Monday, September 18, 2006

Neo-Nazis claim electoral success in Germany

The far-right German National Democratic Party last night pulled off an electoral coup in the German regional assembly elections.

Building on recent electoral success which saw the party win seats in the previous three years, the NDP now has a say in the regional assembly of the Mecklenburg-Vorpommern state, based in the town of Schwerin.

Mirroring the British National Party's success in the May local elections the NDP also did well in places with high unemployment. It is surely time politicians in major parties started to address what may be becoming a burgeoning concern across Europe. Politicians need to consider what makes people vote for extremist parties and in so doing avoid the sort of clumsy, ham-fisted conclusions drawn by Margaret Hodge before the elections in Barking.

As the paper The Berliner Zeitung has reported, the NPD's leader in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Udo Pastörs, was given a fillip through the combined efforts of opposition parties and the media. The fact that other parties treat him as a 'pariah' merely helps his cause, the paper said, adding: "Nobody had so many cameras and microphones thrust at him".

Part of me thinks that if you ignored these groups they'd go away. I remember thinking the same of old hook-hand Abu Hamza, famous for preaching 'hate' outside the Finsbury Park mosque here in London. However, Hamza had many young followers who in the present climate may have made the security forces twitchy. But I wonder to what extent the hordes of cameras and reporters who flocked to his sermons served to exacerbate the danger and augment his uniquely peculiar profile.

On the other hand, there are measures the government could take to disrupt the workings of these groups with minimal fuss. As I've mentioned on these pages before the website Red Watch hosts hundreds of pictures of various people who have attended marches and demonstrations which are anathema to its aims. The website apparently encourages sympathetic visitors to perpetrate acts of violence on those pictured with slogans like, "Remember places, traitors' faces, they'll pay for their crimes". Websites such as "Stop the BNP" campaign tirelessly to encourage John Reid and others to move to close down websites like the one described. However, the owners of a litany of bile-filled webpages escape censure by having their sites hosted in other countries.

While parties such as the BNP seek new and innovative ways of achieving respectibility, it is the duty of the rest of us to think of new and innovative ways to expose the lies and subterfuge they present as fact. This must be done not through tawdry insults and cheap jibes but through coherent and cogent argument. Are you with me?


At 11:14 pm , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Time something was done. The government needs to take the threat more seriously without making too much of it.


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