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All out of proportion?

Larry Neild on the election process that sent Nick Griffin to Brussels

Published on June 26th 2009.

All out of proportion?

WE were warned but we didn’t listen. Keep the BNP out by voting Green. Abandon Labour and the BNP will sneak in. The messages were loud and clear. Yet today Liverpool is represented in the European Parliament by the BNP’s national chairman, Nick Griffin.

The voting system used in the UK – with winners decided on a regional basis – means our city, and the region, is represented by the British National Party, even though our citizens did not vote for Nick Griffin to represent the city in Brussels. He polled over 132,000 votes.

Instead we are lumped together in the North West region, stretching from Crewe to the Scottish border, with eight MEPs representing us. Until proportional representation was introduced, Merseyside voted for its own MEPs on a first-past=the-post basis. Now we are at the mercy of BNP strongholds in East Lancashire and some of the Greater Manchester towns where there have been racial tensions.

The decision has been greeted with outrage by politicians and people of all parties. The reality, though, is that enough people in the North West voted for the BNP. Now Mr Griffin is home and dry and suddenly the BNP’s income will escalate to a level far exceeding the paltry sums of expenses that have seen mainstream Westminster MPs falling on their swords.

As well as a significant six-figure salary, London-born Mr Griffin, who started his political career as a local secretary for the National Front, will be able, like all MEPs, to claim the costs of running his offices: one in Brussels and another in the North West. So in a way we, the taxpayers, will be funding him to promote his views and the work of the BNP in the EU.

He can’t be denied access to such funding, it is available to all members of the European Parliament.

My own view is the BNP attracted so many votes for a multitude of reasons, mainly as a kick in the teeth for the big parties over the exes scandal. But also because many people in this country have become alarmed at the inability of the big parties to tackle illegal immigration.

Or rather what is perceived as an inability to tackle immigration. I’m aware of many hard-working, tax paying people from overseas receiving their marching orders from the UK. Yet, at the same time we are fed lurid tales, mainly by the Daily Mail or the Express, of work-shy immigrant parents with gangs of kids living off the state.

Often the mythology makes better reading than reality. Yet the BNP, a legal party allowed as part of our democracy, can reap the benefit of these homespun public outrages.

It seems we tolerated the BNP having a smattering of local councillors, providing they were kept out of the public gaze. But today it’s the Brussels parliament. What will come next? The BNP in Westminster?

For if having BNP MEPs in Brussels is not bad enough, it’s highly likely Mr Griffin’s army will make an assault on House of Commons seats in the forthcoming UK general election

As for the process, Liverpool voters gave Labour most of its support, followed by the Lib Dems, with UKIP and the Greens almost neck and neck. In fifth place came the Conservatives followed by the BNP who gathered just over 5,300 votes in Liverpool.

People wanting Euro-style voting in local and UK elections should be aware of the consequences of dabbling with our voting system. Maybe the big two – Labour and Conservative – with all of their faults don’t seem so bad if it keeps the drawbridge closed against more extremist parties getting a foot in the moat. Maybe accepting the BNP and other extremist groups is a price we have to pay for keeping the big parties on their toes.

Whatever happens, Mr Griffin will be flying for BNP flag for Liverpool and the North West in Brussels until 2014.

*In other statistics, Knowsley had the lowest turn-out in the NW at 21.56 per cent, followed by Liverpool with 24.07 per cent, and Halton on 24.60 per cent. Highest turnout in the NW was South Lakeland 49.96 per cent North West turn-out was 31.90 per cent - meaning less than a third of the North West population voted.

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59 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Redover the bedJune 8th 2009.

All BNP fools should be arrested and given the chance to be deported to one of the Scottish islands where they can set up their own fascist nation.Failing that send them back to Germany where they belong.

emmandenJune 8th 2009.

Thanks Bobby Grant.The point is that most if not all the other cities have had Labour councils, but the damage was done in the eighties and nineties, when Deggsy and his followers thought it was macho to bait the government, whereas Manchester and the others quietly went with the flow and got a 20 year head start on Liverpool. Once that became the accepted impression of Liverpool, helped by the media, the Tories wrote it off, and Labour did not need to, as they would get the MPs regardless of how little they did. It shows how bad the local Labour lot are that the "Lib-dem dolts" have been in power for 10 years!

