Iain Dale is pondering the success of the BNP in Swanley, Kent.
I hesitated to even write about this, but for the BNP to secure a seat in a local council by-election in Kent is deeply worrying.
Well, bravo for you, Iain - such bravery!
One interesting thing is that it's quite clear from the statistics that the whole BNP vote came from UKIP and the Labour Party.
Well, that'll be because the BNP are the only party other than UKIP who pledge withdrawal from the EU - and as UKIP didn't stand this time and gained 20% last time, that gave them a good base to start from. Then you have to consider that the people most affected by pro-EU policies are the people who make up the Labour party base support and you'll get some inkling of why BNP polled 41%.
More worrying for Dale, I'd have thought, is the fact that the Conservative Party can't win a by-election in the heartland of Tory England. Dale ignores this and decides to ask Dave what they should do. Dave has all the answers ......
Pavement politics. People turn to extreme parties if they think they have been forgotten by the mainstream parties. That doesn't mean running towards issues they are campaigning on, it means running towards the people that they are talking to and showing you are listening to their concerns, taking up their issues and working for them. You have to show that no part of the country, no part of your constituency, no ward, that no housing estate is forgotten.
Maybe not. The trouble is, Dave, Gordon, Tony and all those before them have been telling these people for years that they are "taking up their issues" and "working for them" - but nothing ever changes. They now know that the old parties are ALL talk and no action. Whether you like it or not, if all you deliver is empty promises on top of empty promises then eventually they'll stop listening to you - and voting for you. "Pavement politics" is all very well if you then deliver on what you tell people on the pavement - but they never do. It's all talk and no action.
The "issues" that Dave wants to avoid running towards ARE the issues that these people want dealing with - and nobody apart from the BNP are prepared to discuss them. Those hundreds of thousands of immigrants are not taking homes from affluent Tories or the Labour supporting chattering classes in Islington. It's not their jobs that are being relocated to Eastern Europe or their schools that are being flooded with foreign children who speak no English.
The truth is that Labour and the Conservatives have both forgotten who they are elected to represent - the British - and the BNP are making headway on that. The ruling elite think that immigration and "diversity" means all sorts of foreign restaurants on their doorstep, but to the hundreds of thousands of British people in the housing estates and streets of Britain it means being an alienated stranger in your own town.