The images of Nick Griffin cowering in terror as he and his gorillas fled Parliament Square on Tuesday certainly brought a smile to many people's faces. If you peddle messages of division and hate, then you shouldn't be surprised to find that hatred bouncing right back at you. But it's going to take more than a few well-aimed eggs and worthy placards to finish the BNP for good.
We made a start last Sunday. The election of Griffin and Andrew Brons was sickening. But it wasn't the dramatic breakthrough the BNP had predicted. Its support hardly increased, and it was the collapse in votes for Labour which opened the door to Griffin. The template for tackling and defeating the BNP is in place – at its base is a dynamic, broad-based coalition put together by Searchlight. A new politics of "Hope not Hate" has been created that reaches outside the Westminster beltway via unions, churches, voluntary groups, students and local political parties.
But this grass-roots activism cannot operate in isolation. The days of debating whether to confront the BNP or ignore it in the hope that it will disappear are over. It has to be isolated, confronted and exposed. Those newspaper editors who refused to run articles scrutinising local BNP candidates for fear of "giving them the oxygen of publicity" must review that policy. Those politicians who urged us not to "demonise" the BNP may like to reflect on the election of racists with criminal convictions and inform us who they believe should be the subject of our condemnation.
It's right that people reacted with horror and disgust to the events of Sunday. But we should not fall into despair. Hope not Hate is about to advance to the next stage of the campaign – "Not In My Name". Launched on Monday it has already signed up 60,000 supporters who have pledged to lend their weight to the struggle against Nick Griffin and his fascists. We will be confronting the BNP in every neighbourhood, on every estate and every street between now and the next critical showdown, the general election, which is less than 12 months away.
Nick Griffin has had his day. Now it's our turn.
Gerry Gable is the former editor of Searchlight MagazineReuse content