A busy 2008

Matthew Collins - 13 01 08

There is no doubt that 2008 will mark a key date in the long term fight against the BNP. 2007 was not a good year for the BNP. At the local elections in May they predicted wining between 30 and 60 more local council seats; in the event they won nine and lost eight. By the end of the year they were drowning in internal faction fighting, expulsions and vendettas. Allegations of illegal activity and financial irregularities not only are threatening to tear the BNP apart but also mean that both the police and Electoral Commission have been formally approached to investigate their internal affaires. In short 2007 was a good year for the anti-fascist movement.

However, no-one should be under any illusions that the conditions that have led to the upsurge in support for the BNP persist. These include, amongst others, systemic Home Office failures, economic insecurities, enduring inequalities in terms of access to public services, such as housing and health, and the terms of debate around race, migration and demography. Economic downturn of the type many commentators assume will intensify these forces and make our struggle even harder.

Against this backdrop, the elections for the Mayor and London Assembly will be critical. The BNP hope to win two seats in this poll which, critically, is conducted under proportional representation. These elections are in turn the stepping stone to the European elections next year again under PR- this is the focus of their whole medium term strategy which they hope will transform their fortunes.

That is why we have to intensify our energies and campaigns this year. We must forge new alliances at local level; wide and deep alliances to defeat them at local elections. We must build our most systematic campaign this year in London to close down any possible breakthrough. We must also talk policy and seek to shift the terms of debate away from the intolerance that characterises present political discussion.

All in all 2008 will be a busy year.


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