March was a worrying month for anti-fascists. The BNP was gaining an unfortunate amount of publicity, and a worrying degree of support. They still weren't terribly good at actually fielding candidates - contesting just eight out of twenty one contests. But where they did stand they polled disturbing percentages. In seven seats contested for the first time they averaged 15.97%, with three around the 20% figure and only one (just) below 10%. More encouraging was the result in the only ward that they'd previously contested (in St Helens) where they fell from a poor 8.9% to a dismal 6.3%.
As the song almost said :
To know, know, know themApril has been less positive for the BNP. They managed to contest four of the seven by-elections on the 2nd, and came worryingly close to snatching the Temple Newsam ward in Leeds (which the Tories gained from Labour, and in which the Lib Dems achieved the biggest swing!). However, even here their vote share only increased marginally, from 22.2% to 23.6%. The moral seems to be that where several of the major parties compete energetically the BNP's chances to advance are limited.
Is to hate, hate, hate them
In the Dormanstown ward of Redcar Labour again lost the seat, this time to the Lib Dems, and the BNP (standing for the first time) polled 16.6%. They also polled 13.6% in an Arun Council by-election in rural West Sussex - geographically and demographically a long, long way from Dormanstown!! But in the Skircoat ward of Calderdale, in an area of West Yorkshire once considered a BNP stronghold, they polled just 6.5%. Their failure to field a candidate in Camden on that date might be a reflection of how badly they have done in some recent Inner London contests, but is also part of a pattern of failing to contest byelections in areas one might regard as quite important to their wider strategy (on the last Thursday in February they failed to nominate in seats in Newham, Redditch (2), Oxford and Wolverhampton).
Mid-April was quiet, with no byelections on the 9th and just one on the 16th (in Somerset - no BNP candidate).
On the 23rd though there were six contests, and three BNP nominees (giving a total so far for the month of 7/14 = 50%). In Wanstead (Redbridge London Borough), in their supposedly fertile East London/Essex belt, they managed a thoroughly miserable 4.9%. In Erewash, in their showpiece East Midlands region, they took a poor 11.5% as Labour took the seat off the Conservatives. And then they showed that they are truly the British Nationalist Party (and not just a bunch of English racists) by contesting the Aboyne ward of Aberdeenshire Council. And they got 44 votes - that's a magical 1.2%! It was a result that provoked a lively 'exchange of views' among the keyboard warriors of Stormfront. 'Jacob Cobain' had a ready explanation of the poor result - the ballot boxes had clearly been tampered with!! And every anti-fascist will laugh along as a claim that this was a "worst ever" BNP result was rebutted by a list of results where the deluded fools had managed to plumb the depths of less than 1%. Where but in the BNP would supporters defend a terrible result by listing even worse examples?
"Yeah, we didn't do very well - but it's better than 0.7%. Innit!"June's Euro-elections are still a worry, with the distinct possibility of one or more of our regions suffering the shame of being represented in the European Parliament by racists, but for the moment just enjoy the thought of taunting your local fascist with their April Fool question:
Which was your worse result BNPer - 4.9% in East London, or 1.2% in Scotland?