Friday, May 05, 2006

Racial motivations

Now, look here: I want to make something absolutely clear, OK? Read my lips.

If you are a group of Asian men, and you spend a day abusing people of a number of different colours and then kick an innocent white guy to death, after which you shout ""We have killed the white man. That will teach an Englishman to interfere in Paki business" then you have definitely not committed a racially motivated crime. Because, you see, you abused more than one racial group.

If, however, you are a group of white men and you stab both a white man and a black man, killing the latter, then then you have committed a racially motivated crime, OK?

The ludicrous "racial motivation" laws should never, ever have been brought in. It is difficult to determine the true motivation for a murder, but the sentencing should not relect what colour the victim's skin was. All that this does is to increase racial divides: you are, essentially, saying that one person's life is worth more than another. Not only is it a form of discrimination, but it also breeds a resentment which is counterproductive to integration.

And, here's another thing: it doesn't terribly matter how many times you repeat the mantra that people only voted for the BNP as a protest vote, all that you are in fact doing is reinforcing your own prejudices. Simply because you would never vote for the BNP because they are racists, you are assuming that no one else would. This is, as I have said before, a foolish, blinkered, arrogant and, ultimately, dangerous view to hold.

At the local elections yesterday, the BNP doubled their number of seats to 44. Bookdrunk points out that the Greens have more seats (at a total of 91) but what I want to know is this: how many candidates did the BNP field, and how many did the Greens field? I seem to remember reading somewhere that the BNP were only fielding 8% of the total, or something like that. Can anyone tell me where I could get hold of the information?

In any case, one cannot dispute that support for the BNP, amongst those who voted in places where the BNP fielded a candidate, has increased. Furthermore, I bet that the Greens had far more candidates than the BNP, and that BNP people got in even when there was an alternative (Green) protest vote.

So, you can write those extra BNP votes off as protest votes if you like; personally, I'm not so stupid.

UPDATE: Thanks to the commenters who supplied the required information.

The Green Party fielded 1,294 candidates, of which 91 were returned = 7.0%
The BNP fielded 363 candidates, of whom 44 were returned = 12.1%

The national average for "other parties" was 7%, which means that the BNP—despite their racist nastiness—polled nearly double what might reasonably be expected to indicate protest votes.

Is anyone listening yet?


MatGB said...

The Green Party fielded 1,294 candidates, of which 91 were returned = 7.0%
The BNP fielded 363 candidates, of whom 44 were returned = 12.1%

Problem with that. Parties pay deposits. They only field candidates where they feel there's a reasonable chance of not losing their deposit, can get a candidate, feel the expenses are worthwhile, etc.

Total number of candidates fielded is an indicator of how much support a party has as well, if they can't field a candidate, then they haven't got the support base to justify it. The Greens have a small support base all over the country. The BNP (currently) don't.

I do, however *whispers* broadly agree with you. I have always said that ignoring them and trying to pretend it's a protest vote is utterly counter-productive, and have campaigned against No-Platform crap on campus a few times.

Plus, the "it wasn't racist" thing in the first story you link to is utterly ludicrous; am also broadly in agreement about the "racially motivated" tag. Record it if you need to, but don't make a difference in sentencing, etc; thuggery is thuggery, End.

Y'know what happens when we agree on something, right? Weird things happen to my psyche, I may need to go lie down...

Anonymous said...

You might be interested in this site - - which is collecting responses from MPs (as well as the public) as to WHY they think the BNP is making such gains, and what they think can be done to stop them.

It's from a political theatre company who have a play on in the West End later this month which tackles the issues head on. Very timely and very worth checking out...


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