The Bickerstaffe Record

Being Labour, The world beyond West Lancashire

The battle for our way of life. Right here, right now.

02.26.09 | Comment?

It’s been dawning on me for the last couple of weeks that the great battle for modern values and civilisation in the UK is suddenly right here, right now.  It’s here much sooner than I thought it would come. 

The BNP is stirring; it’s not just winning local elections and threatening to win regional ones (see comments if you want to see the threat); it’s also getting in amongst the workers with, in literal terms, ‘national & socialist’ rhetoric, and while it’s not been successful so far, it’s still trying and it might be if we don’t combat it.

Hence these longish reflective posts the other day.

I know where I stand now, and I’d like to know where the important people in my party stand. Hence this, and now this longish comment to David Lammy’s post today at Labourlist:

‘David, I agree with much of this, I have donated already, and I am gearing myself for a Euro campaign (in North West) like I’ve never geared before, but a couple of points:

1) It would be nice to think that Hope Not Hate won the day with the march cancellation, but there is a perfectly reasonable different explanation – the Everton game was going to have to be moved and the BNP did not want to alienate Everton supporters. I think this is a tactical withdrawal, and they’ll be back; although marches are no longer where thier main tactics lie, even the media publicity they are able to draw from having them cancelled is good for them. They know what they are doing in this respect.

2) This battle can be aided by internet, but it will be won/lost by local leafleting and doorstepping.

I think it might be useful if you, as a senior Labour politician, were to distance from yourself from the very different, appeasement-based tactics, advocated on this site on 10 February. While the site is quite rightly open to different views, I think we also need a clear line that Labour will stand and challenge the BNP, not ‘accommodate them and their supporters’ concerns’, which are merely a convenient mask for savage racism, or ‘stay silent’. Here is what Dan McCurry said:

‘These days, on the doorstep when out campaigning, you are likely to come across people who are resentful towards other communities. Some are nasty, others less so. If you want the advice of a former slumdog myself then my way of handling them is to simply nod acknowledgment of what they’re saying, but not to respond other than that. I find they immediately calm down. You see, they are testing you. They want you to either take their side, or prove that you don’t understand them by your condemnation. They don’t expect you to empathise while remaining silent; the silence communicates that the Labour party does not take part in division. This, they find disarming, and they calm down and speak to you with respect. Most times I come away satisfied that we have a Labour vote. I think that Hazel Blears is right to say that the days of confrontation are past, and I think that my actions are the right way of handling such a situation.’

With respect, I think Dan is totally wrong on this one (and I do do doorsteps in skint areas), and I think we now need to face up collectively to the fact that the big battle against the far right is here, and it is here now.’

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