There are a number of stories in today’s newspapers about the BNP. The Mail on Sunday reports that MP for Dagenham Jon Cruddas – and Deputy Leadership candidate – believes that the language of the war on terror, Jack Straw’s veils debate and tough talk over immigration has legitimised the beliefs of the BNP. Speaking to Searchlight, Mr Cruddas said:
"We have to be honest in saying that the debate over the veil, talking tough on immigration and race or the language used in the ‘war on terror’ does not reassure people but actually makes the situation worse… "It creates fear, tension and suspicion. It divides communities and plays into the hands of extremism."
Mr Cruddas continues (quoted in The Sunday Telegraph) that the BNP is flourishing because the mainstream parties are neglecting issues of concern to Labour heartland communities:
"The BNP thrive in areas where people feel forgotten by the mainstream parties. There are signs that the fascist party is becoming a home for many disgruntled former Labour voters. There have been countless achievements during this government, but we also have to admit that not everyone has shared in our increasing prosperity. Some communities have been badly affected by a decline in traditional industries, a shortage of affordable housing and changing migration patterns."
The BNP is back in the news after BNP leader Nick Griffin walked free after jurors – for a second time – had cleared him of race-hate charges (FT). Tim Worstall has blogged against the Chancellor’s reaction to the verdict and the suggestion that legislation might be needed to silence the BNP and the offence its beliefs cause to mainstream opinion.
I have found no Tory reaction to the BNP’s latest publicity coup. Perhaps the party calculates that the best thing is to ignore the BNP and produce policies – like those on immigration – that will address the concerns of those that vote for them.