This Thursday, Use Your European Election Vote To Keep The Far-Right Out

While Ukip and the Brexit Party hope to make gains, look to Labour – the party that wants to unite us, celebrate our differences, tackle discrimination and take on the deep-rooted power of the few.
Aaron Chown - PA Images via Getty Images

The hateful voices that were once in the fringes are now in the mainstream. The far-right has seen considerable growth over the last decade, growing bolder and stronger. It is by no accident that we see unbearable attacks take place in our communities, from Charleston to Christchurch and from Pittsburgh to Finsbury Park, all of which have left many innocent people dead. These atrocities represent a dark reminder of what the goals of those in the far-right represent: a threat to us all. They must be challenged, and they must be stopped in the upcoming EU elections this Thursday. We must make our voices heard loud and clear by casting our votes.

Labour has always been the party that best represents each and every one of our diverse communities. The Labour Party has more MPs from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds than all other political parties combined. And we recently launched the Bernie Grant Leadership programme to train more BAME party members to become our elected Labour politicians, both locally and nationally. We will always remain at our core, an anti-racist party seeking to challenge those that would rather peddle the politics of hate and division.

Labour in government champions equality and takes action against discrimination. It was a Labour government which created the Race Relations Act, Human Rights Act and Equality Act to provide all of our communities equal rights from discrimination and bigotry. A vote for Labour in the EU elections will continue challenging those that seek to divide us and replace them with those that seek to unite us.

This current government’s shambolic handling of Brexit and disregard for investment in our public services and communities has left the country in tatters. It’s as if nine years of gruelling austerity for our communities weren’t enough. Our councils, schools, hospitals and police are underfunded. There has been a dramatic spike in the use of food banks across the country, while the damaging effects of the Universal Credit programme has taken away the dignity of many, leaving those with disabilities worse off than ever before. While the Tories’ damaging austerity agenda, including cuts to youth services and police forces, has created the conditions that have seen considerable increases in violent stabbings committed by young people.

When society set out to seek for answers, for the cruelty, unfairness and suffering, the far-right is all too willing to give us a simplistic and wrong response: they blame immigrant communities as part of their propaganda campaigns, akin to the language used in the 1920s and 1930s in Germany. As disclosed in a poll this week, racism has risen significantly since the 2016 referendum vote and “racists are feeling increasingly confident in deploying overt abuse or discrimination.” We should all be worried by this.

Amid all this disarray, the far-right has made significant traction, and they hope to make even more gains during these EU elections. Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party, is in fact, the no-deal party. A no-deal would mean no jobs and security for millions of us – adding to the misery of austerity – caused by the current failing government. His vision of a no-deal Brexit seeks to serve only the richest in our society, like Aron Banks who continues to bankroll him. Let’s make no mistake, Nigel Farage is a snake oil salesman who’s trying to divide the country further. So, we must work even harder to bring people together.

Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, who goes by the stage name ‘Tommy Robinson’, is standing as an MEP candidate and hopes to win a seat to amplify his dangerous views through the EU parliament. We don’t need reminding that he was a BNP member or the former leader of the fascist English Defence League that terrorised communities. He also serves Ukip as an advisor. His hate-filled campaigns have threatened the very fabric of our safety and security. Targeting all BAME groups for the sins of a few.

And, Gerard Batten current Ukip leader, who publicly supports Tommy Robinson, defends rape comments and has pushed for Muslim-only prisons as part of their party manifesto. He continues to make inflammatory and racist comments.

I stand with Jeremy Corbyn, when he said last Saturday to crowds in Liverpool, “We have to stand together for the kind of world and the kind of society that we want to live in.”

A vote for Labour in the EU elections will challenge the far-right in Europe and the UK. It doesn’t matter whether you voted leave or remain in 2016: vote for Labour. The party that wants to unite us and celebrate our differences, tackle discrimination and take on the deep-rooted power of the few.

Dawn Butler is the Labour MP for Brent Central and Shadow Women and Equalities Secretary


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