Adele is rejoicing that in some areas the British National Party is in electoral decline but today a report suggests one in four voters say they "might vote" for the party. It's also shocking to remember that the BNP came very close to getting elected to the Greater London Assembly in 2004 - had it not been for the rule requiring parties to get at least 5% of the vote (and as it was they were only about six thousand votes short of crossing that threhold) they would have received one top-up list member. It was the only time that the fruitcake has done the world any good.
All the main parties have tried to expose the dangers of voting BNP but I'm increasingly of the view that the standing methods are a flawed strategy. At the moment the standing of politics, especially "establishment" political parties, is incredibly low and these attacks just play into the BNP's claims to be an anti-establishment party with a message the political classes don't want to hear. Some believe that the BNP should be "starved of the oxygen of publicity" and that "No Platform" policies should be erected. I used to be inclined towards such a course but now I feel that all this does is to play into the BNP's hands by allowing them to portray themselves as martyrs. It would be much better to confront the BNP output head on and expose it as nothing more than incoherent hate driven lies. Many BNP activists and candidates have criminal convictions and few are able to express themselves coherently. Rather than throwing them a golden opportunity by pushing them to the margins where they can seek the support of those alienated from politics, it would be better to take them on directly.
Furthermore the mainstream parties need to do a lot more to tackle the issues that the BNP thrive on. And this is far from just issues relating to immigration, asylum and a multi-cultural society. Whether it's corruption in politics, a failure to maintain the streets, rising crime and so forth, the mainstream parties need to both have answers and take them directly to the people. It's in no way as easy as this paragraph may seem, but only by tackling and removing these sources of tinder will the BNP flames be extinguished. Also political parties and activists need to stop devaluing terms. Both "racist" and "extreme right wing" are bandied around for not only the BNP but other parties as well, to the point that they lose all value when trying to get a message across. (It's also a rather dubious claim - many of their policies are heavily statist.)
Rather than just creating yet further divides between the concerns of the people and politicians, pushing yet more towards a party of self-proclaimed "anti-politicians", let's stop dividing the nation and instead unite it. The disease in our politics is not the BNP's successes. It is the circumstances that lead to the BNP's successes.