Saturday, April 10, 2010

Rule One

Bearing in mind the etiquette on blogging a UK general election is fluid, that is to say there isn't any,(or at least if there is, none of the big blog boys have sent me a neatly-bound, leatherette copy entitled "Standards of Blog Conduct"), I decided to set myself some rules.
Rule One: Out and about. Tell politicos I'm a blogger. This seems fair.
I set this rule today.
I immediately broke it.
It was the BNP. It doesn't count.

I'd gone up to Berwick to fix a tyre.(Pot holes. I blame Alan Beith. Or a Labour Government. Or the council. Or the weather. Or God.) Out and about with the children, we stumbled upon a BNP stall. You have to go to Berwick to realise how unlikely this is. It is England's most northerly town - it has got encircling Elizabethan walls, historic barracks, and its population is white, white, white. I was so astonished to see the BNP, I felt obliged to ask the candidate how come the party have a prescence when immigration is not an issue in Berwick.
Silly me. The nice man explained it's not just about immigration.
OK I said. But what is the proportion of ethnic minorities in Berwick.
The nice man said he didn't know. (I'm guessing so small as to be statistically insignificant.)
I looked down the Berwick street heaving with shoppers and made the point I could not see a black or Asian face.
A BNP lady informed me that some people might be looking at the national picture, not just the picture in Berwick. (As a matter of interest, she didn't seem to take to me at all for some reason.) The BNP candidate, however, was just glad to talk to someone. Nice chap. Publican. Three pubs. Employs a Muslim and two black people. There's white immigration too he told me.
Really? I said. What was he thinking about there?
Polish people. And the Portuguese.
Portuguese? I had this vision of a Berwick positively overrun with Portuguese immigrants. (I'm sure he said they came over for jobs in salmon farming, but my husband said that wouldn't make sense so I probably misheard him.)

I took some leaflets and newspapers. For some reason, (and the Good Lord Jesus only knows why because as the nice man said, the party isn't racist), his literature had lots of stories about Islam and immigration and the like in it.
Such as:
* "Tories pledge to flood Britain with African Homosexual 'Asylum Seekers'."
(Just wait and see, it's in the Tory manifesto.)
* "Mohammed second most popular boys name in Britain."
(I thought about calling my own boys Mohammed. It was a toss-up. I ended up going for Mustafa and Osama.)
Then there was:
* "Immigrant baby boom costs over £1b."
(That'll be the Portuguese. They're Catholic. No birth control.)
And, of course:
* "Another Muslim Paedophile Gang Uncovered."
Patently, the BNP have more to offer than immigration. The nice man told me they did. For instance, Northumberland is a rural constituency, and the BNP acknowledges the importance of "farming bloodlines that stretch down through the centuries" and offers to "promote the yeoman family farm".
In any event, "The Northumberland Patriot" leaflet informed me in no uncertain terms:
"The British National Party is not a racist party. We do not hate anyone because of their race. Nor do we advocate abusing or attacking individual immigrants or minority groups."
That's reassuring. I haven't heard Cameron or Brown give that kind of lead.
It is merely that "Mass immigration harms all of us, whether black or white"
Stacked among the leaflets were maps proclaiming "Welcome to Berwick upon Tweed." Handy sort of map to have if you were an immigrant, though they could do with it translating into Portuguese.

The BNP can get a bit anxy with press, but I did think about saying I was blogging the election and there is no doubt the nice man would still have talked to me, and still have let me have the leaflets. Perhaps it would have reassured the BNP lady who cruelly and sotto voce said "You're a timewaster lady, you are" as the candidate and I talked. Mind you, she explained her defensiveness later. Someone once kicked the table of leaflets. Can you believe that? And she was "physically assaulted" another time. I asked if someone decked her. She havered. I asked if someone had hit her. She havered some more. The candidate explained, a man had thrown his sandwich at her. I didn't ask what was in it.


Pam said...

I'm glad you are blogging the election because I'm 2,000 miles away and interested obviously but not so much that I want to trawl through the news sites every day. And you always make it so interesting and funny. I'm looking forward to the next 5 weeks!

Mimi said...