The Man on the Garston OmnibusJune 8th 2009.

But Laz, proportional representation at least might get the ignorant and the lazy off their arses and down to the polling stations knowing that one way or another, their vote will actually count.First-past-the-post leads to the voter apathy everybody's whingeing about - wasn't the record held by Liverpool Riverside with a turnout of only 11% a few years ago? Knowing that the BNP or the UKIP nutters might end up representing them in government might make people start taking elections seriously.

AnonymousJune 8th 2009.

The BNP are anti-white? Now there's a first. Not only are BNP supporters completely thick but they don't even know who they don't like anymore.

UnionJackoJune 8th 2009.

BNP are not facists. One of the most successful recruiting drives of recent times indicated that the British Army membership of BNP has trebled, both in officers and other ranks.The fatcat sleaze merchants in Westminster are running scared that Joe Public has found a voice and a party that is in touch with the real world. They know that the strongmen at the heart of BNP are exactly what Britain needs right now and are rehashing all of the old propaganda to discredit the wonderful achievements of the BNP in recent years.It is as relevant as discussing Labours support of Arthur Scargill or Churchills attack on the miners.Grow up.

Proud BritonJune 8th 2009.

Come on, Miss Slagg, assist me in helping him on with his special jacket that fastens up the back...

George DragonJune 8th 2009.

I still think Unionjacko is a leftist stooge put up to discredit the BNP. He's doing a great job.

UnionJackoJune 8th 2009.

This is healthy, to debate the importance of the BNP is essential to breaking the political correctness that has destroyed the moral fibre of this country. The posting about Jews is unacceptable and has been reported. BNP does not and never has espoused restriction on religious belief. It is criminal activitiy masquerading as religion that must be rooted out once and for all.

UnionJackoJune 8th 2009.

Again its the same old line...BNP are gay bashers. BNP are anti-white. BNP have no education policy...etc.etc.Running scared and spewing dumb insults wont stop the march of history. BNP are here to stay and will continue to reflect the views of ordinary British people.

Proud BritonJune 8th 2009.

UnionJacko, my father fought evil Nazi scum under the flag you besmirch with your unhinged, adolescent opinions. Kindly change your name to Swastika or something more fitting.

George DragonJune 8th 2009.

Oh, 'Nick' Griffin provides the answer -it's African boat people who are first for the chop. Let them sink! Better than that, why don't we torpedo them? Come on Unionjacko, give us your wisdom on this. Persuade us again that the BNP are the voice of the people. You have gone a bit quiet. Can't imagine why.

UnionJackoJune 8th 2009.

BNP remains the most vital of all the political parties. The scandalous sleaze surrounding MP expenses would never be allowed to happen under a BNP government. Open, honest, and true to its ideals of public service, voter concerns and regenerating British Industry, BNP is the breath of fresh air needed in fetid Westminster.Why are the bloated bureaucrats so frightened of the rampant success of BNP?It is time for change.Only BNP can usher in a new age of peace, prosperity and hope for British people.

Rusty SpikeJune 8th 2009.

Yes, yes, yes dear 'emmanden' but you are completely forgetting that WE'VE got the endless Beatles Memorabilia Bandwagon Bull**** - admittedly that no one else apart from Japanese, American and occasional German anoraks give a flying fig about, or either of the two surviving Fab Four, come to that. You see, dear 'emmanden' its all about priorities. Personally, I think we should've thrown our votes towards Ireland's Fianna Fáil, particularly - as most people seem to overlook - with Liverpool being twinned with Dublin. We could've have been the 'official' outpost of Eire in the UK; much like we've flown the Union Flag all around Ulster, with the musical accompaniment of the stamp of boots and the bark of the sergeants. In fact, maybe Liverpool's anthem could have been that fab-fav Beatles song Sgt Pepper etc....you know, the bit about being the 'lonely hearts' club band'....pip, pip

emmandenJune 8th 2009.

