Why isn’t the opposite of disaffection “affection”? (and other anti-BNP/political thoughts)

Unfortunately, I am neither surprised nor incredulous at the election of two BNP MEPs.  Low voter turn-out always favours smaller parties in that they gain a larger share of the vote while not necessarily increasing voter numbers .  In many areas the BNP’s total vote has shrunk rather than grown, notably in areas where they have previously been successful: something of a comment on the quality of representation, one might say. No, I’m not surprised or shocked. I’m just saddened. But at least I can see how it has happened. 

Some of the factors involved in this sad event include the current frothing at the mouth over the Telegraph’s “revelations” regarding MPs expenses, ensuring the media-consuming public’s almost complete loss of faith in all mainstream parties and benefiting smaller parties who have had no part in the debacle (more due to not being elected to Westminster rather than any principle, methinks). 

As much as I agree that there have been stupidly greedy- and just plain stupid-  expenses claimed by MPs from all sides, I would have to say that I am more interested in fixing the system than castigating those who exploited it  (although, can there be two words more certain to furrow the brow than “career politician”?) [ Former MP  Tony Clarke has some very interesting views on how this problem can be avoided… http://tonyclarkeindependent.blogspot.com/2009/05/localism-is-key-to-cleaning-up-politics.html  and no, they don’t involve shooting anyone, nor making pointless “protest” votes] 

Let’s not forget the impact of The Labour Party’s  version of “Murder on the Orient Express”, each minister taking it in turn to knife Gordon Brown back, front or anywhere they can reach. There is a kind of rough justice to it after Gordon’s long public sulk as Chancellor undermined laughing-boy Blair, but it has shown a divided and desperate-looking Government nonetheless: Gordon himself must be extremely rattled - after all, if you now count Peter Mandelson as on one of your allies you must know your time is limited, surely? 

Add to this a general lack of understanding of what it is the European Parliament does, apart from regulate the curve of bananas and herd Eastern Europeans over the Channel in order to “steal our jobs” (and become our human-trafficked prostitutes, I suppose…) – an ignorance perpetuated by the mass media refusing to actually explain how and why Europe works , preferring to focus on the gossip of politics rather than the substance  -  is there any wonder that people don’t see the necessity of voting in the European elections ? 

I don’t agree that the people of the UK have made a radical jump to the right.  Yes, we have racists and reactionaries of all kinds, but it’s more out of fear and ignorance than a real fervour for fascism.  The people of Great Britain aren’t a hugely dogmatic lot, on the whole: we like choice (tins of biscuits, variety packs of cereal, multipacks of crisps), and we trust in plurality; we like moderation and hesitancy and we don’t trust extremes of anything (including weather) or fanaticism (except in sport - and even then we are thoroughly aware of, expectant even, of our failings) and generally we distrust those who do. 

This isn’t to say we should do nothing and that the BNP will just fade away. Unfortunately, by making false promises through cheap rhetoric, they have managed to exploit a group of people who feel powerless, voiceless and disregarded: the white working classes.  The legacy of Thatcherism (yes, her… and I know it was thirty years ago, but the effects of her awful social policies are being felt still ) is a devalued,  de-cultured working class with no solid sense of who and what they are.  The mass media has helped diminish them still further:  chavs, louts, neds, ladettes, the “Shameless” estates, binge-drinking , drug-dens and knife-crime – when was the last time you remember reading or seeing a positive story about the working classes? Why wouldn’t people who feel such a loss, and loss of leadership, not vote for people who claim to have answers, who claim to be listening, who claim to offer easy solutions and obviously apportioned blame? The BNP have homed in on people looking for answers to problems and offered empty, hate-filled promises. 

It is a certainty that there will be a general election within the year.  It is not a certainty that the BNP will storm the opinion polls and re-ignite far-right politics in the UK.  I know I'm almost certainly preaching to the converted, but if we are to avoid encroaching fascism we have to take responsibility for it: fight it in communities by offering education, opportunity and good clean hope; work together to come up with community based solutions where big party solutions don’t fit, not leaving any room for the far right to creep in and take over.  Pick a single issue if you must, but stick to it and work at it and involve everyone. Make the good news. Use alternative media to tell the world about it.  Reclaim your culture and question when you don’t hear your voice represented in the media, local and national government: don’t just sit back and say how dreadful it all is: change something -  yourself.