Don't blame BNP voters

As the election results began to form last night, the worrying news emerged that the British National Party have secured their first major seats in Europe. Party leader, Nick Griffin won a seat in the North West region and Andrew Brons picked up another in Yorkshire and Humber. So we now officially have two BNP members representing areas of Britain in the   European Parliament. It's enough to sicken and enrage. I, for one, am angry, not with the people who voted them in, but with the government that has failed the people of this country and is forcing the disenfranchised, working class white voters into the hands of racist goons.

The BNP work hard on their image, constantly trying to distance themselves from the ugly truth, deflecting accusations with childish counter arguments and conspiracy theories. Apparently 10% of voters in the Yorkshire and Humber area have been convinced. And now we have Andrew Brons, a man previously involved with the openly Neo-Nazi and anti-Semitic group, the National Socialist Movement, as well as former chairman of the National Front, as an MEP. Meanwhile, Gordon Brown continues to be photographed looking like a self pitying moron, staring mournfully at his shoes as his government falls apart.

The MPs' expenses debacle has exposed the ever widening gulf between the people and their politicians. It is no surprise that the jobless, the struggling, and impoverished are outraged, finally losing hope in a system populated by politicians who, without much manipulation, can be made to appear criminally arrogant. The unemployment rate in Yorkshire and Humber is now at 8%, an unacceptable figure and one that is aiding this disillusionment. These are the people the BNP are targeting, riding on the claim that the government does not care. On this point, it seems they may not be too far off the mark as Labour continues to concern itself with pathetic infighting and indecision.

The country has lost all confidence in the mainstream political establishment, as has much of the continent. The response to the crushing realities of the economic crisis has been seen as sluggish and ineffectual. As unemployment rises, the slack is being picked up by the centre right but increasingly, by the far right. In Holland, Belgium, Hungary and Austria, extremist right wing groups secured significant gains. We are now on the verge of a, potentially, very dark era in European history. It is the responsibility of our governments to start taking decisive and immediate action to curb growing resentment and disillusionment and address the critical economic problems. The alternative is further support for political groups who encourage violent and dangerous divisions and scapegoat minorities.