May 09, 2010

A bad, bad day for the BNP - how sad, how very, very sad

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.

Griffin's failure in Barking, and the almost laughable performance by Simon Darby in Stoke-on-Trent (in reality the word actually is superfluous - it was a laughable performance, at several levels), have attracted significant media comment - and of course put big smiles on the faces of anti-fascists (and rational human beings!) everywhere.

But in the long term the local council elections may prove to be even more significant in pointing to the BNP's decline. Now once upon a time it was relatively easy to explain the structure of local government in England, but successive piecemeal reorganisations have led to different arrangements in different places so I shall review BNP performance (with passing reference to other parties of the right) by the different types of council. (And at this point I need to point out that what follows is based on the 148 local authorities whose final results are available as of today - the few remaining authorities are unlikely to affect the general picture.)

London Boroughs

I have figures for 15 London Boroughs, all of which feature all-out elections (i.e. the whole council is up for election every four years). In 14 of these the BNP had no councillors, and still have no councillors! The fifteenth of course is Barking & Dagenham, which the BNP was claiming as a target for outright control. They went in holding 12 seats - and lost the lot!

Across the 15 boroughs 868 councillors were elected. The BNP scored...nil.

Metropolitan Boroughs (the 'Mets')

These are the authorities within what used to be the Metropolitan counties (before they were abolished by Thatcher). Areas like South & West Yorkshire, the West Midlands, Greater Manchester, Merseyside, and authorities such as Liverpool, Birmingham, Leeds, Sunderland, Wolverhampton and so on. Their electoral arrangements are different, using election 'by thirds'. Generally they have three-member wards, with one councillor up for re-election at a time - 2010, 2011 & 2012 then starting again from 2014. The 'blank' year (2013, 2017 etc) used to be the Metropolitan County election year.

The BNP had representation on seven of these councils going into this election. In Calderdale and Rotherham they have a single councillor, but not up for re-election this year. In Kirklees, Leeds and Solihull they had single councillors, all due for re-election this year. All lost. In Sandwell they had two councillors. Both faced their electorate this time. Both lost. In Bradford they had two councillors, one of whom (Cromie) was up for re-election. He held on by 15 votes.

To summarise the BNP held nine seats in total. Three were safe, in that they were not up this year. Of the six who were up for re-election five lost.

There was also an English Democrat up for re-election in Calderdale. He lost. Across the Mets in total 824 councillors were elected. The BNP won...one.

Unitaries

These are single-tier local authorities, mostly in larger towns and cities away from the major metropolitan conurbations, ranging from Bristol through places like Hull and Plymouth to towns such as Hartlepool or Southend. There were 19 of them voting this week, and they elect by thirds.

Only two of them had BNP councillors (Stoke and Thurrock), and one (Blackburn) had a single English Democrat councillor - he lost. The sole BNPer in Thurrock was not up for re-election.

In Stoke the BNP was defending two seats - and lost both of them. The BNP group there has now gone from nine members a few weeks ago to five today - two resignations (Alby and Mrs Walker), and two rejections by the electorate. In the Abbey Green ward (won for the BNP by said Mr & Mrs Walker) the result was Labour 1,639; Conservative 1,170; BNP 835; Lib Dem 809; Walker - ex BNP 279; Ind 258.

Across the 19 unitaries 340 councillors were elected. The BNP amassed...no seats!

Shire Districts

These are the district councils in areas which have two-tier structures i.e. district councils and a county council. An example would be Lancashire which has a County Council, but also a series of District Councils (e.g. Burnley, West Lancashire, Preston). Again, they hold elections by thirds.

No fewer than 78 of these councils went to the polls. The BNP had a presence in six of these. In two (Nuneaton and Three Rivers) they have a single councillor on a different electoral cycle, and therefore not up for re-election. In Redditch the sole BNP councillor was up for re-election - and lost. In Burnley two of the four BNP seats were up for re-election - they lost in both (but still have two councillors on a different electoral cycle). In Epping Forest three of their four councillors faced the electorate. They all lost.

In Pendle they had two councillors, one of whom was up for re-election. Sadly, he held on, so 'no change' there.

I may be an election anorak, but even I draw the line at totting up the total number of seats across 78 authorities, but it's around the 1200 mark. Of which the BNP won...one.

Summary

Approximately 3250 seats were up for election last Thursday. The BNP won two of them [is it Old Sailor or Irish Tony who likes percentages? I make it 0.06%!]. They were defending 30 seats - they held two, and lost 28. That's a 7% defence rate - most parties panic if they fall below 60%! They made no gains. By any known electoral standards it was an appalling, disastrous, dreadful performance. They went into the election with representation on 16 councils. On ten of these they also have councillors on different electoral cycles, so could not be wiped out (yet!).

