Londoners’ Votes Count

Londoners\' Votes Count

Picking up on Transpontine’s post and this one from Make My Vote Count I’ve been reminded that just because the BNP aren’t standing a candidate in Lewisham and Greenwich it doesn’t mean that those or us who don’t wish to see them make any progress don’t have to take action.

Londoners Votes Count point out:

The BNP only narrowly failed to get a seat on the London Assembly last time. In 2004 they were within 5,000 votes of getting above the 5 per cent of votes needed to gain representation. So the threat from extremist parties is real. But so is the means to tackle it ….. ourselves, our communities, our workplaces, our friends and family. The higher the turnout, the harder it becomes for such a party to get over that 5 per cent threshold. It really is a case of getting out the vote and raising that bar.

You do not need to worry about splitting the anti-racist vote, or having to vote tactically rather than for the party you want. It doesn’t matter who you choose to vote for in the London Assembly (city-wide) ballot. A vote for any party other than an extremist one is a vote against extremism.

Of course I want you to vote for the party I support, but you’ve all got your own minds, so exercise them and your democratic rights on Thursday.

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About Andrew Brown

I live in Lewisham, South East London, and spent 9 years as a Labour councillor in the borough between 1997 and 2006.
This entry was posted in Lewisham, Politics. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Londoners’ Votes Count

  1. ross says:

    i wont be voting – the only way to effectively combat the BNP is to address the concerns that the BNP effectively respond to (crime, housing, social & economic conditions/displacement etc..), not to continually vote in the parties who have created the conditions that allow the BNP’s rise in the first place (take london for example, pretty much every council seat the BNP has won recently they have taken from labour – so can’t quite see the connection between voting for labour and stopping the BNP)

  2. ross says:

    sorry i hit submit before i was finished

    i meant to say at the end of that, that stopping the BNP isn’t just something that should get rolled out once every 4 years come an election, that kind of focus is superficial and as i said does nothing to confront the material conditions that the BNP is able to effectively exploit to gain support in the first place, neither does the kind of ‘heroic’ physical anti fascism that gets trumpeted on indymedia do anything other than make the left/progressives look like political bankrupts who don’t have a political answer to the rise of the far right, only a physical one which is ultimately self defeating given that most fascists gave up the battle for the streets a long time ago

  3. Andrew Brown says:

    Well that’s one way of exercising your democratic rights; don’t think it’ll be the most effective way to stop the BNP from getting a seat on the GLA on Thursday though.

  4. ross says:

    well thinking about stopping the far right shouldn’t begin & end in election week

    there’s something particulary distasteful about watching mainstream parties allowing the conditions to develop over the years which allows the BNP to gain support, but then come election week we then get the hypocritical ‘only a vote for us can stop the BNP’ guilt trip rammed down our necks

  5. Andrew Brown says:

    While I don’t disagree about the need to fight fascism throughout the electoral cycle – and to understand and find responses to the conditions that have led to some finding the BNP a plausible political party – I wonder whether choosing not to vote to make them less likely to gain electoral advantage isn’t without a grain of hypocrisy too.

    As for the ‘only a vote for us’ bit, that’s not how I’d read this story, where the point being made across the spectrum is that a high turnout reduces the likelyhood of a BNP Assembly Member.

  6. ross says:

    well the continued toleration of mainstream parties creating & sustaining the conditions that give rise to the BNP in the first place means, imo, that it would be hypocritical to continue to give them (labour, tory, etc.) a mandate to further create & sustain those conditions in the future whilst at the same time bleating about the rise of the BNP

    yeah sorry by ‘us’ i didn’t mean a specific party, i meant the whole lot of them, because lets face it there’s little difference in real politics between any of the three main contenders and then we also have the likes of sian campaigning on the back of ken’s coattails as well which shows how close they all are politically – the mayoral election (and by extension the assembly one) is a personality contest first & foremost, as will the next general election with all three main parties all committed to the same taxation & expenditure plans for the lifetime of the first parliament, and all of them fighting over a few thousand votes in a handful of marginal constituencies, none of them can actually afford to have any proper politics lest they lose power, so we find ourselves in the situation that the US finds itself in now with regards to the US presidential race, no substantive political differences between the main contenders, so the battle is fought on personalities – meanwhile rome burns

  7. I am very symapthetic to Ross’s position here, but I don’t agree. Yes, we need to fight fascism all year round, and not just at election time. And yes, the best way to fight fascism is to address the issues that make the BNP appeal to people. I agree that the heroic physical strategy of Antifa is not the right strategy either. Where I disagree is (a) the idea that the mainstream parties have created and sustained the conditions that give rise to the BNP. No, capitalism has done this, and all the mainstream parties are admittedly just tinkering with that, and, in some cases, making it worse. But the IWCA-style community level politics is also doing nothing but tinkering with the root causes too. (b) The threat of a BNP Assembley member is an immediate, horrible prospect, and worth going out and voting in order to combat, even if this is worth doing something about.

    I guess my point in both of these is that THE right strategy in general is not the ONLY strategy we should ever pursue. Challenging the far right ideologically in the community (the IWCA strategy) does not mean you should never physically challenge the fash, nor that you should never vote in order to stop them getting GLA members.

  8. Oh and the other thing I meant to say to Ross was that voting tomorrow needn’t mean voting for a “mainstream” party. It just means voting for someone other than the fash.
    http://brockley.blogspot.com/2008/04/keep-bnp-out-of-london.html

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