Politics certainly makes strange bedfellows; I see from The Observer that
The British National Party is building an alliance with radical anti-abortion activists in an attempt to reach out to Catholics and secure their votes in future elections.Nick Griffin, the BNP leader, and one of his close deputies confirmed yesterday that they held private talks last week with the UK co-ordinator of Life League, an anti-abortion lobby group. Griffin and Mark Collet spent two days with James Dowson, an Ulster-based businessman and the main force behind Life League. […]
Griffin claimed that amplifying the party’s ‘pro-life’ policies would win it new votes among Catholics. ‘There used to be a perception in Northern Ireland and Scotland that we were an Orange party. This is not so,’ he said. The BNP, like Dowson, wanted to reach across the sectarian divide.
Don’t know how well this is going to go down with all the Poles, on whom I understand the BNP is none too keen (at least not if they come here to work), who’ve so greatly increased attendance at Catholic churches, in Scotland and elsewhere in the UK, over the last couple of years.
It won’t, to my mind, go down too well south of the border, where people might remember a BNP candidate in the 2004 European Elections, one Simon Smith, was suspended from his temporary teaching post at a Catholic school in Birmingham, with the support of the archdiocese of Birmingham:
A spokesman for the archdiocese said: “It came as a complete shock to the school,” he said.The Archbishop of Birmingham issued a statement outlining the church’s guidance on the forthcoming local and European elections on Wednesday morning.
It said Roman Catholic voters need to be confident that the candidate they vote for recognises the equal value of all people.
The Most Reverend Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Birmingham, said: “I would not expect anyone who did not support these values to be given a permanent position in a Catholic school.
“This is because a teacher in a Catholic school must support the values and ethos of that school.”
This guidance apparently suggested
voters should ask themselves a number of questions about candidates for the European and local elections.These included whether they were confident that the person they were voting for was able to represent and make judgments on behalf of all the local community, regardless of their race, colour or faith.
They should ask themselves whether the candidate’s policies promoted “harmony, justice and cohesion” within the community, so that no individual or group was marginalised or treated unjustly.
They should also ask if the candidate’s policies serve to promote good race relations, respecting the culture, language and faith of all.
Voters should be confident of each candidate’s support for these values before deciding how to vote, the statement said.
“Christians believe that every person is created in the image and likeness of God,” it said.
It’s certainly upset some people; according to the Obsever report,
The meeting has outraged other anti-abortion campaigners. A number of them, who wanted to remain anonymous, contacted The Observer this weekend. One, who described himself as a ‘mainstream anti-abortion and anti-racist’, condemned the BNP.
In reality, I suspect it’s not so much Catholic voters in Scotland to whom the BNP seek thus to recommend themselves as to people who voted, in the 2004 European elections, for the vociferously anti-abortion Operation Christian Vote, who then inflicted a humiliating defeat on the BNP by beating them into nineth place, attracting 1.8% of the vote (the BNP gained 1.7%).
The Monster Raving Loonie Party did not, I understand, contest any seats in Scotland in that election.