Went along to vote this evening and was a little concerned by scenes I saw at my local polling station. There was a group of men in suits stood around the door. I just ignored them and wandered inside to make my mark. Not that I’d given a great deal of thought as to who I was going to vote for, but I feel that it’s important to participate in the democratic process.
In our local election there were three candidates. One for the Lib Dems, one for the Conservatives and one for the British National Party. That shocked me a little. No Labour, no Greens or Independants, but there was a BNP representative.
On my way out it became clear that the big men in the suits were the local BNP supporters. Big white men in suits. No skinheads to be seen, but still a little un-nerving. They were having a conversation with an Asian guy who was proudly wearing an England football t-shirt. He was proud to be English, but, from what I overheard, wanted to know why someone had put racist graffiti on the wall of his house.
As I was wandering away, I started thinking about what I believed the BNP stood for. White Britain. No Blacks or Asians. Then I started thinking about my friends and where they and their families come from. Couple of easy ones… Jamaica, India, Pakistan and Greece. Then a little more thinking brought out Australia, New Zealand and Ireland. Plus there’s the Netherlands, Italy, Germany and Spain. The list grows when you start looking back three or four generations. Eventually I got even got around to adding Wales and Scotland to the list!
Right I thought to myself. I’ll have a look at the BNP’s website and see what they really stand for. I wasn’t far away from the truth. Ban imigration. Keep the Pound. Stay out of Europe. No surprises there. There were a couple of corkers though – cash for immigrants to go home. No mixed-race marriages and God was mentioned several times which is a little concerning. Politics and religion don’t mix and saying that you’re doing something in His name is grasping at straws in my book.
In my opinion the World should be uniting rather than putting barriers in the way of communication and friendship. We have to all learn to live together. That’s why seeing the BNP on my doorstep upsets me. I’m very lucky to have so many friends, both here in the UK and further afield. They are a colourful bunch – and I’m not talking about skin tones here. Short, tall, fat, thin, male, female, hairy, bald, blonde, ginger, young, old… the list goes on and that’s what I love. Diversity makes life interesting and to try and quash that is going to make the World a sadder, greyer place.