Norwich North voters gave a two fingered salute to the BNP and its bogus vicar in yesterday's hard fought by-election, rewarding the racist party with a deposit-losing 2.7% of the vote - putting the "reverend" Robert West in seventh place, behind Craig Murray, the "Honest Man" candidate.
The full result from the Press Association:
Chloe Smith (C) 13,591 (39.54%, +6.29%)
Chris Ostrowski (Lab) 6,243 (18.16%, -26.70%)
April Pond (LD) 4,803 (13.97%, -2.22%)
Glenn Tingle (UKIP) 4,068 (11.83%, +9.45%)
Rupert Read (Green) 3,350 (9.74%, +7.08%)
Craig Murray (Honest) 953 (2.77%)
Robert West (BNP) 941 (2.74%)
Bill Holden (Ind) 166 (0.48%, -0.17%)
Howling Laud (Loony) 144 (0.42%)
Anne Fryatt (NOTA) 59 (0.17%)
Thomas Burridge (Libertarian) 36 (0.10%)
Peter Baggs (Ind) 23 (0.07%)
C maj 7,348 (21.37%)
16.49% swing Lab to C
Electorate 75,124; Turnout 34,377 (45.76%, -15.33%)
2005: Lab maj 5,459 (11.61%) - Turnout 47,033 (61.09%)
Gibson (Lab) 21,097 (44.86%); Tumbridge (C) 15,638 (33.25%); Whitmore (LD) 7,616 (16.19%); Holmes (Green) 1,252 (2.66%); Youles (UKIP) 1,122 (2.39%); Holden (Ind) 308 (0.65%)
The BNP realised that it was in for a drubbing in Norwich North some time ago, and though it announced its intention to stand the dodgy West in a blaze of hype that saw excitable BNP members predict their first MP, it quickly became obvious the party's campaign was firmly stuck in some very deep mud.
The party attempted to stir disharmony in the constituency by falsely claiming that African immigrants were being housed ahead of locals in Norwich, and West became a figure of ridicule as doubts about his status as a "reverend" surfaced and dogged him throughout the campaign.
Realising the party was on a hiding to nothing the BNP stopped mentioning the by-election, and national support for West was not forthcoming. Planned visits to Norwich by BNP Euro MEPs Nick Griffin and Andrew Brons were shelved so as not to taint the pair with the impending disaster, and the puny Norfolk BNP organisation was left to sink or swim on its own.
It sank - and how!
The BNP's dismal Norwich North result falls into a clear pattern that has emerged since the heat of the Parliamentary expenses scandal has abated. In three significant local by-elections the racist party has seen its share of the vote tumble.
Last week in Nuneaton Arbury and Stockingford (Warwickshire County Council) - a division the BNP thought it could win - their vote share crashed by 11% as two thirds of those who had voted for the racist party in June deserted them.
Yesterday, in Reddish North (Stockport), the BNP vote share fell by 6.6% as more than half their votes evaporated - bad news for Nick Griffin, as Stockport falls within his North West Euro-region constituency. And in Dormanstown (Redcar-Cleveland) the BNP again managed to lose more than half its votes, its share again down by 6%.
As we saw in June, despite Nick Griffin's claim that the expenses scandal and disquiet at the scale of immigration amounted to a "perfect storm" for the BNP, the party managed to increase its vote by only 1.6%, and only disgusted stay-at-home Labour voters allowed him and Andrew Brons to win their Euro seats.
Griffin's lucky success was the only thing disguising what was a disastrous election for the BNP given the circumstances in which it took place. In fact it's pretty obvious that had the expenses scandal not broken when it did then the BNP vote would have fallen, with the happy result that Griffin's alleged electoral Midas Touch would have been exposed for the self-serving fiction it always was, and that with nothing to show for all the money, time and effort expended by the BNP in June the party would now be looking at its all too fallible leader in a very different light.
The Norwich North result shows that the BNP will never achieve power in the only place that matters - Westminster - and their disastrous vote losses in recent local by-elections give a true picture of the situation viz-a-viz the electorate and the BNP. Whichever way the BNP wants to look at it that picture is one of utter electoral failure.
Finally, we should like to mention the tireless anti-fascist campaigners of HOPE not hate and other organisations, and thank them for their unstinting efforts in getting out the truth of Robert West and the BNP in Norwich North. And to our list of people to thank we'd like to add Nick Griffin MEP, for providing us with the sitting duck candidate that was the ropey "reverend" Robert West. We couldn't have chosen better ourselves.
Report by Atreus (in his living room) and Denise Garside (by email from Berchtesgaden!)
Thanks to Atreus + Denise from Norfolk Unity