On the morning after elections, it is traditional to congratulate those elected and wish them all the best.
You’ll forgive me though, if I reserve the right to reserve my congratulations mostly for candidates who aren’t racist, antisemitic holocaust denying neo-nazis. The BNP stands today with two members elected to the European Parliament. That’s what our MPs have done with their expenses troughing, their duck houses and their bath plugs. Well done, A Team.
But let’s put this in perspective: two MEPs, who now get real Taxpayers’ cash, research teams and communications funding, but who will sit on no committees, not join any group, and undergo suspicious and constant surveillance from fellow MEPs. And they won’t be able to go on any of the school outings to buy tuck in Germany.
Watching Twitter last night, anyone could have been forgiven for thinking we’d had a putsch, or that the BNP had just won a majority. They didn’t, and in no Parliamentary constituency are they in with anything of a shout.
True, their apparent 9% is worrying, but it’s illusory, it could only have come this week, after the month the political elite has just had. It’s a target for those of us in the main parties. The trick will be to carve up their votes and win them back.
This disconnect will resonate through our politics for decades to come: when our children look back at this day, they’ll ask us what we did when the Nazis came back in the UK. I hope to be able to tell them, very simply this:
“We proved they were wrong, we rejected them, they withered away.”
Liam Fox MP said it strongly and effectively last night: we must reconnect with the voters who made this choice to reject the British qualities of fair play and equality. We must show them that the Britain worth fighting for is the same entity that rejected and defeated fascism before.
Like a house infested with mice, we ought not to exaggerate the threat they pose: we just need to lay more traps.