Warsi makes hypocritical claim on BNP pandering

Baroness Warsi today claims that "candidates will feel the need to pander to racist groups" under AV. The claim is absurd but Warsi has form on pandering to the BNP.

No-to-AV attack dog, Baroness Warsi, pops up today in The Sun making the ludicrous claim that AV would give “More votes, more power, more long-term legitimacy for the BNP and other fringe parties”. The claim is absurd but Warsi knows a thing or two about pandering to the BNP.

To illustrate her point, Baroness Warsi writes today:

“Take Dewsbury, which I lost by just over 4,000 votes in 2005. The BNP vote was 5,066 – more than the difference in votes between second and first place.

“It’s not hard to imagine where AV could lead in places like Dewsbury – more inflammatory campaigns, and policies which appeal to extremists.”

But Warsi didn’t need AV to make her own appeal to extremists. During that campaign she used dog whistle literature urging BNP supporters to vote for her.

And in 2007, Warsi denied ‘pandering to BNP‘ after telling the Independent on Sunday, “We must listen to BNP voters“. At the time, Simon Woolley of Operative Black Vote said:

“Pandering to racist views peddled by the BNP and bought by BNP voters is grotesque. This country would collapse if it wasn’t for migrant workers.”

The BNP claim has been made before by the No campaign. A recent Labour No leaflet claimed, “Extremist parties find it hard to win now. They cannot benefit from the transfer of votes. We should keep it that way.” But respected YouGov pollster, Peter Kellner, has written:

“it is worth noting that AV is the best system for keeping the BNP at bay. The party would seldom, if ever, win any contest under AV, whereas we now know that, if local conditions are right, it can win under both FPTP and proportional representation.”

Indeed, AV is the most “extremist-proof electoral system“. One of the reasons, perhaps, that the BNP are in tune with Warsi by campaigning against AV.

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