October 07, 2008

Another Thursday

This article was submitted by one of our readers, Iliacus. We welcome any contributions from our supporters (as long as those contributions conform to the law and are in reasonably good taste). Please send your articles to us via email.

There were eight by-elections on October 2nd, and once again they brought little cheer for the BNP's increasingly downhearted and empty-pocketed membership.

In Oswestry, Swale (Kent), Taunton and Leominster the electorate were happily spared the attentions of the BNP. In the Witham West ward of Braintree Council they had a lucky escape when the newest BNP celebrity candidate, "somebody whose late father used to be on the telly", decided not to fly their flag after all.

Their headline performance was in Bourne, Lincolnshire. This was a ward in which they probably entertained some hopes of a good performance for several reasons:
  1. their Lincolnshire organisation seems (by their own pretty low standards!) to be a reasonably active and almost competent operation;
  2. as a small market town, with a strong local civic tradition now subsumed into a larger district and even larger county authority, it might be expected to have a demographic that might be favourable (as seen in places like Melton Mowbray or Leek - which elected a BNP councillor this May);
  3. when last contested (2005) it was a straight Tory-Labour fight, with only a moderate Conservative majority. This time there were seven candidates, and the prospect of even a modest share of the vote being enough for victory;
  4. there was an energetic BNP campaign effort with three leaflets being delivered to most properties. The Conservatives aside, it is unlikely that any of the other parties saw this as a winnable seat, and their campaigns were probably limited.
But the BNP performance saw them gain just 13% of the vote (239 votes). The Conservatives held comfortably (760), with an Independent second (355). The BNP will make much of their having beaten (just) Labour and the Lib Dems (202 & 198), and of UKIP trailing in last with 41 votes - just 2.2%. But given the circumstances of the by-election this really wasn't a good result from their perspective.

Elsewhere they did even worse. In the Kirkleatham ward of Redcar & Cleveland Unitary Authority they took just 5.8% as the Lib Dems gained the seat from Labour with a huge swing. And in the West Ruislip ward of Hillingdon London Borough we saw the BNP and the National Front going head to head. The former took 4.3%, the latter 2.0%.

Another bad day at the office for the BNP.

There's one other point worth making. Turnouts in local by-elections can vary enormously, sometimes above 50% in keenly-contested bouts and dropping to around 10% on other occasions. Under such circumstances it can be instructive to calculate percentage share of the electorate in addition to percentage share of the vote. Applying this to this week's results (and combining the far-right vote in Ruislip) gives:

Bourne 2.73%
Kirkleatham 2.13%
Ruislip 2.03%

It seems to me (and further research may be worthwhile) that across much of the country there is a 2-3% share of the electorate which inclines to the far-right. This is in accord with such polling as manages to identify BNP support at all! And this "core vote" of far-right support will generally turn out if a BNP candidate is offered. If this is correct, and if the figures aren't skewed by the media/commentators "talking up" the BNP in 2009 in the way that UKIP was "talked up" in 2004, then there is a stark message for next year's Euro elections.

If the BNP's core vote is 3% of the electorate, and the turnout is 40% - they get 7.5% of the vote and MEPs are very unlikely.

But if the turnout is only 30% they get 10% - and a BNP MEP or two becomes a distinct possibility.

If the turnout falls to 25% - they get 12%...

11 comments:

Sooo said...

I don't quite see how you've converted 13% at Bourne into 2.73%. The BNP's percentage of the turnout is what matters to us and them. If they get 13%, then that's what they've got.

I know I'm probably just being dense but I just don't understand where this reduced percentage comes from.

iliacus said...

Sorry, it's the percentage of the total electorate who voted for them, arrived at by multiplying their share of the vote by the turnout.

You are right, of course, that the most important figure is their actual vote - actually, the most important figure is that somebody gets at least one more vote than they do !!!

I could (and should) have made it clear that Bourne was a low turnout (21%) compared to 32.3% at Ruislip and 36.8% in Redcar. The interesting (and quite important) point is that their 13% in Bourne looks much better than 5.8% in Redcar; but as a share of the total electorate there's not much of a difference.

The significance - if I'm right - is that turnout next June at the Euro elections, is going to be key to keeping out the fascists.

Anonymous said...

Percentage of the electorate means very little because there is never a 100% turnout. And there is no evidence that the "core" BNP vote behaves much differently than the core vote for any other party in terms of turnout.

Percentage votes in by-elections the BNP contests is not a good guide to the percentage the BNP will obtain in a whole region in the European elections. The BNP obviously chooses to fight by-elections where it has activists and can concentrate resources on a ward, bringing in activists from nearby areas and sometimes from very far away. The BNP will not be able to campaign anything like as hard over a whole region and will not be able to match, for example, the 13% in Bourne over the whole of the East Midlands.

That is not to minimise the risk of the BNP getting one or two MEPs elected in some regions, nor the need to mount an effective campaign to stop them.

Dave said...

A good analysis thanks.

"But the BNP performance saw them gain just 13% of the vote"

Considering the massive amount of work they put in, not a terribly good result. And people avoid fringe parties when it comes to bigger elections.

Anonymous said...

You bunch of twats.

Antifascist said...

'You bunch of twats.'

Nice to see the intellectuals have joined us.

Another fine article, Iliacus, thank you.

Flakey said...

It is not a coincidence, I dont think anyway, that as the BNPs vote stalls so it starts to concentrate on "mass demos" and a return to street activities, like the one in Stoke and the onethat apparently is planned for Novemeber due to one of the Walker brothers, the teacher.

It's a way of boosting morale among what must be a dispirited membership but, however big the BNPs membership is, it only has 500-600 activists so repeating the travelling circus tactic that Tyndall once used where the same BNP bunch turned up almost every week in a different town to give the impression of a go ahead party will lead to burn out.

It will also mean they will have less people to campaign for the Euros.

There has also been talk that the rebels will stand candidates against the Griffin BNP especially in the north.

The BNP wont win a single Euro seat. The leadership know it and will divert attention by staging more and more street activities. They will be the diversion.

job seekers allowances said...

Nice to see nazi troll Simon Darby calling everyone but himself a twat, which is cheap coming from a lazy fascist twat who sits on his lardy arse all day long.

What is Simon Darby doing to do for a job when the BNP is declared banckrupt?

Anonymous said...

I thought the rebels were dead and buried ten feet under??????????????

Flakey said...

The rebels or at least an independent nationalist by all accounts will stand in Kirklees, Autys old seat, against the BNP.

flakey said...

Iliacus:-

What was the turn out for the last Euro elections?