Saturday, June 13, 2009

Face to face with the BNP

Today's Leicester Mercury carries Adam Wakelin's interview with Leicestershire's first ever BNP county councillor, Graham Partner ... sitting directly opposite a full-page interview with the authority's first Asian councillor for more than 10 years, Jewel Miah.

As Adam says:
It’s tempting to present Graham and Jewel as polar opposites, the yin and yang of last week’s elections: fear versus hope, exclusion versus inclusion, division versus diversity, nasty versus nice.

The reality is probably a bit less black and white.
There was an understandable horror at the result when it was announced, but I hope that over the past few days, the Mercury has been able to put it into some sort of context - the BNP have not swept into power in the county on a wave of popular support ... a mix of circumstances allowed one councillor to be elected with little more than 1,000 votes and a wafer thin majority. Perhaps our focus should be on the changing attitudes that have seen a Bangladeshi immigrant, taunted with swastikas when he arrived in Loughborough, rise to be elected to represent those around him.

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