at yesterday's UAF (Unite Against Fascism) North West conference, had I had the chance to do a full speech:
"Firstly can I convey apologies from Peter Cranie our number 1 candidate in the Euro-elections who had a prior engagement in Cumbria and has asked me to express his support.
UAF has supporters across the political spectrum. We will have disagreements as Political Parties but at least we are all legitimate Parties, the BNP have forfeited any right to be treated as such; their Press Officer Simon Darby has let slip that so called Party's true nature, by describing it as 'technically an ethnic group' - clearly an admission that the BNP is a completely race-based, and racist, organisation, unlike any legitimate UK political party.
If the BNP are elected, it will give them legitimacy far above any before, and tarnish British politics and damage community relations for years to come, maybe even decades.
It is vital that turnout in this election is high.
Clearly UAF can not be partisan, but I would stress that this is a proportional election, not ‘first past the post’ and usual assumptions about tactical voting do not apply. Labour, Lib Dems and Tories will all win representation; we will be competing directly with the fascists for a seat. We were just 1% point behind the BNP in the last Euro election, since then our membership and our number of council seats have increased across the North West, If we finish with a higher vote than them that will almost certainly prevent them getting a seat. So I’m not going to tell you who to vote for, but if you’re thinking of how to vote tactically – bear that in mind; (for more information see 'Stop Nick Griffin' . In interests of balance, in a first past the post election in most places you would probably vote tactically for another Party, and understandably so.
But looking beyond this European election, all Parties (including mine) need to ask themselves why people in these areas targeted by the BNP feel neglected, why they are seduced by the politics of hate. These people need jobs, hope, and justice instead of an economic system that has betrayed them. Instead of bailing out the bankers and squandering billions on Trident and ID cards, we should be investing in Green jobs, in areas like insulation, renewable energy and public transport - providing employment as well as improving quality of life for these neglected estates and combating the threat of climate change.
And Government and Councils need to do so much more, - they must stop taking people’s votes for granted, and playing groups off against each other. Mainstream politicians must stop pandering to the right wing press, they must stand up to the scaremongering and the scapegoating of ethnic minorities, migrants and asylum seekers, and guarantee justice for the most vulnerable in our society."
'A Child of Our Time'.
It's surprising how often 2 (or even more) events on the same day can be connected. Following the UAF meeting I attended a performance of Michael Tippett's "A Child of Our Time" (by Salford Choral Society, of which my wife is a member). The writing of the work started 2 days before the outbreak of World War 2; the 'Child' in the title is a real-life 17 year old Polish Jew who, angered by the persecution of his mother, shoots a German diplomat; a violent pogrom follows in Germany, and the boy later 'disappears' after being handed over to the Nazis.
The opening chorus line is 'The World turns on its dark side' - let us make sure it does not turn on its dark side again.