There has been a variety of instinct reactions since the recent local elections, where two BNP councillors gained seats from long standing Labour councillors in the Rotherham Borough. John Gamble has taken the Brinsworth and Catcliffe seat from the Mayor of Rotherham and William Blair, here in Maltby, from long standing Labour councillor Glynn Robinson. Headlines in local and national newspapers have ranged from “Labour Disaster”, “Damning Indictment”, “Shock Results Outcry at BNP” to even “Pride and Prejudice: The Fear Factor” in The Independent.
Obviously these headlines, as well as the results, have a resounding effect on people’s feelings and concerns for the implications. The BNP (British Nationalist Party) has long been associated with, and reported as, the ‘politics of hatred’ particularly referring to the importance of race and keeping Britain as a place, predominantly, for Britons. The mission statement of the BNP states that it exists to “secure a future for the indigenous peoples of these islands. We use the term to describe the people whose ancestors were the earliest settlers here after the last great ice-age, and which have been complemented by the historic migrations from mainland Europe.” It goes on to say that these ancestors are the Celts, Anglo-Saxons, Danes and closely related “kindred people”. Perhaps then, not racist completely, but specific about which races they wish to associate themselves with?
The Cambridge Dictionary defines the term “racist” as someone who believes that other races are not as good as their own and therefore treats them unfairly. (Personally, I would define it with only the latter part of this definition ie. that someone is treated unfairly because of their race — but that is another story) The BNP declares that they are definitely not racist as racism means “hatred of other races” and that they do not hate anyone.
The issue can all become a matter of words and definitions and consequently become even more confusing for us ordinary Maltby Residents. I went to speak with William Blair at his home and shop on Muglet Lane, to see what his views are and how they match up with the BNP’s.
Mr Blair has been in Maltby for around 20 years, coming from a farming background in Northern Ireland, then working in agriculture before taking over the shop. His wife, son and niece work in the shop with him and are well known to locals.
We sat in Mr Blair’s back garden, on one of these surprisingly hot and sunny days that we have had lately in Maltby, his pigeons fluttering in their loft behind us and his poodle dog brushing against my legs and wanting attention. I asked him if it was OK to question him directly from the BNP policies list that I had and he was fine with that. “Ask me anything you want,” he said, “I am here to help the people of Maltby and make it a better place to live.”
Because it is a personal issue, I asked first about the BNP’s disapproval of mixed marriages. “I don’t have a problem with that. If you love each other and get on happily, then that’s all that matters”, he said. This is not the BNP’s view, however. They believe in preserving the identity of all different ethnic groups and that a small number of mixed marriages, with mixed race children is ok (how small they do not say). But if it is “encouraged as it is at present by politicians and the media, then the British genotype will be endangered”. They refer to environmentalists preserving animal species in the wild, and ask why this should not also apply to people. They do also say that Trevor Phillips, Chairman of the Commission for Equality and Human Rights, points out that often mixed race children suffer identity problems. I assured Mr Blair that at my age there was no fear of me bringing more mixed race children into the area and he said that it would be fine even if I did. My experiences with my ‘other race’ stepsons in Maltby, has been enough, thanks!
Mr Blair agrees with the BNP’s views on homosexuality that: what people do in ‘the privacy of their own bedrooms’ is up to them, that they are not homophobic, but that homosexuality should not be “encouraged or promoted”.
He doesn’t agree with not letting “blacks and Asians” into the BNP party — I am not sure why blacks and Asians are specifically named, and neither is he — and here is yet another anomaly between William Blair’s views and those of the party he is representing.
As do many, if we are brave enough to admit it, he believes that the immigration levels into Britain have become out of control and that more forward thinking needed to have been done a long time ago. He would, as the BNP states, deport all illegal immigrants immediately — how we find them all and also the money to do that. neither I nor he are sure. Deport all who commit crimes and whose original nationality was not British — again, how far back in time do we go here to determine ‘British’. Review all citizenship/residency grants to make sure they are still appropriate, that is, anyone who has been granted citizenship because they have married a ‘Briton’, need to be still married. Watch out husband — divorce me at your peril!
Attend to the needs of pensioners before asylum seekers (note here the BNP does NOT say immigrants, but I wonder if they sometimes confuse the two.)
Invest in transport, the NHS, defence, the environment. Stop sending aid to other countries until we have solved the problems with Britain. Change the attitudes of the young people to one of a work ethic and not a take for doing nothing one. Make sure all unemployed people take the jobs that are available or stop their benefits. After all, as Blair says, “We don’t need immigrants when we have all these WHITE people here who won’t work” (my capitals on ‘white’)
It appears from his own words that William Blair is neither racist, nor wishing to be devisive in any way. He wants the best for Maltby and Maltby people and intends to do his utmost to start with the basics — sorting out the litter problems by regularly putting skips in various areas of the town, repairing fences, doing something about the roads situation. He believes that a lot of the problems that residents feel are the main problems — mainly anti-social behaviour and general apathy of some — can be alleviated by attitude change and a more community based approach to life here. All sentiments that most of Maltby residents share.
People I have spoken to in Maltby quote numbers and percentages and proportional representation as the reason why Maltby now has a fairly elected BNP councillor. Some say that it because of recent changes and disruptions with the Town Council.
I asked Mr Blair why he had stood as a BNP candidate when he clearly does not whole -heartedly agree with all their policies. Why did he not stand as an Independent?
“I suppose I am 80% BNP and 20% other”, he says. “Independent candidates are either old Labour people or old Conservatives. What we need is change.”
Let’s hope that our new councillor’s change goes in the right direction, and that the change is for the better for the whole of Maltby. Time will tell.
Brenda Abou El Ola