The London GMB are wrong to seek the resignation of Barking MP Margaret Hodge. Many may view her comments ahead of the local elections, that 80% of white families in her constituency were tempted by the BNP, as unfortunate but she was simply doing her job and reflecting the reality on the ground.
Voters didn’t place a cross next to the name of BNP candidates because of Mrs Hodge’s comments but because of the policies and headline grabbing soundbites of Tony Blair.
As we wrote ahead of the local elections:
“The poorly considered ID card scheme was sold to the public on the lie that it would protect them against terrorism. Now we’re told that it will protect the NHS from ‘healthcare tourists’. The casual observer could be forgiven for thinking that the foyer of every NHS hospital is packed with Johnny Foreigner and his family all demanding their free operation.
No matter that Ministers can’t quantify the cost of the problem…All that matters is that Blair gets to sound tough without needing to consider the consequences.
Whenever a Home Office initiative on security is questioned the justification from the Prime Minister…is that these people pose such a threat to our way of life that the only the most drastic action can save us. How much simpler the BNP message of ‘send them all home’ must sound on the doorstep.”
More recently Blair has told the public foreign prisoners are so dangerous that he’ll ensure they’re “deported irrespective of any claim that they have that the country to which they are going back may not be safe”. It’s unclear which traditional Labour value has been placed “in a modern setting” there.
But the Prime Minister’s NeoCon rhetoric, abandonment of the working classes and preference for back of a fag packet initiatives is only partially to blame for he could never have got as much poor legislation through had the hundreds of Labour MPs behind him not acquiesced to his extreme and tendencies.
Many of these MPs have union affiliations, the GMB website alone boasts that “Over 100 Labour MPs are GMB members”. So with a Labour rebellion of just 46 where were these good, democratic, union affiliated MPs in yesterday’s debate to sell off our schools to any passing millionaire or multinational without even the legal need to ballot parents?
Where were they all when Blair and Charles Clarke told the Commons, with impressively straight faces, that a scheme forcing anyone requiring a passport to submit to the National ID Database could be described as “voluntary” and was in any way compatible with the manifesto promise Labour made in 2005?
Perhaps someone could tell us where all these union sponsored MPs were when Blair was hiving vast chunks of NHS services off to private sector whilst at the same time saddling the public with the cost with poor value PFI deals?
Does London GMB believe that every MP who supported these policies, and who continue to turn a blind eye as Blair pushes the party so far to the right that those we label ‘extremists’ suddenly have appeal to traditional Labour supporters should resign for their far more tangible culpability in the rise of the BNP?
Calling on Mrs Hodge to resign for telling the truth, for acknowledging the growing anger and bewilderment in Labour’s traditional working class support base, and for sounding a factual warning that something needs to be done to reverse the dangerous growth in BNP support isn’t just wrong, it’s perverse.