My local Labour candidate Rabnawaz emailed round this morning with this moving personal response to last night’s results, and was kind enough to let me re-post it here.
At about 2.00am in the morning (we were there since 7.00pm) once word was out that the BNP had won a seat in this region, I was like everybody in the Labour Party gutted. I have never had such a feeling before in my life and I hope I never have to go through it again. I think it was Jim who said it was like watching a horror movie at 2.00am in the morning. I saw some of the younger members of our party go away and shed a few tears. Jim asked us to put a brave face in front of the photographers and roving cameras but honestly, it was just impossible. What made it worse was that a bunch of thugs were arrogantly roaming around the Town Hall; and I am not kidding, they were thugs dressed up in suits and ties!
The fact that Manchester Labour came first and the BNP came 6th in our city with only 6,796 votes was no consolation. On the way home I could not believe that I was now being represented by a man in the largest democratic parliament in Europe who hates me for being the son of immigrants from Pakistan; for being brown and for being Muslim. The fact that I was born here, have lived all my life here, love this country to bits, want to do my bit to improve this country for all and want to grow old and die in this country means absolutely nothing to Nick Griffin.
On getting home, I went into my youngest daughter’s bedroom and after seeing her soundly sleep, I kissed her on the forehead and promised to re-double my efforts to fight for all the values the Labour Party stands for; social justice, equality for all, tolerance, repect for all and no discrimination on any grounds. I owe it to my daughter. Over the coming 5 years the BNP will undoubtedly now fight more council and parliamentary elections in our region and we cannot allow them to strengthen their position.
Although low turn-out, flaws in the voting system, protest vote, global recession and MP’s expenses contributed to the BNP’s success, the BNP does not hide its racist and divisive policies and a small minority of people clearly sympathise with their views. This is very similar to a minority of extremists who have hijacked the religion of Islam and justify carrying out acts of violence in the name of that religion. We have to stand up to all types of extremism; it is not going to be easy but we have to do it together.
Hear hear, Rabnawaz – count me in!