councillor Dave Nellist is calling on other political parties to boycott meetings
involving the British National Party, but he does not want the BNP banned.
Nellist, national chairman of
the Socialist Alliance, has set the ball rolling by refusing to be in the same room as a
BNP candidate for the Euro elections.
The former Labour MP says:
"Why should we give political credence to a small group of people who basically
want to ethnically cleanse this country of black and Asian people. They want to repatriate
them which is, in effect, ethnic cleansing.
"It is similar to the 1930s in Germany, Italy and Spain when people like them
wanted to get rid of people on grounds of race and religion. The next step was to destroy
democratic institutions like trades unions and the right to vote."
The Socialist Alliance, an umbrella group of left wing parties, is contesting the new
eight-seat West Midlands Euro super-constituency.
The Returning Officer called a meeting in Birmingham to explain the rules and
regulations to all political parties.
But Nellist is demanding a separate meeting and is asking the major political parties
to follow his lead and refuse to share a meeting with the BNP.
"It might seem like a small thing to boycott one meeting, but maybe it will make
people sit up and think about my reasons for doing so," said the councillor.
"I am not calling for the BNP to be proscribed. Some of the more militant groups
like White Wolves only have four or so people and they do not operate through public
meetings. To ban them would not serve any purpose.
"If you had a blanket ban others could get caught in it."
John Owen, Elections Officer for Birmingham City Council, who is responsible for the
administration of the Euro election said:
"It is not a big issue. I dont have to hold a meeting and no one needs to
attend. I just thought that as there is a new voting system based on proportional
representation and a new nomination system, it would be useful for the agents of the
various parties to attend an information meeting.
"Of course I have to treat everyone the same and invite everyone to such a
meeting, but it is up to them whether they attend."