I have been urged by text and tweet and email to sign this petition “against racism and division”… and I can’t sign it.
I’m dead against racism and division. Indeed I would put both near the top of my list of least favourite things. But I can’t sign a petition to say that the BNP do not represent me in the European Parliament, because – horrifically – they do.
I’m not happy about it. I didn’t vote for them myself. But in a democratic election they were chosen to represent my country, which means that for all that they don’t represent my views, they represent a majority. And therefore me. That’s the way democracy works. If we took a “not in my name” attitude to all elected officials we hadn’t voted for, over half of the nation would be ignoring most of the government at any given time, which is division – and we’ve already established that’s a bad thing.
At the time of writing, the Hope Not Hate petition has 21,095 signatures: clearly a lot of people feel strongly about this. But not enough people felt strongly about it to get along to a polling booth on Thursday and do something about it – indeed, in my constituency alone 97,013 did feel strongly enough to vote for the BNP, and even that wasn’t enough for a majority in this area. Those people have got to live with the indignity of – horrors! – a Conservative majority and a near win for UKIP, but I don’t see any petitions against it on the internet.
Not only is the Hope Not Hate petition of bugger all use to anyone, it’s churlish. If people want to do something about the new and scary threat of fascists holding real power in our country it’s too late to do anything about the election we have just taken part in (or, in many shameful cases, haven’t just taken part in). They need to do something about the next election – find an alternative to support and promote, talk to people, blog, tweet, point out to every single person you know what an absolute dickhead Nick Griffin is (indeed, in a political world of grey areas that is one of the few things I believe I can say is absolutely factually undeniable).
Or, if all of that seems a bit too much work, get out of bed and vote next time…