As I explained in a recent blog post, I decided to write to Osama Saeed and Anas Sarwar, to encourage them to take a stand against the BNP’s freedom to stir up racial hatred. Below is the text of an emailed letter I sent to email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org
Dear fellow candidate,
First of all, allow me to congratulate you on being selected by your party to run as a candidate in Glasgow Central. It is shaping up to be a hard-fought contest and I am ready to fight as hard as anyone in delivering my party’s distinctive message of peace, justice and socialism. This election is particularly important because of its context – the worst economic crisis in living memory, sharply rising unemployment and the threat of swingeing cuts to public services, wages and pensions alike.
My reason for writing is one of concern for the future. Throughout history, candidates of the extreme Right have sought to utilise economic downturn and the misery it causes the majority of people, in order to divide the people; focusing blame not on those in power nor the system they uphold, but on minorities, organised workers and all those who they consider ‘deviant’.
In past times, Britain has witnessed periods of growth for fascists such as Mosley’s blackshirts in the 1930s/40s and the National Front in the 70s/80s. Their role has been to terrorise minorities including Jews, Blacks and Irish. Today’s manifestation of this scummy tradition is the British National Party, whose main role is to act on the anti-Muslim climate whipped up by reactionary sections of the mainstream press. Without wishing to overstate their importance, they do represent a serious danger which cannot be ignored.
Despite their attempts to rebrand themselves as a non-violent electoralist party, you only have to scratch the surface to discover their true character. Many of their members have been convicted for racially aggravated assaults. The ranks of their organisation, all the way up to the top level, are full with Nazi sympathisers and white supremacists. It is no coincidence that some of the racist English Defence League’s biggest and most violent recent gatherings have occurred in areas of BNP growth, e.g. Stoke (recently abolished elected Mayor for fear that the BNP would win it) and Bolton (part of Nick Griffin’s North-West England euro constituency). Wherever they are able to gain a foothold, there is an inevitable subsequent rise in attacks on non-white people, religious minorities, homosexuals and radicals.
I raise all this to support the idea that far from being a legitimate political outfit, they are a menace to any vestiges of democracy and a threat to the safety of many members of our society. It is not unreasonable to suggest that if they came to power, I could be discussing them with you within the confines of a concentration camp. The 1 million votes they received in May, alongside some crafty PR spin, has tricked some into allowing them access to public service broadcasting and a place in the official political sphere. This is a dangerous practice and one which we should not simply stand by and allow to happen.
In the coming campaign, we will likely be invited to participate in debates or forums where members of the public engage with the candidates. The BNP are yet to declare a candidate, but will probably do so as they will seek an opportunity to cause division in a multi-ethnic ward with 2 prominent Muslim candidates. They should not be allowed to exploit these opportunities to spread their bile. I am asking you to take a brave stand and pledge that you will not share a platform with a representative of the BNP. For those who are organising such events, the pledge that major parties are united in unwillingness to allow fascists to take part will deter them from inviting BNP representatives.
I would be grateful if you could reply, confirming your position on this matter.
SSP Candidate, Glasgow Central