Michael Howard is wrong about a lot of things, of course, and was a truly terrible leader of the Conservatives (or a brilliant one, depending on your point of view) as well as an illiberal home secretary. But that doesn't mean he's wrong about everything, as this story shows:
Mr Howard told BBC Radio 4's The World This Weekend: "I think I am still the only party leader who went to Burnley and devoted an entire speech to confronting the BNP and saying that we've really got to take them on and we've got to take their arguments on.
"I don't think we can afford to be complacent. There are one or two constituencies where they are said to be a potent threat.
"I think you have to take them on, you have to confront them and you have to expose the appalling evil of their arguments."
What I like about Howard here is that he doesn't muck about. He doesn't wring his hands, as many other Tories and Labour politicians would, wondering whether the racists really have a point and whether poor white folk are right to feel 'disenfranchised' and upset by immigration. No, the BNP's arguments are 'appalling evil'.
Which I find myself agreeing with - though it's a kind of uncomfortable agreement. Imagine sitting on the train next to a man with a hideous cold whose nose is dribbling snot down his face. You don't want to be there, but it's late, you're tired, and you can't go anywhere else. There, I've said it: I agree with Michael Howard. As I've said before, a vote for the BNP is not a protest, and it's unfortunate if not entirely missing the point for politicians to wonder whether the racists are right - true, many may claim that the white working-class are the real victims of racism, but I think they're wrong.
There has, in recent times, been a thought in politics that the best way to deal with BNP voters is to say their concerns are genuine and to try and woo them. Phil Woolas is the classic New Labour example of this, but there are others right across the political spectrum. What Michael Howard rightly says is: bollocks to that. Racism is wrong, and the BNP need to be challenged, and fought.
No related posts.