Monday, June 23, 2008

The rise of the BNP and the left's reaction

London Richard Barnbrook drew 69,710 first preference votes and 128,609 second ones in the Mayoral election in May. He then went on to gain the first BNP seat on the London Assembly.

The BNP are gaining respectability and are successfully capitalising on the disillusionment with New Labour amongst core working class voters , which is what the left is failing to do. Its no good shouting fash or nazi when The Independent give spreads to Barnbrook, we need to think tactically and cleverer. We need a united campaign, putting aside sectarian squabbles. Surely the May elections were a wake up call ?

So the SWP, through the front organisation of UAF call a demo. One that walks miles through deserted streets, at one point passing through a tunnel which seems to have no light at the end of it , a metaphor for the left commented Dave to me.

I looked around me and saw a mix of old trots and students, mainly white. Many of the usual suspects were not present. Respect had a banner and a few members such as Liam.The Socialist Party were there as were the Sparts. Yes there were lots of unions banners but I'm not clear how much real backing there was.

It was noisy in parts, especially when going through said tunnel. But the streets were mainly quiet and it was nowhere near the upcoming by elections being contested by the BNP in Chadwell Heath (Barking & Dagenham) and South Hornchurch (Havering).

It seems the repercussions of the Respect split are still being felt and many did not want to build for what was seen as an SWP event . The SWP have their demo, others go leafletting and both take pops at each other over at Liam's in the comments. There seems to be a little glee from some commentators at the fact the SWP did not pull off a successful demo . The SWP meanwhile seem to be incapable of learning any lessons and seem to be in full on denial mode. Yep its a running joke that the SWP double the figures for marches, but to state :

Up to 10,000 people took to the streets of London today to join the national march against the fascist British National Party

is pure fantasy . 2,000 is much more like it and I wish it had been more. To state up to 10,000 is just stupid and fooling no one.

Over at Liam's, in what was a good post on the demo and ways forward, the SWP and Respect lot snarl at each other like a couple after a nasty divorce and the left are a bit like the kids, caught in the cross fire and suffering from the bitterness all around.

If the BNP wanders over to some of the left blogs and read this they will be laughing. They have got their act together whilst we snipe.

This shouldn't be about building the Party, paper selling or fighting each other. Its the BNP we should be fighting and we owe it to those who will suffer the most as they gain seats and credibility while we lose ours.

Pic courtesy of Paddy the Puritan.

Labels: ,