Wednesday, 10 October 2007

Standing apart from the others

It's a little disappointing that there's still no news from the Royal Courts of Justice on Burnley's Rosegrove Ward local council election recount. You can understand that sometimes a judge's decision might take time to formulate, with so many different strands of evidence to be brought together, but this is just the counting of ballot papers and a decision on whether one or two ballot were valid votes or not. My concern is that this long wait for a verdict might be due to pressure from above, maybe advising Mr Justice Irwin to take a second look at his decision. Still we might hear something today.

All the news this morning concerns Chancellor Alistair Darling's statement in the Commons yesterday. I like the headlines - Labour steal Tory policies. It's on a par with headlines that appear at the time of an election when a Labour incumbent will plead Vote for anyone but the BNP in order to hang on to their seat. The more Labour is seen to move towards the Tories, the better it is for the British National Party. As the economic downturn takes hold and people's personal comfort zones contract with the credit squeeze, voters will be looking for something different, and in the British political arena today there is only one political party that stands apart from the others.

The fuss about inheritance tax is all to do with the General Election that never was and those key marginals in Middle England which would have decided the outcome. Just 10% of the population would be affected by the threshold of the tax being raised from £300,000 to £600,000 or £1 million, and the majority of these families just happen to live in those key marginals. A Labour Party stealing Tory policies will be going down like a lead weight in areas like Barking, Burnley and Stoke and will boost the chances of BNP candidates in the all important local elections next year.

The Guardian reports that next week, the Love Music Hate Racism (LMHR) campaign against the BNP launches its biggest initiative to date with a 29-track compilation album featuring some of the biggest names in indie rock and underground dance, including Babyshambles, the View, Bloc Party and Lethal Bizzle. The CDs will be distributed around schools, colleges, youth clubs, universities and workplaces via the National Union of Teachers, student unions and trade unions, teachers, pupils, parents and youth workers.

Now I am not going to pretend to know anything about indie rock or underground dance, but I do know something about music being used for political recruitment. In the 1980s I spent many a Saturday morning at an office-cum-shop in Croydon selling records recorded on the White Noise label to enthusiastic youngsters in the hope of boosting the fortunes of a political party. But as with the LMHR campaign, the music we were promoting had a very narrow appeal and only recruited within one or two youth cultures. So while it made money, White Noise's political value was not only zero, in fact it was detrimental to the organisation it was set up to help.

One of our election boffins, who gets as excited as I do over any forthcoming contest and was also hoping for a November General Election, is worried that there now might be a 'Super Thursday' in 2009 with combined, council, General and Euro elections held on the same day.
"I could only see this harming our chances. What are your thoughts on the likelihood of this happening?" he emailed me this morning.

It's a possibility but I'm not certain that it would be a bad thing for the BNP. As we have seen, a week is a long time in politics, so an awful lot can happen in 21 months. I expect that the political temperature within the country then will be very different to what it is now, and that the public might be delighted to be able to make a wholesale change of their political representatives all on one 'Super Thursday'.


andyf said...

martin if they do go for a super thursday would that not be better for us because we could have one set of leaflets for all candidates so saving the party expenses.what do you think.

Martin Wingfield said...

Sadly, it's not as easy as that Andy.
For the European Election there is usually a slate of around eight or nine BNP candidates for each Euro constituency.
A Euro constituency is roughly made up of sixty parliamentary constituencies. A parliamentary constituency is made up of anything up to 25 council wards.
Each set of elections will have different BNP candidates and a different set of tailored BNP policies. That's 3 sets of leaflets which will be expensive.