LOL at the Portuguese immigrants, Catholic, no birth control!
Do Irish people count as immigrants with BNP?
Enjoying your blog of this election!

Jan said...

Love the post, not the BNP though. God knows what would happen if they ever get to No 10.

farming-frenchstyle said...

BNP candidate employing Muslims and blacks in his pubs? Sounds like do as I say, not as I do, too me.

Sarah said...

This is fab; I might start taking an interest in the election, now!

Nat said...

Gawd. what next. Funny, thanks for sharing. I'll watch out for the portuguese in my area too and the African homosexuals LOL

Kate said...

Yes - I know Berwick and Northumberland too - very well! The BNP? How strange and unsettling!!

billatbingley said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
billatbingley said...

African Homosexuals and Portuguese immigrants in Berwick upon Tweed??The BNP must be the laughing stock of Berwick if this is all they can come up with in their General Election Manifesto!

But your piece was better entertainment than some of the stuff on the television tonight! If this is the sort of stuff your election blog is going to contain KEEP IT COMING WIFIE! I just loved it.

bentonbag said...

good one -

sunshine said...

Am loving your election posts -- a window on another world! Wish we were not so deadly serious over here on the political front! Found out you had a new post by reading Andrew Sullivan's blog! So you are really making a splash with this line of blogging.

Our Obama support group meets the Tea Party Bus this p.m. as it comes through Syracuse. Will not be humorous, I promise you. We will be careful to stay on the other side of the street. Am glad for the lighter side of the "business" of politics! Thank you.

Keep Britain British said...

Laugh and snicker all you want, but Barking, Burnley and Bradford were once British and look at them now. There are national ramifications to these policies, even if they aren't currently a problem in Berwick.
Maybe the BNP candidate employs blacks and Muslims in his pubs because he knows he'd be sued to kingdom come if he didn't . So much for the right to free association.
A generation from now, when Britain is an Islamic republic, you might think differently - but then it'll be too late to do anything about it.

tonimoroni said...

'Maybe the BNP candidate employs blacks and Muslims in his pubs because he knows he'd be sued to kingdom come if he didn't'

Maybe he does it because they're good workers, empiricism being a great British philosophical tradition.

MN said...

You know, if he objects to the people of Portugal coming to the UK, perhaps he should run on ending the alliance? Because more than 700 years of cooperation can't be right...

Good to know you have crazies on your side too even if we have far more of them over here.

Keep Britain British said...

Empiricism a great British tradition? Not any more! If national immigration policy were being judged empirically, the existing policy would have been reversed a long time ago.
I wonder how many of the rest of you actually work for a living. If you or your significant others couldn't find work but there were plenty of immigrants taking local jobs, you might feel otherwise.

Anonymous said...

Its good to see the BNP running here. They are more than just an anti immigrant party these days and must be a better choice than more nulabour.

I welcome the opportunity to have another choice of party to vote rather than the usual cast of characters.

Anonymous said...

Keep Britain British.... are you for real? Have you actually been to Berwick Upon Tweed? Its about as far as it gets from Barking, Burnley and Bradford. It's a sleepy market town for goodness sake.
As for the right to free association...doesn't the same rule apply to freedom of choice and expression? Or the right to live wherever the hell you please? The reason the jobs are filled here in the UK by immigrants are more often than not bcoz the brits are a bunch of lazy bone idle gits who are so obviously beneath the types of jobs that these immigrants more often than not do fill....u just have to go down the local job centre and jails to see that. Oh and I do work for a living!
Wifey ur election pieces are side splittingly hilarious...would have loved to have seen the Grayling episode...I bet you've given him some wonderful food for thought....if nothing else a good dinner talking point bout how he got grilled by a 5ft blogger in the most unlikeliest of towns!...priceless!!!

Anonymous said...

I don't like the BNP, but to criticise them for having policies other than on immigration seems a bit off. They are incredibly distasteful, but why on earth shouldn't they be able to stand in Berwick? Their statist, authoritarian far-left policies would probably go down quite well with some people in that area.

Vote Lib Dem to keep politics free.

Angel Cox said...

Perhaps the best measure of any candidate is their capacity to contribute to their own country's economic development - like being an entrepreneur themselves or opening opportunities for the public through jobs.