An article from the heart of middle England (Staffordshire and South Cheshire)

YOU don’t have to be a political genius to grasp that as long as the Government fails to tackle the problem of illegal immigration, more voters will turn to the BNP. I can’t be the only one who feels that ordinary people are being driven by desperation to vote for the extremist party because their views on immigration are being ignored.

This may be an uncomfortable truth for some people to swallow, but neither Labour nor the Tories can say they haven’t been warned. Only a few months ago a nationwide poll showed a majority of supporters of both the major parties putting failure to control immigration at the top of their list of worries. Yet, in spite of the genuine concern, little has been done to restrict the flow of new arrivals. To all intents, Britain operates the open-door policy introduced in 1997. All right, I can already hear the snarls of those who think it’s racist even to bring up the subject of immigration, let alone complain about it.

These politically correct diehards would rather we keep silent about our fears and merely ‘celebrate diversity’ without looking at the consequences of failing to stem an endless tide. Let me put it like this. The worries of millions of ordinary people have nothing to do with race or colour, but everything to do with numbers. Their concern is self-preservation, and why not? It’s one of our oldest characteristics. They feel that their culture and whole way of life is under threat and wonder what sort of country their grandchildren will inherit.

I remember Tony Blair acknowledging that there was “cause for complaint” about the extent of illegal immigration and promised to put everything right. But what did the former Prime Minister do? In 2005 he signed away our rights on immigration policies to the European Union. So much for empty promises. This has left Labour hamstrung and unable to initiate anything without the consent of Brussels, though I believe other EU countries have made their own rules on immigration to protect themselves. All I can recall in recent times is a project by former Home Secretary Jacqui Smith to get immigrants to earn their British citizenship, which hardly touched on the true problem.

So the BNP has played on public discontent and come up with its own drastic solutions, appealing exclusively to people in working-class districts and gaining support.

I must confess that the spectacular rise of the BNP in Stoke on-Trent surprised me. I’ve always believed that race relations in the Potteries are good, even very good. Yet local people no longer seem embarrassed to vote for a Far Right party, even though BNP councillors can do nothing to influence national policies on immigration. For that matter, neither can Nick Griffin or Andrew Brons in their capacity as newly-elected MEPs among the 700-odd members of the European Parliament.

I thought it was foolish for protesters to throw eggs at Griffin at Westminster this week. That’s not a good way to fight the BNP. Indeed, such behaviour could work in the BNP’s favour. Any violent reaction to the party can rebound. In a democracy you beat your opponents by reasoned argument.

On a different tack, I think the fashionable concept of a multicultural society is among the root causes of the problem. It urges us that immigrants have no need to integrate into our society, but remain within their own communities. I feel this is misguided and likely to cause resentment where none has previously existed. To my mind, we should work towards creating a united nation, not one divided on ethnic or religious lines. I hope that doesn’t sound like an impossible dream.

But while the Government continues to dodge the issue of controlling illegal immigration, I fear the BNP will continue to thrive.