As for my quibbles, they are few, but they are still worth drawing out into the open for discussion. Two I mentioned in my last piece but one: gun ownership and the South Georgia penal colony. In headline terms, these can be (and were) spun in a negative fashion so should have been avoided. Personally, I would therefore recommend that these two policy pledges should be dropped. The reinstatement of the ‘right to bear arms’ would worry me, as surely this would make it easier for the criminal fraternity to acquire and publicly carry firearms? The situation is bad enough as it is, and our focus should be upon removing those weapons that are already in circulation rather than legally adding to their number.
Many party members and supporters would also be unhappy about the reintroduction of capital and corporal punishment. In principle, should guilt for the most serious crimes as outlined in the manifesto be demonstrated ‘beyond all doubt’, I would support the limited use of capital punishment. However, miscarriages of justice can always occur, so I, and many others, would feel uneasy if this were to be something that was to be included as a definite ‘pledge’ rather than an issue to be subject to debate should the party be in a position to legislate. This is certainly a position that others and I could support. I would also need some clarification with respect to the proposed use of ‘corporal punishment’ and what precisely this would entail, as I suspect that juries would be less willing to convict if such punishments were to be meted out. Personally, I am not in favour of this form of punishment.
In the section entitled ‘Environmental Protection and the “Climate Change” Theory’ the manifesto states:
The BNP rejects the “climate change” theory which holds that all western nations need to be stripped of their manufacturing base and pay untold billions to the Third World to build up their industries.As I have written previously, I do not think that this stance will resonate with the public. The party should certainly highlight where this issue is being abused by political parties and the government to further objectives which are against our national interest (as it has done in the manifesto), but the BNP should not therefore draw the erroneous conclusion that the science is basically a ‘sham’ or a ‘hoax’ designed to ‘swindle’ the British people. By all means, take a measured and sceptical attitude towards claims made about ‘climate change’, but do not dismiss the science out of hand.
Likewise, it seems that the party may have made a similar mistake with respect to science and agribusiness. There can be no doubt that certain corporations have sought to dangerously abuse GM technologies by attempting to patent seeds and livestock, but this is a separate issue entirely from the science itself. Yes, by all means make it illegal for companies to take out such patents, but keep an open mind as to the prospective benefits of some aspects of GM. However, we should be cautious and ensure that there are strict safeguards surrounding GM research and any subsequent introduction of resultant products into the food chain. I therefore beg to differ with the party’s pledge to ban the ‘development and importation of genetically modified produce.’
With respect to the section entitled ‘Pensions: Looking After Our Old People’, one pledge is that ‘the BNP will enact legislation to ensure that pensions are eligible only to Britons and those who have fully paid into the system.’ Generally speaking, I am in agreement. However, what does ‘fully paid into the system’ mean? What if, for example, a spouse has married a native Briton and has integrated fully into British society but has not lived the whole of her or his adult life in the UK: what entitlement would they have to a pension? It would strike me as fundamentally unjust were they to be disqualified. This would, I am sure, be a matter of concern for many people. I am not of course referring to those who have come here through chain migration to marry spouses who possess no deep historic roots in our country.
Other comparatively minor points with which I disagree are raising the motorway speed limit to 90mph, as many older and smaller cars are not capable of being driven safely at this kind of speed for a protracted length of time, and increasing the inheritance tax threshold to £1 million which should not be a priority given the current parlous state of the nation’s finances.
Besides the points outlined above, I am happy with the manifesto as it stands, although some of its language would benefit from a slight rephrasing dropping terms such as ‘old gang parties’, ‘swindle’ and ‘scroungers’ and replacing them with rather less tabloid-inflected terms.
As all of the major parties are wedded to the woeful policy of PFI, it would be well worth the BNP concentrating upon the wastefulness of this approach to financing public works and the lack of accountability associated with such schemes. It could emerge as a champion of transparency and public accountability through doing so. Overall though, the policies are just what the country needs. It’s now simply a question of alerting people to their existence and winning elections.