Love Music Hate Racism correspondent
Many people have been shocked by the news that Britain's Nazi Party — the BNP — has grabbed two seats in the European Parliament, in the North West and in Yorkshire. This even though the fascists' absolute number of votes stood still in both regions compared to the 2004 result.
In a perfect situation for the fascists — recession and mass disgust at corruption among MPs — a fantastic anti-fascist campaign stopped them increasing their support. But the disastrous collapse of mainstream parties' votes has enabled the nazis to win by default.
Everyone who understands what the BNP are really about must make sure everybody else understands this too — and that we step up mass resistance to the fascists, who represent a small minority of our society. Both Nick Griffin and the BNP's other MEP, Andrew Brons, are long-standing nazis with vile fascist associations and, in Griffin's case, a conviction for race hate.
It's worth noting that a strong anti-fascist mobilisation helped hold the BNP vote in London to under five per cent. A big thank you to everyone who turned out to leaflet stations, their street, workplace or locality.
There is no doubt the fascist BNP can and must be stopped. Join or donate to LMHR and our sister campaign Unite Against Fascism, and watch this space for more information about how you can show your opposition to the racists.
Below is the latest bulletin from our sister campaign, Unite Against Fascism:
We must confront the fascist BNP
STOP PRESS: anti-Nazi protests called in the North West for TODAY: Liverpool, 5.30pm, Town Hall; Manchester, 5.30pm, Piccadilly Gardens
Last night saw the fascist British National Party (BNP) gain its first two seats in the European parliament. BNP candidate Andrew Brons, a former stalwart of the National Front and a lifelong nazi, narrowly took the final MEP place in the Yorkshire and the Humber region. The fascists polled 120,139 votes, representing 9.8 per cent of the vote as compared to eight per cent in 2004.
BNP leader Nick Griffin took the final MEP place in North West England in the early hours of today. Griffin, who has a criminal conviction for incitement to racial hatred, polled 132,094 across the region, or eight per cent of the vote as compared to 6.4 per cent in 2004.
Former Anti-Apartheid Movement leader Peter Hain MP, secretary of state for Wales, said: "It is a shameful stain on Britain that we now have racists and fascists representing our country. It is vital that everyone now isolates and confronts the BNP and works with Unite Against Fascism to defeat them."
Ken Livingstone, ex-Mayor of London and chair of Unite Against Fascism, said: "The economic crisis and abuse of MPs' expenses have provided fertile ground for the extreme right. It is no surprise in these circumstances to see an electoral breakthrough for the BNP, a fascist party, in Britain. The BNP claims to be a normal political party. In fact they are 21st century nazis. As in the 1930s they exploit people's anxieties in an economic crisis to scapegoat minorities and ultimately threaten all our democratic freedoms."
He added: "Wherever the BNP wins elections, racist attacks increase. Nobody should use the BNP result as an excuse to capitulate to racism. That is exactly the approach which has helped them get this far and it would help to get them further. Unite Against Fascism is committed to the broadest progressive alliance against the BNP - linking all democrats, trade unions, minority communities and the great majority of society against every kind of racism and fascism."
Weyman Bennett, joint secretary of Unite Against Fascism, said: "This is a turning point in British politics. It is the most significant electoral success to date for a fascist party in this country. It threatens to normalise the presence of the BNP on the political scene in a similar manner to Jean-Marie Le Pen's Front National in France."
He added: "We cannot allow this to happen. It is vital that we mobilise the largest possible mass movement across every walk of life to stop the fascist BNP and drive them out of the political mainstream. We have done this before when working people rose up in unity to defeat Oswald Mosley's British Union of Fascists in the 1930s."
Campaigners have pointed out that in the 1970s the Anti Nazi League drove the National Front off the streets and in the 1990s the Anti-Racist Alliance and its allies closed down the BNP's nazi bunker headquarters in south east London. Now it is the duty of anti-racists to inflict a final defeat on the British National Party by driving them from political office.