When are scousers like EleanorRigsby going to wake up to the fact that voting for Labour for the last umpteen years has produced nothing for Liverpool. You only have to travel round the country to see how far behind this city is when compared to others, let alone Manchester. Civil service jobs, civic centres, trams, museums, roads, mainline and underground railways, are just some of the areas where the politicians and the "governing classes" have written Liverpool off, and it now looks like the burns units will follow the Blood transfusion service and the sorting office out of the city. Cities like Sheffield, Nottingham, Bristol, Newcastle are well ahead in the provision of services and transport. For the want of £100 million or so, the tram lines are left to rust. Manchester is told accept road charging or lose investment;they say no and still get £1 billion plus for transport, including extending the trams. How long before the Grand National is transferred to Haydock or Heaton Park?

Johnny EnglishJune 8th 2009.

Oh yes? Like the National Front, the National Party, the British Movement and all the other bunches of thugs that imploded in factional in-fighting and ego-clashes between all the would-be new Fuhrers? The merest whiff of progress is usually enough for the wheels to start coming off all these gangs of fascist goons.And yes I know you are going to start ranting about Labour and Tories in crisis etc. etc. - they are, and deserve to be, and I am no big fan of either - but I am happy to say that whatever comes out of this crisis, it won't be the triumph of your brand of politics. Dream on.

warriorJune 8th 2009.

Brown and that fat git running the Labour party in Liverpool are a disaster. LABOUR government ARE FINISHED the sooner they go the better. The labour MPs are more corrupt than any in a third world Country. May be thats why loads of foreigners are coming here and labour are letting them in,so they all can be on the fiddle.

CatherineJune 8th 2009.

UnionJacko, the number of votes for the BNP actually fell compared to the previous European elections. You only got a Euro MP because support for mainstream parties dropped. Unless proportional representation is introduced in this country you will not get an MP elected. And what is the BNP's education policy...teach white kids only and ban discussion of gay lifestyles I presume?

Toxteth TerrorJune 8th 2009.

It's a sad reflection on Britain when more people vote for the attention seekers on Britains' Got Talent than voted to keep out the nazis. All in D Day Rememberance week. I despair.

ironside@rock.comJune 8th 2009.

Non politicos may be interested to learn that the Tories have a secret pact with Griffin to split the Labour vote in the North of England with agreed campaign strategies.BNP receive Tory funding for this.That truly is dirty politics.

UnionJackoJune 8th 2009.

Griffin is the greatest hope for a prime minister who cares about his country we have had since Maggie Thatcher was deceived out of her rightful place as PM.All power to you NICK.

DigJune 8th 2009.

I was told a tick in the box means you vote for them and an x in the box means you vote against them. I put a big X in the box next to BNP. I did my bit. Shame on you Non Voter.

Little ScousekrautJune 8th 2009.

Dad, dad. Please stop drinking, Please dad...

UnionJackoJune 8th 2009.

They represent a force in modern politics that is to be reckoned with. At last the ordinary man has a chance to be heard. The issues of immigration, education, capital punishment and the degradation of care for our old folk are at the forefront of decent peoples concerns.Let us hope the BNP caucus will generate some real debate and bring these serious matters back into the political forefront.Good luck BNP.

queeny eyeJune 8th 2009.


The AA manJune 8th 2009.

The BNP actually received less votes this election than they did in the previous EU election. It was the massive collapse of the Labour vote that allowed the BNP in. We can't even blame the collapse on the expenses scandal either because the Tory vote managed to hold up and it was their members who were claiming for things like moat cleaning and duck islands.

WagJune 8th 2009.

Yes Union Jacko, but why do you call yourself Dave Rogers on other posts?

Non VoterJune 8th 2009.

I almost voted. I should have voted. It would have been a toss up between Labour and the Greens. I couldn't decide so I just didn't bother. Now I find myself represented in the EU by the BNP. Now I wish I'd voted. The Greens came so close, a couple of thousands votes extra and they would have kept out Nick Griffin. I blame people like me for being too stupid to stop the BNP in its tracks. Sorry everyone.

scousekrautJune 8th 2009.

