The media coverage of the forthcoming London Local Council elections on May 4th, seems to be dominated by free publicity for the British National Party.
The YouGov poll for the Daily Telegraph claims that
It shows that seven per cent of voters are ready to back the far-Right party and that 24 per cent have considered voting BNP in the past or are thinking of doing so now.
"When I knock on doors I say to people, 'are you tempted to vote BNP?' and many, many, many - eight out of 10 of the white families - say 'yes'. That's something we have never seen before, in all my years. Even when people voted BNP, they used to be ashamed to vote BNP. Now they are not.
The Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust funded academic analysis "BNP: The roots of its appeal (full report)" (you may have to explicitly save the downloaded file with a .pdf extension) does not quite support such a view, but the report has been widely quoted or misquoted in the media.
Labour MP for Birkenhead Frank Field has also been exploitiing the the same fears about foreigners that the BNP misuse, in his opinion piece "Why Labour is losing the working class" in the Daily Telegraph. He is also spouting David Blunkett style authoritarian claptrap like
Linked to this should be the roll-out of ID cards so that NHS treatment was strictly linked to people's residency in this country.
On this front, the metropolitan Left will argue that such views are incompatible with human rights legislation. Again, the Government would be reconnecting with its once bedrock supporters by insisting that the collective rights should come first and that, if need be, exemptions from the human rights legislation would be insisted on.
The new look "we are not racists" NuBNP's claims to support freedom and liberty (for some people but not for everyone), are no more trustworthy than NuLabour's Orwellian newspeak about "voluntary" ID Cards in their General Election manifesto, which magically became "compulsion by stealth" once they were returned to power.
However, according to The Guardian, the BNP are putting up a mere 37 candidates in London.
Even if, by some miracle, every single one of them won a Council seat, the BNP would still not control a single London Council.
So this looks like the traditional Labour party disinformation campaign, aimed at trying to get their increasingly reluctant former supporters to give them their vote on May 4th, and not to stay away from the polls, as most of them presumably will do.
The obvious unpopularity of Tony Blair and Ken Livingstone even amongst erstwhile Labour voters in London, is coupled with the very real question of what have they ever done for us, except take us for granted ?