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Beware Apathy and the BNP on Thursday

Thousands of people will vote for the BNP on Thursday. Fact. And they won’t be boggle eyed, vein popping racists. They will be ordinary people who feel let down by the Labour Party.

But the fact that they can be bothered to vote at all, in a perverse way gives us hope that they want things to happen and aren’t completely dis engaged, or worse still refuse to vote out of apathy or some idea that not voting sends a message.

Apart from the obvious Moral reasons for voting the people who actively choose not to vote, or who are Labour voters who chose the Liberals to “protest” are generally the very people who don’t lose out if the Tories win, and can afford to have a so called “conscience”.

Spoiling your paper counts on the turnout and means you have the right to moan afterwards. Why not do that if you can’t decide?

When I stood, someone wrote C+++ next to the Tory, W+++++ for the Lib Dem and somewhat disappointingly Toser (sic) next to my name!

Be very clear on this. If the Tories break the magic 40% barrier and the Labour Party slides below the 30% mark, just watch the momentum and life ebb away from the Government and the Gutter Press switch sides to try and influence the Tory Agenda as happened in 1995 when the Press Barons realised that the Major Administration was beyond repair, declaring support for a young, fresh faced Opposition Leader offering an alternative to a lack lustre and tired Government.

Once you lose the Press, that’s it.

I saw the Express and Sun front pages on April 9th 1992 as I picked up the Guardian on the way to work and I realised that we were screwed as far as winning went.

There is a school of thought that it’s “only” the Locals and you can afford be cavalier. Not so. The national aggregate percentages will determine whether we are perceived to be in real meltdown.

Again 1995 proves to be instructive.

In 1994 I stood in a by Election for Waverley Council and received a grand total of 33 votes on a 30% turnout as the Tories beat the Liberals with relative ease.

By May 1995 the Tory Government was in complete disarray with Major on the brink of resigning the Party leadership in order to flush out Cabinet malcontents, and scandal after scandal battering his Administration in the wake of Back to Basics. If only we’d known about Edwina then!

I stood again and those elections saw the Labour Party nearly push the Tories into third place with 350 (32% turnout) in our Ward, the Liberals romping home in some style. The point is the swing from the Tories to Labour, in a safe Conservative area was a indicator for our 1997 landslide.

Murdoch decided the Tories were a busted flush and switched the Sun to Labour (with the backstairs deal of no entry to the Euro).

To the BNP. Make no mistake, despite the clean cut suits, women and even Asian candidates they remain a poisonous canker in our Political system.

They advocate vigour and dynamism in Local Government but have the worst attendance record of any Party, according to the latest Audit Office statistics. They get in and disappear due to the fact you have to posses a modicum of commitment, and intelligence to be effective as a Councillor.


Dan Kelley

(Barking and Dagenham). Kelley resigned from the council only eight months after being elected after admitting that he was completely out of his depth. “There’s meetings that go right over my head and there’s little point in me being there,” he told the local paper.

Robin Evans

(Blackburn). Evans left the BNP after complaining about the drug dealers and football hooligans who dominated his local BNP branch. He also criticised the Burnley BNP councillors as useless. He had previously admitted that council business was “mumbo jumbo” to him. After leaving the BNP he remained on the council describing himself as a national socialist until he lost his seat in 2004.

These are but two examples. And they only have 47 Councillors nationally!

The Labour Party has to accept that we have badly let down our so called “Core Vote” in the chase for approbation from Middle England and the Daily Wail Readership, plus the perception in poorer areas is that we don’t care or just don’t want to address the chronic shortage of affordable homes which is the BNP’s biggest weapon as they peddle the myth of immigrants doing the locals out of accommodation opportunities. This is a big factor in the South.

And as for the North, poverty sits alongside communities fractured by lack of opportunity for Social Mobility which exacerbates cultural tensions. George Galloway and his (dis) RESPECT don’t help in this matter with their support for Islamic bigots masquerading as a policy for greater understanding.

We are going to get the Mother of all Kickings next week, and blame can’t be attached to Tony Blair as the Polls show that Big Gordie as PM would be LESS popular. Some achievement.

The Government is drifting and our vote is in decline.

We need vigour and a new direction. As David Miliband won’t, Alan Johnson please stand up.


About dermotrathbone

Writer and co author "Through Red Lenses". Activist Unite the Union, Save Our NHS Hull. Fan of Yorkshire County Cricket Club, Hull FC, Munster and Ireland Rugby. Views are mine alone and may not reflect the organisations concerned.


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