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Loanna Morrison: It is Labour's failure to control immigration and its obsession with promoting "multiculturalism" that has allowed the BNP to re-emerge

Picture 8 Loanna Morrison is the Conservative prospective parliamentary candidate for Bermondsey and Old Southwark.

“Britain is full,” declares Nick Griffin at every opportunity, and he is right. Labour’s total failure to control immigration has resulted in a London that long-term residents do not recognise; its relentless legislative drive towards ‘multiculturalism’ has created a society they are struggling to understand.

We no longer have neighbourhoods, but a warped mosaic of ‘communities’ as Labour and the Lib Dems have reconstructed that term: tiny colonies organised by skin colour, religion or nationality and forced into competition for resources. Mistrust, crime, extremism - these are the unmitigated and entirely predictable results of a decade of uncontrolled immigration and the multicultural project. I say this as the first black Parliamentary Candidate for the Conservative Party in Bermondsey and Old Southwark.

An openly racist political party can only flourish under a Labour government. In the 1970s under the previous one, the National Front clashed with immigrants on the streets of Britain. Thirty years later under New Labour they are clashing on our TV screens and legitimised as members of the European Parliament. Their resurgence finds its origins in the very same issues; fear of losing their national identity and the consequences of being flooded with ‘others’ who change the character of their towns and cities. In 1979, many of the these concerns raised by the National Front subsided after the Conservatives came to power, only to re-emerge today on the national political platform as the British National Party, again under, wait for it, a Labour Government!

Most readers will associate the constituency of Bermondsey and Old Southwark with the infamous by-election of 1983, in which the Liberal Democrats’ Simon Hughes gained the seat after one of the dirtiest campaigns of modern times. Those with slightly longer memories may also recall it as the setting of a vicious National Front campaign against the area’s black population during the dark days of the 1970s.
Bermondsey is an area of many ingrained prejudices as many generations of families living in the area have seen the demographic change dramatically under the Labour Government and the local Liberal Democrats who waste extraordinary amounts of money on promoting ‘diversity.’ But instead of eliminating this prejudice, they have entrenched it. Southwark is the only London Borough that has had either a NF or a BNP candidate at every election.

Now it seems the fascists are on the march again. Whether you believe that the British National Party is a thinly veiled rebranding of the National Front or a different animal altogether, many Bermondsey & Old Southwark voters are listening to them (including roughly 2,000 who voted BNP in the 2008 GLA and 2009 European elections). I spend a great deal of time listening to the concerns of voters, and as someone who has lived and worked in this area for fifteen years myself, I am beginning to understand the appeal. Parts of the BNP argument resonate among the ethnic minorities in the area who see themselves pushed further and further down the food chain by new immigrants.

Labour and the Liberal Democrats have failed to respond effectively to this state of affairs even as the consequences close in around them. The BNP are particularly adept at galvanising support through the anonymous medium of the internet and their supporters’ blogs are stuffed with examples of fear and division – one past local example being the provision (at a weekly cost to the taxpayer of £910) of buses for Southwark Council workers who were too terrified to traverse the nearby Aylesbury Estate, where over 70% of residents are from an ethnic minority.

Another encouraging government policy for the BNP recruitment drive is the preposterous Equality Bill, brought forward by the absurd Harriet Harman (MP for nearby Peckham, who is careful to wear a knife-proof vest when visiting areas of Peckham but hypocritically fills her website with photos of her with black children). Our own MP, Simon Hughes, was recently highlighted on several fascist blogs imploring the Muslim community to provide us with the next Prime Minister. Bizarre – but they both know where their votes come from. Everything these cynical people do is designed to entrench the very divisions on which they thrive, and their nonsense is now being used by the BNP to do the same. Long-term residents rightly are bewildered, frightened and now angry that they – and they alone – have been excluded from politics in this country. Enter the BNP.

But why are these neglected people turning to the BNP – why not the Conservatives, the natural alternative to socialist excess? First, they assume (rightly or wrongly) that we have been complicit in this nonsense. Second, we assume that as BNP supporters are overwhelmingly disaffected former Labour voters, they are Labour’s problem and that we are therefore able to ignore the whole situation as just another example of Labour's inablity to keep its house in order. It is time for a new approach.  BNP supporters aren’t just Labour’s problem – they are a Conservative opportunity.

We need to make a clear distinction between the BNP leadership, and the forgotten underclass drawn to them, not through any deeply held convictions concerning race, but isolation and desperation. The latter take great pride in British history and values – what they understand of them at least - and want nothing more than to see our best traditions carried forward. They are, in short, natural Conservatives and we would do well to reach out to them – to remind them of what British values really are and demonstrate that only our party, with its roots deep in the rich history of this country, is capable of understanding and upholding them. We must show them the difference between nationalism and patriotism; between socialist government, and the path to a truly free and fair society. Above all, we must be prepared to confront immigration and call time on Labour’s doomed multicultural project.

> Today at 12.30pm in the Library at the Hilton Metropole in Brighton, Tim Montgomerie is chairing a meeting at which James Bethell of Nothing British will speak about "Challenging the modern BNP". Click here for more details.


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