Save the Hedgehog of Democracy!

Posted: June 10, 2009 in graffiti living

On Sunday night the fascist British National Party (BNP) got in – the next morning I rescued a hedgehog as it cowered at my door. Coincidence? I think not. We need to save the hedgehog of Democracy!

Now, there are a lot of ways that democracy is like a hedgehog but two immediately spring to mind. First, there are a lot of pricks involved, and second, its preferred method of defense when under threat is to curl up into a ball.

The BNP gained its first ever two seats in European parliament – Andrew Brons in the Yorkshire & the Humber, and BNP leader Nick Griffin in North West England. But this isn’t the end of democracy, it’s the proof of it.

People are quite rightly outraged at the prospect of being represented in Europe by political extremists. But the thing is – they were voted in. And it’s not because they had a larger following than in previous years (the number of people voting for the BNP has actually gone down); it’s just that so few people turned out to vote overall that it raised their percentage of the vote.

In a recent ‘Hope Not Hate’ mailout their campaign manager Nick Lowles said, “Griffin won by just 1200 votes. He won because of the failure of the major political parties. He did not win through “new” support. He did not win a breakthrough victory. Before the election, we feared the BNP would win 5, 6 or 7 seats. When the expenses scandal broke the BNP said that they would win 12 seats. But we stopped a breakthrough. That was down to the campaigning of people like you. Now we need to tell the world that the BNP do not speak for Britain – that the BNP are not there in our name.”

The people that support the BNP voted for them; most of the rest of us, who either support the other parties or are completely apathetic about the whole thing, didn’t vote at all. Some poeple (fuckwits, as I like to call them) even voted for the BNP as a protest against and distrust of the main political parties. But a vote for the BNP isn’t a protest vote, it’s a vote for the fucking BNP. And refusing to vote is no longer a viable means of protest, no longer the smart arsed thing to do; it’s just a wasted opportunity.

I’ll be the first to hold up my hands to the fact that I’m guilty of being disenchanted, of not engaging with the process, and of being disgusted by the abject failure of the main political parties in recent years. I’ve always subscribed to what I call the ‘Sooty and Sweep’ theory of politics – whichever puppet you prefer, they’ve all got the same person’s hand up their arse. But unfortunately, whilst people like me sit idly by and democracy curls up into a ball, extremists are ready to stomp on the hedgehog as they march in through the front door.

We all have to live with the choices that we make. And if we don’t like the way that things turned out, then we need to do something about it. Or at least not act as though we’re surprised by what happens next; including when we inevitably get bludgeoned to death by someone with that bloody Edmund Burke quote that ‘all that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.’

For what it’s worth, when I heard the election result I was so exasperated that I went to Hope Not Hate, volunteered, signed their petition, and added my ugly mugshot to the Not In My Name campaign. On July 14th the petition will be delivered in Strasbourg at the first sitting of the European Parliament. Over 30,000 people have signed this petition already – but I wonder how many of us also voted in the first place?

Too little too late? Maybe, but it’s a good place to start, and at least it sends the right message to Europe and to the rest of the world: that the views of the BNP don’t represent the views of the majority of the British public, and that we don’t want to be represented by them at all.

Now all I need to do is think of something witty to say about hedgehogs.

  1. […] On Sunday night the fascist British National Party (BNP) got in – the next morning I rescued a hedgehog as it cowered at my door. Coincidence? I think not. We need to save the hedgehog of Democracy! Read the rest of this entry » […]

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