The far right vote is increasing all over Europe. There are reasons for this. An increasing number of people do not like what they see happening around them.These concerns are mostly linked to immigration and to the increased centralization of power in Brussels.The mainstream parties have all pretty much swept these concerns under the carpet. In fact most mainstream parties in Europe support centralization. Centralization is another word for Communism and is the greatest enemy to those who want power over their own lives whilst at the same time cooperating with others and recognizing and respecting our differences. Our other enemies are apathy and ignorance. Most people have absolutely no idea who has the power in this world and couldn't care less anyway.Slowly but surely this is beginning to change. The rise of the nationalists is necessary to wake people up from their dumbed down states and to start taking an interest in how their local community is being run. The nationalists are unfortunately the only ones (plus UK Greens) who oppose the long term agenda of world government, one currency, one central bank, one health system etc., etc., of which the EU is merely a stepping stone. This is why the mainstream media is crying so hypocritically like a bunch of Hyenas because they represent the agenda.

DigJune 8th 2009.

To all those people I insulted in previous rants and pictures with cases of 'bog eye' I take it all back. Nick Griffin wins hands down. www.independent.co.uk/…/45-peopro_177151t.jpg…

ay!carmelaJune 8th 2009.

Time to hit the streets again, brothers and sisters.

Pearl necklaceJune 8th 2009.

I've met Union Jacko and he looks exactly like Bruno in the Sacha Baron Cohen film. Gorgeous long legs, cute, tight buttocks too, but even better make up. You go girl!

Hugh BoteJune 8th 2009.

Nein you iss misrepresenting der words of der Foohker. Ya we say sink the boat but we also say throw them a life raft (mitt eine leak...sshhhh!) so zey can row back to Africa. What do you think we are Nazis? Gott im himmel! But what if they start rowing ze raft towards Europe...? Vell zen we haff to machine gun them. Zat iss what we would zupport. Just because we advocate trying to drown non-whites in the middle of ze ocean does not mean we are racist! Why do you people resort to zis tired old accusation?

Corporal 'Maggot' maloneJune 8th 2009.

Ooer! 'E's in another of 'is 'ragin' furies'!

UnionJackoJune 8th 2009.

Re-read the last few postings. Spot the real racists - too afraid to admit that the great social experiments of the 1960s failed. The backlash is on its way and ordinary folk will not be denied their right to justice and life in a country where it is safe for old people and young women to walk the streets.BNP will protect pensions, improve education standards and completely detach Great Britain from the yoke of American oppression.Laugh and make fun but there are serious issues. Demonising the vitality of BNP only makes it stronger.

Bobby GrantJune 8th 2009.

emmandensays..“ When are scousers like EleanorRigsby going to wake up to the fact that voting for Labour for the last umpteen years has produced nothing for Liverpool. You only have to travel round the country to see how far behind this city is when compared to others, let alone Manchester."" "Manchester consistently returns a Labour Council and look how successful the city is, whereas we've had the Lib-Dem dolts for over ten years and they even managed to damage the E.U.-funded Capital of Culture. You're talking thick!

Pimply redJune 8th 2009.

I've got a good idea, Eleanor. Why don't we have an annual feast day dedicated to the Beatles here in Liverpool. Nowhere else in the world could match it. We could show everyone around the globe how forward thinking we are by all wearing Beatles wigs for the day. People would see that our council leaders meant business and those Shanghai Expo people would be seriously impressed when they see them sporting those loveable mop-a-tops in photies. We could call it "Beatles Day" and have it on the 39th anniversary of Ringo having his tonsils out. World city? Swivel on that New York.

George DragonJune 8th 2009.

I do wish people would stop taking the rise out of Unionjacko. He is WONDERFUL! We are even getting the 'we shall conquer the universe' dalek style rants now. Come on Unionjacko, don't let us down, let's have the 'Exterminate! Exterminate!' routine next. (Although I wonder who will be first this time round? So many to choose from.)

Paul in CheshireJune 8th 2009.

