Thursday, 13 March 2008

Labour's new 'grassroot' support

Adverts across London are urging Poles to register to vote in the GLA elections while the queues in Eastern European capitals of those seeking to come to Britain just get bigger.

"Either Labour represents its core voters - or others will" - that's the title of Seumas Milne's column in The Guardian this morning.

What's worrying Seumas is that he has just discovered that Britain's working class are turning in significant numbers to the BNP! One has to wonder where the dear chap has been for the last six years. If he had been with me canvassing in Brunshaw ward in Burnley in 2002 he would have seen then, first hand, how families who had voted Labour all their lives were turning to the BNP. We polled over 31% in that election and even though candidate Simon Bennett wasn't elected, the BNP got three councillors elected in other wards in Burnley.

I expect he bumped into the beleaguered Dagenham MP Jon Cruddas, whose seat is under threat from the BNP at the next General Election, because he also reports:

"Of the four million votes Labour lost, the largest number were from the working class, north and south, white and non-white. As Jon Cruddas, who ran a powerful challenge for Labour's deputy leadership last year, points out: "Those voters didn't go to the Tories, they went to the nationalists, the BNP, the Liberals and Respect - or they stayed at home".

He also bemoans the fact that the BBC's White Season "has reinforced stereotypes and played to the agenda of the British National Party."

And there's more to come as the article finishes with a nice boost for the BNP.

"The next test of where this is leading will be the local elections in May, when the BNP, among others, is expected to make significant gains."

The most newsworthy point, which Seumas appears to have missed, is that despite this massive loss of support from its traditional support base, Labour votes have held up across the country. He should be asking why this is or perhaps he, like the rest of us, know exactly why this is. It is those people who have arrived in this country since 1997 that are now the bedrock of Labour support and that is why the Government continues to encourage immigration into this country - because its very future in power depends on it.

The wind caused Cheltenham to be abandoned yesterday, and this sort of weather is affecting the whole of Europe. A week ago last Saturday the wind caused havoc where I was at Innsbruck Airport. Flights during the day were diverted to Munich or Verona with departing passengers having to get on a coach to those airports.

Our flight was at 18.40 and our plane from Newcastle did manage to land. But we were an hour delayed, and then after leaving the terminal were held on a coach for another hour. When we finally boarded we sat on the runway for yet another hour as the pilot explained his dilemma.
Apparently the wind was too strong and in the wrong direction. Normally a plane from Innsbruck takes off into the wind and then turns at the end of the valley before making an assent over the mountains helped by the now tail wind. The pilot was worried that taking off with the wind behind him he wouldn't be able to turn into the wind with a full tank of petrol. He near enough said that we could be blown into the mountains!

We were told, as we sat on the tarmac, that they were looking at other options but it was most likely that we would have to go back to the terminal and spend the night in a hotel in Innsbruck. I felt like standing up and shouting, "Don't take any chances let's stay in Innsbruck," but before I could voice my fears we were suddenly off and flying through the mountains experiencing the worst turbulence I have ever flown in.

In the end, we didn't turn but had just hopped over the mountains at the end of the valley with a near empty fuel tank and landed in Stuttgart twenty minutes later before refueling and going on to Newcastle where we arrived five hours late. I don't mind admitting that I was scared and said a few prayers - but I've probably been watching too many Air Crash Investigation programmes on the National Geographical Channel

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