September 26, 2008
Posted by Antifascist
Singer-songwriter Joe Barber made the comment on social networking website MySpace on September 8 after a visit to Melton in Leicestershire. Writing under his stage name of Joey Smith, Mr Barber said: "I was so taken aback by the warm hospitality that I am strongly considering moving here away from the 'enriched' slum of Dewsbury."
He added that the town used to be as pleasant as Melton but had declined over several decades.
Carl Morphett, spokesman for anti-fascist group Kirklees Unity, said: "It's what you expect from the BNP. They try to concoct this false impression that they love the town. People genuinely love Dewsbury and Joe Barber who doesn't come from the town obviously doesn't care for it. If he thinks Dewsbury is a slum, what hope have people got with a BNP councillor who has no regard for the town whatsoever?
"Dewsbury East has had a BNP councillor and it's obviously made no difference whatsoever if that's what Joe Barber is saying. I'd like to see a councillor who genuinely loves the town and cares for Dewsbury, not one who spends their time slagging it off."
Mr Barber, who lives in Soothill, Batley, said: "I stand by my comments. Dewsbury is a slum. There's empty buildings, big businesses leaving and I wouldn't walk through there at night but that's even more reason to stand and to do something about it. There's a lot of people considering moving away because of it but I think the answer is to stay and try to do something about it. Dewsbury has a great history and a proud heritage and it's a pity to see it go down the drain."
He added that if elected he would work to address the problems in Dewsbury, particularly in the town centre.