Friday, 5 June 2009

Soapbox moment

As you all probably realise by now, it was the European Parliament elections and also in some areas there were local council elections. Though in my area the voting was purely for the EU. I logged onto Twitter and found many disappointed individuals, saddened by the news that the BNP have managed to gain council seats in some areas, most notably the town of Burnley and gained two seats in the European Parliament. I am one of those disappointed individuals. For me the BNP is nothing more than a collection of ignorant, racist, manipulative human beings, led by the worst of all, Nick Griffin. A man who preys on the insecurity of others who are in a position of lesser power than he is. He picks deliberately divisive issues, in this case jobs, and hails him and his party the saviours for the British people. 'British Jobs for British People' his party slogan declares. While this statement in itself is not a bad notion, the way the party would ultimately achieve this goal is not through education, business building and opportunity but through hatred, sectioning of minorities and deportation of non-British people, who to them seemingly don't deserve a job at all. The fact that someone from a party who believes in such discriminatory and hate-filled ideals has managed to get into a council anywhere in this country is unbelievably disappointing for all those people, me included, who want to see equality between the minorities and the majority and had hoped the days of race-based politics were behind us.

But the election of a BNP councillor just highlights the delicate balance that has to be struck in a democratic country like this one. Democracy is a noble idea but like every idea it has its downsides. As much as we want free speech, free press and freedom to say and think what we like, it is inevitable that there will be a minority who will hold ideas and ideologies that seem ditasteful, disgraceful and downright wrong. I think the majority of the country would agree that the National Front/ BNP are such a minority. People I know openly despise the BNP and everything they stand for, as do I. Some think they should be banned. But as much as I would like to see them banned, in a true democracy all sides of the spectrum have a right to be seen and heard as much as their views seem abhorrent and revolting.

However, we can speak out against these people. We can vote against them in elections. We can protest against them and show them that they are not the way forward for this country and I think it is our duty as decent human beings to spread the ideas of equality, hope, and love for fellow man. Banning the BNP won't do anything to help, they will just go underground but still work at the grassroots level. We need to hit them where it hurts, the ballot box. Without MP, MEPs, and councillors the BNP can't implement their repulsive manifesto ideas. They need us to make them stronger by voting for them. And I all hope by the next general election, the country can come together and take a stand against hate-filled politics and vote for the party who they think can genuinely make this country a stronger place. For me, the BNP is not that party.