The BBC and The Telegraph have stories today highlighting Labour MP Jon Cruddas' view that Labour have left a vacuum which the BNP has filled.
I agree with much of what has been written in the articles. The most important recognition of cailure is when he says :
“Some communities have been badly affected by a decline in traditional industries, a shortage of affordable housing and changing migration patterns. Society is becoming fragmented.
There is also widespread disillusionment and distrust with party politics. Decision-making is becoming removed from local communities and voters are feeling increasingly powerless.”
Actually, one part of this is wrong. He says people distrust political parties. I don't actually believe this. What they distrust are politicians who mislead, lie and promise the world but fail to deliver (David Cameron take note !)
Labour's government of spin has put people off Labour, and this is more pronounced amongst the traditional working classes who feel most let down by Labour. I know many former Labour voters who have not turned to the BNP or become racists, but in part that is because there has been another party of politician to fill the void left.
I also think that Labour have taken their core vote for granted. John Cruddas is right to highlight the housing problems, but also why are there not police on the streets in the poorest areas ? Why are council's forced to sell off their council housing because the government refuses to let council borrow money to bring the houses up to a decent standard ? Why are the government tightening the purse strings for councils forcing community centres and other voluntary organisations which ease community cohesion to close or stop their activities ?
Why won't Labour really take on the BNP ? In the North of England, the Liberal Democrats set up a team of activists to really go for the BNP in local by-elections and provide advice to councillors facing the BNP. This is why the BNP have lost seats in Burnley and this is why they have never made the big breakthrough in Oldham. So what do Labour do ? Margaret Hodge talks up their chances of winning and in doing so gifts them a number of council seats in Barking and Dagenham and gives them publicity the like of which thye could only dream of.
As for Labour MP's saying that the law must be changed in order to convict Nick Griffin, the BNP leader, after his acquittal yesterday, I would strongly disagree. I despise the what the BNP stands for, but instead of changing the law, why not change the policy of the government.
The BNP can only trive in a vacuum, and the government's policies are what is creating that vacuum. Address the problems that cause people to support a racist party like the BNP rather than trying to gerrymander the law in order to gain a conviction for party political purposes.