Firstly, I voted for Greens hoping they would beat the BNP AND snub Labour who are a bit useless at the moment (but not as bad as people make out, it is our "special friends" in the US that started the economic downturn not the Europeans).The fact of the BNP flag over Liverpool is an utter disgrace. My Grandad was a scouser through and through, and fought fascists all his life on the battlefield and in local politics. I am glad he did not live to see this.The big problem was this. 1) Fascists/Racists/Ignorant people are motivated. They got u and voted. They are motivated by an out dated, small minded view of the world but its enough to get them to the polling stations.2) Decent people lacked motivation. They stayed away from the ballot box, with an almost "well if the politicians are not perfect, I will not be voting for them". Well, indirectly these people may have well voted the BNP in.People have to stand up and be counted. Their votes do count and only when everyone votes does the system work at all. If you don't vote, you are giving more power to the motivated, the radicalized and the extremists. Liverpool has a great political tradition, and I have seen this on the Kop as well in the streets. To those who did not vote imagine the BNP flag (or the swastika) flying from the Liver Building and think how that makes you feel. If you regret the BNP getting in act next year at the elections and keep them out!There is a online petition at the moment which shows solidarity against the www.hopenothate.org.uk/…/…

Rusty SpikeJune 8th 2009.

Erm, I think you'll find, emmanden, that whilst Mr 'Atton and Cohorts were truly a tad unruly at least others with real passion were committed to the city and region and stood fast against the horrific Mrs T and her plans to maul the left, the workers and the ordinary people. She, on the other hand, was determined to render in chains those who railed against 'consumerist' policies and the 'market economy'. I presume you've been keeping up to speed on the current financial debacle with banks and the like, and the economic recession, blah, blah. Pray who, d'ya think, kick started all that corruption and greed? And you might recall - or maybe not - that plans for the abolition of the Metropolitan Councils which put people first, including Merseyside, were in hand a while before Liverpool became a 'rebel outpost' against the advancing hordes of Thatcherism. But, the dockers were thrashed, the shipbuilding industry locally wrecked, Tate & Lyle gone, United Biscuits crumbled and generally the city and the region was on its last legs in the early and mid 1980s. In the midst of all this the Tory's destroyed the mining communities and the traditional maritime industry - few ships, if any, these days are registered in the UK. This, emmanden, was all due to people voting Tory, and all clearly part of a Tory masterplan to knock the stuffing out of folk in the north, and in fact anyone who didn't spend their weekends punting or polishing silver spoons. 'Going quietly with the flow'?....what absolute tosh.

Johnny EnglishJune 8th 2009.

First we had the 'wonderful achievements' of the BNP, now their 'massive strides'. What ARE you talking about, UnionJacko, you silly little man? Your biggest problem is that the BNP will never appeal to 'decent working class voters' either. Only thugs and thickos.

Onion Jacque-OhJune 8th 2009.

C'est la vie, mon ami.

Johnny EnglishJune 8th 2009.

What exactly does Mr UnionJacko find 'unacceptable' about Mr Dragon's point (satirically made, but serious enough in itself) that the far-right has always been anti-semitic? If Mr UJ has any doubts on this, perhaps he could ask Nick Griffin for some old copies of Spearhead from his National Front days, when fascists were more up-front about their real politics? I doubt if the inner circles of the BNP have moved very far from the traditional nazism of the NF - ranting about international Jewish conspiracies behind global capitalism, Communism etc etc. Perhaps Mr UJ doesn't know as much about his party's policies as he thinks? Or perhaps he does, and is trying to hide them behind the 'we speak for the ordinary man' rhetoric?Unfortunately for Mr UJ, the vast majority of voters in this country are too aware that our finest hour was fighting against fascism - which is why it is an insult to my father and many others like him that the BNP try to wrap themselves in our flag. The vast majority of ordinary voters won't touch your politics with a barge-pole, and what will you do then? Accuse all of us of being pinko unpatriotic liberal Labour leftie commie internationalist scum?

CatherineJune 8th 2009.

Who has ever said the BNP are anti-white? I thought they were PRO-white! I never said they were gay bashers, but what is true is that the party doesn't believe in equal rights for gay people. The BNP exploits people's fears and ignorance of other cultures, makes nonsense claims about asylum seekers and promotes division among the human race. By the way, I am an ordinary British person and you don't represent my views.

paulmJune 8th 2009.

PB, don't fret. He is all over the Confidential sites deliberately posting stuff to get a rise. I don't think he has an opinion, just a sad ba****d with no life basically.

