Wow. I mean, wow. Doorbell just went while I was in the middle of watching last night's The Thick of It, which probably didn't help the caller, seeing as he was from the Hither Green Labour party. Talking through my front door (the keys were in the back, I'm not traipsing all the way into the kitchen for this guy), it rang a bell: was he from the group that leafleted about the Hither Green Cinema the other week?
I've posted on Londonist about the background to the campaign to save the old Kids Corner building, and last Sunday the non-partisan, and newly created, Hither Green Community Hall and Arts Society took over the old Firemaster building and showed some films. It was a brilliant idea, and I went along towards the end. Anyway, a leaflet had appeared in my letterbox a few days before on Labour Action Team headed notepaper, introducing themselves and writing "to give you notice of an event in the area that might be of interest to you". Then they had all details, and mentioned at the start of the fourth paragraph that it was actually being organised by another group. Then they went on to talk about their new website and how to contact them – Labour, not the Hither Green CHAS.
I showed this to my parents, handily available as independent judges. Who, I asked them, did they think was behind the event, based on that leaflet? After a quick scan – which, let's face it, is all any of us give unsolicited mail shoved through the door – they said "well, Labour". This confirmed my initial reaction, and made me a bit angry. It looked very much like Labour were trying to claim the cinema event.
Back to tonight. Labour man was very apologetic, said the leaflet had been through the committee for approval and that he himself had actually been quite concerned about the association, in case the event didn't work out… Woah, I said. Hang on. You mean, in case Labour were tainted by a possible failure? Er, er, er, no, of course not, said the Labour man. Goodbye, I said.
I don't buy the idea that people are attracted to the BNP mainly because of the failure of the three main parties to give a stoat's toss about local concerns. Lots of people, me included, are thoroughly disillusioned with mainstream politics and we manage to resist the many and varied charms of the far right. But you do wonder about the effect of such self-serving weaselling from your local 'acceptable' political representatives.