August 01, 2010

July - beaches, barbecues...and BNP burnout!

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.

There were (by my reckoning) 35 local authority byelections in July (I speak here of "principal area authorities" - counties, boroughs, unitaries; not parish/community councils). The BNP contested just five of them.

The totals for each party were in fact as follows: Conservatives 32, Liberal Democrats 26, Labour 25, UKIP 10, Greens 10, BNP 5, Plaid Cymru 3 and the English Democrats 1.

Interestingly, there was no "new ground" broken this month, which is unusual and must be very depressing for the BNP leadership. This also allows fairly easy comparison with past performance.

Having fielded no candidates at all in the seven byelections held on July 1st, they contested three of the seven contests held on the 8th. In Darlington they polled 4.8%, down from 13.6%. Their actual vote fell from the remarkably uniform 157 (in 2003) and 167 (2007) to a pathetic 41. In Redbridge they contested a ward in which they had polled 624 votes in 2006, but which had no BNP candidate in May 2010. At the byelection they polled just 115 votes (4.5%); because there was multiple voting in a three-member ward in '06 it is not sensible to try to calculate a change in vote share. In neighbouring Barking & Dagenham we saw the appalling Richard Barnbrook seeking to regain a seat having been rejected in May. He failed. Again, it is difficult to calculate meaningful vote-share percentages, but his vote - 642 - was well down on his figures for 2006 (1,454) or May '10 (1,340). But we shouldn't kid ouselves. With 34% of the vote he was worryingly close to the sort of result which could claim a seat in the future. However, given the totemic significance of this byelection to the fascists and his high profile this must have been a crushing disappointment to both Barnbrook and the party.

On the 15th there were nine byelections; and no BNP candidates. The English Democrats entered the fray in Leicester, a ward they had not previously contested. They got 33 votes (1.6%).

The eight byelections on the 22nd saw just one BNP candidate, in Basildon. They polled 70 votes (3.9%), down from 8.8% last time.

Finally, on July 29th they contested one of three byelections, in the Bilston North ward of Wolverhampton Council, a ward in which they had polled 589 votes (11.8%) in May. This time they polled 131 (6.6%). A miserable, wretched performance.

Incidentally, in neighbouring Walsall there had been a byelection in the Bloxwich ward on 15th July. Now this is a ward in which the BNP had previously performed reasonably well, with 719 votes (22.1%) in 2006 and 722 (12.6%) in 2010. Almost incredibly, they failed to nominate a candidate!

So to summarise - no electoral progress; votes and vote share down wherever it could be (sensibly) calculated; failure to field a candidate in a ward where they had previously managed over 20%; and no evidence of finding new candidates in new areas.

Now you may wonder why I have not put the above figures through the much-loved and widely-respected Iliacometer. Well, to be perfectly honest one doesn't need an Iliacometer to summarise the current electoral fortunes of the BNP. They are doing very, very badly!


P.S. I have managed to trace records of sixteen parish council byelections during the month. The BNP failed to find a candidate in any of them.


Anonymous said...

Other than Barnbrook's vote that's a good month for anti-fascism. For the foreseeable future the BNP should continue to decline due to internal fighting and the lack of an unpopular Labour government to exploit. They may well give up on B&D. Without a focus anywhere they'll flounder.

Anonymous said...

Looks like they are being replaced by other organizations. They have now got several people who are interested in the leadership. They are all professionals. Michael Barnbrook is key here, because as this election builds up he will become more visable to the general public. That's what he wants. You all seem to think this is the end of the BNP. My fear is it is just the beginning.

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised by the intensity of the BNP leadership challenge, because it seems to me the BNP brand image has been damaged beyond repair.
Surely 'BNP' is forever linked in the collective public mind with dodgy finances and stupidity.

Anonymous said...

Great researching Iliacus. :)

AndyMinion said...

Excellent post, Iliacus!

As for the "BNP Brand", and why, as Anonymous #3 wonders, anyone would want to take it on after it has become so damaged: Surely it's because it IS a "Brand" that it's still worth controlling. They've spent thirty years becoming the only Right - Wing Nutjob Party (and there are a lot out there to choose from) that Joe Bloke can remember the name of, come election time. Sure, they may be damaged goods (and it's our job to remind people of that fact every time they show up at an election), but Brand Recognition is everything, in politics as anywhere else.

Anonymous said...

I think Dicky has given up and gone on a bender.


Anonymous said...

But will Butler get the nominations to even stand?

Anonymous said...

"Michael Barnbrook is key here"

There are people in the BNP, and on the far right generally, who distrust Barnbrook. They point to he former position as a Met Police Inspector (at that rank he would have had intimate dealings with Special Branch), his membership of of the throughly reactionary UKIP and at 66 he can hardly be considered to have much of a future personally or politically.

Ben Trunch said...

I am surprised that a "mainstream, respectable" political party does not publish these results on their website? After all, they are "the opposition" now aren't they?

Publish them along with their accounts?

Great article, great site, thanks...

Anonymous said...

Methinks there is a little confusion here twixt M Barnbrook and R Barnbrook !

Old Sailor