A leaflet pops through my letter box on behalf of a website called www.thegiff.uk. On the face of it, I support its aims. The website is campaigning against the destruction of my village, or what’s left of it, by the MetroBus project which will chew up trees, hedgerows, a park and it will mean some people having an even busier main road right next to their back gardens. But who or what is The Giff?
There are no names nor addresses on the leaflet, or the website for that matter. We do not know if the people behind it represent a political party, vested interests (like businesses), we do not know if The Giff has any form of democratic constitution or whether their people, whoever they are, have been elected to positions, or whether they have any positions at all. This is important for a number of reasons.
How do I know, for example, whether The Giff is not a front organisation for an extremist right wing group like Ukip or Britain First, using a popular and populist issue to garner support? This is how groups like this operate. Have a look at the Britain First Facebook pages, once you have put a peg on your nose, and see all manner of apparently reasonable issues being supported by the group. And yet they are a political party who have more in common with Hitler’s nationalism than conventional politics. Ukip is essentially the BNP in blazers, its leader Nigel Farage is a thoroughly modern Mosley. They operate in the dark areas of politics. That is why it is important for groups like The Giff to be open, honest and transparent.
For all I know, The Giff may well be a perfectly reasonable group of ordinary residents with no agenda than preserving and improving our village. They can clarify that by simply publishing their details of who they are and how, if at all, they are funded. Someone has paid for the leaflets and the website. Who?
I am in full agreement that the new MetroBus route should not travel down Hatchet Road. It is a ridiculous plan which will do precisely nothing to alleviate our traffic difficulties. There are far better alternatives, like using the long-overdue Stoke Gifford by-pass. If The Giff want wider public support, open up and tell us who you are. I can’t support someone I don’t know. You could be anyone.