It seems bleakly appropriate that the leader of the BNP, Nick Griffin (and I've just realised that as well as turning up on searches for various illicit sexual activities, I'll turn up on google for that mention), should be standing in Ilkley and Keighley at the oh-please-get-it-over-with forthcoming election. And I'm not talking about our beloved fylfot.
The presence of the BNP leader has driven our local representative into a fervour of condemnation, of course. Apparently we must all pull together to reject this evil racist.
Various Ilkley-ites have been acting as though this is all Keighley's troubles. Yet, I have no doubt that the BNP will receive a fair few votes over on this side of t'hill. This is the community, after all, where the Daily Mail--that facist hack-rag--is the best selling paper. People here believe that immigrants are swamping the nation, even if they don't actually have any evidence of seeing them. The Dales can be a scary place if you've a black face, as any cursory reading of the Craven Herald would reveal. And in even the most genteel of neighbourhoods (I'm looking up Curly Hill here), there's a Mail-derived opinion that the invading hordes are just round the corner (the curry houses in town are the first wave, donch'a know?). It's where genteel racism is an everyday occurrence.
So, yes, it's appropriate that he's standing here. The Labour Party seems to work under the impression that none of us will have noticed what they've been doing for the past eight years. The racist rhetoric. The internment camps. The thousands deported to what uncertain fate. The immigration-used-as-excuse-for-any-barmy-policy. And when they get taken seriously. When people actually start believing it all (just like they always do, every time such language is used--we're very odd stuck out here on our immigrant island), and start acting on it, they start to cry foul.
Ms Cryer has been one of the worst (as even some of the non-BNP plants on her local website admit). Not that there's anything wrong with the notion of requiring a standard of English to be learnt before gaining citizenship. But when it's accompanied by speech after speech decrying 'foreign' customs, attacking cultural standards, a paradigm of hatred, rejection and 'otherness' is created. And into the paradigm, steps something, well, not any worse at all to be frank. At least the BNP are hon...uhhr, well, no, they're not are they? They can't even be bothered to be honest about the whole thing. They have to wait for lazy BBC film crews to reveal their racism (and journalists infiltrating the BNP is easier than Searchlight/Special Branch agents doing it (Tim Hepple anyone?)).
So, frankly, I'm quite pleased. It'll give some of us the sight of watching one bunch of racists trying desperately to differentiate themselves from another bunch. And nary a playing card can be slipped between the two. 'You want a fascist for a neighbour, vote Labour'. Fuck 'em both.