Monday, April 17, 2006

Margaret Hodge and the BNP

Well, she has gone and done it again. Margaret Hodge MP had me in an apoplectic rage this morning following comments in yesterday's Sunday Times which have been widely reported elsewhere today.

The Times: More people considering BNP protest vote
Angry voters may support BNP
The Guardian: BNP 'needs 5% swing to win 70 council seats'
The Mirror: Hodge: we could lose white voters to the BNP
The Telegraph: White voters are deserting us for the BNP, says Blair ally.

The fact that she believes eight out of ten white working class voters here are going to vote for the BNP (offensive party of the far right) deeply saddens me but it is not a surprise and ultimately isn't what has made me angry.

At the General Election, in May 2005, the BNP polled nearly 17% of the vote in Barking. Their biggest success ever. Hodge, who won the seat, wrote a defensive article in the Observer blaming Labour for losing touch with its traditional voters. She highlighted the sense of anger, disillusionment and powerlessness felt by many constituents here and how the BNP had effectively capitalised on it.

This maddened me. If Hodge clearly understood the problems on the ground and what was causing them why had she done nothing about it beforehand? Why had she not organised an effective campaign to promote Labour and to counter the BNP's poisonous lies? Why was she blaming the Labour party as if she was not a part of it? An edited version of my letter was published.

My last point was that Hodge 'must translate today's insights into actions and admit her own failings'.

Has she heeded my advice? Of course not. A year on she is showing the same high level of understanding which, given her total lack of action to address the issues we as a constituency face, smacks of nothing more than a modern day mixture of paternalism, condescension and pity.

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