Drag queens on Sydney’s Royal Randwick Racecourse on 26th February. Pink Stiletto Race Day is a fundraiser for the city’s Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras parade
Watch out for a feminised BNP
This May, the BNP looks set for the best ever performance by a far-right party in a British general election. Despite standing candidates in only about one quarter of seats, it is expected to poll at least 300,000 votes (50 per cent up on 2005), with especially strong showings in Stoke Central and Barking. A recent book—The New Extremism in 21st Century Britain (Routledge)—suggests that one fifth of voters support key BNP policies. Thank goodness, then, that so many BNP leaders, including Nick Griffin, are tainted with fascistic and violent pasts.
Griffin, however, seems aware of what an impediment to electoral breakthrough the old guard fascists such as himself are. Talking to Matt Goodwin of Manchester University, for a forthcoming book on the BNP, Griffin explained that without the old National Front baggage a “modernised” BNP could become a serious force. To this end, Griffin’s party now has one of the best websites in British party politics—and one of its senior officials recently mused that this would be a good time to appoint a female leader, free of fascist baggage. No other significant party (apart from the Green party) is led by a woman. As Goodwin notes: “Griffin is keenly aware that he can only take the BNP so far, and a change of leader seems likely before his term in the European parliament is up.” Ukip is surely a better bet as the basis for a serious electoral force to the right of the Tories. But be warned—a cleaned-up and feminised BNP can’t be ruled out either.
Gordon’s secret constitutional advantage
Can Gordon hang on as PM after all? If he does, he’ll have an obscure wheeze slipped into one of his duller speeches to thank. Back in February, Brown backed a written constitution but put off the decision for four years—until the “800th anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta,” in 1215. But he also quietly launched a new “cabinet manual,” putting down on paper for the first time the unwritten constitutional conventions previously locked inside Sir Humphrey’s head. The manual’s chapter on sharing power has already been released—and makes it clear that, in the event of a hung parliament, Brown gets…