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Tuesday, 7 May, 2002, 12:53 GMT 13:53 UK
BNP's local election gains: What are the implications?
The far-right British National Party has had three councillors elected in Burnley in the English local elections - its first gains for nine years.

The party also won one in four votes in Oldham, the scene of race riots last year.

The BNP averaged 18% in the 19 results contested nationwide - making the polls the far right's best showing since the late-1970s.

But the party only fielded 68 candidates when there were almost 6,000 seats contested nationwide.

What is your reaction to the gains made by the BNP? Is the far right on the rise in the UK? How should mainstream parties deal with elected BNP councillors?

This Talking Point was suggested by Tim Pile, UK :

Are the recent successes for the BNP in local elections perversely a good thing, in that they are a wake-up call to all those who believe in real democracy, and may bring politics back to life?
Tim Pile, UK

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We will be discussing the rise of the far-right parties in Europe, on Sunday at 1400 GMT/1500BST in Talking Point, the phone-in programme of the BBC World Service, BBC News Online, and digital television. If you want to take part, contact us now using the form below. Please include your phone number with your comments. This will not appear on the site.

HAVE YOUR SAY


I hope these results will lead to us being much tougher on immigration

Bill, London
Although I don't agree with many of their views, I hope these results will lead to us being much tougher on immigration and repatriation of the multitude of economic immigrants in this country.
Bill, London

No surprise, all across Europe people are losing patience with bogus asylum seekers who enter illegally and are allowed to stay at great taxpayer expense rather than deported. This causes resentment and trouble, whatever race, colour or creed they happen to be.
Lee

There will always be this type of party around, just as there are extremes in the other direction - unrealistic utopian types at one end, and anarchists at the other end of the scale. Don't forget that the vast, vast majority of people in the middle ground hold the lion's share of opinion. History shows that movement of opinion toward these parties comes with political and economic instability/uncertainty. This is important lesson to remember as we integrate our European ties. We must have clear leadership and good economic stability, otherwise these feelings of extremism start to impinge on us all (all races) - human nature!
Peter Hobden, Oxford

The BNP have got their seats, what really worries me is that the other councillors have now refused to work with them therefore ignoring the 19% of the electorate that voted for them. This in itself is a form of Fascism. A case of the council overriding the people's democratic right to choose who governs them. The BNP may be bad but this sort of undemocratic influencing is worse.
Ollie_J, Bristol, UK


The disengagement of the local electorate from the recognized, mainstream parties has lifted up a stone and all kinds of unpleasant creatures emerge in the light

Peter Cameron, Nantwich, England
Bigotry is not just confined to the BNP. The disengagement of the local electorate from the recognized, mainstream parties has lifted up a stone and all kinds of unpleasant creatures emerge in the light. Cynical small-town politicians, and fringe groups such as the BNP rely on instant appeal politics and petty prejudices as they exploit the fears and concerns of local residents. This attention is usually directed to the people who feel they have something to lose, or the totally disenfranchised in our society.
Peter Cameron, Nantwich, England

To all you people complaining about the BNP's policies - we live in a democratic society. That means that any party should be able to gain seats, whether we agree with them or not!
Carla, UK

Perhaps if the BNP were given a better press and gained a few more seats politics in general would appear more balanced, and there wouldn't be so many Socialists and Marxists running scared.
Fredrick, Cyprus

England is being taken over by Black/ Asian/ Eastern European people etc., and Asia/ Africa is in not danger of floods of white people. We need more positive discrimination (very PC) in favour of white English people before we are a minority in our own country. As Fortuyn said, "The guests are taken over the house". Some Multi-culturalism may be a good thing but you can have too much of a good thing.
Joe, Birmingham UK

Garth in Harare, Who exactly are the indigenous people of the UK? Just because you are white and Christian are you more entitled to live here in the UK, are you more entitled to live anywhere? Including Zimbabwe? If you look at the backgrounds of so called British whites they have Irish, French Italian, German backgrounds.
Doup Prewer, Hong Kong


I do find this talk of 'losing the English culture' laughable

Julie, Australia (ex-pat)
I do find this talk of 'losing the English culture' laughable. I think if you analyse what people think of as 'English' is actually British and very recently created. English culture is Morris Dancing and 'hey-nonny non round the maypole', not off for a few lagers (German and Belgian invention) and a curry (Indian invention) after the soccer (Scottish invention)!
Julie, Australia (ex-pat)

It's easier to be Pakistani in Burnley than English in Glasgow!
Jeff, Glasgow

Many components of the BNP manifesto can not be construed as overtly fascistic - (though, not unlike mainstream parties, highly unworkable - how could they even find enough funding to pay for all the promises, including increased spending on defence, clearly their voters would not pay for those), some simply do not make sense. Many of our schools' pupils are 2nd/3rd or even 4th generation born in the UK. Ours is the only country - many of them have not even yet been to what BNP calls their 'origins' - they know. Now, the BNP claim that they will give minority ethnic people money for their 'voluntary resettlement'. Now, how can these kids be ever 'resettled' into a country they have not even been to?
Anonymous

I was delighted to hear of the BNP victory in Burnley. I am, however, disgusted at the way the so-called mainstream parties are riding roughshod still over the people and refusing to acknowledge the wishes of the people of Burnley who voted BNP, but then again the whole multi-racial society has been imposed in a truly undemocratic manner.
Stuart, Liverpool, England

Why are people so anti-BNP? They have been democratically elected to represent the people of the ward. People outside the said ward should respect their views of the individuals who got up of their fat backsides and did something that a lot more of us should have done, Vote!
Simon Burton, Nottingham


Why don't the right wing leave people alone?