On the six councils where all of their councillors were up for election they were wiped out in all six - Barking & Dagenham, Kirklees, Leeds, Sandwell, Solihull and Redditch. As a poster on the Forum might put it - byebyebnp !

Looking ahead

Local elections held on the same day tend to differ from local elections held on their own. The larger parties tend to perform better as they benefit from their national coverage, and the higher turnout of their 'softer' support. With a lower turnout next year there is no guarantee that the BNP will perform as badly. There is some evidence from Stoke in particular that the BNP is still strong enough to elect councillors if turnout was significantly reduced (and if they could find candidates, which they are finding increasingly difficult). Let's enjoy Thursday's outcome, but there's still work to be done!

25 comments:

Anonymous said...

An excellent analysis thanks.

Anonymous said...

I agree totally with this article below.

“Have advocates of electoral reform noticed the rising BNP vote?

Would its proponents really be so happy to see the British National Party get seats in the Commons? That, presumably, would be the outcome given that the BNP picked up 562,000 votes last week .
In a theoretical PR system that could be 13 seats. But the system would probably be skewed to stop the very smallest parties getting equal representation; for example the 5 per cent threshold used by the London assembly. That didn’t stop the BNP getting a seat there, however.”

http://blogs.ft.com/westminster/2010/05/have-advocates-of-electoral-reform-noticed-the-rising-bnp-vote/

Dave T said...

Thanks, Iliacus.

Anonymous said...

I think Lenin's Tomb blogger Richard Seymour's answer to the question on PR gets it right

Q -"What about the argument that it also raises certain opportunities for the fascists, and deserves quite a big sniff on that basis?"

A -That's a rubbish argument. We can't fight fascists by hiding behind an undemocratic voting system. That's just clinging to nursie. We have to fight fascism by attacking its ability to attract votes and members in the first place.

Anonymous said...

I was wondering ... but no Illacus has done the spade work and produced the figures.

When your well down and out it is very difficult to rebuild electoral support. I think from this base the British Nonces Party will have some difficulty recovering.

Old Sailor

Anonymous said...

Your London count is wrong;

12 B&D

1 Redbridge

1 Havering

All lost, Havering one was close the rest were battered.

Anonymous said...

Eddie Butler to fight Griffin for the Leadership, its starting already the Demise of Mr Gri££in ****

Simon Bennett

Jay said...

Have you seen this? It looks like Griffin and co. could still be in trouble over their racist constitution. And they thought things couldn't get any worse! :)

http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2010/may/09/bnp-nick-griffin-constitution

iliacus said...

I think it's important to consider, but probably reject, the suggestion that PR would be good for the BNP and their like.

Certainly an Israeli-style system of "pure" proportional representation would open up all sorts of risks. However nobody (as far as I am aware) is suggesting such a system in the UK, certainly none of the mainstream parties.

The Lib Dems favour STV (single transferable vote in multi-member constituencies). The threshold for election under this system would vary depending upon the size of constituencies. As constituencies grow in size the %age threshold falls, but of course has to be achieved across a wider area.

So if there was a 2 member constituency of "Barking, Dagenham & Rainham" the threshold would be around 33% - twice what the BNP actually achieved.

Labour are talking about AV (Alternative Vote). This basically favours parties which can come in the top two - it also penalises the extremes.

So - apart from the use of the Israeli system, or large-scale party lists (as per the Euro elections), there's little advantage to the BNP in other forms of PR.

Iliacus

simonben said...

Anonymous said...
Eddie Butler to fight Griffin for the Leadership, its starting already the Demise of Mr Gri££in ****

Simon Bennett

NICE EFFORT, BUT IF I EVER POST ON HERE I WILL USE MY GOOGLE ACCOUNT.

John P said...

Anonymous said...

Eddie Butler to fight Griffin for the Leadership, its starting already the Demise of Mr Gri££in ****

Simon Bennett

6:48 PM, May 09, 2010

The other posts that Simon Bennett has posted on various blogs have come from his google account so I'm not convinced that this post is him.

iliacus said...

Anon-

I did make the point that my figures were based on the results to hand when I wrote the piece - Redbridge & Havering were not through.

But even better news! That's now 32 seats - 2 held, 30 lost, 0 gained.

Hugely demoralising. Every party sees its councillors as a key resource. BNP going down a deep drain. Rapidly!

Mr Picky said...

"The other posts that Simon Bennett has posted on various blogs have come from his google account so I'm not convinced that this post is him."

On the other hand, the Google profile for Simon Bennett manages to spell Cornwall incorrectly. Is that likely for someone who lives there?

Anonymous said...

Onward and upward - May 6th 10.01pm

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*Onward and upward - May 7th 10.01am

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Anonymous said...

