The Sketch: No welcome for the BNP's Sadie, but then she sounds like Mr Blair

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The Independent Online

"They're thinking what we're thinking."

"They're thinking what we're thinking."

That's the line the British National Party is considering. It should move the polls, and that's unusual for a slogan. It won't help the BNP, but it could reduce the Tory vote by 5 per cent. It's like the evil twin bursting into the formal reception and embracing the respectable one with a big, wet, intimate kiss. The congregation goes, "Ew!"

I try it out on Sadie Graham. The line, I mean. She's the BNP candidate in Erewash. She doesn't comment directly but says the Tories nicked their slogan from the French Front National. "Jean Marie Le Pen was using it for years," she says. "You want to check that, but I understand they took it from them." It's getting worse.

She's not National Front herself, and wouldn't vote for them, she says. "Their policies are unworkable. They want the repatriation of every non-white. But there are British blacks and Asians who don't have any other home to go back to."

Is the BNP going soft? Is it betraying its principles for mainstream votes? If that's the journey they're on, they'll probably do well. My guess is that within a decade, a cleverly presented, race-based, anti-globalisation party could attract between 15 and 20 per cent of the popular vote and threaten the Liberal Democrats. With death.

I missed the morning event that featured a burning newspaper and the words "racist bitch" obligingly uttered by an interested observer. But in order to demonstrate her canvassing skills, Sadie handed out eight newspapers outside the Blue Bell Inn. It lacked the spontaneous passion of a proto-fascist uprising, but half the passers-by took the newspaper, reluctant to give offence. One man made a "Prince Charles grimace" when he saw what he was holding. But he stayed to chat a little, because that's what we're like. She said something I took to be true - that she didn't expect to win. But then again according to her pamphlet: "We've already won it." Immigration is on the agenda in a way that it never has been before. And truth to tell, when she gives the BNP's three-point plan for immigration (all "bogus asylum-seekers" to be sent away, economic migrants who aren't economically active to be sent away, and only workers with skills we need to be admitted in the first place), it sounds very like Tony Blair's policy. What else have they got? A "total, radical overhaul of everything starting with the NHS: No more of this private health care ... Withdraw from the EU (people say you can't, but you can) ... Bring back all call centres to England ... Stop stripping Third-World countries of their nurses ... feed the money we spend on imports back into our own industries."

Are they thinking what you're thinking? "Thinking" may be the wrong word, but 15 per cent of the UK would agree with these propositions. Give them 10 years to betray their core beliefs to professional presentation (are they not politicians after all?) and they'll overtake the Liberal Democrats.

simoncarr75@hotmail.com

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