Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Racism comes out of the shadows

After meeting my parents for lunch on Saturday, we went to Eltham High Street for a little shopping. They are fairly infrequent visitors to London, and I was pleased to be able to show them a little of my local patch. My pride was punctured rather abruptly, however, as we reached the precinct area by Passey Place. There, alongside a stall festooned with banners and ribbons, were the British National Party, handing out leaflets.

I have to confess to being too shocked to do anything more than scowl and hurry past, but the sight left me more than a little disturbed. We have been relatively fortunate locally that the bigots of the BNP have not been too much in evidence in Eltham, but now here they were in broad daylight unashamedly touting their message of fear and hatred to shoppers.

Last year's local election results in Barking and elsewhere were a warning to all of us - we should reclaim our streets from the racists and extremists who have no place in a civilised country.


Anonymous said...

If you, as an eloquent and politically aware young man, can find no better option than to "scowl and hurry past" a BNP stand then what hope is there for the rest of us?

You, as an elected representative, owe it to your constituents to challenge their presence on the high street, engage in direct debate with them and promote a more tolerant view, and use your contacts on the council to determine if their presence and actions on the street were fully legal.

If you are not prepared to do this, then we can only assume that you tacitly accept and agree with their stance, and are not prepared to oppose their vile propaganda. I am not suggesting that the rights to free speech and different points of view should be quashed, but that we look to our politicians for leadership and inspiration. Please show us some, and do not just walk on by.

Nigel said...

I certainly agree, and immediately regretted now going back to remonstrate. During the last election I made my views very plain when I canvassed the home of a woman who turned out to be a BNP candidate. We should all be prepared to do so, and to challenge their vile message.