Labour’s tough stance on race issues may have backfired, with supporters switching allegiance to the BNP. 10 June 2009. It is now apparent that BNP’s two-seat success in the elections is not just due to its hard-line anti-immigration stand, but also Labour’s failure, whose stance on race practically legitimised the Far-Right BNP.
The results have not come as a surprise to political observers, who recall former Downing Street aide Jon Cruddas assertion that the language of the ‘war on terror’, debate over veils and tough talk on immigration had played into the hands of extremists and legitimised their beliefs.
At that time a Chancellor, Gordon Brown had pledged to ‘look at the laws again’ to examine more effective ways of rooting out ‘any preaching of religious or racial hatred’.
It is now being felt Labour’s policies played into the BNP’s hands – to the extent that it began to “establish itself as a rival to Labour in many of the traditional heartlands’.
Analysts assert there are strong signs that the fascist party is becoming a home for many disgruntled former Labour voters. And, it would not be dishonest to say talking tough on immigration and race did not reassure people, but actually makes the situation worse.
Continuing with the postmortem of the election results, Chancellor of the Exchequer since 28 June 2007, and Labour Party Member of Parliament for Edinburgh South West in Scotland Alistair Darling too made it clear had the Labour done better in the Euro elections, Nick Griffin and Andrew Brons might not be on their way to Brussels.
He has categorically asserted the BNP got fewer votes than last time, but a bigger share of the vote because Labour’s vote collapsed.
“They [the BNP] have particularly nasty and unpleasant beliefs and they need to be confronted head-on….People felt disillusioned with us and didn’t vote for us," he said. "That’s our fault. We should be able to inspire confidence. The government needs to do far better. We need to clearly set out what we are for, our vision for the country and our purpose for being in government. On that basis we can say ‘Give us your support at the next election’."
The Chancellor said the party had clearly failed to get its vision across, a statement being seen as reference to Gordon Brown “proud talk” of his "vision" for the country.
Darling said the BNP had exploited anxiety about the lack of housing in traditional Labour areas and said the government would be fast-tracking plans to use jobless construction workers to build more homes.
It is also being felt that Labour’s in-fighting also opened door for the “racist” BNP.