Thursday, 11 June 2009

HuffPo, Labour and the BNP

Just some mopping up from yesterday. Firstly, I had my first piece on the Huffington Post. The online publication is one of the sites that I have used religiously for the past year or so and is one of the world's biggest current affairs sites. It is bursting with content and that is probably why it has survived the post-US election cull of my favourites. Anyway, it was all down to Alex Smith at LabourList who has developed a relationship with HuffPo. The article is below:

Out of date, out of touch: British politics in turmoil

I am writing a weekly column for LabourList. The website has moved beyond the Derek Draper 'smeargate' fiasco and is rapidly establishing itself as a credible and independent site for Labour and 'progressive' politics. If you are Labour or left inclined I'd recommend giving the site another go if you were turned off a couple of months ago. This week's column is below:

How we can learn the lessons of defeat and build a new movement of the left


Finally, I meant to reference the fascinating piece by Anthony Wells on the nature of the BNP vote yesterday. It would seem that BNP voters are not natural Labour voters at all. Rather, they are what used to be called the Tory working class. This suggests that any strategy to 'win them back for Labour' is doomed to failure. A better strategy is to prevent voters falling into their hands in the first place. This involves both the dam building tactics that the Hope not Hate campaign has been pursuing. But Labour spectacularly failed to motivate its vote last Thursday. That is the major issue and that is why the BNP now have two seats. Sorry to be so blunt but that's the reality. The key analysis from Anthony Wells is in the following paragraph:
If BNP supporters are traditional Labour, male working class voters therefore, the natural conclusion that it’s Labour they are taking support from. This falls down, however, on some other questions - asked if they’d rather have Cameron or Brown as PM, BNP voters opt for Cameron by 59% to 17%. Asked to place themselves on the political spectrum they put themselves right of centre, in roughly the same place as they do the Tories. 22% of them think the Tories care about people like themselves, only 6% say the same about Labour. In short, the people the BNP seem to appeal to are actually “working class Tories” - the sort of traditional working class voters who under other circumstances might shift over to the Conservatives.
The full analysis which I'd highly recommend is available here.

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