Do I want the BNP in Parliament?

It seems that the answer is yes.

There are many good reasons for supporting Proportional Representation but one bad but democratic result may be the election of the BNP to Parliament.

But, democracy is often looked upon as a panacea for all our problems. If only Britain were given a true Democratic choice all sorts of good things would happen.

For UKIP a referendum would see the anti-EU majority force the country out of the EU. For Hobhouse democracy will give him the #progressivemajority [1] which will keep out the Tories, protect public services and deliver electoral reform. For the Lib Dems a fairer form of democracy would deliver them a number of seats which reflects the current 23% of the population which cast their ballots for them.

Of course the opposite may be true. Most people don’t care about the EU and any referendum on it would be attended poorly and results possibly inconclusive. The EU elections handed first and second to the Tories and UKIP which rather quashes the idea that the right are not popular. Likewise, proportional representation might not help the Lib Dems, it might kill them and split them into warring Orange Bookers and Social Liberal Forum factions.

Paul Sagar says that there is a worrying tendency for everyone to assume that greater democracy will deliver whatever they want. The people are always in tune with that person’s ego.

Of course the people often (mostly?) disagree with my views and often use democracy to do deeply unpleasant things.

For example Arizona has recently passed a law which requires police officers to stop any one who they think may be an illegal immigrant and check their papers. It also empowers citizens to sue the local police if they think they are not enforcing the law strongly enough. It is mandating racist policing and it is democratic.

Likewise in the 2009 EU elections Britain announced to Europe that we had two Fascists to send their way, and we’d really love them to be paid generous salaries and expenses to represent us. In 2009 nearly a million people voted BNP. A vote for hate and it was democratic

Lord Tebbit says we must resist electoral reform because “Nick Clegg’s electoral reform could give the BNP over 60 seats in the House of Commons.” Tom Harris calls Proportional Representation the “BNP’s ally.” They are clear that more democracy will not deliver more of what they want so they are happy to sacrifice it.

But I think they are being short-termist in their outlook, in the light of this weekend’s results.

Jim Jepps says the average MP needed 42,554 votes for their seat. The worst case scenario involving carrying over votes from the 2009 elections would deliver23 seats into the hands of the BNP. The system that the Liberal Democrats and I favour is Single Transferable Vote which delivers less proportionality than some systems but retains the constituency link so the BNP’s peak performance would perhaps deliver half that number.

But look what happened this election.

In the midst of the worst financial crisis of a generation, a derisory job market and a decade of large scale immigration how did the BNP do? Well, once people had a glimpse of the way the Fascists actually governed they kicked them out on their arse.

In 2006 they posted a performance that had them crowing that the BNP was “on its way.” In 2010 Counterfire reports “BNP wiped out in key areas.” On top of the removal of all their councillors in Barking and Dagenham, Nick Griffin came an embarrassing forth place in what was meant to be a “winnable” seat.

It is not a commitment to democracy that delivered these results but the inevitable massive incompetence, corruption, unpleasantness and violence that characterises racists and Fascists. So it appears that while democracy is turbulent and often delivers results we do not like it often reaches an acceptable equilibrium.

I hope I am not falling into Paul’s trap. Democracy and the electoral reform that I want may well hand some parliamentary seats to the BNP. I do not want the BNP in parliament but I am happy to tolerate them so the can convince the nation what they have convinced the people of Barking, that they are moronic, incompetent, self-indulgent, violent buffoons.

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[1] Progressive? Really what does it mean? Call it anti-Tory if that’s what you mean, because I find it hard to believe there is a label which really accurately describes both Tom Harris and Giles Wilkes.

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6 thoughts on “Do I want the BNP in Parliament?

  1. Tebbit says we must resist electoral reform because “Nick Clegg’s electoral reform could give the BNP over 60 seats in the House of Commons.” Tom Harris calls Proportional Representation the “BNP’s ally.” They are clear that more democracy will not deliver more of what they want so they are happy to sacrifice it.

    So much for democracy then!

  2. I don’t know where Tebbit gets this “60” figure from?!. The BNP polled less than UKIP in the 2010 GE. And they recieved just 1.9% of the popular vote. And add to that, that on average just 55% of those eligible to vote actually did.

    I’m for compulsary voting and PR, with a 10% ceiling for qualification. I am also for reducing the number of MP’s in Parliament. The ending of hereditary peers in the HoL. Oh, and a referendum on the Monarchy.

    Last but not least, I also want a Wii this chrimbo..

  3. a) Tebbit is talking rot. 60 seats with 1.9% is bollocks. Even if it was true, he’d probably like it anyway.

    b) Most countries adopting forms of PR have a threshold to avoid excessive fragmentation. In Germany and NZ it’s 5%, which is why the German far-right (which is much more present and organised than the BNP) has no MPs.

    It really is that simple.

  4. I cannot believe Tebbit said this… “In the midst of all this it is clear that the Lib Dems have a single overriding priority: to change our electoral system to the one which they believe would most favour their party. It is also the one by which Hitler was elected to power in Germany.”

    He is still a true Thatcherite ‘spin doctor’, talking down to the ill informed with half-truths, myths and outright lies. Never trust a Tory or a tele-salesman.

  5. I think part of the reason that people vote BNP is that they feel that the political establishment doesn’t listen to them. When I hear people worrying that if we make the system fairer nasty people might get in I do think that they may well have a point(about the listening thing, not the racism stuff obviously).

    Why people vote for parties like UKIP and the BNP is complex and certainly we should not pretend that there are not millions of racists in this country – but part of the reason is that people feel disenfranchised. Until we address that we’ll have problems.

    That doesn’t mean Labour pretending to listen to people, but by allowing people to make meaningful democratic choices undistorted by the millions of ‘only we can win round here’/’everyone else is a wasted vote’ junk mail leaflets that have been delivered over the last few months.

    Let’s have no wasted votes, and stop the parties bragging that the system means you have to choose them over your beliefs.

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