by MURAD QURESHI, Labour MEP candidate for London
Across Europe, the far right are on the rise.
In Poland the Law and Justice party have been cracking down on free speech; Hungary’s Prime Minister is a vocal Islamophobe who peddles anti-Semitic conspiracy theories about Soros and in Spain this year the racist Vox Party made grounds in the national elections that ten years ago would have been unfathomable.
In the UK we have our own crisis. UKIP have turned towards fascism and rape apologists, Stephen Yaxley-Lennon (otherwise known as Tommy Robinson) is whipping up hatred in towns across the country and the Brexit Party, led by Nigel Farage, is set to come out top in Thursday’s (23) European election.
Although UKIP and their nasty cabal of racists, sexists and bigots need to be crushed at the ballot box – Farage is the real threat. Some polls at present have the Brexit Party on 35 per cent. We don’t know who is funding the party or Farage but, once again, he is setting out to stir up hatred and division.
Despite all this, underneath it all is a man who truly cannot be trusted. He’s on record as saying he wants to privatise our NHS, and replace it with a private insurance system; first he said he wants a deal, now he’s happy to plunge us into the abyss with no deal and last year was fined £35,000 by the European Parliament for misspending public funds.
This is a snake oil salesman, who will do anything to get his Trump style Brexit.
But along with being a shady and duplicitous character, he’s also someone who has peddled anti-Semitic tropes about the new world order on the fringe right wing show InfoWars and during the EU referendum tried to link migration to sexual assault.
If you look at the polls it is clear that only Labour can stop Farage’s nasty party. The Liberal Democrats have made progress but let’s not forget they were the party happy to prop up austerity which led to an ideological chasm in the UK.
The Labour Party has stood in solidarity against racists and the far right throughout our history, including eighty years ago when we stood alongside the people of the East-End to stop Oswald Moseley’s fascist black shirts marching through the streets. More recently, we campaigned tirelessly against the BNP in Barking and Dagenham in 2010 – and we will continue to do so.
On Thursday, I urge all people to go out and vote for Labour and send a message to the Tories about how their chaotic handling of Brexit has left our country in crisis and to the far right about why their bigotry will never be tolerated on these shores.
Labour is the only party trying to bring our country back together – because whether you voted to Leave or to Remain, we need to resolve the Brexit deadlock and address the major issues facing our country.
We must transform Europe and Britain so it works for the many and not the few, and we can start by giving Farage a black eye on Thursday. Londoners must show the rest of the country and Europe that the far right will never be welcome here and that Labour are the true party of progress and solidarity.