This article was submitted by one of our readers, Wes. 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.
Last night at about 1230 I went to bed, already weary that Yorkshire had elected a BNP MEP. In some ways it didn’t hit me as hard as it could have done at this point, the fact it wasn’t the BNP leader Griffin, but in fact a leading figure within the BNP who Griffin sees as troublesome gave me some hope. Hope that if Griffin didn’t get a seat, and it was looking like he wouldn’t the BNP could be torn apart by infighting between these two. So we now had now elected one thanks to Yorkshire. But my own sweet Manchester wouldn’t, would it?
I awoke with hope, to find Nick Griffin had been elected as a North West MEP, by the skin of his teeth (about 5000 votes). The turnouts were around 35% and the percent of the BNP votes were 8 for Manchester and 9.8 for Yorkshire. Meaning on the turnout, and if you accept the voting pattern and generalise (I know it’s not a perfect science, but bear with me), around 1 in 14 people in Manchester voted BNP and 1 in 10 in Yorkshire and the Humber.
So travelling to work on the bus I looked around, who out of these seemingly normal looking people had voted BNP? The bus was full, so at least 2 or 3 by the law of averages would have done. Was it the young mum, the old couple sitting near me, or even the guy I know through friends sat near the back to whom I nodded a greeting as I got on the bus.
It is impossible to tell what lies beneath. I know there are some very obvious BNP supporters keeping the stereotype alive, we all know them; the skinheads, tattoos etc. Yet the BNP received a total of over 250,000 votes between these two regions alone – they can't all be tattooed skinheads, can they?
But were all these BNP voters actually voting for the party they supported – or was it a protest vote against the backdrop of the expenses scandal? The Lib Dems and Tory vote hardly moved, though Labour's vote fell by nearly 8%. So it is interesting when you look at the figures to see that the BNP vote fell in both regions from the numbers from the last election in 2004. So how did they win the seats on a falling vote? Well largely because of that falling Labour vote really, around 400,000 votes were lost by Labour in these two regions since the last election. Nowhere near this amount of votes were picked up by the other parties. Meaning due to the PR system used in this election, Labour's stay at home votes meant even on a falling vote count the other parties still increased their percentage share of the vote and this in turn let the BNP in.
So it is of at least a little comfort that the BNP didn’t win due to receiving a huge rise in votes despite the record amounts they had spent on this campaign, but the simple fact that the governing party couldn’t get its vote out on the day. Things could be much, much worse - imagine if the BNP vote had increased dramatically? I agree it is of little comfort, but it still leaves us with that essential ingredient, that is, in the end, all we need to continue this fight and win this battle against the fascist BNP - HOPE.