Leroy Johnson, London, UK
Why don't the right wing leave people alone and just "let and let live." How can some people have so much hate in their heart is beyond me.
Leroy Johnson, London, UK

The BNP are a strange phenomenon in the post-ideological world. Stranger still as British people tend to be sceptical of ideologues, uniquely so amongst Europeans. Most people who buy a train ticket to work, visit sick relatives in a NHS hospitals, or buy a CD from a music store appreciate the huge contribution low-paid, newer citizens make to the UK economy. The comments of the self-styled political soldiers of the far-right belong to a long gone world.
Craig Harry, Liverpool, England

So our society has now decided to turn upon the people at the bottom of the ladder. The poorest people are ethnic minorities. Poor white people are told to compete against their fellow working class people to satisfy rich people's misguided hate. They are both competing for a larger slice of the pie. They have all been screwed by the system.
Ben Williams, Bristol, UK

The sooner this country "hardens" up and stops allowing a quarter of a million immigrants in a year the better. 90% of my friends and colleges are what the left would call racist-because we believe in our country and can also remember not many years ago when you didn't have whole areas without a white face in sight.
Anonymous


Why are the British expected to accept changes that most societies in the world would never accept?

Shawn, Washington, DC, USA
Why are the British expected to accept changes that most societies in the world would never accept? If the situation were reversed and the British were moving en masse to Pakistan, for example, how would they be treated? The newly arrived Britons would be seen as a threat to local culture and traditions. They would never be seen as Pakistani, even generations later. Is the British culture less valuable and not worth saving? Ridiculous!
Shawn, Washington, DC, USA

The original question "will this result bring UK politics back to life?". Having read the postings here, I think that the answer is a resounding "Yes". I haven't heard such passion in UK political debate for some time. I hear complaints all of the time, however, about voter apathy, cliched politics, spin, media control. We've all been turned off to politics. How refreshing to debate an issue that should mean something to us all - namely "What does Britain stand for today?"
Iain Lees, Swindon, UK

The rise of the BNP in certain areas is I believe a response to the press and its editorials about the "immigrant plague" we are facing. Almost every paper has a right wing agenda in promoting racism. This is why I found it astonishing when every single paper denounced the BNP's victories as dangerous. The BNP is using and succeeding with the very same tactics used by the German National Socialist party in the 1930s to gain power. Unfortunately it seems that the majority of people are so uneducated and lazy that they believe that scapegoating another, easily identifiable, group of people will lift them all out of poverty.
Tony Moss, Manchester UK

The message from the people of Burnley is that they don't want this multi-cultural and multi-racial 'heaven' foisted upon them. They should be praised for having the guts to stand up and be counted. It's good to see our left wing liberal lily livered politicians squirming with fear.
Simon Ladd, Enfield, United Kingdom

BNP have a good result in Burnley because immigrants from Pakistan are not trying to speak English. I am from Punjab in India and came to Great Britain in 1982. I learned to speak English and have a business in Coseley.
Sukchan, Wolverhampton


I suspect the BNP victories have more to do with poverty, unemployment, disillusionment and anger at the failure of the main political parties to deal with the problems of Burnley than any deep racism on the part of the local citizens

Matt Spencer, Luton, UK
I suspect the BNP victories have more to do with poverty, unemployment, disillusionment and anger at the failure of the main political parties to deal with the problems of Burnley than any deep racism on the part of the local citizens. The BNP has provided a scapegoat for these problems (minority groups) but not a practical solution, and because of this I doubt very much if they will be able to maintain their council positions after the next election. It'll take a lot more than shouts of "Blame the Asians" to solve Burnley's social problems.
Matt Spencer, Luton, UK

The majority of BNP voters are white, mail and British. I think they have just realised they are the only people remaining that can be ridiculed for their sex, colour and creed, with their accusers having no fear of appearing in court the following day.
Barrie, England

If you get attacked on the street does it really matter what colour of skin the thug has? If you are claiming benefits does it really matter what colour of skin the NI-payers who provide the money have? Do the issues of run-down areas of the UK really have anything to do with immigration? Do the BNP-voters really believe that if all non-whites were forced out of the country, the country would be improved? Are people really so stupid?
Anonymous

I have never voted for the BNP but if things continue the way they are and the main parties don't get their act together and address the problems and issues that concern people, then to the BNP my future vote will go as will the votes of many others.
Julie, England, UK

Not only did three BNP candidates get elected - so did a Monkey, and he got elected Mayor! What else is there to say?
Barry P, Havant England


The resurgence of the far right is a direct result the prevalence of the far left

Don Briggs, Boston, USA
The resurgence of the far right is a direct result the prevalence of the far left. So many people have adopted the attitude of political correctness. They believe that leftist policies are the only proper, true and accurate way of life. They see this issue as if only they understand that the world is round, and conservatives think that the world is flat.
Don Briggs, Boston, USA

