14 January, 2011
Democracy in action
Democracy, Weyman and Martin, but not, perhaps, as we know it.
While we're on the subject of the UAF and Barking, they, like the blessed Mrs Hodge herself, are pretty cock-a-hoop at their successes in "defeating the fash" in last year's general and local elections. (More here.)
Which begs a question. There are tight controls on what a candidate may spend to promote himself and his party at an election. And, as I fuzzily understand it, a slightly beady eye may be cast over direct (party- or candidate-specific) third-party support from nominally unconnected sources. Yet here we have the UAF/Searchlight/Hope Not Hate grouping campaigning quite specifically against the BNP. At considerable expense, using funds from undisclosed sources. There's a Hope not Hate video floating around YouTube somewhere, proudly showing the logistics of a large-scale leafleting operation and boasting of the deployment of over 500 leafleters and canvassers.
So why is this sort of thing — unconstrained and unaccounted election campaigning against a specific candidate and party — allowed? In the run-up to the 2008 London Mayoral and GLA campaign, my own dear trades union wrote to its London members, telling us not to vote for the BNP. They've not tried that impudence on since, having been told comprehensively to mind their own <insert expletive of choice> business.
And while we're at it, if Woolas was brought to book for telling outrageous porkies about his LibDem opponent in Old & Sad, why wasn't the fragrant Enver Hodge given a similar pasting after gathering the recently-arrived "coloured" residents of Barking into large halls and telling them how, if the BNP achieved power, immigrants would all be loaded into aeroplanes and thrown out over the sea? I mean, telling folk that Nick Griffin and Andrew Brons sit down to a breakfast of grilled pickaninny every morning in Brussels is one thing, but there are limits, old girl.