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Oona King

21 April 06 14:52 GMT

We asked East End girl, and former New Labour MP Oona King for her Take Of The Week.

" One in four Londonders could be tempted to vote for the BNP.

That's what we were told this week. There is a threat, but much of it's based on xenophobic myth-making.

What is true, though, is that some of the white working class have very real grievances.

Scare tactics

Here in the East End, the social and political landscape has changed almost beyond recognition.

Many of the old white communities have gone. Those that are still here can't find affordable housing for their kids. They're angry. They talk of "land grabs", "expulsion", "being forced out".

Others resent the coming of ethnic minorities because of the problems it entails. And I can understand that.

But why do the BNP's appalling scare tactics work in areas where whites are the overwhelming majority? And don't forget: that's 92% of this country.

Guilty of neglect

The answer is that the white working classes feel neglected. They're alienated at elections by a political system that forces the political elite to target the middle classes and Middle England in order to win.

All parties are guilty of that, including my party - the Labour Party.

But don't confuse alienation with the failure of multiculturalism.

A recipe for disaster

Multiculturalism hasn't failed; it's a statement of fact. We live together, side by side in this country very well, and far better than most. But to neglect any community is a recipe for disaster.

To ensure that disaster doesn't come in the shape of the BNP, then politicians must wake up to the concerns of the white working class. Fast.


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