Despite the bumbling, sweating, shifty performance of the leader of the racist British National Party on BBC TV's Question Time polls have shown more people are now supporting the BNP. Opponent Danielle Stacey, who lives in the London borough where they have the most support of anywhere in the country, explains why.
If you didn’t know who the BNP were before, you certainly do now. Since party leader Nick Griffins’ stint on Question Time last Thursday, there have been numerous articles and critiques regarding his appearance and whether he should have been allowed on the show.
On the one hand, Griffin made a complete fool of himself stuttering and stammering his way through the panel’s questions. On the other hand, the programme has given the party unnecessary publicity. After all is the BNP a true political party if, as Justice Minister Jack Straw pointed out, it is based on race?
Publicity is a dangerous tool for the BNP. It preys on ill-informed members of the public who have possibly never watched Question Time and support the BNP on the basis of their brainwashing manifestos...like the residents of the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham, where I live.
In May 2006, the BNP became the second largest party, winning 11 out of the 13 council seats it contested. From my experience, support for the party isn’t exactly overt but if you listen to hushed conversations in cafes, in bars and on trains, residents complain about the "mass immigration" of foreigners to the borough. It is this issue which the BNP seized on in their policies and blew out of proportion to dishonestly gain support.
The party focused its campaign on housing and immigration. As reported by the Guardian: “It falsely claimed that the council had a secret scheme to give African families £50,000 to buy local houses.” Barking MP Margaret Hodge then made a big gaffe by stating that "eight out of 10" people in her constituency were tempted to support the BNP, when she should have instead vigorously exposed their racist policies and explained why white working people must not vote for them.
The trouble with extremist parties is that they gather support quickly and, just like in 2006, you can guarantee that the party will gain more followers in the lead-up to the General Election next year, especially after Griffins’ debut on the BBC.
Unfortunately many of the residents of Barking and Dagenham (typically within the social demographic of C and below) are unlikely to listen to well-researched exposures of the BNP by BBC journalists on the Today programme or watch Jeremy Paxman have his caustic say on Newsnight. Many of the people in the borough are caught up in the propaganda without seeing the malice behind the campaigns.
It is true that this country has an immigration issue, something not helped by the ruling Labour government's ducking of it, but how on earth can Griffin smirk that Britain belongs to indigenous white Britons when it takes many races and cultures in the UK to make the nation great.