Isn't it pathetic, how people cover up jealousy, or fear of things that are different? BNP jealous of parties in power. And so called 'Working Class' people jealous of supposed spending, regardless of reason. If you look for an imbalance, if you want to find a way to justify out-dated, racist views, then you will always find a way. 3 Seats don't matter, the BNP doesn't matter. Everyone may have an opinion, but gimmicks of which the BNP are so fond, show them to be jealous, opportunists. Why is it they don't try and put their point of view across the whole of the U.K.? Do the supposed 'injustices' exist only in Burnley, Bradford? Stop generalising, and start thinking.
Dan, Northampton, UK

The result in Burnley must be seen and taken as a wake up call to the government and to the other mainstream parties. The 3 seats won by the BNP are a direct blow to the United Kingdom's cancer of political correctness. Labour, Conservative, Liberal Democrat, it does not matter, the BNP will take more seats in the future if the quiet voice of middle England is not heard.
Edward, Ft. Lauderdale USA

The BNP only reflects what the vast majority of British people think but have been brainwashed into being ashamed to voice. Congratulations, the 19% of Britons who broke out of their torpor.
James Welsh, UK

What on earth is all the fuss about? So what that three nuts got elected in local elections that, in the grand scope of things, don't matter one iota! And why is it that when BNP make "headway", we hold our hands up in horror, and yet when those other enemies of decent society (communists) get elected, nobody talks about a dangerous revival?
Mark M. Newdick, USA/UK


The BNP success is directly proportional to the political corrected ness of the pseudo-secular liberals of the 'Guardian' kind

Sonny, London, UK
The BNP success is directly proportional to the political corrected ness of the pseudo-secular liberals of the 'Guardian' kind. When an indigenous English culture is downgraded in favour of a dishonest multi-culturalism, you will get a backlash from the frustrated white majority.
Sonny, London, UK

Those who admit to having voted for the BNP seem to be ashamed of appearing racist, despite supporting an openly hateful, xenophobic and racist platform. It makes me think of post war Germany, when it suddenly became impossible to find anyone who was ever a Nazi.
Dave, Burnley

As UK resident for last 15 years - I never asked a penny from DSS and I have my own home, and I do not vote because I feel I do not have right to meddle in the UK politics - I have to say that I understand why Burnley people voted BNP, despite the hysterical media campaign against BNP.
Sasha, UK


As long as the 'mainstream' parties fail to address the issues involved people will look elsewhere to express the very real grievances that have arisen from mass immigration

Pete Whitehead, London, UK
What the result proves is that far from attracting support from the supposedly 'ignorant' or 'prejudiced', the BNP have appealed to the very people who have the most direct experience of what a multi racial society means. As long as the 'mainstream' parties fail to address the issues involved people will look elsewhere to express the very real grievances that have arisen from mass immigration.
Pete Whitehead, London, UK

Who ever voted for the BNP should be ashamed of themselves. It is however very cruel what they are trying to do. Asians have come to Britain in order to earn some money to live their lives in peace, but some white people can't bare the fact that some Asians are doing much better than they are. What is it with white people and Asians? I don't see how Asians are harming Britain.
Nadia, UK

Someone asked 'are these people stupid?' - well yes it would appear so. I am struggling to understand some postings due to the terrible English grammar of the English people (myself included), but how exactly do you link the anti-Nazi league with paedophilia?
Anonymous, Manchester

Now that the 'extreme right' is in Burnley, what about the 'extreme left' the anti-Nazi league. It's about someone did something about them. If everyone joins there side paedophilia will be legalised, any parties that get in there way will be banned and now this afternoon I have to stay indoors because they are going to start rioting in the town centre but still the BNP are the only bad people in Burnley.
Rod, Burnley, UK

This situation is fairly reminiscent of the Green Party getting 15% in European elections in the early 1990s. Far from it signifying a fundamental shift in the party political structure, it was simply the catalyst to bring green issues into mainstream politics. The BNP has received votes because voter concerns have remained unaddressed for too long. It is time for the 'democratic' parties to live up to their responsibility and either promote inclusiveness or accept that BNP-like organisations have a democratic right to represent those who feel otherwise unheard.
Rhys Jaggar, Manchester

I am not surprised by the rise of the BNP in the UK. The fact is that the traditional parties have taken the indigenous people of the UK for granted for too long.
Garth, Harare, Zimbabwe

It is appreciable that a majority of the French people and its political class have raised their voice against the electoral gains made by the far right. The issue of the rise of the far-right should not be seen in isolation. The causes for these electoral gains should be properly analysed. I consider that in our eagerness to defend the liberal values and gain electoral votes from minorities, we fail to criticise certain aspects of minority behaviour which are not in tune with liberal values. This perceived promotion of obscurantism and denial of space for criticising these perceived wrongs, leads to the growth of far right politics.
Narayanan Jambunathan, Calcutta, India

Stephen Wey, Are you trying to tell me that these attacks are justifiable by saying "now you know what it feels like?" If someone were to attack me, does this now mean that I can attack an entirely innocent 3rd party in order to show them the pain I felt when some thug beat me?
Ben Burns, England

