Yesterday the BNP told their supporters to give their second vote in the London Mayoral elections to Boris Johnson, as he was the "lesser of two evils". In what can hardly be called a ringing endorsement they said:
Our suggestion … is that you hold your nose and cast it in favour of the Conservative candidate, Boris Johnson. This is not because we think that Johnson would be any good as mayor — he is as politically correct as any of the other candidates and has no real ties to our London — but because he wouldn't be actively bad in the way that [Ken] Livingstone [the Labour candidate] is.Of course, the three main candidates had to react and rather unsurprisingly two tried to make political gain out of it. Ken said:
Two parties have now called for a second preference vote in London's Mayoral election. I am proud that the Green Party's Sian Berry has called for a second preference vote for me. That the BNP have called for a second preference vote to the Tory against me is no surprise. I hate and despise everything the BNP stand for as against every value of London as a great multi-ethnic tolerant and diverse city.The message apparently being "I hate and despise the BNP but Boris doesn't." Brian Paddick also follows the same line:
Clearly the BNP have recognised Boris's talent for causing offence and creating division.Whenever an extreme group endorses a candidate that candidate's opponents try and construe that into being indicative of the policies of the candidate. They try and make the candidate guilty by association. Never is it harder to do that then when the endorsers give such reluctant support as the BNP did to Johnson. Doesn't stop those who are desperate though.
As for Boris, he simply stated:
I utterly and unreservedly condemn the BNP and have no desire whatsoever to receive a single second-preference vote from a BNP supporter. I hope as many Londoners as possible turn out on May 1 to prevent the election of a BNP candidate.No attempt to spin this support in his favour. Good on Boris. A pity the other mayoral candidates couldn't be so clear in their opposition to the BNP. It's one thing to oppose the BNP, but when that opposition is linked to an opposition to another candidate, as Ken and Brian did, the opposition is weakened and the principles blurred. At least one candidate has clear moral scruples.