[DEBATE] : UK - A rightwing we will go a rightwing we will go...
Riaz K Tayob
riaz.tayob at gmail.com
Wed Apr 29 11:48:09 BST 2009
BNP could get £2m EU funds, Hain warns
* Patrick Wintour
* The Guardian, Wednesday 29 April 2009
* Article history
A BNP banner
The BNP could be transformed from a fringe party at local elections to a
national party. Photograph: John Giles/PA
The British National party could transform British politics and get up
to £2m from the EU if the main political parties fail to prevent the far
right organisation from winning six seats in the European elections in
June, Peter Hain, the former cabinet minister and founder member of the
Anti-Nazi League, warns today.
Hain also urges his own party to get its act together at the grass roots
to fight the BNP in the elections. Some close allies of Gordon Brown,
such as his former parliamentary aide and current government whip, Ian
Austin, argue that the best way to combat the BNP is not to predict its
success, but to tell the truth about its extremism, and to combat it at
But Labour acknowledges at the highest levels that the elections could
transform the BNP from a fringe party at local elections to a national
party with European funding. There is also a debate on whether leaders
of established political parties should steer clear of leading the fight
against the BNP. Campaign groups such as Searchlight, the anti-fascist
magazine, believe that attacks from mainstream Westminster figures will
only add to the BNP's anti-establishment credentials.
In an article for the Guardian, Hain warns: "Winning European seats
would secure an unprecedented platform, and entitle the BNP to draw down
hundreds of thousands of euros from Brussels indirectly to buttress
their full-time personnel and organisation. With unemployment and job
insecurity rising, with some major construction sites appearing to bar
local unionised labour, and affordable housing in short supply, these
are classic conditions for the BNP's racist and fascist politics to thrive."
Austin, one of Labour's most respected anti-BNP campaigners, said: "The
BNP are not a mainstream political party and we won't beat them by
saying how many seats they could win."
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