Annette (UK) - the incidents you describe are terrible but that should make you realise what its like to be a victim of racist violence - this is something Asians and black people have to face every day of their lives. Why should people integrate when they are told by people like the BNP they are not wanted in Britain? Maybe if you could try to develop some empathy and understanding for the victims of racism instead of siding with its perpetrators you will start to grow up and learn something positive.
Stephen Wey, UK


There are areas of Oldham where non-Asian people are afraid to walk

Annette, UK
There are areas of Oldham where non-Asian people are afraid to walk. An old white man who had lived there all his life was beaten up and killed by Asians. A young black girl was set upon by a group of Asians because she was dressed the way most English girls dress rather than being completely covered. Many Asian residents do not speak any English. These people have not attempted to integrate into their new environment but are isolating themselves from it in order to recreate the culture from which they came.
Annette, UK

I believe the rise of the BNP is partly due to the Conservative party falling victim to liberal nonsense, which has practically rendered them unable to discuss immigration without wishy-washy liberals spouting "racist"! In the 1980s the BNP and NF were practically put out of business due to a tough, but fair immigration policy of Thatcher's government. But, I believe the BNP will continue to grow as long as today's Conservative party is too scared to discuss the issues of race and immigration which affect people all across the UK.
Paul Tomlinson, Devon, UK

To say that those who voted for the BNP are 'racist or uneducated...it's as simple as that' is just not true. It is never as simple as that in politics! Just because you disagree with their views, you cannot write them off. They have their part in the democratic process, and they expressed their opinions in the correct way, via the ballot box.
Linda, UK

Will the elected BNP councillors represent their white and non-white constituents equally? They're not elected to serve just the 19% or so that voted for them. If they do then they deserve to be disbarred.
Dougal McKinnon, UK

BNP leader Nick Griffin said the BNP's objective remained "an all white Britain". Ian Duncan Smith can look forward to being returned to Japan.
Rod G, Stafford UK


It saddens me to see that the English are now electing fascists

Mark Davies, Nurnberg, Germany
As a Brit living abroad it saddens me to see that the English are now electing fascists. It's out of character, despite the views of the extreme left and right the English are more tolerant than most people. But 90% of the earth's population would have an improved life on UK welfare - unfortunately England's already the most overcrowded major nation on earth.
Mark Davies, Nurnberg, Germany

Here are two quotes from the FAQs on the BNP website: "When whites take partners from other ethnic groups, a white family line that stretches back into deep pre-history is destroyed." "We believe that homosexuality is wrong and unhealthy for any community." And some of you people voted for them?
Leonard, England

I know very little about the BNP members, but one thing I doubt is they are is ignorant. All of the demographic projections show the English will become a minority in England within the next century, and that the rest of Europe will follow this pattern some time afterwards, because birth rates are too low and levels of immigration from genetically and culturally dissimilar regions are too high.
Anonymous

I think it is disgusting how the BNP gain 3 seats in Burnley. But disenchanted voters will turn to someone who they think would be saviour of their problems. Mainstream parties must listen and react to the voices of all sections of the communities and not just one or two
Graham Foulds, Blackburn UK


I fail to see why these results deserve special comment

Philip, San Francisco, USA
I fail to see why these results deserve special comment. Already in the UK there is a party of bigots that has achieved significant electoral success, Ian Paisley's DUP. Compared to the DUP, the BNP's success in negligible.
Philip, San Francisco, USA

The rise in racist groups I suspect is partly a whip lash effect of the Al-Qaeda terrorist attacks. The sad thing is that the majority of Muslims are moderate and just want to co-exist. Unfortunately parties like BNP want to present white races as the dominant one and will not simply live and let live.
Duncan, US

Voter apathy is never an excuse to vote for blatant racists. People can protest but giving these people any sort of voice can only be negative. We need, as a people, to stop envying each other and classifying each other.
Andrew Rumbles, Manchester, UK

I think the main problem is that the electorate need educating about how to use their vote. I think the fact a "Monkey" got elected in Hartlepool as Mayor says it all really. People are too easily led by scaremongers hence why the BNP got so many votes when no right minded person should be voting for them.
Andrew Styles, Southend, UK


The votes lost will be won again. They are working class and their allegiance is to Labour

Ransford Davies King, Preston, Lancashire, UK
The votes lost will be won again. They are working class and their allegiance is to Labour. Labour have lost touch with the common voter by going more towards the right. Less spending on the people who need it the most has caused this. People turn to extremes in times of poverty and when the government of the day does not listen to them. Let's hope they start to.
Ransford Davies King, Preston, Lancashire, UK

Last Saturday I returned with my best friend to my hometown of Burnley to leaflet for the Coalition Against Racism in the area where I was brought up - Rosegrove and Lowerhouse. Nothing had changed. When are right-minded people going to stand up and challenge the daily ignorance which leads to such appalling results? Words are powerful, speak your minds and stop racism in Burnley
Jean MC Evit, Hitchin England

It just shows to independent thinkers like me that. No matter what the result of this so called democratic country of ours at election time. If the result does not suit the establishment the undemocratic media is always used to attack the views of a large majority of 'normal' English people.
T Dalton, Bradford

