Local Time

Friday, June 11, 2004

Celebrities attack BNP at campaign launch

Celebrities attack BNP at campaign launch
By Lester Holloway

A HOST of celebrities gathered in central London today (Wednesday) to launch ‘Celebrities Against Racism’ and urge people to vote in tomorrow’s elections to keep out the far-right

Gos from Big Brother: ‘We need to stop the BNP now’
Stars such as Goodness Gracious Me’s Nina Wadia, Eastenders actors and Big Brother contestants warned that the extremist British National Party (BNP) must be stopped before they cause more race hatred and division in society.

Ex-footballer John Fashanu and entertainer Richard Blackwood are among those supporting the campaign, which organisers hope will build in size and momentum leading up to the next general election.

Top names came together at a Covent Garden restaurant the day before the European and Mayoral elections to urge London’s Black and Asian communities to use their vote to keep out the BNP and support the launch of ‘Celebrities Against Racism’.

Actress and comedian Nina Wadia, said: "This event is showing we are taking interest in the way this country is being run. We have been given the opportunity to vote and I don’t think we should throw that away.

"If the far-right get in then you’re asking for trouble. If we get apathetic then they will get power and that would be a disaster. If you give the BNP a voice by letting them in then that’s when the trouble starts."

Ex-Eastenders actress Bindya Solanki, who played Nina, said: "The reality that the BNP have a realistic chance of getting a seat on the London Assembly is just frightening. We shouldn’t be in this position.

"The BNP is not just racist; it is fascist. They do not like anyone who isn’t heterosexual white male. To fight fascism we must appeal to people of all sexuality’s, all genders, all races. This is a fight for humanity – it’s not just a fight against racism."

And Gos from Big Brother 4 said: "We need to stop the BNP now. What upsets me is that its’ a new century but we’re still living with the same problems. We have a chance to vote and we should use that vote.

"It about telling people know there’s a problem out there, and the problems is the BNP. It’s the political wing of the National Front."

A YouGov poll in the London Evening Standard today found over a third of the electorate said they were definitely or almost certainly not going to vote. With a low turnout the BNP would need around 5% to gain a seat on the London Assembly. Today’s polls puts them on 3%, but previous polls have put them as high as 6%.

Laurie Sterling and Skeme: time to act
Narinder, from Big Brother 4 said: "I’m shocked the BNP are getting so close – it’s shocking that this could happen in London. It’s scary. The BNP want to create huge division in communities and we need to say ‘no’ to that, and ‘no’ to racism.

"We need to vote. My God, more people vote for Big Brother than they do in the election. It’s disgusting. What kind of society do we live in."And broadcaster and presenter Henry Bonsu said: "So often in the past we’ve sat back complacently because the threat hasn’t been immediate to us. But these things creep up insidiously.

"Look what happened in France: it took 20 or so years but in the last Presidential election Chirac was challenged, not by the socialist left, but by Jean Marie le Pen. And people scratched their heads and said ‘how did that happen?’ Do we want to leave it that late?"


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