Matthew Dancona

The symptoms of a sickly political system

The symptoms of a sickly political system
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'The fascists are coming' read the coverline of the Spectator's May 30 issue. Fraser's brilliant cover piece, analysing the cunning and tactical mutability of the BNP, looks all too bleakly prescient this morning. It is axiomatic to democracy that we have to tolerate views we find objectionable. But, really, the election of two BNP MEPs last  night shows how sickly our political system is: like a virus preying on a badly weakened body with a shattered immune system.

I hope Sky will post Adam Boulton's superb interview with Nick Griffin last night (before the BNP leader was elected). Although Griffin was wearing a suit and trying to sound like a mainstream politician - citing MoD reports - one got the true measure of the man when he talked about Islam and said that you knew that a person was suitable for BNP membersip by their 'look'. Lurking behind him were a bunch of skinhead nasties, suited of course, but staring at the cameras with a feral, bigoted pride that should inspire shame in all those who allowed this to happen. Adam - who was visibly angry but kept his cool - cornered Griffin into revealing the sort of man he truly is. The sort of man who will now be representing Britain in Strasbourg.

How bad does it have to get for Gordon? How low does the polity have to sink? When I was writing the Gordon-ator cover - before the expenses scandal - one of the most senior plotters told me not to underestimate  the galvanic effect the election of a BNP MEP would have upon the Labour movement and its approach to the leadership question. Today, as MPs consider their response to these results, we shall find out if he was right.