fake anti-BNP soundbites. And it certainly doesn't mean voting for racists in the mainstream parties. But it does mean: get out and vote.

Read these two posts:


Just got back from the Love Music, Hate Racism festival in a rainy Victoria Park. In a week's time it is possible that the British National Party will have a member of the Greater London Assembly.

The paradox is that the far right remain organisationally very weak in London. The BNP couldn't even put forward a candiate for the Lewisham consituency. Its candidates are a laughing stock - Richard Barnbrook shagging immigrants in a flat in Blackheath, and its second choice on its London list being dropped for his comments on rape (more South London shame here - Nick Eriksen used to be a Conservative councillor in Southwark). As for the National Front, when they 'marched' in Eltham last week - an area they might have thought of as a far right heartland - a mere 22 people turned up, a number of whom were later 'acquainted with the pavement' by Antifa when they went on to another fascist gathering in Victoria later the same day.

Nevertheless it is possible that the BNP will secure 5% of the London-wide vote and secure an official foothold in London politics - for information check out the Hope not Hate London website.
Someday I'll Treat You Good:

Picking up on Transpontine’s post and this one from Make My Vote Count I’ve been reminded that just because the BNP aren’t standing a candidate in Lewisham and Greenwich it doesn’t mean that those or us who don’t wish to see them make any progress don’t have to take action.
Londoners Votes Count point out:
The BNP only narrowly failed to get a seat on the London Assembly last time. In 2004 they were within 5,000 votes of getting above the 5 per cent of votes needed to gain representation. So the threat from extremist parties is real. But so is the means to tackle it ….. ourselves, our communities, our workplaces, our friends and family. The higher the turnout, the harder it becomes for such a party to get over that 5 per cent threshold. It really is a case of getting out the vote and raising that bar.
You do not need to worry about splitting the anti-racist vote, or having to vote tactically rather than for the party you want. It doesn’t matter who you choose to vote for in the London Assembly (city-wide) ballot. A vote for any party other than an extremist one is a vote against extremism.
Of course I want you to vote for the party I support, but you’ve all got your own minds, so exercise them and your democratic rights on Thursday.

Also read: Lancaster UAF: The bizarre truth about the BNP boss, his ballerina fiancé and bitter wife; Troublesome M: Don't waste your vote

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