The BNP reflects the anti immigration policies shouted by Labour and Tory parties in recent years. Immigrants are not the problem merely the result of international free trade. The poorest countries become poorer whilst the rich become richer. The trick is fair shares for all increase the standard of living in poor countries and the people living there will want to remain
Ken, Halifax, UK

Why do people have a problem understanding the voters in Burnley? The fact that people have a problem suggests that the riots of last year, Le Pen in France the general rise in right wing parties throughout Europe over some time - has been ignored! How many kicks in the butts do the arrogant politicians need - they need to start doing the job they are elected to do - and the likes of the BNP would have nothing to feed on!
Maurice, England

It is no coincidence that the BNP have scored success in areas of heavy Asian population. As the Asian population grows rapidly and immigrants continue to flood in illegally, this problem is going to grow and grow, unless the Asian population changes its ways and integrates and embraces the British culture.
Nigel, Bristol, England


Unless New Labour and the Conservatives start listening to the views of the people that elected them, this menace will spread

Baz, Teesside, UK
This is only the tip of the iceberg. Unless New Labour and the Conservatives start listening to the views of the people that elected them, this menace will spread. They are permitting thousands of illegal immigrants to enter the country and allow the majority to stay, knowing full well they do not warrant political asylum. Kids are now running wild in the streets, and both the police and the public are unable to do a thing about it as the law is supporting the wrong side. Every day there are stories of criminals who cheat justice in courts, because important evidence is suppressed. Criminals are freed from prisons early not because they have been adequately punished, but because we don't have sufficient cells to keep them in. Anyone who thinks for one minute that this is a regional problem is living in "cuckoo land."
Baz, Teesside, UK

People have a real concern about illegal immigration and asylum seekers, as well as (not necessarily foreign) welfare dependants. The main parties block all reasonable and balanced discussion of these issues. People are fed up of being branded racist if they try to suggest that immigration should even be controlled, let alone limited. This is why people feel the need to register a protest with the only party that dares to voice a genuine concern.
Adam Greaves, Briton in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Dave Fosco (USA), what on God's Earth are you talking about? This is about the BNP, nothing to do with terrorism! If you're implying that we Brits can't tell the difference between fascism and anti-terrorist policies, then I'm afraid you're sadly mistaken. In Britain we have more intelligence than that.
John, Cambridge, UK

On behalf of we Yankees, Thank You UK! I am unsure how you feel about this war on terrorism, but it is good to know that we again man the trenches together. I believe this is a just cause, and one I do not want my children to fight. I am sorry that we have dragged you into this, and many neatly folded flags will return instead of sons and daughters.
Dave Fosco, USA


I am accusing the mainstream governments of being lazy

John, UK
I am accusing the mainstream governments of being lazy. There has been an obvious problem regarding immigration for at least a decade and to add more discomfort we have been made to feel guilty to be British. Flying a British flag, holding Jubilee parties and promoting Britain are now seen as acts of racism. It seems that immigrants enter Britain but are not allowed or encouraged to integrate into society and so they naturally seek people from their own or closest culture. Unfortunately this creates tension with the majority culture (British) as these areas are usually poor. As others have said, the BNP gained seats in Burnley because cultural pockets exist. I think its a cultural issue and not a racist one!
John, UK

Inevitable, I would say. It is pretty obvious to anyone who realises the real feeling of the man in the street that sooner or later people are going to revolt against the racialist, anti-white legislation that is being considered and implemented by this government, and the European Union. The first step is to turn to the parties that claim that they will do something about it. Unfortunately it takes radical reactions to convince deaf governments that they have lost touch with the people that voted them into power.
PhilT, Muscat Oman

The implications are that if you are English and white you might actually start being listened to in the future as opposed to being ignored, patronised , condescended to and told to shut up and pay up . This is what the sanctimonious liberal politically correct do-gooders who theirs thanks very much get for treating white English people with contempt .It has always perplexed me why the BNP get a much rougher ride from the media than Sinn Feign/IRA/Gerry Adams/McGuiness ever got and of course we now have them in government funded by the taxpayer.
Kevin


It is nonsense to talk about lack of national identity being expressed

Ray, London, GB
The idea that the rise of the BNP is due to 'political correctness' in towns such as Oldham where the communities are segregated is laughable. It is also nonsense to talk about lack of national identity being expressed, even if it is led by a Swede in preparation for the World Cup. BNP-like parties only arise when the main parties fail to deliver.
Ray, London, GB

Its a wake up call for Tony Blair to stop the flood gates of asylum seekers coming by whatever means via mainland Europe in this country. The government has to draw a line at some point otherwise the resources of this country will be stretched to its limits. It's an issue to be debated not to be shied away from.
Sanjeev, England

The BNP has made gains probably as a result of information distributed on the internet. Traditional media outlets may indoctrinate the majority, but their is enough dissatisfaction with mainstream policy failure for some voters to seek alternative sources of information in preference and supplemental to traditional media. Mainstream parties should relate to elected BNP councillors as they would any other councillors, presuming they are not too filled with hate and prejudice towards other councillors. If councillors are unable to function in a rational and democratic manner then they should be removed.
Quentin Holt, Invercargill New Zealand

