I seem to have been using this blog as a political confessional rather a lot lately, so here’s another guilty admission for you: I find it really difficult to get interested in European politics. I do. I know it’s lazy, and I know the goings-on in the European parliament are often far more important than anything in Westminster, particularly when it comes to equal rights; I know I blogged just last week about the role of the European Court of Justice in establishing whether it is fair to force British workers to retire at 65. I’ve heard Arlene McCarthy (who is awesome, by the way) talk about what she and other Labour MEPs have been able to acheive for women; I’ve seen her talk on Twitter about how she’s on committees which vote on things like whether to ban seal imports into Europe; and I’ve read and heard Glenys Kinnock on what Labour has been doing at a European level on the campaign to reduce maternal mortality. It seems pretty obvious that Europe is the arena in which things get done, and will continue to get done, about equal rights, human rights, the environment and development; and yet for some bizarre reason I’ve just never been able to get into it. I campaigned for our Labour candidates in 2004, obviously, but my heart was never really in it.
This year the campaign is on again, but I think this time I’ve found the hook to really remind myself why it’s so important. Nick Griffin, the BNP leader, is standing in the North West and every vote counts – and fascists have scary power when they get into Europe. The BNP is concentrating all its resources on the European elections in the hope of getting Griffin elected to the European Parliament. Once there, he would link up with other European fascist parties, to gain international influence and, above all, funding beyond the BNP’s dreams.
‘HOPE not hate’ is the campaign set up by Searchlight to counter racism and fascism in elections and beyond – to join the campaign to stop the BNP, sign up here.