FOUR comments, this morning, from respected political commentators for the broadsheets.
"Politicians generally, rather than any one party or MP, will be damaged by the disclosures on MPs’ expenses. They will discredit mainstream politics, reduce turnout and benefit anti-establishment groups. So watch how other parties, especially the British National Party, do in the European elections on June 4."
Peter Riddell, The Times.
"So I'm afraid that for many people in the European and local elections in June, it will seem perfectly logical to vote for the BNP. The old "they're all the same" refrain seems true; therefore people will want to vote for a party that isn't. The main parties talk of combining to "exchange information" to help keep the BNP out. This is crazy: it will only confirm the idea of an intra-party conspiracy, an attempt by politicians to survive by being, collectively, "too big to fail".
Charles Moore, Daily Telegraph.
"A long-running expenses saga could dominate the June elections campaign. Worryingly, it could easily boost support for the far-right British National Party, which is trying to win its first seats in a nationwide election in the Euro poll. The revelations could be a timely gift to it."
Andrew Grice, The Independent.
"In the short term, the leaders of the BNP must be rubbing their hands with glee. Whenever there is disillusionment with mainstream politics, minority parties attract more votes. The expenses drama is a prelude to next month's European and local elections. It will impact on turnout and make it easier for extreme parties to make their anti-politics pitch. If there is a series of by-elections they too will fuel the turbulence of what was already going to be a stormy summer."
Steve Richards, The Independent.
You can read Harriet Harman's thoughts on all this, as given to The Times, here
We discussed almost every aspect of our European Election campaign at our Windermere planning conference back in December. We had most things covered that might effect us. This expenses scandal wasn't factored in simply because it was all due to come out after the June 4th poll. It seems, at last, we have had a bit of luck and the 'pigs in the trough' at Westminster which the BNP has so often highlighted, could well help us in our quest for MEPs.
"Please make up you own mind" says our leaflet being delivered to postal voters along with a copy of Freedom here in the Allerdale area of the Cumbria County Council. It's a simple leaflet with a topical message - think for yourself and don't listen to the discredited Old Gang parties.
It is a bit of a coup for us to have Vince, our candidate in Harrington, Clifton, and Stainburn, standing for the British National Party. He was formerly a senior official in the local Conservative Party.
Update from Gary Tumulty in Salford contesting a by-election where the campaign, in part, has been paid for by the generous readers of this blog who contributed to an appeal on these pages around a month ago.
"I had 20 BNP campaigners out with me on Thursday around the Whit Lane, Charlestown area of Irwell Riverside ward. We were mass leafleting and canvassing and the response received was even better than the first time we went round delivering the Euro leaflets.
"I still have people coming out shaking my hand and telling me how they feel let down by Labour Party thanking me for standing. We have had lots of pledges of support and plenty of my leaflets are appearing in windows around the ward.
"We were accompanied during party of the day by a journalist and cameraman for a report to appear in the Sunday Telegraph. "
Tina and I are off to Maryport this morning to deliver Freedom to the postal voters of Maryport East. Yesterday we had an excellent day in Moss Bay in Workington where 500 postal voters received their BNP pack.
Some might think that it's a lot of extra work going around delivering to specific houses in a street. It is not, I can assure you.
Labour wins its election up here by the postal vote. It had a 95% to 5% superiority when we fought them in Maryport in 2007. In fact, it is safe to say, postal voters are almost all Labour voters.
If we can make inroads into that superiority by winning over a few to the BNP, or just making them even more disillusioned with Labour that they don't bother to vote, then it could have a significant effect on those all important percentages for the European Election and help us with our County Council campaign.