I imagine that hardly any of the contributors of this page have actually sat down and read what the BNP are actually proposing. If you did you would begin to realise why me and my neighbours and many more in the future will vote BNP. Do not keep using the words Racism or Fascism - our own politically correct culture has driven us to think that using the word British or English is bad and that multi-culturalism is good. My opinion - multi-culturalism is destroying our country.
Tom Whitehouse, Turfmoor - Burnley

Here in the United States, the descendants of the pioneers have had second thoughts about what they view as racist, white supremacist, and Eurocentric motivations of their forefathers who settled this land and created this great nation. Many believe that those men and women committed genocide against indigenous American Indians and turned them into cultural refugees in their own land. They may be right. Surely the United States has made mistakes. But how strange it is that these same people oppose Le Pen. Let's apply their logic to the situation today in France. We have an indigenous people - the French - who are suffering high crime and cultural displacement at the hands of a - at least for now - minority people, Muslim immigrants. These immigrants are in the country by virtue of the generosity of the native French people, whether they be legal or illegal immigrants.
John Wallace, Minneapolis, USA


I see or hear very little difference in the outrageous rhetoric between the left and the far right

Thomas, Cleveland, USA
I see or hear very little difference in the outrageous rhetoric between the left (they prefer to be called moderates) and the far right. Both seek to control the daily lives of their countrypersons through more intrusive government and exclusion of all points of view save their own. Fortunately, one sees neither a Hitler nor a Che Guevara at present in a leadership position at either end of the lunatic spectrums. However, I feel that what is labelled leftist now years ago was considered completely bizarre.
Thomas, Cleveland, USA

My worry here is not that the BNP got in, but that people then attack them for it and demonstrate. Even the other parties join forces to denigrate them. I thought we lived in a democratic society. If the BNP were duly voted for and elected, then they should be allowed to do what is expected of them by their voters. Should we ban the Labour or Tory parties because we find their manifesto doesn't match our own personal view of the world? This is how democracy works. If you don't want that kind of party, then vote against them and stop moaning.
Rob, London

Congratulations to the BNP on their best-ever showing at the polls, and to the people of Burnley for their excellent judgment. These working/middle class whites tasted the bitter fruits of multiracial insanity when the Asians in their midst went on the rampage last year, and to their great credit they decided to do something about it. The leftists, in government, entertainment and in the alien-controlled press, are already beginning to sweat bullets, which are based on their panicky demonisation of this still-tiny party - and they're right to be afraid.
James, Virginia, USA

Let's not take the BNP's victory as if they won a significant number of seats. After all they had won only three out of 5 -6,000 local council seats. Do not despair. They will just end up like one of their ex colleagues, Derek Beacon, who represented the Isle of Dogs in 1993 and look what happened to him afterwards. He got kicked by the electorate.
Jon Lun Lee, Bedford

As I am English my opinion comments or thoughts on the matter, are of no consequence.
Brian, UK


So we are only supposed to vote for parties that people find 'acceptable'?

Craig Miller, UK
So we are only supposed to vote for parties that people find 'acceptable'? Where does that definition start or end? Democracy is all about the opinions of the people - and if some people share the views of the BNP - then these people have to be listened to and dealt with on the same level as everyone else.
Craig Miller, UK

I wonder if the Burnley locals have ever been to school, maybe they don't have TV. But if I remember rightly BNP were protesting against Islam, calling Islam a threat. Hmm... that makes me wonder, Islam clearly states to respect other religions regardless what fanatics say.
Iffe, London

What is this 'treated like second class citizens' thing? The England I live in has few obvious signs of racial discrimination of any kind and certainly none towards white people!
Sach Mukherjee, Cambridge, England

I did vote BNP and I will tell you a major reason. It seems to me that our so-called democracy just means you are allowed your view unless the ``powers`` don't like it. The BNP had the entire British media working against them with what turned out to be lies very often . When you get politicians saying "vote for anyone but the BNP" you wonder why are they so afraid of a party that has got no real chance of getting an MP elected?
Richard, England

The best 20 minutes I spent in my life were one on one with Enoch Powell in 1972. He knew then what would happen & he was not only ignored but hounded out. The comments I heard on tonight's Newsnight just go to emphasise how little your guests really know about Racism. There seems to be a lack of recognition of the racial hatred that exists, not white to immigrant, but to the contrary. At 19% of the vote, I believe that the Nationalists have earned the right to be listened to.
Craig Dent, Doncaster, Yorkshire


Until the mainstream develops answers and a proper debate on social and geopolitical issues, vile parties like the BNP will benefit

Neil Smith, St. John's, NF
The success of extreme parties in Europe only reflects the malaise in mainstream politics. People are attracted to radical solutions/ slogans for serious problems. Until the mainstream develops answers and a proper debate on social and geopolitical issues, vile parties like the BNP will benefit. People want alternatives and those who offer one, no matter how stupid or simplistic, will benefit.
Neil Smith, St. John's, NF

Well I hope now they are in office they will be made to take responsibility for their racist claptrap. As a medic if I was to say I am only going to treat white people I would rightly be drummed out of my job and probably prosecuted for discrimination. Surely the same must apply to a councillor who says openly he is only going to represent white people? I urge all black and Asian people in Burnley to take this up with the Commission for Racial Equality - you now have no representation in local government.
Stephen Wey, UK

