I'm pretty annoyed at the mindset of our country, and how it's moved on to such an extent that so many people were prepared to vote BNP. However, much of the problem in my mind isn't with the BNP itself, but the values behind it.
As with all news, it's much easier for the media to comment on it if it has a name. Twitter is a micro-blogging service that has gotten much press over the last few months. Twitter's success is a result of the media latching onto the 'Twitter' brand to use it as a description for something much bigger. Hence 'Twitter' grows, and other microblogging services suffer. In the same way, the ugency with which all the political parties have shown to try and disengage the BNP from a political debate has not weakened the BNP, but given supporters of multiple fascist movements to stand behind a single party. In a funny way, the UKIP may play an interesting role in splitting the right vote, where certain people would have previously chosen between Tory and BNP.
I'm certainly not a supported of Nationalists. Just as our relationship with Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland has strengthened Britain over the last few hundred years, so has our cooperation with Europe. We are now living in a global village. It took me 6 hours last week to drive to Glasgow - it takes me less time to get to Paris. We are living in a more connected world where we need to respect and share with other people in our community. The BNP and parties talk of us losing our National Identity. How is it that I can still tell a Geordie from a Scouser, a Cockney from a Brummie? We all still have our identities. Our identities are being strengthened by cooperating in the global village.
The Nationalists would have you believe that we have been 'selling out' to foreign countries all that is great and good about Britain. However, if we are to honestly look back at our history there are many things with which we ought to feel mightedly ashamed. We have killed thousands if not millions of innocent peoples in the expansion of our Empire - however, we have also helped countries develop due to our presence and technology. We have done good, and we have done bad.
I believe that we owe it to ourselves, as well as to Europe and the rest of the world to cooperate and live in a world where each individual's contribution is cherished. Where we can respect the views of many peoples. I believe in the freedom of speech - which is the freedom that allows the fascists and communists to share their views - but with that comes a resposibility of respect.
One of the things that helped this country was its christian values. Though there are many atheists living in Britain today, their 'moral fibre' has 'evolved' from what is essentially a christian country. Our legal system and entire government has evolved from these values. However, what few people bother pointing out is that Islam shares these exact same values.
"Nearest among them in love to the believers wilt thou find those who say, We are Christians" (Quran 5:82).
Why do we constantly hear about 'jihad' in the news as a negative thing. My understanding of 'jihad' is that it is about making sure one is able to practice one's faith, and defend the freedom of worship. Considering the similarities between our faiths, it may be sensible to regard it as a positive thing. We are all wanting freedom to express what we believe, whichever religion we may decide to follow.
A great thing about freedom of speech is being able to learn of each other. If that was banned, or Islam was banned in the UK, I would not be able to learn that in fact we have similarities worth shouting about. We need to appreciate that, rather than try and hide it.
One of the problems is the stigma surrounding 'Politics and Religion.' They are two things that people don't want to discuss. However, reality TV and the Apprentice not only have a devout following, but commentary programs afterwards to delve deeper into the important themes identified in the program. Why can a relatiy singer like Susan Boyle get worldwide fame, yet many people wouldn't recognise Nick Clegg? How many people voted for Diversity last week in Britain's Got Talent also voted for the BNP?
We need to be bringing politics and religion into the discussion, not trying to alienate it. The easiest way for me to describe what's happening in Europe now is via the classic graph of normal distribution.
If one were to take this as a normal distribution of politics across the UK, the darker areas are the % votes of the most popular parties, whereas the outlying regions are the ones that are less popular. Like my little post on the long tail, either half of this graph shows a 'long tail.' That shows that the people at the end of each spectrum are those who differ the most from the majority. In the case of politics, the same graph also shows the inverse level of interest. In that there are more and more people moving to the middle area of 'disinterest' which allows those who are more passionate about it (often those with more extreme views) to take control.
What we have seen over the past 30 years is a massive decline in voting, and this is letting the few people at the end of the normal distribution make decisions for the rest of us. 44,173,690 people whose views are decided by 15,136,932.
If the same percentages were applied to a Proportional Representation in the UK Parliament, the BNP would have 37 seats!
We need to take control and start making decisions for ourselves. We have a fantastic means of communication now with the freedom we enjoy on the Internet, so why are we not taking complete advantage of this and still relying on mass media for our political news. We now have an opportunity to really get engaged with politics, the civil service needs reducing in beaureacracy during this down-turn - and we need to set out a vision for how we rebuild our reputation as a forward thinking, inclusive society.
N.B I'd love to get some 'politics' tagged posts on a political planet so that I can follow others thoughts too. As it is I've only read Pete's post on the recent goings on. If there are more you'd recommend, please add them in the comments. (and pingback if you like this one).