Well, I realise I’ve been off-line for a little while. Been busy with work, as well as thinking about life after I graduate in August. Just really haven’t had much time to comment much. Also had some meetings down in England, and now there is the ICC Twenty20 on, which is taking up what free-time I do have at the moment. I have however published a post over at Progressive Minds concerning the Cruise Ship Gambling legislation – I am opposed to it, and explain why, briefly, there. I plan to expand on it here, once I have the time.
Apart from that the main news item over here in the UK at the moment is the results of the UK local and EU elections that saw UK Labour suffer heavy losses, increased support (in the popular vote) of the Green Parties here, as well as the fascist BNP win two seats in the EU legislature.
For the EU elections itself I voted for the Scottish Socialist Party. I wasn’t realistically expecting them to win, but they represented my position best out of the assorted options. I believe they only received 0.3% of the popular vote here in Scotland. Unfortunately the BNP received about 2.5% of the Scottish popular vote. The rise of the BNP is particularly worrying, here in Edinburgh at least, as just the week before the elections there were some anti-Pakistani attacks by White thugs targeting Pakistani students here at the University. As far as I’m aware there have been no arrests in that case.
In truth the BNP vote has not actually increased, but the decision by traditional Labour voters to abstain from voting as given the impression of increased BNP support, at least for their winning two EU seats.
I am of the opinion that there is a good degree of latent racism here in the UK. Often its not all that hostile in intent, just ignorant type comments that aren’t meant to offend but come across as racist and offensive (which they are) all the same. There is though a growing reaction against Muslims, especially so when the Muslims are a visible ethnic minority such as Pakistanis. Much of this comes from an apparent ignorance of what Islam is, although I reckon mostly that is used as an excuse to rationalise the racism of the thugs.
A lot of anger towards immigrants appears to stem from the breakdown of social services such as council housing and the NHS as a result of underfunding, sabotage and privatisation since Thatcher. People are hurting, and this anger is being directed, unfairly, towards immigrants, especially visible ones. The best way to counteract support for the BNP really is to reinvest in social services here, which will benefit all.
I am a bit of a mixed mind concerning the direct action being used towards the BNP right now, with egg-pelting and confrontation seemingly the order of the day for anti-fascists. I certainly understand where the anti-fascists are coming from, both from an abstract point of view regarding fascism and my own run-ins with the (now largely defunct) White supremacist Heritage Front in Canada while studying there. Yet I feel that the particular form of direct action being used actually benefits the BNP, making them into martyrs and the anti-fascists into thugs. I do support demonstrating against the BNP at every possible opportunity, but rather than to initiate confrontation, wait for the BNP to start it and then use self-defence. Far better too is to counter the BNP arguments with logic and show the falseness of the BNP world-view.