The two main political parties only themselves to blame. For to long they have played a game of more and more tax cuts to outdo each other and win favour with the public. While all the time investment in all major services have been cut and cut - therebye sowing discontent which the BNP are feeding on.
Brian, Watford

I feel very sad for the people of Burnley. If you know your 'real' history you'll understand how the Nazis came to power. Labour must claw back the working class vote before it's too late.
Bob, Bath

This is only three councillors elected; the BNP have not won a general election. Before we all get too excited about this, this will almost certainly turn out to be another mid-term local-election protest-vote, which gets overturned at the next time of asking. Almost certainly the BNP will not get a MP elected at the next election.
Roy Driscoll, London, England

I have never voted BNP nor ever will, but as an Englishman living in England I am made to feel guilty for being English. We have been completely overlooked for devolution and as Steve says are treated like second class citizens. Unless main stream politicians wake up to this fact and acknowledge English identity and nationalism then these parties will continue to gain support.
Mark, England

I'm black man born in London. I believe the leaders in the BNP are racist to the core, however I do feel that majority of the people that voted for them are not racist, but want something positive to be done to their neighbourhoods. This is a wakeup call to the three main parties in England. These three parties take a lot of things for granted. During the run up to the election I had more BNP material stuffed through my letter box than what the so called three parties could offer. I'm glad they didn't win because they only spread lies and try to intimidate everyone. Wake up Labour! Wake up Tories! Wake up Lib Dems! Visit the local people before the BNP sow their evil seeds. Get to know the local people's concerns and do something about it before the BNP deceive the people. Your deceitful game is up BNP.
Bode F, Kent, England

Firstly I must point out that I am not racist. But do any of you live in Burnley and have to experience discrimination against your own culture and way of life by your peers? The large political parties need to address the issue positively, not find excuses, before it does get out of hand and it will.
Nick, Burnley, England


The UK's strong and diverse economy is based upon our immigrant population

Sarah, UK
The BNP's racist policies fail to recognise that the UK is a country with a long history of immigration. The UK's strong and diverse economy is based upon our immigrant population. We should value immigrants for the opportunities that they have brought to the UK, rather than attacking immigration as the cause of all social ills.
Sarah, UK

As a person of colour in the UK, the current developments with the BNP, although unfortunate, will open up the required debate needed to finally put these racists away. Any intelligent, and or logical person surely after hearing all the arguments on both sides will see how inane the BNP views are. What will they do when the ageing top heavy population needs taxes from the diminishing white work force?
Kofi Adu-Gyamfi, UK

I am not a racist nor would I ever support the policies that the extreme right of European nations are offering. I believe many people voting for these individuals are doing so in protest at the government's refusal to listen to the genuine concerns of many communities with the influx of ethnic groups.
Colin R McCormick, Northern Ireland

I don't think this is an indication of the British being more racist or less informed than anybody else. I think this is primarily a protest against political correctness, which in most people's eyes have gone too far. There's not likely to be any implications though. The major political parties don't dare go with the majority on the risk of rubbing certain minorities the wrong way.
Christine, UK

Billions being spent on funding parasitic asylum seekers and benefit fraudsters. Billions being spent on funding wars for countries that are nothing to do with us. The NHS, education and public services all being met with a lack of funding and the general public being charged more tax to cover it. Northern English cities becoming crime-ridden and run-down and thousands frightened of speaking up about the causes of it for fear of being branded a racist. Ethnic communities treated preferentially rather than equally. It's OK for those out there to criticise from afar, just visit towns like Oldham, Burnley and Bradford and tell us there's not a problem!
Alec, England

Cecil, UK said "we should be proud of those from ethnic groups that have integrated into British society". The problem is, Cecil, is that ethnic minorities are not integrating into British society! Bradford for example has been turned into a Northern-Irish style segregated city. Until the main parties wake up and start addressing issues like immigration and crime (which are spiralling out of control), Britons will continue to become more and more disillusioned with them and vote BNP. At least the BNP are listening to people and are not afraid to speak out!
Adam Lunn, Leeds, UK

Race should not be the issue and we should be proud of those from ethnic groups that have integrated into British society. However there are some immigrants and descendants of immigrants who choose not to integrate and they do this at their peril.
Cecil, UK

Arvind is close to the truth of the matter. People are trying to register a form of protest at the ballot box instead of taking to the streets to show their dissatisfaction. The only reason this is happening is because the main parties are not listening to the people. The turnout for these local elections is higher than usual. Compare this to the apathy shown at the last General Election. For all it's faults the BNP is showing that it is possible to get people out to vote if you find out what they want and then say you have solutions. Tony, Ian etc. need to stop telling us what we want and ask us instead. Where I live anything wearing a blue rosette will win, change the electoral system so that all votes count and make voting compulsory. Those who wish to not vote can still spoil their papers if there is truly no-one they want to elect.
Jenni, Bristol, England


If you have to use your vote as a protest vote, then why not vote Monster Raving Loony, Green or UK Independent?

