If anyone needed a reminder of the growing BNP threat then it was there for all to see in the East Wickham ward by-election, which is in Bexley, yesterday. The BNP missed out on taking the ward by just eight votes. It was the Tory vote that really collapsed, dropping from 1362 when the ward was last contested in 2006 to 798 now. The BNP came second with 790 votes, up from the 601 they polled in 2006. Labour came third with 700 votes, down from the 931 votes in 2006.
Last Saturday the HOPE not hate team was out, delivering a very strong anti-BNP leaflet throughout the ward. It would be nice to think that we persuaded enough people to vote to make a difference.
By all accounts this was a really intensive BNP campaign, with as many as 10 different leaflets being distributed. (There will be a detailed article about this result in the next issue of Searchlight).
There was better news in Essex, where the BNP were trounced in another by-election.
With several key by-elections coming up around the country, including Newcastle, Tameside, St Helens and Carlisle, there is certainly no room for complacency.
HOPE not hate