UnionJackoJune 8th 2009.

All right I confess, I am a brainless nazi stooge, not even fit for my dog to eat. I have been 100% wrong about everything. What can I say? Apologies can never be enough. I'd offer my resignation from the human species if I didn't realise I was never part of it in the first place.

Glenda SlaggJune 8th 2009.

"UnionJacko" - crazy name, crazy guy!

warriorJune 8th 2009.

It is the Labour part who are the attention seekers. Every policy they have put forword has been all spin and no substance,and un- workable.

eggJune 8th 2009.

Do you think that David Cameron is a fan of Liverpool, or something?

UnionJackoJune 8th 2009.

The BNP's massive strides in recent years prove how impotent the main parties are. The Conservatives and so called new labour are staggering from disaster to disaster without any cogent policy to appeal to decent, working class people.BNP have shown that political success depends upon recogninsing genuine unhappiness about real issues and not about assuaging american presidents warlike ambitions.Listen to your voters - that is the simple and consistent message of the BNP. Concentrate on local issues. Get it right at home before we start any more morally dubious and financially disastrous foreign enterprises.The dull and frankly stupid jibes about Nazism only underline that traditional politics is bankrupt of new ideas and too reliant on old cliches.

Fat GitJune 8th 2009.

Er, do you mind?

EleanorRigsbyJune 8th 2009.

Man on the Garston Omnibus is right. It's up to all of us to get off our lazy backsides and vote. That's despite vthe fact in the next election it will be a toss up for manjy parts of Liverpool between Conservatives and the BNP.I don't care much for characterless Gordon Brown but he is the best man for the job. God help Liverpool if we are at the mercey of the Tory Millionaires like Cameron and Osborne. We'll be so strapped for cash we won't even be able to afford to buy bikes to help us go out and find a job.

George DragonJune 8th 2009.

Is there no end to Sacha Baron Cohen's chutzpah? We've had Ali G, Borat, Bruno, now 'Unionjacko', a brilliant spoof of the typical BNP baboon! Come on, don't let us down, let's have a rant from Unionjacko about Jews taking the p*ss out of decent British blah blah (contd. p. 94)

Johnny EnglishJune 8th 2009.

Dear Mr UnionJacko. So the BNP are not 'facists' (?) but are a party of 'strongmen', popular in the military, prepared to do 'exactly what Britain needs just now'? (What exactly I wonder?). Delete 'Britain' and substitute 1920s Germany or Italy and, oh dear, you seem to have scored a bit of an own goal. By the way, exactly what 'wonderful achievements of the BNP'? Apart from roughing up councillors and others who dare disagree with them of course.Amusing that you find my admiration for Britain's heroism in World War Two irrelevant. I consider it patriotic. Evidently a position that you and your friends, for all your bluster and posturing, fail completely to understand. Stop hiding behind our flag. You have no right to it. Wave a flag that more honestly expresses your politics. I can suggest one if you are stuck.

Nick Griffins brother PeterJune 8th 2009.

I'm quite surprised by UnionJacko's support for my brothers party with him being a foreign gay black man.

UnionJackoJune 8th 2009.

BNP have forced the debate concerning major issues that affect real people.BNP membership continues to grow and, united with like minded european partners, will remain a vital and dynamic force in politics for many years to come.

Captain HurricaneJune 8th 2009.

Take that [Ker-runch!} you sausage-eating, purple-faced son of a Prussian pawnbroker!

EleanorRigsbyJune 8th 2009.

I like the Beatles (but I would, wouldn't I). In fact I don't think we make enough of them.

UnionJackoJune 8th 2009.

BNP are here to stay and life will be better for it. The millions of desperate working class British people struggling to raise children dont want the burden of foreign wars, subsidised health care for foreigners, and inadequate services for the old and sick.BNP will change the world for the better.

DigJune 8th 2009.

Shock Horror, hold the front the front page. Liverpool isn't perfect!!! Concerning Laz's article the biggest surprise for me is that more people voted for a party that would rather divide the world than for a party trying to save it. Maybe next time The Greens should try campaigning here as much as The BNP.

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