"SUCK ON THIS PLAYMATES"


“When put into perspective, yesterday's result becomes even more interesting:

- In 1983, the BNP fought 54 seats and polled 14,000 votes.

- In 1987, the BNP fought 2 seats and polled 563 votes.

- In 1992, the BNP fought 13 seats and polled 7,000 votes.

- In 1997, the BNP fought 54 seats and polled 35,000 votes.

- In 2001, the BNP fought 33 seats and polled 47,000 votes.

- In 2005, the BNP fought 117 seats and polled 192,746 votes.

- In 2010, the BNP fought 339 seats and polled 563,743 votes.”

DONT YER LOVE IT!!!

EnglishNotBritish said...

- In 2010, the BNP fought 339 seats and polled 563,743 votes.”

and getting completely annihilated on three councils including its showpiece authority where it went from official opposition to yesterday's news overnight, and on the verge of the best (for us) civil war the English far right has ever had.

Oh how I am loving it! 563,743 votes is a top out, the only way is down for the BNP!

myinfamy said...

Yes very sad indeed I cried with laughter! Nazi scum are being thrown back to the sewers & I can't be more happy about it!

anarchist said...

“When put into perspective, yesterday's result becomes even more interesting:

If you divide the number of seats by the total votes you get the votes-per-seat ratio. This gives you an idea of the growth of the BNP vote as more seats come up, more people are able to vote BNP etc:

1983 - 259
1987 - 281
1992 - 538
1997 - 641
2001 - 1424
2005 - 1647
2010 - 1662

While there was a rise over 1997 to 2005, the very similar numbers from 2005 and 2010 suggest a topping out of the BNP vote - though you would need a larger set of data to confirm that,

AndyMinion (BatsMan) said...

Relieved to see the Nazzers have a (Windows DOS Version 3.1 by the look of it) website up and running again. I was forgetting how much I missed comments like the following gem. The poster - "Spitfire" - is either so thick it's a marvel s/he could swith a pc on in the first place, or s/he is one of the greatest sarirists ever to draw breath. Or it's Paul Morris, in which case he's been on the Kestrel again.

Comrades. For your reading pleasure:

"TO NICK GRIFFIN
One thing you can be assured off nick, your voice is getting loured and loured, people or constantly talking about you and how they admire you, we all know you are not racist, nor or you flogging a dead hours, you stand on the soul of your forefathers’ and will not step off it to allow others to clam it as theirs, you carry the weight of old England on your shoulders and will not put it down for a second even when the weight become unbearable, you take every think thrown at you and turn to them that cast their hatred at you, only to answer them with a smile, if you only now how much we all wish we could be the shadow you cast, to have the back bourn that will not weaken to political pressure from not only parliament but all the media that try to twist your every word, thanks nick, if on a rainy day a puddle you shod need to cross, then at least let me lay down across it, for what you are doing for my old England, it would be with pride i lay down for you, as so you can cross and continue on your path to victory, god bless you nick griffin god bless you"

Gets you right *cough* here, doesn't it?

AndyMinion (BatsMan) said...

I suppose I could try saying that my spelling errors above were some kind of an attempt at post-modern irony.

Sad fact is, I'm a rubbish typist.

Anonymous said...

"if on a rainy day a puddle you shod need to cross, then at least let me lay down across it"

Hilarious Andy Minion. I always thought that the BNP had cult-like qualities and this letter confirms it.

I've just finish reading a book on the Cultural Revolution in China and that sycophantic letter reminds me of the adulation that used to be heaped on Chairman Mao.

"Beloved Chairman and Helmsman, without you the sun would fail to raise in the east ......"

Anonymous said...

"Oh how I am loving it! 563,743 votes is a top out, the only way is down for the BNP!"

Could be right...The BNP could have reached the top of their bell curve. We'll have to see in the next few years.

Anonymous said...

Griffin's post-election statement to the BNP :

http://1millionunited.org/blogs/notmyvoice/2010/05/08/bnp-election-failure-2010-griffin-speaks/

"Delusional" doesn't even begin to describe it.

irishtony said...

"SUCK ON THIS PLAYMATES"

If you have borrowed the family brain cell for that little nugget of wisdom, perhaps you might like to digest the facts as follows;

20 years of leadership with Dick Griffin and you have managed less than 2% of the national vote.

19 councillors out of a possible 23,400

No MP's yet again

20 PARISH COUNCILLORS OUT OF A POSSIBLE 110,000

Now sod off back to whatever cave you crawled out of.

Did you know that the residents association has more councillors than the BNP??

Quiet revolution?
Onwards and Upwards?
silent majority?

What a plonker

Anonymous said...

563,743 BNP.Votes.Can not be taken lightly peeps.