Monday, June 08, 2009

It's not dark yet, but it's getting there

I heard Nick Griffin on the radio a couple of years ago, and one of the few consoling thoughts was that he was pretty much a lone voice in the fascist wilderness.

But no more. No, the good people of the North West have gone and democratically elected him to the European Parliament, despite the fact that fewer people voted BNP than five years ago. What the fuck was everyone else doing? Singing Dixie?

I had an extended blog / Twitter / pub argument with a friend of mine in his early 20s who said he wasn't voting because there isn't any point. Here in the South East we have exactly the same MEP representation as we did last time, so he could claim QED, but you know what they say on the West Wing - decisions do get made by the people who show up.

Today there is an online outpouring of anger and angst. I am slightly reassured by this, as I'm sure is anyone else who had assorted family members made into lampshades, or is, like Housemate P, both British and black. 'They keep talking about indigenous Britons,' he said, 'but I don't think they're talking about me'.

No. I don't think they are. And yeah, online outpouring is important and cathartic. But Facebook petitions, Twitter hashtags and Not In My Name websites don't keep fascists out of parliaments. Only voting for non-fascists does that.

I *know* the Labour party have been banging nails into their own coffin ever since the invasion of Iraq, and I *know* politicians of all persuasions have covered themselves in shit with the expenses debacle. I can see why people are disillusioned with the political process. And I can see how fundamentalist Islam, cheap Eastern European labour and growing inequality feed the fire of discontent in the belly of our ill-educated, debt-ridden, benefit-dependent lumpenproletariat, who really, really want someone to tell them it would all be different if it wasn't for the foreigners. You are entitled to a better life! You are white!

Yeah, I can see all that. But I don't have to like it. And it gives me what my friend K would call the serious wiggins. You've got to have faith, but days like these, it's mighty hard to have much of it.




Anonymous Anonymous said...

I reform, I reform!

11:26 pm  
Blogger Ben said...

I used to be in favour of proportional representation. Now torn between fair-but-lets-the-fascists-in and unfair-but-keeps-them-out.

8:45 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

....or fair and if the fascists get in it's up to every one of us to engage and get them kicked out - forever.

9:16 am  
Blogger Ben said...

Now, that does seem an excellent work-around.

3:05 pm  
Blogger Andy said...

I used to be in favour of proportional representation. Now torn between fair-but-lets-the-fascists-in and unfair-but-keeps-them-out.

PR only lets the fascists in if people don't vote. If people got out and voted, then even the fairer system would restrict their numbers.

But you've still got the problem of people not turning out to vote. Legally enforce it, like in Australia?

9:08 am  
Anonymous jonathan said...

I heard a Labour Minister this morning (one of the new ones, which I know isn't exactly narrowing it down much) saying, essentially, that we shouldn't worry too much as, once people realised how useless their new BNP representatives are at doing the acutal work of being MEPs, they will very quickly turn away from them. Apparently something similar happened in Burnley when people realised the right person to sort out their carparking issues, or whatever, wasn't necessarily the local racist thug.

Well I can see how that would happen. But on the other hand it does sound ever so slightly complacent and maybe the sort of analysis you might have heard from a mainstream politician in 1930s Germany...

1:46 pm  
Blogger Ben said...

I also feel the notion of throwing someone out for being a useless MEP is flawed. How can you tell?

8:55 am  
Blogger Andy said...

Joella - look what you made me do, I went and started commenting on Kinder's blog...

9:23 am  
Blogger tomato said...

jonathan: you're right...I recall that at least one got thrown off the council for failing to attend the minimum number of requisite meetings on council business...that is to say, the blokey in question didn't turn up at all.

I think it's worth remembering that these Burnley reps were also 21 years old (or thereabouts)...lads in suits....Nick Griffin is no lad...and much as it might be warming to imagine that anyone with Griffin's ugly and dangerous views will simply trip on his own stupidity, I am afraid that may not be the case.

Ben: you're funny :-)

9:26 am  
Blogger Jo said...

Nick Griffin makes my blood run cold. But all of you lovely people warm it up again :-). Don't worry Andy, commenting is good.

Yeah, I'd be for compulsory voting, as long as you could vote for 'none of the above'. And I'd also be for lowering the voting age to 16. I was convinced by the West Wing on that one.

12:02 pm  

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