At one stage last night I genuinely thought that the BNP weren't going to win a seat. That's not quite how it turned out. ConservativeHome lays the blame entirely at the feet of Gordon Brown (link to come). Their reasoning is right, but it goes far deeper than that.
One reason perfectly decent, non racist people, feel able to vote for the BNP is that they are very proficient in hiding their racist agenda. The policy of the media of no platforming them and the failure of all the mainstream parties to engage them in debate and show them up for what they are has, in large part, led to them getting an easy ride and enabled them to portray themselves as hard done by martyrs.
Over the last three days I have done live radio interviews with Nick Griffin and his deputy, Simon Darby. In the Geiffin interview I got him to admit that he would not represent black or Asian constituents. His logic was that the other parties would do that, so why should he? Any normal person listening to his tortured logic would never have voted for him in a month of Sundays. I didn't conduct the interview in a shouty, aggressive manner. I let him speak and bury himself with his own words. I'll post a link to the podcast when it is available. My co-host, Hopi Sen, wouldn't take part in the interview on the basis that he'd only lie anyway - a very blinkered attitude, in my opinion.
But what's done is done. All mainstream politicos had better come to terms with the new environment before the BNP manages to get an even greater foothold.