Posted in Europe

Should the BNP be a recognized political party?

We really must make up our minds about the BNP.    Then take a decision and abide by it.

Is it a recognized political party or not?

Here in Britain, the BNP is a registered party for election purposes.   It is not banned.   It is not illegal.   It is permitted to put up candidates for election.   If they are successful at the ballot, then they become legal councillors, MEPs and, probably quite soon, MPs.     Once elected these people are entitled to sit in the chamber to which they have been elected;  entitled to draw any pay or expenses and enjoy any resources which go with the job;  entitled to their proportional share of committee places;  and entitled to the services and everyday courtesy of the officials in that council or assembly.

That is what any other political candidate, duly elected, would be entitled to.   As things stand now, a successful BNP candidate should be in no different circumstances.

Yet today we learn that the two new BNP MEPs are finding that nobody is prepared to sit next to them in the European Parliament, and that they believe they are being denied information and consultation afforded to other MEPs.   Indeed the European officials have confirmed that they will not be consulting them on some matters.

If we believe that BNP members and candidates are such pariahs that nobody will be prepared to work with them at a Council, in Europe or in Westminster, then the position is quite clear.   The law should be changed to ban the BNP from being a recognized political party.

This would, of course, interfere with an individual’s human rights to believe what he/she wishes, to stand as a candidate professing those beliefs, and to vote for candidates who support those beliefs.  It would also open the door to future dictatorship where quite moderate parties could be banned.

But we can’t have it both ways.   Either we allow the BNP to exist as it does now and afford them all the rights and courtesies afforded to other elected candidates, or we ban the BNP.

Posted in Govt and agencies, Politics

Hey rotten, nationalizing Labour government, leave c2c alone

The news today about the East Coast Mainline was perhaps not unexpected.   Although many of us will have hoped that another method of solving National Express’s problems could have been found  –  sale to other transport companies who had shown interest, for example  –  rather than nationalization.

The beautiful Lord Adonis says that he will offer the franchise for tender again.   Hopefully he will.   I would deplore any move to keep it in the public sector.   We fought for years to turn back the clock on Socialism’s previous nationalizations.   Don’t let it happen again.

But whatever happens to the East Coast Mainline, there was a nasty little threat in what the Lovely Peer had to say.

He said it was possible he would remove the company’s two other franchises.  This is seen as punishment for making a mess of the East Coast Mainline, but lawyers (and the almighty Robert Peston) believe he may not be able to do that as the East Coast franchise is controlled by a separate specially set up company. 

One of those other franchises is c2c which runs the Essex line out of Fenchurch Street to Southend-on-Sea, via Upminster and West Horndon, or around the Loop taking in Dagenham, Rainham and Purfleet, or Ockendon and Chafford Hundred, to Grays, Tilbury and Pitsea and then on to the seaside.

It’s a small operation  –  only fifty or so miles from London to Southend  –  but it’s a great little railway.   It always comes near the top of the league tables.   Its trains are very rarely cancelled.   They are punctual and clean.   There are always workers clearing litter from platforms and trains.   The staff are friendly, polite and helpful.   Inspectors patrol the trains regularly checking on tickets in addition to the automated barriers at the stations.

So, here’s one passenger, not a commuter but a fairly regular traveller, who says to His Lordship and his government colleagues, “Keep your hands off c2c”!