The evening had turned ugly. Raised voices led to scuffles in a doorway of Leeds Town Hall and suddenly the number of yellow-jacketed police officers in the room doubled. The new BNP MEP droned on, the lack of fire in his speech in contrast to the jubilant shouts from black-shirted skinheads around the room.
A lesson in democracy? I don’t think so. The BNP had received 120,000 votes out of a total electorate of 3.5 million voters, which is less than 4 in every 100 voters in the Yorkshire & Humber region. The biggest winner on the night was the “voting is a waste of time” party. Two out of every three voters stayed at home. They could see no difference between the sleaze of the middle of the road parties and did not believe that the numerous non-Westminster parties were likely to change anything.
These non-Westminster parties were, however, the 2nd biggest winners. They included UKIP, BNP, the Green Party and numerous other heart-felt causes. With the exception of the Green Party, these were votes against something. Not in favour of a cause, but a protest against.
For UKIP & a number of other similarly titled parties, it was all about getting out of Europe. For the BNP, it was about immigration and the perceived injustice to the “indigenous” population.
The old establishment parties will attempt to ignore these protests, to dismiss them as an aberration. But they do so at their peril and at the peril of our democracy.
Sadly, democracy in the UK is now a sham, with an unelected Prime Minister leading a cabinet of unelected Lords and Ladies, most of whom would prefer to have a prime-time TV slot. The unrepresentative vote at the European Election must be seen for what it is: a stifled cry of despair from the electorate, desperate for the political establishment to listen to them and to their concerns.
If Westminster politicians continue to ignore the silent majority of the people of Britain, then before very long, rule in this country will be handed over to those black-shirted skinheads and yellow-jacketed police.