Fraser Nelson

The horror story of the BNP’s success is not over

The horror story of the BNP’s success is not over
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Up to now, MEPs can use Westminster’s facilities; but, yesterday, Nick Brown tabled a deplorable motion in the House of Commons - to ban Nick Griffin from parliament. Just in case there were any doubt, Andrew Dismore spelled it out, saying Brown's motion would "mean that the newly elected British National Party members would not be allowed to get into this place. Most Members are of the view that that should be the case."

I bet they are. But why? Whose fault is it that Griffin was elected in the first place? As I argued in the News of the World a while ago: if I had my way, I'd base Griffin in Westminster so MPs would see his smug face walking past them every day. I'd have them queuing in front of them in the canteen, propping up Annie's Bar, holding court in the Churchill dining room with his skinhead guests, the works. I want him in their faces, until they take seriously the problem he represents. For Griffin is there mainly on white working class votes. He is a reminder of the MPs' collective failure to reach out to forgotten voters - their failure to tackle the immigration debate, their obsession with swing voters in swing seats. The contempt in which they are collectively held by the public for a whole load of reasons, the most recent being the expenses scandal. The BNP success is a sign not of British racism, but of the failure of Westminster parties. And the BNP will do better, because Westminster's reaction is not "let's see where we have all gone wrong". They are collectively thinking "let's protect our little fortress here in SW1, ban these nasty people, and lazily call the BNP 'racists' every time we get a microphone clipped on to our tie.”

I have blogged and written plenty about the BNP, but let me repeat for the record: I find them wholly loathsome, genuinely racist and fundamentally un-British. Where I differ from most is that I also regard them as a real danger in our politics and society, rather than a lunatic fringe. Som of their views (anti-EU, anti-mass immigration) are that of the mainstream in Britain but find no Westminster representation. Their racist views have no traction in a Britain which is perhaps the most tolerant country on earth. But on the stump, they campaign on other issues - including Westminster sleaze. To denounce them as a racist party ignores not only their multifaceted campaign style, but the concerns of the million-odd voters who backed them. Looking at Westminster's response to the BNP so far, I'd say the horror story of their success is far from over.