Mainstream parties failed to tackle BNP head-on: James Bethell

Says the parties have failed to address grievances of white working-class voters

7th April 2010: Gordon Brown says British National Party is a "nasty extreme party", David Cameron has dubbed it as a "ghastly piece of filth and Nick Clegg believes the party is made up of "fascist thugs".

But so far the Labour, the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats have failed to tackle the party head-on, says an all-party watchdog set up to monitor the progress of the BNP.

In an interview with The Independent, director of the Nothing British group James Bethell has asserted the three major parties were taking up terribly obsolete tactics to deal with the situation, and had failed to address the grievances of white working-class voters feeling alienated.

Bethell has asserted the mainstream parties must show the courage to confront toxic issues including immigration, national identity, Islamism and the divided nature of the society.

A Conservative who was managing director of the Ministry of Sound nightclub, Bethell has recommended a more open approach. He has suggested the mainstream parties should be more open about policy issues like immigration. Such open approach was essential to address the `anger’.

Bethell said the BNP had managed to strike a nerve among people with "no hope" The BNP was modernizing and was expected to campaign against the war in Afghanistan as immigration.

He argued that traditional attacks on the BNP would not work because they did not accord with people’s experience of the party. “Its members now wear suits and fluorescent jackets and take part in social action projects such as building a scout hut, clearing snow and even removing racist graffiti,” he said.

Bethell spoke well of Cameron for taking social issues seriously. But said he had been overly cautious in confronting the extremism and racism of the far right.

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