Arvind, UK
Let's face it, the main parties have disenfranchised a lot of people in Burnley, Oldham etc, but if you have to use your vote as a protest vote, then why not vote Monster Raving Loony, Green or UK Independent etc? Anyone who votes for the BNP is either racist or uneducated about the world and its problems. It's as simple as that.
Arvind, UK

I live in the area in which the BNP gained 3 seats. I would suggest that the main reason for this result is purely down to mathematics. Not to sound too flippant, the choices on polling day were not for one candidate but three. How do you express your disdain at the Governments lack of awareness of the majorities interests, when the system supports minorities who shout the loudest or cry for their rights, above and before anyone else's.
Peter, UK

Political correctness has gone too far. Colour is immaterial yet we see absurd positive discrimination whereby we may soon be able to vote for a representative so long as they are black. What is positive about that? Let us all move forward on our own merits regardless of colour.
Dom, UK

This is an opportunity to meet the politics of the BNP head on. We should not be afraid of it. I notice that the Local Government page in this web site listed links to political parties but not the BNP. Given their news value, this might have been a good idea. If you go there as I have just done, you can tease out their views from the heaps of slogans borrowed from left and right alike.
Brian Hill, Scotland

Maybe if the media gave the BNP proper coverage, rather than ignoring what they are saying and labelling them fascists and racists, more and more BNP supporters and anti-BNP demonstrators would see that the BNP resemble the conservative party more than the conservative party differ from the BNP.
Jason Chambers, London, England

The comment from Steve, England hits the nail on the head. Political correctness is totally to blame for the rise of these people. The longer we avoid uncomfortable issues and the concerns of white British people, the more these disenfranchised people are going to turn to extreme and dangerous alternatives solely. The Tories if they had any understanding of or desire to court real British people as opposed to businessmen would seize the opportunity to address their concerns and issues and actually give these people a voice. There are real problems here but they are with multi-culturalism not multi-racialism.
Manish, Great Britain


I would never waste my vote, but surely the people who want my vote should make some sort of effort to convince me?

Anna, UK
Many people have commented that voter apathy allows parties such as the BNP and the Front National in France to gain some power. How about politicians' apathy? As of 5pm on Election Day, I had received only one leaflet (Green Party) through my door. No other information from the other parties arrived, no one came round canvassing, I did not even know the names of the candidates until I arrived at the polling station. I would never waste my vote, but surely the people who want my vote should make some sort of effort to convince me?
Anna, UK

The BNP's moderate success proves two things: democracy works in that anyone can get their view across and they're a tiny minority. Isn't this cause for celebration?
Duncan, South Africa

I can understand the outcome of this vote completely (although it may not be right) and unless England stops opening it's doors to anyone and everyone and giving them what seems to be in many cases special privileges then the BNP will begin to get more and more popular. The English are losing jobs, houses, paying thousands out of our own pockets for people who in most cases don't want to actually live like the English yet are happy to come here and take all they can!
dawn, England

The BNP success is not a symptom of a swing to the right, merely a demonstration that in local elections only the politically active generally bother to get out and vote. If you did not vote, you have no right to complain when a bunch of pig-ignorant racists takes over your council. Maybe next time you'll take five minutes to cast your ballot, a privilege for which people have been imprisoned and killed down the centuries. What a pity, though, that the Monster Raving Loony party is no more!
Guy Chapman, UK

Although I do not agree with the BNP's views, I welcome their limited success because at least now their views (and the views of their supporters) will be taken seriously by mainstream political parties. Their success will force other parties, like Labour and the Tories to tackle the issues they bring up to try to persuade the BNP's supporters that their ideology is rubbish. I think that now, the main parties will have to confront the issues that have won BNP votes, instead of ignoring the problem until it has escalate into the position that France are now in. I generally think that the BNP does serve a purpose in politics because now Labour will have to compromise into becoming less left wing to persuade people they are tackling immigration and by the next General Election the BNP would have very few supporters and will never become a major part of British politics (thank God!).
Matthew T, England

I do not support the views of the BNP, but they won by democratic election. I find the media's reaction to this result more disturbing than the BNP's victory.
Phillip, England

I didn't vote for the BNP and never would, but they do have one thing over the main parties: they mean what they say! They might be mad racist thugs, but we know that and can trust them to carry on being so. If you (foolishly) believe in their policies then you can vote for them in the confidence that they will try to carry them out. Which mainstream parties can you say that about?
Phill Jackson, UK

Perhaps people are voting for extremist parties because they are disillusioned with what the mainstream ones have to offer.
Ian, UK


I doubt very much whether the majority of those who voted for the BNP actually believe or favour the far-right racist nonsense that the BNP spouts

Laura, UK
I doubt very much whether the majority of those who voted for the BNP actually believe or favour the far-right racist nonsense that the BNP spouts. I suspect it has more to do with an ineffectual government that has failed to deal with mass illegal immigration, and which dismisses and ignores as racists or extremists those who have legitimate concerns about it. Combine that with a weak opposition party who are too scared to say boo to a Labour party activist and wham! The only party which appears to be giving any attention to the primary concern of a large section of the electorate is a far-right extremist group.
Laura, UK

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See also:

24 Apr 02 | England
BNP could win North West seats
28 Apr 02 | UK Politics
No 10 spin doctor in BNP warning


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